Park City, Utah is buzzing with excitement and anticipation as the town prepares for opening night of world renowned Sundance Film Festival on Thursday. Chatter around town has changed from which ski runs have the best snow (or lack there of) to which films have the most hype and will be on the “it” list of films to see this year. Already there are many must see lists that have surfaced. ( check out Indiewire and Daily Beast for theirs) Where were these lists a month ago when I was frantically flipping through my festival catalog and ordering tickets? Actually I have to admit, I did meet with the Sundance curate team prior to making my selections so I know I have some good ones.
Our Sundance madness starts tonight with a welcome dinner for our Impact Partners film investment group. Through IMPACT we invest in social impact documentary films, and they have many of their films in the festival including “The Queen of Versailles” which was chosen to be the opening night film. (huge!) The documentary which was dubbed a rags-to-riches-to-rags story follows a billionaire couple, David and Jackie Siegel, who live in their 90,000 square foot home and struggle as their timeshare empire collapses and their dream home is foreclosed on. Some of the biggest buzz around this movie is the lawsuit that was filed just a week before the movie’s premiere. David Siegel is taking on Greenfield (the producer) and the Sundance Institute saying the portrayal of their struggles are not true and complains the movie makes him look bad… whoops……looks like he may have accomplished that on his own trying to build a 90,000 square foot home just before the housing market imploded. We chose not to invest in the film as it was not in our issue zone, but I cannot wait to see the finished product.
Thursday is an IMPACT board meeting followed by the opening night party, screening of Queen of Versailles, and the hottest ticket in town, “The Artist at the Table” Dinner. We may even have to turn in to party animals and attend the after party!
Friday’s schedule is completely nuts as we are seeing four incredible movie premiers. “Escape Fire” ( one of the top docs), “Invisible War” (which hit top ten lists as a must see movie and one we made a grant to), “Red Lights,” and “Your Sister’s Sister” (both films are on top ten lists). It is so much fun seeing the films on opening day as the whole cast and crew is generally present and stays for a Q and A afterward.
Saturday is proving to be just as busy with three incredible movies “Young and Wild,” “Arbitrage,” and “Lay the Favorite.” The 10 day festival is packed full of amazing and creative work by new and seasoned producers, directors, and actors.
As the week continues we see “Monsieur Lazhar” ( said to be ‘brilliant!!” ) and a film directed by a friend of mine Macky Alston, “Love Free or Die” which was just written up in the local paper. It is a documentary that follows Bishop Gene Robinson, a New Hampshire man who became the first openly gay Bishop to be elected by the Episcopal Church. Others include “How to Survive a Plague,” ( one we invested in so keep your fingers crossed it sells), “5 Broken Cameras,” “The Law in these Parts,” “Liberal Arts,” “Chasing Ice,” “We’re Not Broke,” “Price Check,” and “The Surrogate” rounds out the list.
I will try to blog and tweet and heaven knows what else through the whole festival in hopes of convincing you all to come to Park City and experience it yourself.
( I am also hosting a top secret, amazing, official Sundance gathering but more on that later)