Each January, I typically spend a week on the mountain cramming in as many movies as possible at the Sundance Film Festival. After four five-movie days, I usually teeter out and screen a movie or two a day for the remainder of the festival. This year, I’m doing things a little differently. Sure, it’s going to be ten movie-filled days, but I’m mixing it up this time. There will be movies, interviews, parties, lounges and more!
Let this serve as a preview of sorts to what you can expect from me over the next week. Just keep in mind that plans often change throughout the week. Some interviews fall through, and some happen that you didn’t count on.
Instead of plotting out a strict movie-going schedule like Aaron has and like I usually do, this year I’m playing it by ear in case my scheduled interviews change. As of now, I’m only writing in ink the movies that I must see in order to conduct interviews. Here are the official festival program descriptions of what I’ve got so far:
‘Robot & Frank‘ – Set sometime in the future, ‘Robot & Frank’ is a delightful dramatic comedy, a buddy picture and, for good measure, a heist film. Curmudgeonly old Frank lives by himself. His routine involves daily visits to his local library, where he has a twinkle in his eye for the librarian. His grown children are concerned about their father’s well being and buy him a caretaker robot. Initially resistant to the idea, Frank soon appreciates the benefits of robotic support – like nutritious meals and a clean house – and eventually begins to treat his robot like a true companion. With his robot’s assistance, Frank’s passion for his old, unlawful profession is reignited, for better or worse.
‘Save the Date‘ – Sarah finds herself caught in an intense post-breakup rebound with new infatuation Jonathan after tragically breaking the heart of rocker Kevin. Always one to give Sarah life advice is her sister Beth, who is diligently planning her upcoming wedding to apprehensive fiancé Andrew. Both sisters fumble through the bumpy emotional landscape of modern-day relationships, forced to relearn how to love and be loved.
‘The End of Love‘ – Mark is a struggling actor stuck between the life he once knew and the one waiting for him. When the mother of his two-year-old son suddenly passes away, Mark is forced to confront his shortcomings. Their fates, now intertwined, hang in the balance as Mark grapples with his ability to grow up. When he meets Lydia, a young mother, he is no longer able to live in the comfort of denial.
‘For Ellen‘ – After an overnight long-distance drive, Joby has a special meeting – with lawyers and his ex-wife. A struggling musician with the prerequisite tattoos, slimy hair, goatee, and his head firmly floating in the clouds, Joby hasn’t been around to be a dad. Now is his last chance to fight for shared custody of his daughter, Ellen.
Aside from these four, I don’t have anything else set in stone, but you can still expect plenty of reviews for other films along the way.
From the previous four films, here are the people I’m scheduled to interview between now and Tuesday:
Lizzy Caplan, Alison Brie, Martin Starr and Marc Webber for ‘Save the Date’.
Paul Dano, Jon Heder and Jena Malone for ‘For Ellen’.
Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, James Marsden, Liv Tyler and Peter Saarsgard for ‘Robot & Frank’.
Mark Webber (again), Shannyn Sossamon, Michael Cera, Jason Ritter and Amanda Seyfried for ‘The End of Love’.
I’ll speak with CEO Logan Mulvey of GoDigital, one of the leaders in digital distribution, about a major merger and the future of film distribution.
I also have a couple of very big interviews in the works, but I’m afraid of jinxing myself before they’ve solidified. Stay tuned.
Parties and Lounges
This is part of Sundancing that I’ve never partaken of. Until now, it’s been all about the movies. But with (not-so) hard work comes hard-earned play, right?
RE:treat – The hub of Entertainment Weekly, this lounge is set up as a place to relax from the craziness of the festival. There’s a top-shelf bar, guest musicians all week long, gourmet S’mores and hot chocolate, and hair styling touch-ups by Paul Mitchell.
The Kitchen Sink – Junket location by day, The Supper Club by night, The Kitchen Sink is shaping up to be one of the coolest places to be in Park City. Press days for ‘The Surrogate’, ‘Celeste and Jesse Forever’ and ‘Robot & Frank’ will be held here. At night, it turns into a culinary dream house, featuring creations from Chef Proprietor John DeLucie of The Lion and Chef Christopher Lee of Huntington Social and EDEN Miami. Sponsors include Thule Outdoor Products, Izze Sparkling Juice, RePurpose Compostables and the film ‘Five Star Day’.
Untitled Lounge – Hosted by Adrian Grenier, W Residences, SHFT.com and Ford Motor Company, this tranquil refuge is a green hotspot. There, the news of a new documentary series will be revealed.
The Compound – Featuring performances by ?uestlove, LMFAO, The Crystal Method, Talib Kweli, Skullcandy and Bandpage, this is one of the most hyped parties of the festival. Celebrity catering will be provided by ?uest Loves Food. The Compound will also feature VIP Gifting, Spa Treatments, Energy Work, Invitation-Only After-Parties featuring exclusive Sundance Musical Performances. If you don’t hear from me for a day, that’s only because the party goes until 4 AM.