Sundance Day 2 – Friday Part 1

This is the second in a series of Sundance Film Festival entries.

Friday is the calm before the storm, figuratively speaking (hopefully), so it’s a good day to pack in some films before the hordes of people descend on the city after work Friday and Saturday for the weekend.

I headed over to the Racquet Club to see Shorts Program II, the documentary shorts. At 8:30 AM it can be difficult to contend with doing much of anything at this elevation, and the doc shorts proved to be an eclectic collection of attention getting films. The only real bummer for me is that I really like short shorts. And these were no exception. The highlight of the bunch being the shortest film in the collection, Undressing My Mother by Ken Wardrop at 5 minutes. The film is a beautiful and loving portrait of the filmmaker’s mother and features vibrant photography coupled with an aging woman’s voice over that is both tender and poignant. Also notable was Rape for Who I Am by Lovinsa Kavuma that explores the lives of black lesbian women in South Africa and the racial stereotypes they endure.

The theater before the shorts start. The festival trailer is by DigitalKitchen and is quite charming.

The program started 30 minutes late and was the first of many things, especially the shuttles that seemed to be running late the first full day of the festival. After the program I went up to Main Street. Main Street is one of several hubs for the festival and over the past few years Main Street has turned into a place of name brand gift lounges. This year features lounges by Volkswagen, Chrysler, Aquafina, Starbucks and Airborne to name a few. After a brief survey of the goings on on the main drag, I grabbed some lunch and was off to The World According to Sesame Street.

It was a bit of scene, with people pushing and cutting in line (and this was the industry/press screening!) There were buyers and press clamoring to see the film. But within 45 minutes half of the audience was gone. I stayed through the film. The World According to Sesame Street is not really what I expected, but it’s not a bad movie. The thing that bothered me was that it seemed that the filmmakers had too much good footage and could have probably made a more powerful film had they only focused on one country instead of 3. Sesame Street is seen in over 150 countries and each country is a completely separate production focusing on each countries, traditions, and background and works as a learning tool. The film focuses on new Sesame Street productions in South Africa, Bangladesh and Kosovo. It is interesting to see the behind-the-scenes of how each Sesame Street is created, but the film jumps from one place to next without ease and thus seems longer than it is.

Part 2 of Day 2 will post later today and will include notes on Black Gold the PBS party and Thin.

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