I would do almost anything to have a flight to Park City, UT this evening for the start of the Sundance Film Festival. And tickets to a few of the films I’m currently salivating over would be good, too.
Last year at this time, this dream was my reality, as I found myself hopping on a plane headed to Utah, where I spent the entire duration of the world renowned 10-day film festival. My brother was living in Salt Lake City at the time, which made the opportunity all together possible. For ten days, I had the opportunity to see some of the world’s most anticipated and celebrated independent films—one from the comfort of Robert Redford’s screening room at Sundance Resort, and others followed by intimate Q&A sessions with the directors themselves. The films were heartbreaking, mind-blowing, and utterly mesmerizing. Taking in these great films made me appreciate film on a whole new level. I couldn’t believe my great luck to have scored such coveted tickets to this premiere event.
This year’s festival promises another ten days of great film. There are four competition categories with sixteen films in each. The categories are: Documentary Competition, Dramatic Competition, World Cinema Documentary Competition, and World Cinema Dramatic Competition. Out-of-competition film categories include: Premieres, Spectrum, Park City at Midnight, New Frontier, and Shorts. The films I am most excited for, and anxiously awaiting feedback on, are: Choke, The Last Word, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, The Wackiness, King of Ping Pong, The Wave, Assassination of a High School President, Death in Love, Incendiary, and Savage Grace.
It's easy to get involved with the festival from the comfort of your own home, beyond reading the celebrity gossip in US magazine (Park City is jam packed with LA—last year I brushed shoulders with John Cusack, Tara Reid, Puff Daddy, and Nicole Richie). All of this year’s films, and brief descriptions of each, are online. You can download the film guide here. Although not all of the films will be picked up and widely released, some will, and then you’ll know which ones you’re looking for in the coming year or so. In 2007, between the festival and other venues in Madison (once the films were picked up), I was able to see ten films that premiered at the 2007 Film Festival. By downloading the film guide, you can study up and know what you’re looking for.