Friday, January 28, 2011

Dinner Time!!

On Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday each student condo hosted a home cooked meal for the rest of the class.  Great time to gather and swap stories about our adventures.  Here are some photo highlights.

Yes!!  That is REAL FRESH SNOW from the snow garden behind the condo.
Brian House sure knows how to mix a delicious snow cone!  Yum!!

DJ Bowen and Lauren Lahey ponder their options.
Chris Kovar, cheese slicer extraordinaire, and Hailey Yaffee.

Adrienne, Natalie, Cynthia and Lauren feasting.

DJ, Chris, Brian and Sami humor me with a group photo.
Jay Surface, BBQ chef, takes a break from the Barbie to pose
with Stephanie Milz.'s cold out here!
Okay, Jay.... back to work.  We have a hungry crowd inside.
Hey, Steph, pretend you're helping Jay.
Good Job!!
Maddy and Alison baking cookies behind the remanants of a scrumptious
pan of lasagna made by this suite of Gaels.
A very popular Hailey passes out cookie joy to all as DJ tries to figure
out how the pitcher works.
Eating great food and watching President Obama deliver his
State of the Union address.

These talented SMC scholar chefs bask in the afterglow of creating
and serving a successful meal to grateful classmates and instructor.


Tuesday was an amazing day!  I had the pleasure of seeing 2 phenomenal documentary films with several students from our class.  We were all blown away, moved and enlightened.  We met remarkable HEROES at the festival.   Those who truly deserve celebrity status and recognition not only at Sundance, but from the global community.  After the film we spoke with Guatemalan forensic anthropologist Fredy Peccerelli.  Fredy, who has a radiant and joyful presence, lives daily with death threats as he works in mass burial pits to exhume and identify bodies of "the disappeared" - victims of the genocide perpetrated by the Guatemalan government and army in the 1980s.   We also met 28 year old Guatemalan attorney Alejandra Garcia Montenegro who has spent her entire young life relentlessly seeking the truth about her father's (labor leader Fernando Garcia) disappearance in 1984 when he was kidnapped by the army and government.  We also spoke with filmmaker Pamela Yates, the director of "Granito," and one of the most courageous persons one could ever imagine on the planet.  The footage shot by Pamela Yates - who risked her life to record - in the 1980s in Guatemala during the period of the genocide has provided critical evidence against Guatemalan officials responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of Mayan citizens.  "Granito" is the story of how Yates' film - "When the Mountains Tremble" - and unused footage from that film has and is assisting in bringing the those responsible for the heinous crimes against the people of Guatemala to justice.
DJ Bowen, Virginia McCarthy and Chris Kovar with
Guatemalan Forensic Anthropolgist Fredy Peccerelli.

DJ, Brian House, Chris Kovar, Virginia ,McCarthy, and Jay Surface,
with GRANITO director Pamela Yates (behind Virginia) attorneyAlejandra Garcia Montenegro(in front ofChris Kovar), producer Paco de Onis,  and Fredy Peccerelli.

Our Very Own Prince Harry!

Christopher Kovar has been approached for autographs a number of times here at Sundance.  Prince Harry double, or not?

Your call !  ;-)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

SLAMDANCE !! What a trip..... Really !!

Hit the web and get the 411 on Slamdance.  Spawned in 1995, this renegade festival has been going strong ever since.  I remember my first Slamdance experience in 1995.  Spike Lee's brother, Christopher, had a film in the renegade festival (the film was awful!!) and the one screening room had no chairs....  only bean bags and floor space.  ugh!!  I haven't seen a Slamdance screening since then and thought they must have improved a lot by now.  So, I scored 6 tickets to the one and only screening of PETE SMALLS IS DEAD starring Peter Dinklage, Steve Buscemi, Rosie Perez, Tim Roth and Seymour Cassel and directed by Alexandre Rockwell, a protege of John Cassavetes.   Picture me and 5 SMC students heading into a room with the other ticket holders and discovering that - YES! - there ARE chairs, AND they're on risers.  Sweet!   However, there are only 75 chairs and nearly 100 of us.  As the last few chairs available became scarce, a musical chairs, keystone cops energy took over and people were flinging their bodies at empty chairs, elbowing and 
T-Boning total strangers in their scramble for a seat.  Needless to say, some of us ended on the floor and I took a seat on the edge of a riser.  Then, I notice a little boy who looks maybe 10 years old holding a microphone and standing in front of the movie screen. Next to him is a keyboard and an accompanist.  Hmmmm??  Cut to:  30 minutes later and 3 incredibly looooong and strange musical numbers performed in Barry Manilow-in-Vegas style (which is really weird when a little kid does it!).  At first the spirit of the audience was very generous and supportive.  C'mon, a cute little kid (turns out he was 12) singing songs he had composed himself about love, longing, heartbreak, the vicissitudes of relationships, and one number that I found quite alarming as the refrain was; "They're coming.  They're coming.  Watch out.  They're coming."  Needless to say, a rift quickly formed between audience members who couldn't refrain from cheering the kid on, and those who responded to: "Do you want to hear another one?" with growls and grumbles that would frighten a wolf.  Truly bizarre.  By the 3rd number, I reeled back and forth between rounds of giddy laughter to existential moments introspection.  Audience members, total strangers, shot pleading glances across the room at one another as a collective WHY? hung in the air.  Pete Smalls was Dead (though not really), and we were oh so alive to the mystery!!

