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Sundance 2018: Day 12

Director of Programming James McNally is attending this year’s Sundance Film Festival from January 16th to 28th.

Festival Day 10

The last day of work for me, though technically not the last day of the festival. I was at HQ for 11:00am to pick up my credential to work the Awards Ceremony tonight, and I found out I was picked to be a stand-in at the rehearsal, which meant I was out at the Basin Fieldhouse from noon onwards. It was pretty fun, though. Along with my friend Celine and another volunteer Hayley, I got to play a filmmaker accepting an award. I moved seats and did different speeches every time, and also took different routes up to the stage in order to prepare the tech crew, including the camera teams, for any eventuality. One time I sprinted up to the stage, for instance. It was kind of funny trying to come up with a new speech each time, too.

Then we had a two hour break so I went to the Red Rock Brewery to use up my last Grub Stub. Two years ago, the “burger and fries” were quite fancy, but this time, they’d replaced it with a generic crappy burger. To make things worse, the service was the worst I’ve had in a long time. I ordered a beer in order to pad the bill, but their draft lines were in such bad shape that they poured out more foam than I’d ever seen before. A thoroughly unpleasant experience.

My responsibilities for the actual ceremony were few. I helped Priya look for any of our film teams arriving, but there was really nothing to do because so few of our teams were still around. And those that did come to the ceremony weren’t up for any awards, so it was low-key. I did get to see Ethan Hawke and Chloe Grace Moretz up close, and I loved that Ethan Hawke just lined up with his drink ticket just like everyone else. Sundance has that kind of informality. Jason Mantzoukas was the MC and a highlight was Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons (along with composer Keegan Dewitt) playing the theme song from Hearts Beat Loud. It’s a great song and quite the earworm.

When the awards ceremony ended, all the Artist Relations team sprung into action removing chairs in order to turn the seated section into the dance floor. It was pretty great getting to see and hear RuPaul playing DJ for the evening. I mostly hung out with some of the volunteers I met on my shuttle once the party started, having spent the earlier part of the evening with my Artist Relations colleagues.

The party officially wrapped at 12:30pm but hours earlier my housemates and I were working on an afterparty plan. Jake had scored eight cases of free beer from Slamdance (from their beer sponsor Red Rock Brewing) and one of the women we met last night, Lark, invited us to her place in Deer Valley. A young guy named Ben who hadn’t been drinking volunteered to shuttle us out there, stopping at our place to pick up the beer first.

And that’s how I ended up staying out until 4:30am. Lark’s condo had four floors, a sauna and a pool table, and there were only three of them sharing it. Maybe 15-20 people turned up, and it was a nice time, although we barely made a dent in all the extra beer. A very nice end to a long but fulfilling day.