In addition to being an invaluable marketing tool for independent (and not-so-independent) film and also new products of all sorts (cars, Brita filters, coconut water, et al), Sundance is also a gathering of the tribe, like any convention. Few examples:
I ran in to SXSW‘s head, Janet Pierson, while re-filling my water bottle at the Library Center Theater. She’s been to MFF a couple of times and it’s always fun catching up with her. She introduced me to Sarah Green, a terrific producer whose work I’ve admired (TREE OF LIFE, TAKE SHELTER, Mamet’s works, etc. ) but had never met.
Walking into a screening, I noticed an MFF bag and saw it was on Marcus Hu‘s shoulder, the head of Strand Releasing, one of the great art house distributors. He introduced me to Carl Spence, Artistic Director of the Seattle International Film Festival, a wonderful 25-day extravaganza that contends with Toronto for title of Biggest Film Festival in North America.
At another screening, I sat next to filmmaker Michael Tully (director of SEPTIEN) and a few seats down from writer/director Lynn Shelton (director of YOUR SISTER’S SISTER and Sundance jury this year), both MFF alums, and then, coming out of DETROPIA I hear a woman introduce herself to one of the film’s directors, MFF Board member Rachel Grady, and it is Laura Bennett, the new Artistic Director of the Chesapeake Film Festival in Easton whom I’d never met despite some emailing .
I drop by the temporary WireImage studio to see its CEO, and Baltimore native, Jeff Vespa, and run in to Mark Duplass who is an MFF alum and is in two movies here and produced several. Oscar-nominated Laura Poitras was at the screening of Eugene Jarecki‘s new film about the disastrous drug war, THE HOUSE I LIVE IN, (he did WHY WE FIGHT and last year’s fascinating documentary on Ronald Reagan) and the new film features excellent interviews with David Simon. Well, you get the picture.
-Jed Dietz, Thursday 1/26