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Sundance 2018: Day 13

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

Festival Day 11

Despite the late night (morning?), I had to be up at 8:00am in order to pack and vacate our condo by 10:00am. Three hours sleep definitely wasn’t enough, but I got out in time, leaving my luggage at the reception desk of the Snowflower Condominiums. I grabbed my usual morning coffee and walked to the Holiday Village Cinemas. These are normally the venue for all the press and industry screenings, and they just opened up to the public yesterday. It was a day of screenings of all the award-winning films, so the schedule wasn’t really known until this morning. I ended up staying to watch two films back to back.

Shirkers was a knockout. A personal documentary about a feature film made my the filmmaker as a teenager that was essentially lost for 25 years when her mentor disappeared with all the materials back in 1992. It was one of the first independent films made in Singapore, and watching pieces of it now is fascinating. For the director Sandi Tan it’s like a time capsule of her teenage years but also a painful reminder of an experience that nearly destroyed her creative ambitions. It’s a unique document that is visually striking and emotionally moving.

Time Share was a bonkers dark comedy from Mexico, in which two families are mistakenly booked into the same room at a time share resort. One of the men gradually becomes unhinged as the tone goes from slapstick to darker psychological territory. I found it uneven but still watchable, with some excellent cinematography and art direction. Not as subtle or deep as, say, a Yorgos Lanthimos film, but in the same ballpark.

At the screening, I met Adam and James, two of the volunteers I’d been hanging out with over the past few days and nights, and after the film we walked over to Este Pizza for a late lunch. We were all sharing a shuttle to Salt Lake City at 5:00pm, so it was nice to spend a bit more time with them. On the shuttle ride, I met Slava, a young woman living in Brooklyn who had just volunteered for her first festival. Everyone is so friendly and curious at Sundance, and I have made a whole lot of new Facebook friends. I hope I’ll see everyone again next year!