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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

Sundance on Ice: The Escape

Sundance Class of 96.jpgPACKING FOR SUNDANCE each year, I tote along a valuable guidebook about the history of the Sundance Festival’s hometown, called “Park City Underfoot.” I leave it on the coffee table of the condo, and no one ever consults it. The first draft of history is more urgent. Who needs backstory when there’s a hailstorm of privileged moments. Still, there’s a wealth of backstory in this mining town, not limited to the past 25 years of the festival or the last decade or so of exurban sprawl. Whenever I pass this cemetery on the edge of town, which is largely populated by children, I think of the movies and hopes and careers that have been interred at festivals past: call this portrait “Sundance Class of 96.”
Joseph Smith’s wilderness is easier to escape now, especially on Sunday morning on the way to the Salt Lake City airport (SLC, tagged on luggage parked in foyers, mud rooms and basements nationwide).
Joseph Smith's wilderness.jpg

And it’s especially easy if you’re being ferried by Town Car.
Escape from Park City (by Town Car).jpg
The packs thin toward the last several days of the festival. Still, writers and reviewers gather to fashion consensus.
Critical consensus.jpg
The swag shacks up and down Main Street are shuttered, the freshly stenciled logos freshly scraped off, such as Hollywood Life(less) House.
Hollywood Life House (after).jpg
Lush, fluffy snow fell for a few hours on Saturday, as this view from inside the hospitality suite.
Outside Hospitality.jpg
Inside hospitality, interviews still. I have no idea who’s parked in the Cowboy Seat.
In the cowboy seat.jpg
Earlier, I saw a geometrically satisfying composition of a newshen and her camerabear against the backdrop of the nearby hills, but didn’t catch them in time: quickly, he turned his bright light on my oh-just-taking-shots-of-the-sky-doh! act.
Quick draw.jpg
If Hollywood is a place where you can die of encouragement, is Park City where you can languish from detours?
Or from simple YOU DO NOT BELONG HERE?
Utah’s not another country: the Burger King stars-‘n’-stripes droop and drape here as well.
From the multiple screens of the “anterior” press tent during the closing night awards, Terrence Howard is natty, speaking fluent Howardese.
Terrence Howard presents.jpg
And Miguel Arteta wears a goofy t-shirt and goofier grin.
Miguel Arteta's ice cream.jpg
Closing night (not)rave.jpgIn the din of the underpopulated after-party, colleague Robert Koehler and I are shouting about So Yong Kim’s prize-winning mood gem In Between Days and move on to Claire Denis’ L’intrus and Hou Hsiao-hsien’s underrated mood piece, Millennium Mambo, when a quartet of women schooled in twirling light up one of the party’s favors, streaking Hou-like neon colors across the drab confines of the tent.

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“I remember very much the iconography and the images and the statues in church were very emotional for me. Just the power of that, and even still — just seeing prayer card, what that image can evoke. I have a lot of friends that are involved in the esoteric, and I know some girls in New York that are also into the supernatural. I don’t feel that I have that gift. But I am leaning towards mysticism… Maybe men are more practical, maybe they don’t give into that as much… And then also, they don’t convene in the same way that women do. But I don’t know, I am not a man, I don’t want to speak for men. For me, I tend to gravitate towards people who are open to those kinds of things. And the idea for my film, White Echo, I guess stemmed from that — I find that the girls in New York are more credible. What is it about the way that they communicate their ideas with the supernatural that I find more credible? And that is where it began. All the characters are also based on friends of mine. I worked with Refinery29 on that film, and found that they really invest in you which is so rare in this industry.”
Chloë Sevigny

“The word I have fallen in love with lately is ‘Hellenic.’ Greek in its mythology. So while everyone is skewing towards the YouTube generation, here we are making two-and-a-half-hour movies and trying to buck the system. It’s become clear to me that we are never going to be a perfect fit with Hollywood; we will always be the renegade Texans running around trying to stir the pot. Really it’s not provocation for the sake of being provocative, but trying to make something that people fall in love with and has staying power. I think people are going to remember Dragged Across Concrete and these other movies decades from now. I do not believe that they will remember some of the stuff that big Hollywood has put out in the last couple of years. You’ve got to look at the independent space to find the movies that have been really special recently. Even though I don’t share the same world-view as some of my colleagues, I certainly respect the hell out of their movies which are way more fascinating than the stuff coming out of the studio system.”
~ Dallas Sonnier