What to know about Sundance

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(1) Plan ahead with flight/hotel, I highly recommend Newpark Resort, just a little outside the downtown area of Park City, so it’s like a home away from home, and it’s a great place to go to reboot. I booked through expedia.com back in November and I got a great deal. Flights through Southwest are very reasonable.

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(2) Buy the $200 Credential pass. You’ll still need a ticket to go see the films, but the credentials will get you in to the Q&As that are awesome. Seeing Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson, was well worth the $200, and now I know for next year to take full advantage of this pass.

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(3) Only buy two or three tickets ahead of time, You never know which films you’ll want to see the last minute, and if you go towards the end of the festival you can most likely get in to the films on the waitlist if you sign up at least an hour and a half before showtime.

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(4) Arrive early for films, at least half hour. If you have a ticket you get in before the waitlist, but will have to wait behind the other ticket holders that got there first.

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(5) Try to avoid the box office unless your just going to pick up your tix and pass. If you are buying tix or exchanging prepare to wait in a line for up to an hour.

(6) I highly recommend Atticus Coffee house, this was my spot where I would blog and take a break from the fest, very local, and the coffee and tea is amazing.

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(7) Take advantage of the extra perks. I went to an art installation that was amazing, got a free professional pic taken by Canada Goose. Also, the fest has a whole Virtual Reality experience location that I was unable to visit, but next year when I come I will definitely take advantage of the virtual reality.

Canada Goose

(8) Pace yourself, don’t let your movie agenda drive your trip, let yourself be open to the new, and get to know the people around you, everyone has a fascinating story to tell, and your life is that much richer for hearing their stories.

(9) Take advantage of the Sundance shuttle service and buses. It’s free!

(10) Sundance is about storytelling, that’s how it started in the beginning, look for those gems, the ones underneath the celebrity and glamour. I found two, The Fits and Uncle Howard.


Sundance | Day #2 Highlights

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Take a break, stop, and film the flowers.

Something that I’ve been doing since I got here is to take in the moment, use all my senses, see what’s around me, stop, and take a picture so I can share my journey with you. Funny thing, I walked right past this Banksy art on my way to the Egyptian Theatre today, but I got to go back and see it because I had to leave my place in the wait list line to go get cash for the film I was seeing. On my way out there it was, in all it’s glory. I had to get back to my waitlist line, but you better believe it, I stopped and took a picture.

Sometimes you can be more engaged when you fly solo.

Something I don’t do in Chicago is talk to random people in public. I never really engage with anyone besides the ones I know or the people that are in my film group. But at Sundance it was kind of an exercise for me to get out of my comfort zone and start talking to people, listening to their stories and engaging in conversation. This is something I’d like to keep doing when I return to Chicago. We’re here on a planet together, why do we have to be so isolated?

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It is important to let yourself be rediscovered, you’re never finished.

This journey has helped me realize that my life is not in a box, I can leave that box anytime, and my life is not spelled out, there are still many letters and boxes to discover that encapsulate me, and I should never limit myself because of this.


Take care of yourself so you can continue to have adventures.

I have a tattoo of a sail boat on my inner wrist that I forget about, but the reason why I have it is to remind myself that life is an adventure. I realized during this trip is that adventures aren’t always about being extreme, yes I wanted to see at least 6 films, but I only saw 4, but I got to do other things like hang out in a cafe, go to an art exhibit, see Charlie Kaufman talk, ride the bus with a bunch of locals, and then another bus ride tonight with the filmmakers heading to the awards ceremony to see who won for each competition.

To immerse myself in the full experience I’d like to remember to take care of my body and rest because I can then fully enjoy myself, and that’s what I did here, everything was balanced, and if something didn’t happen that I planned, I let it go, looked at it like an adventure, rather then a mis-step. I allowed myself to open up to the unplanned. This is something I can take back with me.

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Tomorrow I leave and I may spend sometime walking around a bit before my flight, but I’m really happy how things turned out, even seeing “Film Hawk”. I wasn’t a big fan of that film, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to see it. I’m very grateful for this whole experience.

Film Hawk | Review


This film was disappointing. One, because the subject matter Bob Hawk is so interesting, but the way the doc was put together was so bland and Bob Hawk is not bland. Probably the best parts were when Kevin Smith and Edward Burns talked about him helping them make their careers, but honestly after just seeing Uncle Howard the film just looked sloppy (sound/filming). So yeah, I usually stick around for a Q&A, but this time just had no interest. Sad.

Uncle Howard | Review


Uncle Howard directed by Aaron Brookner

This film is epic, in a good way. What you see here is a nephew who loves his uncle and honors him in the best way possible. He honors him by showing him with his family, showing him with his lovers, shows him during his work, filming and showing the work he produced, and during his last days. During the Q&A Aaron, the nephew and director, shared a quote from Howard with us, “There’s so much beauty in the world, that’s what got me in trouble in the first place.” Howard lived his life, not the life that was necessarily expected, but the people in his life loved him for living his life, not the expected life. He did not waste any of his passions, or any of his love. The last, final scene, was very intimate. Maybe a year or two before he died of aids, he honored his agent from ICM that just died of aids by playing this song, “Sunrise” by Madonna. Well done Aaron Brookner, look forward to seeing what’s to come for this director’s career.

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Anomalisa Magic

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Wow. What an experience. First of all the talk started with a 9 minute video analysis of the sex scene in Anomalisa, which was actually very interesting, because if you’ve seen the film, it’s surprising how true to life it is, and one of the most human like sex scenes even though it was done with puppets.

