Saturday – Leaving Sundance

This morning I woke up with an aching body and an aching sense of regret – I’m leaving Sundance the morning of the awards ceremony. It’s another gorgeous day; I’m packing while the remaining Resurrect Dead team (Jon, his girlfriend Jen, Justin, Steve) get ready for a ‘pancake breakfast with the programmers’. I like pancakes! I like the programmers! But Jon sends me off with a bit of good news: ‘We have an offer’.

That’s right folks, a distribution offer. I think I’m happier than Jon is, because it’s a great way to end the narrative arc of this blog. Always start a story with a question that will have to be answered. Did you notice me doing that 9 days ago? ‘Will Resurrect Dead attract interest from distributors?’ And in my last hour here, Jon gives me an answer. Thanks buddy.

No, I won’t give you any details of this offer. You’ll just have to watch the movie to find out.

In my shuttle to the airport, I meet some more filmmakers. One just got a Time-Warner grant. Another person in the shuttle skied the same mountain that I did, but fell forward and had internal bleeding and a lacerated kidney, spending two days in the hospital. (I myself saw two people taken down in stretchers. I soldiered on.) Another passenger wrote a TV movie that starred Piper Laurie. The writer is really kind and has some great advice – this might be the best connection I made at Sundance. I guess you never know when or how that will happen, if you just show up. I didn’t mean to endorse traveling to Sundance, but this last encounter leaves me feeling good about it. What I mean about traveling to Sundance is this: if you are here with a film, it’s amazing. But how often will that happen? If you can afford to buy credentials, that’s also pretty good. But if you just show up to watch movies, I wonder how much you can get out of the experience. Maybe you can introduce yourself to filmmakers after their screenings. But maybe you’ll just be able to tell people ‘I saw it first’. I only hope it’s worth the cost. Speaking of that, there’s definitely a wealthy class here at Sundance, people that I met often in lines and in screenings. Rich people, not in the industry, for whom the festival is a vacation or a cultural destination. For some, it’s an annual pilgrimage. For others, it’s one of many trips they take in a year. It’s funny, as a filmmaker it never occurred to me that some people would just show up here to watch movies. The more I think about it, the more that seems like one of the best things of all.

Hours later, my plane on the ground in Philadelphia, I turn my phone on and find a text from Jen. “Jon just won the director award for documentaries!” Jon texts: “!!!” What else is there to say?

Congratulations to everyone behind Resurrect Dead and all the other films at Sundance 2011. The only reason I felt comfortable missing so many is because I’m sure they’ll all be available someday, somehow, in this wonderful new Internet-assisted multi-channel on-demand post-distribution world we’re in. Justin and Steve were really affected by ‘The Redemption of General Butt Naked’. Jen was a passionate supporter of ‘Bellflower’. Colin’s girlfriend Becky came home from ‘The Black Power Mix-Tape’ full of energy and conversation. I really wanted to catch ‘Circumstance’ as well. Some of these won awards, and some didn’t, but there’s a struggle behind each one and they all deserve to be seen, so please check them out someday. Thanks for reading. And if you’re still interested, I have a great concept for a film that needs funding…


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