Jay Surface and Sami Al-Asfour before the TEST on nerves unfolded....

Adrienne Kwok-Lundy and Cynthia Osborne on their little slice of floor heaven.

Grace Bosque wondering....when will this kid STOP!!

Cynthia and Adrienne posing during the Q&A with the director and star: Peter Dinklage (in BG).

Actor Peter Dinklage with Jay Surface and Grace Bosque.

On far left, famed director Alexandre Rockwell, his friend?, Jay, Grace and Sami.

Steph here!! Day 6

I have already seen so many amazing movies here!!! My first film was called The Woman, which I watched Sunday at midnight, as part of the Park City at Midnight section. It was a wild trip of a film! I was so confused the whole time about what was going to happen next. But it was a very exciting journey getting to the end. We met the entire cast after, and even joked around with the main girl after because she was around our age!
Full cast of The Woman

Grace, Steph, Sean Bridgers and Chris

Steph, (Pollyanna McIntosh The Woman), Chris, Grace and Cynthia

Chris and Director Lucky McKee     
Cast of The Woods

 On Monday, I saw The Woods. Which was a really funky satire movie which attacks young, modern globally conscious citizens. 8 young adults go into the woods to "escape" what our world has become; but before leaving preset their DVR's, and pack a U-haul with flat scenes, xboxs, washers/drier and other various appliances. Yeah.... really roughing it, haha!! It was a fun movie with a very unique concept but was sort of slow in the middle. The cast looked like they stepped out of an Urban Outfitters catalog!

Tobey McGuire

The Details
Then on Tuesday, I saw four movies!! Which seems like a lot, but here at Sundance; it's just the way things go! I had my first movie at 9:!5, called the Details, which featured Tobey McGuire and Elizabeth Banks. It was a very off-beat romantic comedy... more on the comedy side. It was amazing, full of laughs, but VERY mainstream. It will definitely be in a theater near you soon enough!! During the Q and A Tobey McGuire showed up! Which was a very nice surprise.
After The Details, I went straight to the Egyptian witch is the theater on main street that is the background :) and saw Attenberg. I appreciated the independent-ness of this movie... but it wasn't really for me. It was definitely very unique... but so far has been my least favorite movie here. After that I had a little break, came back to the condo and took a nap then went to Hell and Back Again!! Which was a documentary about the war from the Marines perspective and the trouble of the transition from war to back home. It was the best thing I think I have ever seen... so beautifully filmed and edited. If I didn't go into it knowing it was a documentary I would have thought it was a regular feature film. It was amazing... look for it come next Oscars haha. The we had a movie at midnight all together called Shut Up! Little Man. Which was another documentary. It was very funny!! So far today I've seen Here and Little Birds. Here stared Ben Foster and had gorgeous cinematography. Little Birds was amazing! The main actress Juno Temple was remarkable in the film. I got a chance to meet her after and she was so cute and sweet! Too bad she's leaving tomorrow or I'd definitely try to hang out with her haha! That's all for today!! Tomorrow I have a 9 am moving so get back to you all with that!!

Q and A from Pete Smalls is Dead, a Slamdance film featuring Steve Buschemi

Our Very Own Sundance Celebrity!!

BRIAN HOUSE, SMC student and filmmaker extraordinaire, is here with us at Sundance!!   In July, Brian was working in Haiti to help with the relief effort along with other SMC students and Professor Shawny Anderson.   Brian submitted footage that  he shot in Haiti to Ridley Scott's international project called: Life in a Day.  The film has its Sundance premiere on Thursday, January 27. That's tomorrow!   Brian's footage was selected out of 86,000 submissions from all over the world !! AMAZING!!  Only 1,000 entries were selected out of the total submissions.  Nice work, Brian.  Let's hear it for the Gael !!
Brian in front of the Sundance Box Office