Yep, it's the time of the year again that ALWAYS sneaks up on me: The Sundance Film Festival. Last year I gave a pretty good recap of my festival history which you can find HERE. This year marks the fifth year I've gone up, but the FIRST I've actually done something other than walk up and down main street for the purpose of people watching. In fact, I was fortunate to actually do quite a lot this year! But let me tell you....it definitely didn't start out that organized! Once again, I forgot to pre-register for a priority time slot in purchasing tickets, and once tickets opened up to the general public, all of my desired films and events were sold out. Most notably an event hosted by my absolute favorite, Joseph Gordon-Levitt in which he was giving a lecture on blah blah blah (does it really matter? Its JGL.) But since EVERYTHING was sold out, I was resigned that it would be another regretful year where at the end of the festival I'd say "Oh it's too bad we never actually did anything...maybe next year." Thankfully...that was not meant to be. Don't get me wrong, I always have fun hanging out...and in fact am sad that I only got ten minutes or so of that this year....but seeing films is really what it's all about, and I'm really glad I got to do so much this year.

It all started when I heard an ad on the radio saying you could get tickets to screenings if you went straight to the box office 8 AM the day of the showing to try and get the leftovers. I had heard about this once long ago but had completely forgotten....so I was pretty excited at finding a new in so I could see some of the stuff that intrigued me! Even so, I knew that the JGL event was completely out of the realm of possibility for me...so instead I planned to just BE in Park City that day and maybe we could find him to take a picture before or after his symposium. What didn't seem out of reach was tickets to a Salt Lake screening of a film called Celeste and Jesse Forever on January 21, starring Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg as a newly divorced (but unfortunately still somewhat in love) couple who attempt to remain friends. So Amelia and I woke up soooooooo freaking early on a Saturday in hopes of scoring tickets. We got there right at 8 and the line was pretty freaking long. I almost wanted to leave, but since we woke up so early we endured it. Well, we sure made the right choice because we got 2 of the last 3 tickets left! Whilst waiting to purchase those tickets, we met a veteran festival goer and I told her how much I wanted to go see JGL's symposium and she suggested we'd have a good chance waitlisting if his event was in a large venue (which it was...) and so, a new  hope blossomed in my heart.

It was definitely really exciting finally seeing something. But as for the movie itself? Well...I'd say it's a mixed bag....but with more positive than negative. I liked the core of what was going on of the story and thought it had some really good and interesting things to say about life, love and the choices we make and the consequences that come from those choices. However, I feel like the film suffered from some perhaps cliched side plots and what I felt was a little gratuitous profanity (F words for the sake of F words really just don't impress me...and I just like things so much more without that I find.) Basically, it was a movie with great moments, but as a whole I didn't LOVE it. That said, I did have pretty high expectations and perhaps I'd enjoy it more on a second viewing.

So after the success we had with Celeste and Jesse Forever I for sure wanted to try my luck with the Joseph Gordon-Levitt event on January 26th. Sometime during that morning though, it dawned on me to try other methods of getting those tickets....AKA Craigslist (and by dawned on me I mean Courtney forwarded me a text saying where someone told her they saw some listings..) So miraculously I got the tickets (which is, along with what happened after, another great story in and of themselves) and later that night we made our way to my dream event. That's right. I spent almost 2 hours of my life in the same room as Joseph Gordon-Levitt where he sang, read stories, showed short films and acted out a chapter from Tom Sawyer. Never in my life have I regretted more not having a twitter to tweet something profound that would make JGL ask me up to the stage and experience that phenomenon known as "love at first sight." Alas. Maybe next year. But I still enjoyed myself immensely! Particularly with the reading of the tiny story in the video below, as well as another short film starring JGL called "Strawberry Bootlaces." The man is an adorable genius.

And lastly, on Friday night I was able to see one other Sundance film, this time in the reallllllly awesome Egyptian theater in Ogden. All theaters should have long red curtains and old men playing the organ. In Liberal Arts, Josh Radnor of How I Met Your Mother not only starred, but wrote and directed as well. The film also starred the up and coming Elizabeth Olsen (AKA the one that got the talent in the family of the Olsen twins.) The film focuses on the budding relationship of Jesse and Zibby (short for Elizabeth,) but in fact it is really more of a study of life in general. I absolutely loved this movie. It was refreshing, real, honest, entertaining, relate-able, interesting and surprisingly moral. I hope it makes its way to the mainstream soon...because it's definitely a gem. There was one moment I could have done without, but even that was forgiven since it made sense to the context of the story. Go see it when you get the chance!! In fact, I myself would love to see it again!

Well! That oughta wrap things up for my experiences at the festival this year. I'm so glad and incredibly thankful I was able to do everything that I did this year (esppppppeccccccccccialllly the JGL thing...I'm not gonna lie) I've really come to love this festival. It's definitely a bright spot in an otherwise drab month. So I'm glad it finally gives me a reason to look forward to January! I can hardly wait for next years festival!! Then again...right now I'd rather it just be summer :)


Mom said...

I can't believe you didn't label this Sundance Film Festival so that you could get hits off of that. :)

You really did have a great time, living the film life you want.

Although, the JGL thing is teetering on the obsessive! :)

Sarah said...

My sweet, sweet love-struck little sister. :) I'm glad all of your Sundance wishes came true. Now, with a little advance planning next year, maybe even MORE wishes can come true! :)

Amelia said...

We were sooo lucky with Sundance this year!! HitRecord definitely exceeded expectations for me!

P.S. Here is the link to strawberry bootlaces: http://hitrecord.org/records/655145

Emily said...

Everyone go read Amelia's blog too for her take on Sundance! mimiamelia.blogspot.com