Welcome to the Slamdance Special series of the Indie Production Diary! Started nearly two years ago in the hopes of providing a “you are there” experience, a way of experiencing life on an independent film production, now we’re here in Park City, gearing up for the World Premiere of “What I Like About You.” We’ve got quite the operation set up here. While director Jeff Stolhand and Tony Hewett, our lead producer spent most of the day in meetings with our publicist, the rest of our gang of ten — with more on the way, including co-producer Jimmy Jongebloed who missed his flight when security insisted on going through his boxes of promo stuff — plastered the town in flyers, posters and…in the most brilliant stroke of inspiration…drink coasters for the bars announcing the film’s premiere. We apparently managed to slip a flyer to Kevin Smith and Roger Ebert (who got two). So, we’re underway. In honor of nearby Salt Lake City’s upcoming hosting of the Olympics, I thought I’d take a lead from the networks and introduce a sort of daily highlight package; impressions and slices of life from Park City’s ground zero. So without further ado…
This place is small…and breathtakingly gorgeous. The only hills where Jeff and I grew up in Illinois were overpasses, so mountains are always cool. It’s also not as cold as we feared…although the chill sinks in as the day goes on…The biggest surprise so far, is the Sundance monopoly. While “Welcome Sundance” Posters, banners, and signs plaster buildings and storefronts everywhere, I’ve yet to see any evidence of Slamdance, let alone Slamdunk, No Dance et al. It resembles a sort of reality-denying, officially sanctioned omission of the competition eerily reminiscent of state run television…Most Surreal Moment: standing outside a venue on “flyer detail, when a car pulls up, a kid staggers out, acts like he’s throwing up in a nearby garbage can, mugs for us, hops back in the car, which then drives away…Synchronistic Moment #1: meeting a Sundance volunteer from Austin, TX who flew out here specifically for the festival…Synchronistic Moment #2: Tony’s Australian. We stop into a club called The Down Under for a nightcap where a band is playing cover songs. Near the end of the set, the fiddler plops down next to us Austinites, and performs a solo on a song by the late great Austinite Stevie Ray Vaughn. THAT was eerie. Until tomorrow…
Posted on January 23, 2000 in Festivals by Merle Bertrand
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