Those of you who know me well know that I decided to work for the Sundance Film Festival with one expectation: not to expand my knowledge of film, not to receive inspiration on how to become a better filmmaker myself, not even to network and make connections—but to meet John Krasinski. I thought this was a fairly reasonable expectation, since not only did he have a film playing there, but his wife was in a premiering film; therefore, logic would suggest that not only would he be there, not only would we meet, but he would also finally reveal that his marriage to Emily Blunt is a sham intended to throw off the media so that he can pursue his true love, me.
But alas, John Krasinski has once again proved that he is afraid of his love for me. It’s understandable, I suppose; such an overwhelming, powerful force would be intimidating to any man, and John probably wants to play his cards just right to ensure that everything works out between us. This happened once before when, as many of you will recall, he was staying at a hotel in Arizona down the street from my house and didn’t even have the common courtesy to stop by and say hello. Oh, well. Bide your time all you like, John. But you better pray that Hugh doesn’t swoop in while your back is turned. It’s bound to happen sooner or later.
In the meantime, despite it being a rather John-less affair, I had a marvelous time at Sundance. Seriously, I would highly recommend it to pretty much anyone, unless any of the following apply to you:
- You hate movies
- You hate Fun
- You hate free stuff
Can I just take a moment to pay tribute to all the free stuff I got while I was working there? Water bottles. Ticket vouchers. VIP Badges. Jackets. Hats. Scarves. Chapstick. Gloves. Food. The list goes on and on. . . and for someone who would do just about anything for free stuff (even pay money), it was heaven.
A little known fact about the Sundance Film Festival is that, aside from giving away free stuff, they also occasionally screen movies (which I also got to see for free! Okay, I’ll stop with the free stuff now, I promise) . The most popular question I’ve received since coming back—aside from, Elizabeth, how do you manage to be so exceptionally brilliant and so incredibly gorgeous at the same time?—is what were the best movies you saw there? At the risk of sounding like a snobby intellectual (stop laughing, it could happen), I would have to honestly say the documentaries were the best films there.
. . .
I know, I know, I always get annoyed when people say stuff like that to me, too, but it was true! Not to diss the feature films, which were all very well and good (at least, some of them), but the documentaries blew me away. I would say my personal favorite that I saw was a documentary called the Imposter about an adult con-artist from France who pretends to be a missing teenager from Texas—and gets away with it. And believe me, that isn’t even the weirdest part of the story. I also really enjoyed Searching for Sugar Man (about an obscure musician from the ‘60s name Rodriguez, who I believe everyone will soon be hearing much more about), and honorable mention goes to the feature film Wrong, which was the weirdest, funniest movie I have seen in a very long time, about a man whose dog gets kidnapped (which actually doesn’t sound all that funny, but trust me, it is).
For those of you gentle folk who would still like to know more about my day-to-day activities at the festival, below are a few highlights, including which celebrities I saw, and which celebrities may or may not have pushed me into a puddle.
Thursday the 19th. The festival officially opened! There was a special screening for all the volunteers and employees of Beasts of the Southern Wild, which was an incredible film, especially considering it was by a first-time director featuring a cast of people who (with the exception of one) have never acted in anything before. In fact, one of the main characters was “discovered” because he worked at the restaurant where the casting department ate lunch. After the screening the director and cast were all there and answered some questions. And we got Free Hats! (Okay, that really is the last time I’ll mention free stuff. Probably).
Friday the 20th—Friday was my 7:30 to 7:30 day, which meant that I was up at 5 to get to work and didn’t get home until about 9:00 that night, which also meant, sadly, no films. L However, during my lunch break I decided to finally put down ‘A Dance With Dragons’ and wander around to see if anything was going on. As it turned it, there was a TON of stuff going on, but just as I was getting bummed about not seeing any celebrities, who should I see walking down the street but one Benjamin Linus—aka, Michael Emerson.
For those of you who don’t watch Lost– why are we still friends? Just kidding, sort of, but for those of you who don’t know, Ben is one of the big baddies of the show so it was a little creepy seeing him in the flesh. Especially since I already saw Jacob in London. Which begs the question, is the cast of Lost following me? And also—when are they gonna send Sawyer or Desmond. . .?
On an unrelated note, I had my first patron ask me if anyone had ever told me that I looked like Kirsten Dunst. I was really hoping that I would bump into her and that she would confess that she secretly hates her life as a movie star and wants nothing more than to be a normal girl for a day, if only she could find someone who would switch places with her. . . But I suppose she, much like John, was playing it cool. *sigh* Celebrities.
Saturday the 21st: Saturday I decided that after work I would get out of crazy, hectic Park City and make a trip up to another one of the screening locations in scenic Ogden. Unfortunately the weather did not consult with my plans and decided to snow like crazy that day. Fortunately I made it out just before they started closing off the roads and whatnot (from what I hear, several people were stranded in Park City that night). Unfortunately there were definitely a few times that the road was such sheer ice that I was drifting across lanes of traffic in my poor pathetic little white car (who, by the way, was a real trooper through driving up and down Provo Canyon in all kinds of weather for an entire month). Fortunately , most other sane people were not on the road that day, so no harm, no foul. Also fortunately, I was able to meet up with my awesome friend Meagan Brady (who let me stay with her for an entire month!! You’re seriously the best, Meagan!!) and get to our shows up in Ogden on time. That night we saw Wish You Were Here, an Australian thriller that made me seriously paranoid about ever going to Thailand, or vacationing with my sister and her boyfriend. The second film was Your Sister’s Sister, featuring my rival, Emily Blunt, who was lovely and charming as usual, in a quirky and funny film.
