Sundance 2012 Blog: In It for the Long Run - All the Way to Sunday!
by Alex Billington
January 26, 2012
I'm here all the way to the very end. Even though this is my sixth year at the Sundance Film Festival, for those past five years straight, I've attended all 10 days of the fest. Sundance (and most major film festivals) last a full 10 days, which is quite a long time when you think about it, spending 10 days in one location watching movies non-stop every single day. It's exhausting, mentally and physically, that's for sure, but I love it. I'm one of those people who does not bail early, who'll stay to the end just to stay to the end, just to get the full experience and most importantly catch up on any films that I really need to see before it's over.
We are currently at 7 days into the festival (it's Thursday, and it kicked off last Thursday) and I'm nearing 20 films that I've seen - my full list is below. It's been a great year, but I'm far from done. As of Wednesday, the festival has been starting to get much quieter, a number of other journalists and movie blogger colleagues have started to head home. Not everyone can last 10 days and I don't have anything against that, I completely understand it. I'm exhausted and I've already had plenty of "I want to go home" thoughts, too. But I'm sticking it out, I'm in it for the long run, all the way to Sunday, all 10 days, all the way to the end!
I do think there is something to say about the people who come to festivals and stay all the way through. It's an unwritten rule of mine that I try not to break. It's the same with Cannes and Toronto, every year, another 10 days in another country, seeing films non-stop. There's nothing like it, and I feel proud when I reach the end, like it was some massive journey to keep healthy and alive seeing so many films for so long. It may not sound tiring to sit in theaters and watch films, but at Sundance, you've got to ride buses, trudge through the snow, line up in queues all day long, and multiply that by three, four, or sometimes five films a day, and you'll start to see how this festival experience can take a toll on you after 7 days. But it's not over.
Film festivals are truly an experience, and if you've ever been to one, you already know that. I love them, and while I can't necessarily say it's my vacation time, there is something incredibly exciting and special about traveling to these towns just to see films. And not just any films, but amazing, independent cinema that leaves a lasting impact on me (like Beasts of the Southern Wild). The kind of films that could break out later on in the year and change the industry. It's these kind of reasons that keep me coming back to festivals, especially Sundance. For as long as I can, every January I'll be here, in Park City, all 10 days, watching films.
Alex's Sundance 2012 Films:
1. Hello I Must Be Going (dir. Todd Louiso) - Hated It
2. I Am Not a Hipster (dir. Destin Cretton) - Loved It
3. Simon Killer (dir. Antonio Campos) - Hated It
4. Celeste & Jesse Forever (dir. Lee Toland Krieger) - Just Okay
5. Red Lights (dir. Rodrigo Cortés) - Liked It
6. The First Time (dir. Jon Kasdan) - Liked It
7. Robot and Frank (dir. Jake Schreier) - Loved It
8. Arbitrage (dir. Nicholas Jarecki) - Loved It
9. Nobody Walks (dir. Ry Russo-Young) - Hated It
10. Safety Not Guaranteed (dir. Colin Trevorrow) - Loved It
11. Smashed (dir. James Ponsoldt) - Loved It
12. V/H/S (dirs. Bruckner, McQuaid, Swanberg, West, Wingard, Radio Silence) - Loved It
13. Liberal Arts (dir. Josh Radnor) - Liked It
14. The Imposter (dir. Bart Layton) - Loved It
15. John Dies at the End (dir. Don Coscarelli) - Liked It
16. Beasts of the Southern Wild (dir. Benh Zeitlin) - Loved It
17. The End of Love (dir. Mark Webber) - Loved It
18. Room 237 (dir. Rodney Ascher) - Loved It
19. Compliance (dir. Craig Zobel) - Liked It
20. The Surrogate (dir. Ben Lewin) - Liked It
21. Save the Date (dir. Michael Mohan) - Liked It
22. The Words (dirs. Brian Klugman, Lee Sternthal) - Just Okay
23. 2 Days in New York (dir. Julie Delpy) - Liked It
24. West of Memphis (dir. Amy Berg) - Loved It
There is a reason why this is the only film site I visit: by fans for fans. You're a beast, Alex. It would be exhausting or unbearable for someone who isn't genuinely passionate about cinema. Keep 'em coming and congrats on finishing up another festival.
Anonymous on Jan 26, 2012
Lot's more "loved it" than "hated it" this year compared to last, let hope that Cannes follows suit and keeps the trend going. 2012 is going to be one of the best years for film in my life and this definitely keeps me excited.
peloquin on Jan 27, 2012
Why was Simon Killer among your "hated" films? Just curious because a friend of mine was the editor on that film and I heard it just got picked up by IFC.
peloquin on Jan 27, 2012
Okay good to know, he was the editor for Martha Marcy May Marlene and Catfish previously so I guess one bad film out of three isn't bad. This one doesn't sound like my kind of thing either.
peloquin on Jan 30, 2012
Any word on "Safety Not Guaranteed" getting a US distributor?
Scotty97 on Jan 29, 2012
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