Thursday, January 20, 2011

Getting Ready to Sundance: 2011

1-940pix Official 2011 Sundance Banner. Looks like we had some budget constraints in the PR department this year.

Hello. This is MOTUS, your cub-entertainment reporter here at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City Utah. As many of you know, I try to come every year to screen some of the most important independent films being made in the world today, and to tap into the epicenter of the “I hate America” zeitgeist (am I still allowed to use that term?).

If you’re planning on coming too, there are 3 things you need to know if you haven’t Sundanced before.

First, there are no “movies” at Sundance, only “films.” And while it’s spelled “films” it is pronounced “fill-ums” I don’t know why; other than it sounds vaguely European, and we always feel somehow inferior in the presence of all the “sophisticated” European visitors. But “chips” would probably be more accurate since no one uses fil-um any more.

Second, dress code. For women that means daywear and eveningwear. Ladies, for those late-into-the-midnight-hour parties, anything slutty will do. The more bling the better. For the guys, evening wear is basically the same as your day wear: skinny jeans and any old shirt will do. Ties are optional for the parties, but a nice scarf will work if you wish to be noticed - and who doesn’t?


  Chris Byrne, showing his support for the PLO, Diane Bell, Lyn and Lauren McKeany. Opening Night party, 2010

(Side note for the L members of the GLBT alliance: you can skip the bling and slutty clothes if you’d like.)

Daytime wear is simple and applies to everyone, GLBT and S(traight): anything black will do, that’s why you’re called  “PIBs”  (people in black).

Footwear is very important, as it’s usually snowy and slippery and many of the PIBs are frequently drunk. Uggs and Moonboots are recommended because they’re warm and practical. Which is why most PIBs won’t wear them. So if you must, wear your expensive high-heeled snake skin boots that you bought specially for the festival. There’s a new hospital in Park City, so you won’t have to travel all the way down the mountain into Salt Lake should you fall and bust your keister. Second best footwear selections would include the perennial faves: flip-flops, sandals and open-toed spike heels. That way everyone knows you just got in from LA.

Just a few words on accessorizing: Facial hair, tats and piercings are de rigueur, butt you knew that. Sunglasses are NOT optional, even if there’s a blizzard – not only will you look cool, butt they’ll keep the snow out of your eyes. Ski goggles are dorky, leave them home.

Cell phones, if you must, but smart phones are recommended. Not only will you look 4G, but you’re going to be spending a lot of time in line. You can watch clips, trailers or whole movies, read reviews or tell all your Twitter friends that you’re outside, in 15 degree temperatures with a wind chill of –10 standing in line along with 500 other morons. Or, if you’re one of the handful of film distributor representatives who actually buy film rights, you can use your iPhone or Droid to contact your bag man. They don’t take American Express.

3-640pix PIBs in line

Also, be sure to get your credentials. If you couldn’t afford any of the $2500 screening passes, you can still get the creds, minus any actual film tickets, for a much more reasonable $200. This will get you into a number of exciting venues such as forums where real people involved in the making of real movies discuss what it’s like and even answer questions from the audience! Kind of like film school, only cheaper. And they serve drinks. Just remember: it’s an honor to even be in the same room with these people.

Third item you need to know about Sundance: all the films are independent; Indies, to those in the know. To qualify as an Indie, you can get no more than half your financing from one of the large Movie Studios that are known for turning out unimportant films that people actually pay to see, as opposed to important films that hardly anyone watches, even when they go directly to cable. Don’t worry too much about the 50% cap though, because just like campaign financing, no one really checks.

But speaking of politics, this would be a good time to clear up any confusion regarding the use of the term “independent.”  Here at Sundance, it has absolutely nothing to do with political affiliation since everyone here is a left-wing progressive, with the exception of the anarchists. And they mostly hang out at the Slamdance Film Festival that runs concurrently, butt is a little bit edgier.

Other tips to help you enjoy the entire Sundance experience:

Park City sits at 7000 feet so you’re going to want to stay hydrated to avoid altitude sickness. And by “hydrated” I don’t mean Grey Goose.

“Downtown” Park City is basically Main Street. This is where you want to come to see and be seen. It runs up and down on a steep incline.

4-640 Main Street, Park City before the infestation 

So if you ignored my advice about staying properly hydrated, you’re going to want to hop on the trolley and ride to the top of Main Street and saunter downhill behind your sunglasses, trying to look hip and nonchalant – like a member of “the industry.” Be sure to keep a sharp eye out for VIP’s arriving in their Hummer limos (that they normally wouldn’t dream of polluting the earth with) to attend a very important private party that you will not be invited to.

paris-hilton-sundance-1 Paris in pink last year, getting into her limo

If you make it to the base of Main Street without having spotted and photographed any very important and/or beautiful people, simply repeat the process until you achieve the desired results. You have to look closely, because not all celebrities look like themselves when they attend very important film festivals.

robert duvall For example, Robert Duval, seen last year, seems to be toting a large black leather diaper bag.

When you grow tired of trolley riding and still have time to kill before your next “screening” go grab a drink, which will contain very small portions of alcohol – we are in Utah after all - at very large prices.

I’ll be filing my first cub-entertainment reporter reviews of this year’s movies on Friday after tonight’s premier screenings. As always, there are literally dozens of films to choose from in four major categories:

  • U.S. Documentary: propaganda films made by people who hate America. Based on actual events.
  • World Cinema Documentary : propaganda films made by foreigners who hate America. Based on actual events. 
  • U.S. Dramatic: propaganda films made by people who hate America. Based on fiction. 
  • World Cinema Dramatic: propaganda films made by foreigners who hate America. Based on fiction. 

I don’t know about you, butt I can’t wait to Sundance!


Oh, and don’t worry, I can still refract Lady M’s sacrifices for the American people remotely. I’ll file my report on her huge announcement today about teaming up with Walmart to save the world from oversized bags of Cheetos later. Trust me, it’s really not that big of a deal.

I’ve got to run now, my fil-um starts at 9:00 pm and I’ve got to go stand in line for 2 hours.

5 That’s me! Posing at a Sundance kiosk last year. Paris Hilton copycatted my hat.