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Wish Your Were Here!
by Karen Pecota

Dear Colleagues,

Sundance is a total blast! The atmosphere of the festival is so different than what we experience in Europe. Everyone is so friendly and I am engaged in conversations everywhere I go. Totally invigorating! I can’t stop smiling, even as I write! The festival organizers are very friendly and helpful. And, the whole festival is run on volunteer energy which is a delightful immersion. I feel like I am physically carried from one event to the other on the sincere kindness of these volunteers. It is incredible! Every time I go to the bus stop (my regular mode of transportation), I am asked where I need to go; and, immediately, I am directed to my correct ride. I don’t even have to think about it! Fortunately, I could never go brain dead because the weather is freezing cold! Venturing out into this weather keeps me alert but then, I can hardly wait for the warmth of the cinema and the chance to nestle into the big cushioned theater seat! AAAHH!

The stars that emerge are almost invisible, however, I did see Cuba Gooding Jr., Kevin Bacon, and some others walking around town. One always knows if there is a celebrity close by because an immediate crowd gathers in their sphere and everyone else just stops to gawk. Yes! Of course, I did it too! I had no choice because I was blocked off from continuing on my merry way. In spite of the natural star crazy, the festival honestly tries to put the emphasis on the filmmaker or the film; but, when circumstances permits, what celebrity isn’t going to take advantage of the notoriety?

The audience premiere is the film where the director, producers, actors attend. There is always a Q and A (question and answer) time after the screening. The Press usually needs a ticket for this and their allotment is limited, therefore; I have to sign up for this type of screening the day before. It I don’t get a ticket and the screening is sold out, I can always join the wait list line (an experience all its own). Discovering different ways one could get a ticket with a press pass is an adventure but fun! I can get an interview with just about anyone that attending the festival, as well as, to join many parties. It is special to be accredited and it is easy to meet people which make this festival so exciting. The only drawback is staying so far out of town without a car. The night bus isn’t always on schedule. Last night I was stranded and thought I would have to walk about half an hour to my condo but this nice festival volunteer gave me a lift…once again, those volunteers are amazing! If it wasn’t for her, I think I would have turned into an ice cube by the time I reached my destination.

I have not seen one bad film! Isn’t that amazing? That is a festival first for us, huh? Feature and documentary films to keep on our radar: Away From Her, director, Sarah Polley (defining the word memory with an Alzheimer story); Longford, director, Tom Hooper (an amazing story dealing with forgiveness); Year of the Fish, director, David Kaplan (Asian Cinderella story using animation graphics over real people movement….very cool!). For the Bible Tells Me So,`director, Daniel Karslake; I Just Want to Be Somebody, director, Jay Rosenblatt; Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, director, Rory Kennedy; Hear and Now, director, Irene Taylor Brodsky. And, so much more!

Well, need to get to my next film…wish you were here!
Your associate,