PARK CITY, UT – Sundance Opening Weekend Film Festival is known for being abuzz with all-hours activities, and 2011 is no exception. Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah is one of the top film festivals on the planet, but what you might not know is that there are also a plethora of rich and varied interactive learning experiences to be had that don’t involve dark theaters and sitting still for hours on end. I’ve been following long time Sundance photographer Fred Hayes around town and learning just how much fun and creative inspiration there is to be had while working 12 hour days!
If you’re wanting to get a taste of how movies are created from beginning to end I highly recommend visiting The Filmmakers Lodge for one of their open panel discussions with the artists themselves. The one we attended was with Rutger Hauer and Roger Corman, a very funny and insightful discussion about the abstract qualities that lead to a successful career in film. On the topic of switching from being a director to being a producer, Mr. Corman had this to say, Being a producer is easier than being a director. It’s much easier to show up at 9 am rather than 6 am and ask the director, ‘What did you shoot that shot for?! The HP Sundance House in The Kimball Art Center is an absolute must visit, with all sorts of interactive media displays, fantastic archival photos from Sundances past and best of all, a green screen where you can take commemorative photos with your family and friends, all for free. The New Frontier is a wonderful place to visit for people of all ages. Deep, dark rooms filled with whirling light sculptures and media displays leads upstairs to an bright airy area where you can experience ground breaking techniques in filmmaking such as The Johnny Cash Project. Last but not least, the Sundance experience wouldn’t be complete without visiting the Sundance ASCAP Music Cafe. ASCAP puts on a tight set of various top level musicians in a cozy setting. This weekend we were treated to an array of sweet sounds from Danko Jones, K’NAAN, The Manchester Orchestra, Fall on Your Sword, and Josh Ritter, to name a few. Great sound, friendly folks and a bloody mary bar to die for set the mood for this staple Sundance experience.Sundance is not for the feint of heart, however. It takes a fair amount of work just to stay hydrated, and warm and dry. You have to be smart about the sometimes rapidly changing weather conditions, this is after all a winter festival high in the Wasatch Mountains. If you plan well however, there is an education like no other waiting at every turn. Rutger Hauer summed it up best when he said, This is a spiritual and bloody place. Sundance is where you come to get your balls if you don’t have them.
Favorite Sundance Moments:
Seeing Morgan Spurlock served steak
Going to The Flimmaker Lodge panel featuring Rutger Hauer and Roger Corman
Experiencing The Johnny Cash Project
Top things to do around town:
Getting customized green screen photos at the HP Sundance House
Playing with the interactive media displays at the New Frontier
Dining at Cafe Terigo. Nosh to die for.
Dramatic: Like Crazy
Documentary: Sing Your Song
Short: Ex Sex