Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sundance 2011 ~ Finally! Movies! (Day 3)

Day 3 was more networking inside the Sundance Channel HQ, connecting with college friends at the NYU Tisch at Sundance party, seeing Paul Reiser and Julia Fordham perform at the ASCAP Music Cafe, attending a panel on marketing, and finally seeing movies!

My favorite thing about Sundance 2011 has to be the Sundance Channel HQ and my least favorite thing is definitely the lack of organization for wait list tickets.

How the wait list has worked in the past is you're supposed to queue up at the venue two hours prior to the screening. Shortly thereafter, wait list numbers are distributed. Once you receive your number, you're free to roam about, but are told to return 30 minutes before the screening. What's happening at some venues is people are queuing up anywhere from 3-4 hours in advance and before the official "2 hour" rule, the numbers have already been distributed. And, at other venues, the volunteer staff don't know shit. Some have outright told goers there is no official wait list line, while volunteers in the same tent have directed others to a line. I've heard of fights breaking out because of this and I've witnessed first hand patrons who waited out in the freezing cold for an hour (because they were told there was no wait list line inside the tent) get shafted.

Now, let's talk about these movies. I saw Shorts Block IV and really loved Hong Khaou's Spring and The Majestic Plastic Bag directed by Jeremy Konner. There was only one questionable film in the block and audience members were vocal as to why it merited the Sundance stamp of approval. Not only was the question asked during the Q&A, but the discussion continued outside the theater, at the shuttle stop, and long into the night. As a programmer, I know it's hard to put together a showcase that everyone will like, but come on, this is Sundance. Surely there was another short more deserving.

And on a personal note, Festival Programmers should not host the Q&A unless they also happen to be engaging performers. I may be engaging, but I'm not an engaging performer and know better to hand off these duties to the talented Aaron Kaiser, Ben Boodman, Gil Baron, and Kim Estes, to name a few, who really know how to keep the questions moving along.

No comments: