Every day at the Sundance Film Festival feels like three days. The day starts at 6 AM in our ITVS condo. I arrived after dark and the driver couldn’t find the condo, tucked somewhere in the hills of lower Deer Valley. Then I saw a handmade ITVS sign in the window.
My first screening was No Impact Man by Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein. Laura’s earlier film SUNSET STORY was on Independent Lens in 2005. This is a wonderful film to start this year’s festival: an environmental film that is funny, inspiring and ultimately hopeful.
Afterward I made my way to the festival headquarters to get my credentials and caught a shuttle to the PBS/ITVS cocktail reception. On the way there, the shuttle got pulled over by the Park City Police––with sirens blaring and the whole nine yards! The police claim the shuttle driver tore off the rearview mirror on someone’s SUV an hour earlier on Park Avenue, the city’s main drag.
Everyone on the shuttle rushed off, eager to get on to our next event while the police tried to find someone who witnessed the incident. I huffed it up to the Riverhorse restaurant to the PBS/ITVS cocktail party, which was a major success, with more than 200 attendees including a great mix of filmmakers (including five filmmakers who had produced programs specifically for PBS), distributors, publicists, sales agents and colleagues from PBS, WGBH and series like Independent Lens, P.O.V. and American Masters. At the end of the reception my colleagues Jim Sommers, ITVS senior vice president of Content; Voleine Amilcar, IL publicity manager; and Claire Aguilar, vice president of Programming and I handed out ITVS T-shirts.
After the reception, a small group of us headed to the new Temple Theater outside Park City. There was a reception with Robert Redford to introduce the theater as the new center for documentary film at Sundance. My friend invited me to attend the VIP party for the film Reporter, which was screening simultaneously and we literally walked into Ben Affleck at the top of the stairs.
I stayed to see Reporter and the Q&A afterward and several shuttle transfers later arrived at the ITVS condos at 12:30 AM. Thankfully, the weather is still warmer than normal. Two films, two receptions and met up with about 40 colleagues at the events or on the shuttles––a typical day at Sundance. Well, minus the cops pulling over our shuttle!