' Cinema Romantico: A Report From Sundance

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A Report From Sundance

--Park City, UT.) Currently, I’m standing outside in a light snow – shivering and drinking terrible coffee bought from an overcrowded 7-11 that's out of newspapers, which means I have no idea what's going on the other side of these many snow-capped peaks. But that’s okay. Why, you ask? I’m at Sundance. Ah yes, the once and always glorious film festival that brings hundreds upon hundreds of struggling filmmakers to this quaint resort town in hopes of landing a distribution deal or catching a glimpse of Sundance founder Robert Redford (or Katie Holmes, in my case). I’ve been living off bad coffee and chicken salad sandwiches from a tiny diner that only locals seem to want to frequent. I’ve seen several movies – most of them bad – but am finally filing a report because of the movie I viewed yesterday.

Anywhere you go in Park City – ski lifts, restaurants, night clubs, gift shops, street corners – the one thing you’re destined to hear is (and this is an exact quote from several people) “So what about this Moon guy everyone's talking about?” I knew nothing of this "Moon guy" I arrived but suffice it to say I do now. Apparently, this “Moon guy” is the up-and-coming director/producer/editor Daryl A. Moon who brought his recent short silent movie “After the End” to Sundance in hopes of getting one of the Weinstein’s or perhaps Michael Bay (wait, what am I saying? Michael Bay can’t even pronounce the word Sundance) to see it. I don’t know if this “Moon guy’s” wish came true but I did have a chance to view this five-and-a-half minute slice of genius with a standing-room-only crowd. It stars up-and-coming Rebecca Welles and Josh Alton as two people who fall in love solely because the world is about to end. To say more would be to ruin it.

It’s even started a bidding war between several prominent independent film studios. At last report (which, admittedly, I received from the checkout clerk at a Park City grocery store) the highest offer has been $4.3 million. This “Moon guy” seems to still be shopping his product around if only because he is not actually in Park City. Yes, in a strange and never-before-seen turn of events here at Sundance, director/producer/editor Daryl A. Moon chose not to attend the film festival due to – what a press release from his production company Disco Moon Productions states – “hard-won dedication to his day job.”

This is a shame. This “Moon guy” seems to have no idea what a commotion his black & white ode to the end of the world has caused. But what a commotion it’s been. It seems to have reinvigorated this community of film buffs and I for one count myself lucky to have been here for it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to catch a 2 hour nap in my car before standing in line with an espresso tasting of gym socks in hopes of seeing the new Swedish film about the parallels between meatballs and the grim reaper.

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