From there I learned a lot, on the panel was Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson (Co-Directors of Anomalisa), Joe Pasarelli, Cinematographer for Anomalisa, Rosa Tran (Producer of Anomalisa) and John Nein, was asking the questions, Senior Programmer at the Sundance Film Festival. I learned about the term “Uncanny Valley”, which was a term about how computer animated images represent art, and how there’s so much stigma about how animated films cannot go there, cannot represent adult themes, an be a true work of art. Well if you’ve seen Anomalisa you know that stigma is not true. Another thing I thought was beautiful about how they described the film is that they took all the things around what people do and say (like breathing) and brought life into this film and these puppets. You can watch two of my video clips on my instagram @chicagofilmlover82

Before I entered Cinema Cafe for the Q&A, I got to hang out in the Filmmakers Lodge, so much fun. Very chill and everyone here is so interesting. I met an awesome woman in the industry named Patti, she works for AFI in LA and and her gig is getting women filmmakers out there, I believe through promoting their films. So awesome. She also is a filmmaker herself. One movie she produced is “Some Girls” (2013) starring Adam Brody, Kristen Bell, and Zoe Kazan. Great connection and she’s going to start following CFLX!!!

Next, going to see Uncle Howard at the Egyptian Theatre. Stay tuned!!!


Good Morning Park City Utah!!!

New day, woke up a little late, my head hasn’t been handling the altitude that great so had to fight through it last night, but now I’m feeling good (thanks Excedrine), ready to charge the day. It’s snowing here like cats and dogs, and I love it. Heading to see/hear Charlie Kaufman talk . . . stay tuned!!!


Sundance | End of Day #1

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Wow. Full day. It’s still early here, 6:20 PM, but I feel my adrenaline is slowing down a bit, and I wanted wrap up my evening to share with you a little more, specifically about the people I met.

The people here are amazing, the locals, the people like me coming to see the films, and the people who are in the industry. There is just a laid back vibe that I feel we don’t see enough in Chicago. Also, most of the people here for Sundance are film lovers, so it’s easy to strike up a conversation, we speak the same film lover language.

My first friend I made was a man who waited at the bus stop with me early this morning. He lives in the area, and has been here a long time. He grew up in Chicago. He hasn’t been there since the 70s, but we could talk about certain streets we bout knew about and talk about the different neighborhoods.

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The bus is free, and the bus drivers are so happy to talk to you and help you find your destination. People on the bus today were a mix of locals and Sundance go-ers, and we all just chatted like we were all friends.

In the line to Joshy, I met Bob and Paula. Told them about the Chicago Film Lover Exchange and about CFLX Movie of the Week. They checked it out on their phones and were pretty excited. Then we just were talking about the movies we were excited to see at Sundance, then Melanie Lynskey walked by, and then that started a whole new conversation.


Jake (NYC transplant in LA) (aka Spartucus) and John (from NYC) (aka Little John), were my buddies during the amazing exhibition The Treachery of Sanctuary installment by Chris Milk. This was awesome, super interactive. And the last installment was awesome because you could stand in front of a screen and your shadowed reflection would make your arms wings and you could fly away. Jake and John raced each other to see who could fly away faster. Awesome.

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Then I met a lady, forget her name now, but she was standing with me in the waitlist line to see The Fits. She’s from Salt Lake City and has been going to this fest for years. She was attending the fest with some of her girlfriends from high school. She let me take her place in the waitlist line because her friends couldn’t join us since they were further back in the line. I was very gracious to her.


And final friend I made was Carly, she’s here from Cincinnati. She came with friends, but they were more in to the skiing, so she was seeing films solo. We sat next to eachother in the front row for The Fits and we both had a new kind of cinematic experience with our heads completely back. But amazing film, and the film takes place in Cincinnati, which is where Carly is from, that was her main motive in coming to see the film. She gave me the skinny on all the Cincinnati attractions in case I decide to visit :).

So today’s officially  a wrap now, and I’m definitely planning on coming back here next year. Today was a crash course, figuring out how things work, and tomorrow, I’m ready to charge the movies. Here I come!!!

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The Fits | Review

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The buzz about Anna Rose Holmer’s The Fits is true, this is a Sundance gem. If you love movies, filmmaking, you will highly appreciate this film. A Q&A always helps me appreciate a film more, especially when the director is so passionate about the film and filmmaking in general. But even if there was no Q&A I’d rave about this film. The attention to detail, the story, the cinematography, the subject matter, the characters, the score, the sounds, and the location. Nothing was wasted in the making of this film, and this is one to go see when it’s in the theatres. Gem.

Joshy | Review


Joshy directed by Jeff Baena

This film was mumblecore to the core, had the whole crew, Alex Ross Perry, Joe Swanberg, Jenny Slate, Alison Brie, and many more. But first I have to say I was surprised how welll these comedic actors could be dramatic. No spoilers, but the beginning of the film kind of surprises you and it sets the tone for the rest of the film. Also, I’ve never seen Thomas Middleditch in a main role before, and he was amazing. I give this film 4/5 stars. I highly recommend it.

*Bonus, the whole Swanberg family makes an appearance, loved that!!!

Day 1 Sundance | First Half

Canada Goose

Transport, free, lines, not bad, people, super friendly, everyone’s a film lover. I’m in my element. Oh I saw Melanie Lynskey at the Eccles Theatre, and I was the first one to spot her and tell my line buddies, also I knew how to spell her name for people that were looking her up. IMDB has prepared me for all of this!!!

See pics of my first half of my day below and follow the rest on instagram @chicagofilmlover82

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