DISPATCHES: EIFF AT SUNDANCE PART 2
Edinburgh International Film Festival Senior Programmer Niall Fulton attended the Sundance Film Festival recently. This is the second half of his day by day blog.
Trudged down to the big tent through very, very deep snow to stand in line for Craig Johnson's WILSON starring Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern. This was clearly going to be busy, so to ensure I gained admittance, I arrived to queue nearly two hours in advance. This might sound extreme, but it proved to be necessary. This amount of waiting obviously has an impact on the rest of your day, so you have to plan carefully, prioritising titles and checking the schedules for other opportunities to see films that clash. It's also advisable to have made yourself familiar with the upcoming Berlinale/European Film Market programme, as you may also be able to catch up with certain titles there.
Next, moved very quickly and managed to make it into the controversial KUSO, directed by Steven Ellison, (aka Flying Lotus), and featuring contributions from comedian Hannibal Buress, George Clinton of Parliament/Funkadelic fame, and Aphex Twin.
Took a quick break to go to the Fresh Market and get something to eat, then back to the big tent and into the queue for an hour and a half to see my last film of the day, Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott's BUSHWICK starring Dave Bautista, and featuring a score by hip-hop legend Aesop Rock.
Down to queue in the big tent at 8:00 to see Chris Baugh's BAD DAY FOR THE CUT at 9:00. Next, quickly got some lunch to take in with me, and got in line for Janicza Bravo's LEMON with Michael Cera, (looking uncannily like a young Gene Wilder), at 12:30. Was delighted to catch up with the mighty Jason Gorber from Screen Anarchy at this screening. After that, I headed back up to the Fresh Market to get some lunch for Deputy Artistic Director Diane Henderson. Diane is also attending back to back screenings, (we split the programme between us), and sometimes our schedules simply don't allow for a break, so it's important to help each other out with food whenever possible. After that, I moved back and forward between the tent and various screenings until 21:00, then went back to the hotel to plan for tomorrow, and update the growing list of exciting titles to invite to this year's EIFF.
Today is volunteer appreciation day at Sundance. As with EIFF, the Sundance volunteers are absolutely crucial to the smooth running of the festival. Every year I am impressed by their warmth, patience, passion and efficiency. In that respect, they remind me very much of our own wonderful volunteers, so I asked their guys to send a wave across the ocean to our guys...
My day began with an hour and a half in line to see Charlie McDowell's THE DISCOVERY with Jason Segal, Rooney Mara and The Sundance Kid himself, Robert Redford. The programme is starting to slim down now, but there are still several slots to be announced, so it's very important to keep on checking for updates. Next, Dave McCary's BRIGSBY BEAR in the Holiday Village at 16:00, and then Danny Strong's REBEL IN THE RYE, starring Nicholas Hoult and Kevin Spacey, in the same screen at 19:00.
Got up at 7 and made my way down to the tent to make sure I got into Geremy Jasper's PATTI CAKE$ at 9:30. It's a big buzz title, (just acquired by Fox Searchlight for $9.5 million), and as I suspected, it was very busy and not everybody made it in. Next, sat down to check the final programme updates for today and tomorrow. At this point, having seen the majority of the titles that are relevant to EIFF in terms of release dates, it's a great last minute chance to catch up on other titles you have missed. Having already seen this afternoon's selection, I spent a good part of the day responding to several important and exciting emails, and putting the finishing touches to some very special events for EIFF 2017, which, I'm delighted to say, is beginning to look absolutely amazing. Once that was done, I took the time to sit down and eat properly for the first time in days, then braved the cold again and returned to the tent/Holiday Village to catch Jeff Orlowski's CHASING CORAL, before heading back to the hotel to write up my notes and then sleep.
Having already seen everything that's screening this morning, I headed up to Main Street to a Verve Label Group event entitled THE RE-EMERGENCE OF THE SOUDTRACK AND SCORE. Chaired by my good friend, journalist Damon Wise, it's a fascinating discussion with a panel featuring director of PATTI CAKE$, Geremy Jasper; director, composer, and leader of Hip Hop pioneers The Wu-Tang Clan, RZA; award winning music supervisor Mary Ramos, President and CEO of the Verve Label Group, Danny Bennett, and their vice-president of A&R, Mike Viola. Next, a very important meeting regarding EIFF 2017.
Then, back to the hotel to reply to some urgent emails before setting off to see my final film of Sundance 2017, Matt Ruskin's CROWN HEIGHTS at 17:30.
Time to head home. It's been a very productive trip to Sundance this year, the experience obviously coloured by the simultaneous dawn of the Trump era. As we leave Utah, I cannot help but consider what effect the current global political climate will have on the international film festival circuit. One thing is certain, festival programmers the world over are now in a more important cultural position than ever, as the movement of art around the world becomes absolutely crucial to our continued understanding of each other in the face of such extraordinarily divisive developments. It's time for a change, and we're ready. See you all at EIFF 2017.