A Sundance Volunteer Blogs All: Part One
Filmmaker Therese Shechter tells all in the first of two dispatches from SundanceJanuary 22nd, 2008 | Therese Shechter
Films I've seen: 5
Good films I've seen: 1.5
Hot meals I’ve eaten in five days: 2
Vodka-based cocktails drunk in five days: Lost count sometime in the middle of the Queer Lounge kickoff party
Mg of vitamin C ingested per day: 3,000
Good it's done me: 0
Number of “demi-gods of Canadian metal” I've met: 3
Number of Irish filmmaker/playwrights who make my knees weak: 1
Number of hot tubs in my condo: 0
I'm here in Park City, Utah, with about 1,400 other volunteers from all over the world to staff the 10-day Sundance Film Festival. In return for the deeply taxing work I do at the Filmmaker Lodge (check credentials at the door, pick up coffee cups, run around with a mic at our panels, flirt with boys), the folks at Sundance put me up in a lovely shared condo, feed me Einstein bagels every morning and grant me free admission to any film I can get into.
When I checked-in on Wednesday, I was delighted that my seniority had again earned me a private room, but was inconsolable when I discovered NO HOT TUB at our condo. Regular readers know that the hot tub is as important to Sundance as the quirky coming-of-age-film, and I'm not really sure how I'm going to cope. There's a condo down the street with a tub right in the front yard and my friends and I are thinking of quietly taking it over while the owners are asleep. Stay tuned for my next blog: Hard Time at the Park City Lockup.
This year, the staff jacket color scheme is black and a beautiful, dark royal-teal blue. The jackets are, as usual, cut for men which leaves us gals asking: Do I get the size that fits my shoulders OR the one that fits my hips? I know I write this every year, but given that 65 percent of the volunteers are female, would it be so crazy to get the jackets in women's sizes and let the guys deal with the lousy fit for a change? Just wondering.
I've been living off the usual diet of protein bars, cheese cubes, and vodka, supplementing with megadoses of my favorite giveaway of the fest, Vitamin C powder. Everyone at the festival is getting sick, maybe because it's so incredibly cold here. I'm sure it's not because of the little sleep, lack of vegetables, and extremely friendly nature of the festival-goers.
(Please be warned, I'm not going to be writing about the EHollywood/Xtra/Insider shenanigans of the famous-for-no-reason -- and not just because I can't get into the parties. I haven't seen any TV since I left New York on Wednesday, so if Paris Hilton is doing something crazy just down the street from me, I know nothing about it.)
Here are some of highlights from the last few days:
My favorite film so far is Anvil! The Story of Anvil. It's a fantastic documentary chronicling the lives of the Canadian demi-god metal band Anvil. Heard of them? They were poised for superstardom in the '80s but never quite made it, despite the fact that folks like Slash and Lars Ulrich and that tattooed guy from Anthrax all gush over them. The film follows them for two years, still trying to make it -- and still playing together after 25 years. Two nice Jewish boys from my old Toronto neighborhood founded Anvil and I was able to do a little bonding with them over life in Bathurst Manor. I'm hoping the local connection gets me into their still-unconfirmed show here in PC.
The winner of the best line so far is the comedy The Adventures of Power which is about a loser who dreams of air-drumming stardom! Seriously. It has some pretty funny bits, especially the final showdown competition performed to Rush's "Tom Sawyer." Favorite line from the film: "Not Neil Peart! That's too dangerous!"
The object of my almost fanatical affection this year is Martin McDonagh, who directed the opening night film In Bruges. I'm a huge fan of his plays (The Pillowman, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, etc.) and Six Shooter, which won an Oscar for Best Short Film last year. We hosted an interview with him at the Filmmaker Lodge and not only is he dead funny and smart but also spectacularly handsome. I was hoping to ingratiate myself into his entourage and be invited along on his LA publicity tour, but I think when I referred to him as a “silver fox” they got a little freaked out. When he left after his interview, we locked eyes, he flashed me a smile and I swear my knees went weak.
My gal pals are all drooling over jury members Collin Farrell (“dangerously handsome”) and Diego Luna (“beyond sexy”). I haven't yet had the pleasure of bumping into them, but as soon as I do, I'll give a full report. Diego is scheduled to speak at one of our venue's panels. I suppose there are some attractive women here too.
Hands down the best party venue this year is the Queer Lounge. It's a multi-story epicenter of fabulousness on Main Street where the vodka flows freely and for free. And not those minuscule Utah shots either. Their opening night party featured The Donnas who rocked out a mere 10 feet from where I was jumping up and down on a banquette with my new gay boyfriend Jorge.
As I write this, I am breakfasting on a few slices of cold veggie pizza. Thank you to the mysterious gentleman who brought me the pizza in the middle of my shift yesterday. If you are reading this, I want you to know that when I said, “I'm madly in love with you” it was really just me being excited by hot food. So don't be scared and please come back to the venue (and bring another olive and onion if you could).
I'll be writing soon about more good films (as soon as I see one), panels and parties. I'm also here to get money for my doc-in-progress The American Virgin and I'll be pitching to HBO, PBS, and the rest tomorrow morning. Stay tuned for all the terror.
Send me your questions and comments and I'll do my best to answer it all.
With cold hands but a warm heart,
Official website for Anvil! The Story of Anvil- http://anvilmovie.com/about.asp
Official website for the Sundance Film Festival - www.sundance.org/festival
Learn more about Therese Shechter and read her past years' Sundance blogs - www.trixiefilms.com
Link to this page: http://www.independent-magazine.org/