Sundance Day 5 – Monday

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

I came up with a theory on Sundance questions. These are questions that people ask you on the shuttle, at a party, on the street, wherever you may be that someone can get at you.

    1) Where are you from?

    2) What do you do?

    3) Who are you with?

    4) Do you have a film in the festival?

    5) How many times have you been here?

I just think it’s funny that everyone says the same thing. I was washing my hands in the ladies room at the Filmmaker’s Lodge when I noticed the woman washing her hands next to me looking at my credential around me neck in the mirror. Credentials are color coded so it’s pretty easy to tell if someone is industry, press, filmmaker or staff. My blue badge tells this woman I am press. She says, “Who are you with?” (See question 3 above). I say, “Oh, um, Documentary Magazine and I also rep some films, docs.” She says, “Oh, bummer, I was hoping you were with Variety.” With that she walks out of the room. I was a little surprised, I laughed. I think it pays to be nice to people. After all, when I’m standing talking to my colleagues from Variety and she walks up, I have no reason to act like I’ve ever seen her before in my life.

With that I visited the Outreach Table in the Filmmaker’s Lodge to say hi to the Docurama/New video folks and then headed over to the Holiday Village to catch Who Needs Sleep? the new documentary from Haskell Wexler and Lisa Leeman. In 1997 after working a 19-hour day on the set of Pleasantville, assistant cameraman Brent Hershman fell asleep behind the wheel, crashed his car and died. “You can’t will yourself to stay awake,” Wexler says in his cantankerous voice over. The doc explores both the film industry and its infamous overlong working hours and sleep in general. Who Needs Sleep? is a cry for help to the industry for “12 hours on 12 hours off”. Sleep deprivation is a major issue and explored through the eyes of the Oscar-winning cinematographer the film could hopefully help make some changes to the insane work schedules on movie shoots.

I spent the evening bumping into people I know and going to parties; another eventful evening in the Sundance schedule. Film Independent hosted a part at the Leaf Lounge for their members. Then the BMI party, a crazy condo packed full of people and a DJ spinning. Finally it was off to the ITVS party at the Riverhorse where ITVS celebrated 15 years and 600 programs made by independent producers. It was a sweet night. After the lights came up around midnight they sent us out into the cold with Krispy Kremes and ITVS stainless steel mugs filled with hot coffee. Time flies here with so much to do and so much talking, I think I’m losing my voice a little. Day 6 will be another packed day.

itvs

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