Spent at Sundance
Every January the Sundance Film Festival brings filmmakers, indie enthusiasts and superstar wannabes to Utah. While the celebs generally migrate to Park City, the humble theaters of Salt Lake City are classy enough for the likes of us and where we choose to experience this indie influx without the distracting glitz. This year Jason and I attended six Sundance screenings. They were all very different shows but each had merit.
To Be Takei, a documentary about the space and civil rights colossus George Takei, was our favorite film this year. It was just the right mix of serious and hilarious and meeting the man himself made the experience even better.
The Overnighters, a poignant documentary about the strained relationship between the hopeful labor force that has been continually flooding into North Dakota in recent years to seek employment in the oil fields and the long-time residents, was thought-provoking. Fittingly, this film received an award at the festival for intuitive filmmaking.
Young Ones premiered at Sundance and featured one of my favs, Nicholas Hoult. This flick was an interesting futuristic fantasy with a retro texture. It was a bit of a downer really but still captivating.
The Double, directed by Richard Ayoade of The IT Crowd fame, was dark, I mean really dark, and depressing and funny all at once. It was an unexpected mix of sci-fi and stark reality.
Land Ho! was an amusing romp to Iceland with a pair of ex-brothers-in-law, a journey to reclaim their youthfulness. Jason and I found this film both believable and quite comical.
The Signal was a fun sci-fi thriller that kept us confused and guessing. And, days later, still thinking.
All but one of the shows we attended this year were accompanied by Q&A sessions with the directors, actors, subjects, etc. That might be a record for us. Since hearing straight from the horse’s mouth is our favorite thing about Sundance, we were pleased indeed to be in the presence of so many fine steeds.
It was another great year for Sundance cinema. On that note, I still don’t understand why more locals don’t make a point to be part of this annual event. Why not take advantage of your proximity to a little culture? God knows that most Utahns could use some more of that.