Back to Park City, Time to Discover Unforgettable Films & Filmmakers
by Alex Billington
January 18, 2018
Another year, another Sundance. There's no place I'd rather be. I'm so so happy to be back again. This is my 12th year in a row returning to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, and I'm totally ready to jump in and start watching films. I've written so many of these introductory posts over the years, and I'm well aware that I usually just keep saying the same things over and over. But really, it's how things are at the start. It's all fresh - we have no idea what we're about to see, we don't really know which films will be good or bad, we don't know what we'll discover, we don't know what we'll end up loving (or hating) by the end. It's exciting to be here, nervously waiting for the doors to open and the projectors to fire up. Let's go watch some films.
What I love the most about Sundance is the feeling of discovery. Take, for example, my #1 film of last year - Luca Guadagnino's Call Me By Your Name. I saw this film at its world premiere late on Monday night at Sundance, and I fell instantly in love with it (here's my original review). But it wasn't on my radar before then. I know I had seen the title and photo in the Sundance program, but didn't think much about it. I don't even know how I got my ticket, but I'm glad I did find one and decide to go that night - because everything changed. And that's how it can sometimes be at Sundance. There's maybe that one film you might not have even been thinking about before that could be one of the biggest breakouts from the festival. And it's that anticipation, and buzz, and instant reaction, that makes all the difference. And being right in the thick of it with all the crowds, hearing about what everyone else loves, it's one of my favorite things about film fests.
I could write about what I'm really looking forward to, but the point is, maybe one of the big discoveries is something none of us are talking about. Yet. But we will be soon. You can check out my 10 Most Anticipated Films I Can't Wait to See from the 2018 selection, which includes extra lists of all the other ones that are already on my radar. I have a good feeling about The Miseducation of Cameron Post, and Monsters and Men, and Wildlife, and Nancy. But beyond that, I'm not really sure. I just want to see as many films as I can, hedge my bets and go with the ones I've got a good feeling about. And then keep me ears open for whatever else ends up getting great reviews from friends & colleagues. I always want to ask everyone about what they've enjoyed, because the mix of opinions are fascinating, as are their thoughts on all these films.
Here's a quick photo of me looking very, very happy showing off my Sundance 2018 press badge ready to go:
— Alex Billington (@firstshowing) January 17, 2018
For the past few years at Sundance, I've ended up seeing over 30 films by the end of the 10 days. That's the number I'm always aiming for - mostly because it means I've been able to see a hefty amount of all the good stuff. And I don't want to go home feeling like I missed something major. So stay tuned, and follow along as I head back out into the snow and start watching films at Sundance. I'll review as many as I can on the site.
Follow my daily coverage and instant reactions on Twitter as usual @firstshowing, follow my photography updates as usual on Instagram @abillington, and check the site for daily updates about films, reviews, and other surprises. Back in 2016, I wrote an essay about Why I Can't Stop Going to Film Festivals. What I said then is still true. It always is. "Film festivals are my jam… I still love walking in to watch a film I don't know anything about, in hopes that maybe it's everything I've been waiting to see. I still love meeting people at film festivals, talking with friends old and new, and catching up with my colleagues in the industry. We're all here with the same goal - to be moved by unforgettable stories; to seek out great films and rave about the ones we love. This is what cinema is all about – the power to connect, inspire, engage, change, improve."