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Sundance 2019: Day 4

Director of Programming James McNally is attending this year’s Sundance Film Festival from January 22nd to February 3rd.

Festival Day 2

Back in the office at 8am for what might be my longest work day of the festival. I checked in a few more filmmakers before Bobby and I left at 1pm for the premiere of Documentary Shorts 1 at the Temple Theatre. I love the serene vibe at this converted Jewish temple, and all of the filmmakers were a pleasure to work with. I even managed to grab a volunteer ticket and watch the whole lineup. Highlights would include Edgecombe, an impressionistic portrait of three people living in Edgecombe County, North Carolina, Everything You Wanted to Know About Sudden Birth, a hilarious examination of a 1960s police training film, and Stay Close, a multifaceted film about the life of American fencer Keeth Smart.

From the Temple, we took a number of shuttle buses to get to the Redstone Cinemas, where we had three screenings very close together. The second screening of Shorts Program 1 was bookended by the first (but not premiere) screenings of Shorts Programs 2 and 3. Traffic delayed lots of our film teams and since these weren’t “premiere” screenings with press lines, there were no reserved seats, meaning some of our late arriving filmmakers didn’t get to sit in their own screenings. Everyone seemed good natured about it and just went for some food or a drink before returning for Q&A. Bobby and I were able to go next door to Ghidotti’s, a very nice Italian restaurant, where I was able to use one of my volunteer “grub stubs” to get an excellent plate of penne bolognese.

We decided to take a Lyft back to HQ around 9:30pm so we could prepare for the premiere of Midnight Shorts, which was being held nearby at Prospector. This was a fun one, with two Canadian films (Docking and Chowboys: An American Folktale) and I was pleased to introduce Trevor Anderson to the Astron-6 gang. I even stayed to watch their films since they were first and second in the running order. But fatigue was catching up and so I didn’t stay for the rest of the programme, and was very happy to see my bed around 12:45am.

I actually felt pretty good today and even better when realizing it should only get easier from here on in. We’re making friends with the filmmakers and it’s lovely to see them befriending each other as well.