Sundance Sidelines

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So, I’m jumping out of my skin now, cause all I can do is look at Social Media and see what’s going on now at Sundance and I can’t wait until I’m there!!! I know I’m missing a lot of action, but I’m still glad I’m waiting until the end of the fest to go. When I get there most of the glossy buzz will be gone, but I can simmer in the aftermath. I have to say I’m starting to rethink my schedule a bit. I’m noticing social media is the key to getting in, and lucky me I’m a pro when it comes to social media. So watch out Sundance, this film lover will be there soon, and I’m a force to be reckoned with, I represent almost 2,000 film lover members from Chicago and getting in with me will develop your market. Ok, maybe I’m being a little full of it, but I’m proud of what I’ve done here in Chicago and I’m so excited to share the film lover love! #SundanceOnMyMind

Tickets have been bought!!!


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I’m happy with the choices I’ve made. Being limited in not being able to choose from all of the films made me choose wisely. Looking forward to my adventure and can’t wait to be apart of this amazing fest!!! Stay tuned for my blog posts, I leave on 1/28 and return back to Chicago on 1/31. This is the chronicles of a film lover, a Chicago film lover in Park City Utah!

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Sundance Countdown | The Squid and the Whale


The Squid and the Whale

What I love about indies is that they don’t have to be epic to tell a good story. Usually the best ones are based on something personal, something real. In Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale it takes a familiar heart breaking moment in many families lives, divorce, and brings it to life in a new light. There’s a mix of dry comedy, heart warming beats, and dramatic tones. Sundance gives these indie-like films a place to come to life and breathe. The Squid and the Whale premiered at Sundance 2005 and it won the US Dramatic prize.

Family complexities bubble to the surface in this film, but really don’t break through. Probably the deepest aspect of the film is when Jessie Eisenberg’s character, Walt, goes to see a therapist and he recalls his time with his mom, played by Laura Linney, when he was a young boy, at the aquarium and how he would close his eyes because he was scared of seeing the squid and the whale and she would describe it in a way that made it not scary for him. After this illustration is set we can now see the squid and the whale are a metaphor to his parent’s divorce and a promising symbol for the film.


The actor/character who  I feel really steals the show is Owen Kline, who plays Jessie Eisenberg’s brother Frank. While Eisenberg (aka Walt) expresses his frustration with his parents more internally, Kline breaks out externally. He’s probably around  age 10 or 11 and he constantly is drinking beer and every time he does drink beer the Risky Business rebellious hot dream song comes on, and he is constantly jacking off and putting his cum everywhere (ie books in the library). This quirk adds a few other layers to this film and Kline really breaks through the dryness of most of this film with these quirks which exudes more heat and passion to the film.

Also, what makes a difference for good indies is good actors, and this film has them. Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, Jessie Eisenberg, Owen Kline, Anna Paquin, and one of the Baldwins.

These actors are the instruments for these characters and this story. In someways the film falls a bit short, but communicating a dramatic story through quirkiness, they have achieved what these roles called for. What I got out of this film as my inspiration for Sundance is that I’m going to be on the lookout for these indies that need to breathe and the life Sundance gives to these films. I’m very excited to go and gather new perspectives about life.




Sundance on my mind | 14 Days


It’s been 25 days since my last entry, and that’s because being sick, the holidays, and back to my daily grind has been dominating. But now that I have a breather, I’d like to start my countdown until Sundance. I leave Thursday 1/28 and Sundance begins 1/21, so that’s -14 days until Sundance begins, and -21 days until I arrive. I can start buying individual tickets in 12 days.

Over the next week I will write reviews on Sundance gems. . .

Welcome to the Dollhouse

Willkommen im Tollhaus / Welcome to the Dollhouse

Willkommen im Tollhaus / Welcome to the Dollhouse USA 1996 Regie: Todd Solondz Darsteller: Heather Matarazzo Rollen: Dawn Wiener

The Squid and the Whale


Hedwig and the Angry Inch




Blood Simple

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Beasts of the Southern Wild



Sundance Hustle Week 3 | 40 days


  • 40 days until Sundance begins
  • 46 days until I arrive

Theatre MAP


So my goal is to do the following schedule during my time at Sundance, Now my job is to make sure that happens. My goal is to buy single tickets or get on the e-wait list for the following films:

