Park City, Utah
…with no film to screen at the film festival—for the second year in a row.
And for the second year in a row, I’m here at the festival as the contributing writer of RACK FOCUS for the online magazine Landscape Latino. My assignment is to interview breakthrough filmmakers who are screening at Sundance, but this year that’s gonna be tough compared to last year ’cause our crew doesn’t have press credentials.
I’m left to my own devices to connect with the filmmakers themselves, or at least their publicists—I only know one of them by name, cell and email and her clients are screening across Main St. at Slamdance.
Such is my state when we arrive in Salt Lake City early Friday morning of the opening weekend; we can’t check into our hotel so we try to snooze in the lobby until our room is available.
I’m equipped with a camera and shotgun mic this time around; also on my agenda is to shoot a promo for the web series I am developing as writer/director as well as its producer (out of necessity for the time being, because I can’t afford to pay for a competent producer so I hire myself).
I’m hustling with the rest of the filmmakers here at Sundance, each one trying to take their projects to the next level, hoping our hard work will materialize with some sort of success.
For me, that success doesn’t manifest in a $17.5 million dollar deal like the filmmaker of THE BIRTH OF A NATION, which sets a record for the highest sale of a film at any festival.
For me, that success is measured in the time spent with friends and fellow filmmakers who are screening at Sundance this year or with whom I’ve collaborated in the past, just as much as with the new friends and fellow filmmakers that I’ve connected with. Countless business cards are exchanged over the weekend; it’s my job to follow up with the filmmakers when I return to Long Beach if I’m gonna make the time spent in the cold snow worthwhile.
I don’t get to watch any films at the festival this year; they are all sold out by the time we arrive. But that’s okay because the one movie that I did want to watch—MILES AHEAD, the biopic about Miles Davis directed by and starring Don Cheadle, will screen nationally on April 1st.
I did get to shoot the promo for my web series SCUMBAGS. As I walk around Main St. and share the inspiration behind the web series with other filmmakers, I also get a few reassuring laughs. They tell me I’m onto something…
When we drive down the mountain back to Salt Lake City for the last time during the festival, I tell myself again that I’ll be back next year with my own film to screen at Sundance 2017.