Sundance 2009 Day 4: In Love With Independent Film

January 20, 2009

Sundance Film Festival

Is it ironic, or just purely coincidental, that my favorite films of Sundance so far have been about falling in love? The two in particular that I'm talking about are 500 Days of Summer and Don't Let Me Drown. I've also seen around 4 or so other films about love and relationships, which in total makes up about half of the 15 films I've seen here so far. That also brings up another point. Only 15 films?! To the average moviegoer that's a lot of films to see in only 4 days time, but to me, I'm way behind. I only saw 2 today when I should be seeing 4 or 5 on a regular day. But that is the unpredictable, and crazy, Sundance life.

Here's the thing about scheduling and life at Sundance. First off, the actual schedule for public films is crazy (check it out). There are always conflicts and careful calculations - like whether it's possible to get from the Library Center Theatre to the Racquet Club Theatre in 30 minutes or not. On top of that, my interests change nearly every hour. I usually start to hear that some films are better than others and vice versa and make split-second decisions to see -- or not to see -- certain films. Throw interviews down on Main Street in there, too, as well as my desire for sleep and food, and you might get an idea for what it's like here.

And that's why I haven't seen more than 15. I tried to wake up early today to see I Love You Phillip Morris, but at 8AM when my alarm went off, I couldn't even bring myself to sit up in bed. All I wanted is to sleep. And that I did. So by the time I got up at around 11AM, all I had time to do was prepare for my interviews for 500 Days of Summer. By the time those were finished, all I could fit in were 2 films before getting home to start catching up on news and reviews. All I want to do is just see as many films as I can before this fest comes to an end. But I'm sure you don't want to hear about how exhausting this Sundance life is…

Instead, I want to talk briefly about those moments where I get a smile across my face and remind myself again how much I love independent film. They come whenever I'm watching a great film and there's one of those "magical" moments, whether it's a scene where the two characters finally realize they love each other, or whether it's a moment of revelation accompanied by a great score, and so on. It's happened numerous times this year so far and it's been incredible. Every time it happens I'm reminded why I love doing this, and why I should even just appreciate the fact that I get to see these 15 films anyway.

I try to be as humble as I can, but I just really love independent films and love being here at Sundance. It's time to already get some sleep again and prepare for another long day, so I'll wrap this one up. Tomorrow I'm hoping to catch Adventureland, Bronson, Adam, and Manure -- that is, as long as I wake up.

Sundance 2009 Review List:

Mary and Max - 8/10

FRIDAY (JAN 16th):
Tyson - 5/10
Moon - 8.5/10
Humpday - 7.5/10
Toe to Toe - 2/10

The Killing Room - 8/10
The Greatest - 6/10
500 Days of Summer - 10/10
Spread - 6.5/10
Mystery Team - 7.5/10

SUNDAY (JAN 18th):
Cold Souls - 6/10
Big Fan - 5/10
Black Dynamite - 8/10

MONDAY (JAN 19th):
Don't Let Me Drown - 9/10
Peter and Vandy - 6.5/10

Find more posts: Editorial, Sundance 09



If you love "independent" film so much, why aren't you at Slamdance? Or seeing the movies that won't be distributed by the major studios? I challenge you to see some movies that are genuinely independent. News flash for you: Sundance is not a haven for true indies. Not at all.

Nick on Jan 20, 2009


No it isn't but to a degree it remains somewhat independant, I mean it won't have movies like Braveheart 2: The Reckoning(because Hollywood's ideas stretch about that far)

Movieraider321 on Jan 20, 2009


#1 - That's a bit crazy, come on. It sounds like your film just didn't get into Sundance so you don't like it anymore. Sure there are some mainstream films here, but there are also a lot of great indie features. Humpday must've been made for less than $500K and stars no major stars and it was hilarious! There are plenty of great, true indie films at Sundance, just as there are at Slamdance, too...

Alex Billington on Jan 20, 2009

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