Friday 1/29/16

The Fits


  • 3:30 PM
    FRI 1/29



  • 7:00 PM
    FRI 1/29

Yoga Hosers


  • 11:59 PM
    FRI 1/29

Saturday 1/30/16

Swiss Army Man


  • 11:15 AM
    SAT 1/30
    • THE MARC

Uncle Howard


  • 2:30 PM
    SAT 1/30

Love & Friendship


  • 6:30 PM
    SAT 1/30

Will not be able to do both films, so will have to choose one of the below two films for this time slot:

Hunt for the Wilderpeople


  • 10:00 PM
    SAT 1/30



  • 11:30 PM
    SAT 1/30

Sunday 1/31/15

Richard Linklater: Dream is Destiny


  • 10:00 AM
    SUN 1/31



Movies to see | Sundance 2016

Below are a list of films that I’d like to see that will be playing when I’m there. List starts with my Must-Sees and then the ones that are On My Radar!


Love & Friendship


Why? Whit Stillman! Big fan of his films Metropolitan and The Last Days of Disco. Saw him in a Q&A this year and would love to see his newest work. Also, he brings back from The Last Days of Disco Chloë Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale. Can’t wait!



Why? The director of Wiener-Dog also directed Welcome to the Dollhouse that premiered at Sundance in 1996, which he won the Grand Jury Prize for that film.

Uncle Howard


Why? A revival of Howard Brookner’s works 25 years later, pieced together by his nephew which takes a look back at the creative culture of NYC in the 70s and 80s. Jim Jarmusch produced this film.

Yoga Hosers


Why? Kevin Smith’s latest, going back to his roots, making a film in a convenience store.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople


Why? This film is a comedy directed by Taika Waititi who directed What We Do in the Shadows. The story seems pretty humorous with a city urban kid moving to the country in New Zealand.

Richard Linklater: Dream is Destiny


Why? Richard Linklater



Why? Rebecca Hall playing a strong female character as a newscaster in the 70s.

The Fits


Why? It’s a coming of age story and the one film from Sundance NEXT that I want to see the most. These films are chosen for their fresh approach to cinema and they are apart of the future of America’s new wave of film.

Swiss Army Man


Why? Read the description. Done 🙂


As You Are


Why? Young new talent, actors and director.



Why? Killer cast that features two of my favorite directors, Joe Swanberg and Alex Ross Perry.



Why? I haven’t seen Jenna Malone in an indie role in a while, and I feel that she usually shines in those roles.

Morris from America

Morris From America16573-1-1100

Why? Story looks fascinating, mixing diverse cultures in a predominately white country.

Other People

Other People16582-1-1100

Why? Jesse Plemons, always intrigued by him and the characters he plays.

Southside with You

Southside with you16684-1-1100

Why? A film about Barack Obama in 1989 in Chicago.

The Free World


Why? Elizabeth Moss playing a dramatic role, and a story about two lost souls that find each other. Looking forward to this one.

White Girl


Why? New female filmmaker, Elizabeth Wood

Michael Jackson’s journey from Motown to Off the Wall


Why? Directed by Spike Lee

Maya Angelou and Still I Rise


Why? Maya Angelou, love her, and this will be the world premiere for the doc.

Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper


Why? A doc about Gloria Vanderbilt, interviewed by her son Anderson Cooper.

Embrace of the Serpent


Why? Columbian film exploring a group of people  and culture that I’m not familiar with and a film that may not be played in the theaters in Chicago.

Maggie’s Plan


Why? Directed by Rebecca Miller, who has had lots of sucess with her past films at fests. I have not seen any of her films yet, but I’m also a big fan of Greta Gerwig and Ethan Hawke.

Captain Fantastic


Why? Everything

Certain Women


Why? Michelle Williams and director Kelly Reichardt team up again.

Complete Unknown


Why? Michael Shannon

Frank & Lola


Why? Michael Shannon



Why? Adaption of a Philip Roth novel and Logan Lerman stars.

Little Men


Why? Directed by Ira Sachs

Manchester by the Sea


Why? Casey Affleck, love seeing him in the dramatic roles.

The Hollars


Why? A little iffy about this one, but it’s John Krasinski’s directorial debut, and Anna Kendrick stars.

Jacqueline (Argentine)


Why? Fascinating story and apart of the NEXT series.

We are X

We are x16700-1-1100

Why? Japanese hair band. Awesome.


Sundance 2001



Sundance 2001 was fiery electric in the talent and the films that showed that year. Hedwig and the Angry InchDonnie Darko, and Memento place a lasting presence in the indie world. Donnie Darko has a cult following, Hedwig and the Angry Inch has shown that Broadway can crossover to film, and Memento is one of most mind bending thrillers. The Believer which won the dramatic jury prize award, would show us a young talent at that time, Ryan Gosling and really show us what he is capable of.


