Adventures at the Sundance Film Festival

On Friday morning, 15 people and entirely too much luggage packed into a white van. It was a very tight fit – knees practically up to our chests, feet resting on suitcases, practically every inch of arm and leg touching the people on either side. But we didn’t care. We were excited. We couldn’t wait to leave.

The drive down to Utah was uneventful, just cramped. We napped, we sang some random oldies that were on the radio, and talked about the films we were going to see and what we were going to do in our free time.

Our first film was Friday night at midnight. We all met back at the hotel from various dinner venues (I was lucky enough to be able to head home for dinner, with two of my friends, for homemade chicken pot pie). We got to the theater early, and got a spot near the front of the line. The brightly lit marquee at the theater proudly proclaimed “Sundance Film Festival.” We were all so excited, standing in front of the theater holding our (entirely too fancy) tickets in hand.

The first movie was actually really weird, which was not helped by the fact that we watched it so late at night and we were all sleep deprived. It’s hard to wrap your mind around hypothetical aliens past midnight.

The next morning, my friend Tran and I ate breakfast at a French bakery, and then explored the awesome library in downtown Salt Lake, and snuck into the lobby of the Grand America Hotel.

We met up with the rest of the group just before noon to see the second movie. With many allusions to Helen of Troy, it was also very weird, but most of us liked it a lot better than the first one. But the coolest part was after the film, when they brought out the directors to answer questions from the audience. They were both very young, and had won a grant to make the film. Then, after we left the theater, us C of I peeps ran into the directors outside, and got to speak with them more. It was amazing! They were very interesting people, and thought it was really cool that we were from Idaho (neither of them had been before, so we invited them to come sometime!).  

After leaving the directors, we finally headed up to Park City, for a panel and our last movie, hoping to see at least one celebrity (we never did, alas). The panel was interesting – two directors of documentaries showed clips of their favorite documentaries and then explained the filmmaking behind them and what they liked about it.

We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Main Street in Park City, and eating delicious food. They still had all the lights string across the street from the holidays, and despite the unfortunate lack of snow anywhere but the ski resorts, it was very picturesque.

The last film we saw was my favorite. It was called Station to Station, and it followed a train of artists across the country in a film made up of 61 one-minute films. It was really cool and engaging to see all the different types of art people created.

All in all, it was a very successful trip, and one I hope the Film Society will be able to repeat in the future!