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Hooking Up
by Karen Pecota

In culmination with new Independent films, the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, allows for other events to piggy back on their showcase. The city offers many interesting venues to host special events, dinners and parties. I had the pleasure of hooking up with filmmakers Rhea Garvy and Marti Kullen, as their guest, to attend a book signing fundraiser in support of HIGH ROAD for HUMAN RIGHTS. Rhea was filming the event. Marti and I enthusiastically supported Rhea’s endeavor and the benefit.

My 2008 Sundance coverage featured the introduction to filmmakers Rhea Garvy and Marti Kullen, and advertised a sneak-preview of Rhea’s documentary, Blue Man Red State. She is currently in post-production and working under a new title Mayor Rocky and the Upstanders. The film follows former Salt Lake City Mayor Ross C. “Rocky” Anderson and the events that led him to make a major career paradigm shift. His story will portray the reasons he began to move away from a life of politics toward heavy involvement advocating human rights. Rhea’s narrative reveals the impact of his decision and its significance.

The fundraiser was held at the new Swaner EcoCenter,, located on the outskirts of Park City proper. The EcoCenter is unique and designed with two-story walls of glass circulating the odd dimensions of the building. It is wonderfully positioned in the middle of a nature preserve where one can view wild life on a wetland and be captivated with the snow-capped Wasatch Mountain range. The warm and sunny day was the icing on the cake and ideal for the daytime event.

I was happily introduced to the host of the fundraiser, the former Salt Lake City Mayor “Rocky” Anderson. His demeanor is similar to what I know of the late Sergio Vieira de Mello—kind, professional, handsome and engaging. He is currently the president of a human rights advocacy and education project, HIGH ROAD for HUMAN RIGHTS (for further information, The organization campaigns to break the cycle of complacency. It motivates people to stand up for human rights. It initiates action to break the chains that bind necessary changes to help the environment, as well as protect people against the acts of genocide, human trafficking, and torture.

The featured guest for his fundraiser was Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Samantha Power. She brought her books for signing but also the film Sergio, showcased at the 2009 Sundance Festival. The feature documentary, from filmmaker Greg Barker, was based on Power’s national best seller, Chasing the Flame, portraying the life of UN director Sergio Vieira de Mello. Her account of an uncanny modern day hero is gripping. It was fascinating to rub shoulders with individuals of compassion, sharing a fervor to go to battle for injustice at home and abroad. They are currently some of our country’s most influential advocators for world peace. My soul was invigorated! I want to make a difference too! I was pressed to take inventory of my life and ask, “What am I going to do about it!”