Whatever this year was about, it was about good films. With that in mind, I’m looking forward to catch the good ones at Sundance 2016 that will leave a lasting impression through their story, their filmmaking, their song, and their stars.


This coming week I will start choosing the films I want to see at Sundance 2016, and I will blog my process in this decision making.


This week, I also will analyze two early Sundance gems from 1985, Blood Simple (directed by Joel Coen) and Stranger Than Paradise (directed by Jim Jarmusch).



The Candidate & The Sundance Film Festival


The Candidate

In Michael Ritchie’s The Candidate (1972) Robert Redford plays Bill McKay, Democratic candidate for the California senate. Peter Boyle, plays Marvin Lucas, McKay’s campaign manager.


Lucas talks McKay in to running, telling him he is going to lose the election, but during his campaign he can use it as a platform to communicate his message, believing he will not be a senator, but will spur on a great campaign and race to bring the attention to new voters and demographics. What McKay has to say is raw and not PC, he says the things that are not said in politics at that time and were unpopular subjects of the older generation (ie. abortion, poverty, segregation, education, and the environment).


The end (spoiler) is that McKay becomes senator. His run starts idealistic, but then he gets trapped in the numbers, and his words start to lose meaning as he loses hope and passion in the people of California. When he finds himself as senator and a person he never wanted to be, he panics and asks Lucas, “What do we do now?”  McKay is now caught in a situation where he doesn’t want to be, never wanted to be, and now his life is no longer his own.

Sundance Film Festival


Here’s where I’d like to parallel the Sundance Film Festival with The Candidate. Robert Redford started the idea of the Sundance Film Festival as a place where new filmmakers could share their ideas, communicate their voices, and be heard. This was supposed to be a places where new ideas, new perspectives, and issues could be explored, that were not being touched on by the Big Box Office films.


Now, I haven’t yet been to the Sundance Film Festival, but from what I’ve heard and read, Sundance has become more of a Hollywood destination, then attracting “real” artists from every way of life.


But another way to look at it is this essence of realness has caught attention of Hollywood as being something different, something new, that Big Box Office films can’t offer, and a place where Hollywood actors/actresses can be inspired and work with new filmmakers of this caliber. Also, the Sundance Film Festival has become a place where big production companies can go financially support these films and let these new filmmakers have their voice on a larger platform. And the film critics love to be able to see films that they really love and can promote through their work.


What The Candidate shows us . . .

What I like about The Candidate is that it reveals the desire and need of so many people to be exposed to new perspectives through fresh ideas that make it seem possible for us as a nation, as a community, to be and do better for ourselves and others. This revives a hope in humanity.


Some people are stuck in their old ways, and cannot see past “normal” conventions, and are frightened when something new and different comes along. The Candidate Bill McKay reveals this new way, new hope, new perspective, but what happens here is this new way, hope,  and perspective gets latched on to the candidate, and he is seen as some kind of savior for the American/California people, But what we forget is the candidate is human, just like the rest of us, and that hope and perspective should be driven in all of us and not embodied in one person.


What Sundance shows us . . . 

So I look at Redford, like the candidate, he has come to a point where he’s moved on to his artistic/directing projects and has let Sundance become it’s own, but still is recognized as it’s founder. As we can look at Redford as the source of hope & perspective for the film community, we should not lose sight in the community of filmmakers and film lovers. So instead of looking in one direction, at Redford, or Hollywood, we should be open to what is revealed to us, see through the glitz and glamour and look at what’s real and true, and to be open to that.

Syndey Steven Sally Robert  Quentin morris-orourke Mira

"1991 Sundance Film Festival" "Panelist John Sayles and Robert Altman"

“1991 Sundance Film Festival”
“Panelist John Sayles and Robert Altman”


Sundance Hustle Week 2 : Social Media


-51 days until Sundance

-58 days until I arrive


What I found on @sundancefest and

Participated in a Q&A with John Cooper (Fesival Director) and Trevor Groth (Programming Director) on Facebook

‪#‎Sundance‬‘s John Cooper (Festival Director) and Trevor Groth (Programming Director) will be answering your questions live, RIGHT HERE, following our U.S. & World Competition and NEXT section announcements: START ASKING YOUR QUESTIONS BELOW.


On Facebook page learned about a film Drunktown’s Finest that premiered at Sundance in 2014 that Robert Redford produced:

Films announced for 2016 Film Festival:


Tomorrow check out my review about The Candidate (1972):

The Candidate