Sunday the 22nd: My brother Matthew and I went to an early sacrament meeting and then headed back up to Ogden to catch Wuthering Heights (I’m still sorry about that one, Matthew) and Searching for Sugar Man (the documentary mentioned above). Just to explain a little bit more about it, there was a record released by an American singer named Rodriguez that did terribly in the United States—I think they were saying it sold under 100 copies—but somehow made its way to South Africa and became HUGE. So this one-time American singer who become a hard laborer to support his family had no idea that he was incredibly famous in South Africa until a few people over there decided to look up this “famous” singer who no one knew anything about—and after that, things get awesome. J After the movie, the director was there, as well as Rodriguez, the singer. Here’s why I think this guy is going to be big: before the movie, everyone in the audience had absolutely no idea who Rodriguez was. After the credits, people were on their feet cheering, screaming, shouting out his name. You would have thought it was Elvis walking into the building, or one of the Beatles. Seriously. Keep an eye on this guy, and an eye on this film (which, p.s., won a bunch of awards and whatnot and has been picked up for distribution. Yay!).
Monday the 23rd: Back in Park City. After work I headed to the Music Café, a venue where music artists play a few sets in a fairly small, intimate setting. I stayed for three or four acts and everyone was pretty good, but my favorite was James McCartney. I admit, I showed up because he’s Paul’s son, but the guy has some serious pipes. The next guest of the day was Rodriguez (see above) and once again, people were going crazy for him, but I had to ditch out early because I was going to the premiere of the Julie Delpy/Chris Rock film, 2 Days in New York. Chris Rock was there, sitting in the audience, and he seemed like a pretty cool guy, stopping to take pictures with people and just smiling and being friendly. The movie was funny in a French way (take that as you will) and afterward there was a Q&A with the director and the cast. Sweet!
Tuesday the 24th: This was the only day I didn’t get to see the film that I tried to see. I tried to use my employee pass to get into a press screening for Safety Not Guaranteed, but unfortunately too many other people had the same idea. And since I was meeting up with friends later on that night, I couldn’t stick around to see anything else. Also, I fell in a puddle. But there were some good things that happened that day, including:
At work I helped this lovely Italian couple who had a problem and were incredibly patient even though they basically had to wait around for an hour. During intermittent conversation with them I came to find out that the husband was in Nobody Walks, the film that John Krasinski was in! As he was leaving, he shook my hand, so I think it’s safe to say that I have touched the hand that has touched John Krasinski. Try playing it cool now, Jim Halpert! I’m onto your game.
I also helped another lady in the morning who was super nice and very pretty. She looked sort of vaguely familiar to me, but I couldn’t place her. As we were talking, music came up in the conversation and she mentioned that she did music for a living. When I asked her what kind, she looked kind of surprised that I didn’t already know and said “country.” So I think I may have potentially been helping a country singer I didn’t recognize? In that she wasn’t Shania Twain, Reba, or Taylor Swift, and that covers pretty much anyone I would recognize. Either way, she was incredibly nice.
When I met up with my friends that night and told them the story about falling in the puddle, we decided it makes a much better story if Chris Rock was somehow involved. So, for reasons that I cannot explain, Chris Rock arbitrarily pushed me into a puddle Tuesday afternoon. But other than that, he seems like a pretty cool guy.
Wednesday the 25th; This day was another one of my 7:30 to 7:30 days, so I was bracing myself for a long, tiring day, but it actually turned out to be awesome for many different reasons. The first was that a patron came in and started the whole, “Has anyone ever told you that you look like. . .” spiel, so I was bracing myself for Kirsten Dunst, but instead he totally threw me for a loop by saying Elizabeth Olsen, aka the star of Liberal Arts (more on that later) and baby sister to Mary Kate and Ashley. I can honestly say I’ve never heard that one before, and I don’t really give it that much validation, but it was still flattering. Not for her, I’m sure. . .
I also helped out Brendan Hines, who most people seem to know from Lie to Me, but I recognized from Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles (yep, a huge geek, and if there’s any doubt of that, just keep reading). Looking pretty good for someone who was killed by an assassin from the future, I must say. And it was not the last time that we would meet. . .
Even though at this point I figured most of the celebrities had gone home for the weekend, I decided to take another mosey through Park City during my lunch break. I was feeling pretty excited about running into the director of Beasts of the Southern Wild (see Thursday the 19th) and getting to chat with him for a moment when who should I see down the street but Ty Burrell, the dad from Modern Family, and. . . DAVID DUCHOVNY!!!
I have to admit, I am just enough of a geek that this was incredibly exciting for me. Not only am I an X-Files fan, but would watch about three hours of it a day with my roommates my freshman year of college (just to let you know how cool we all were) AND have all of the lyrics to “David Duchovny, Why Won’t You Love Me” memorized. I am such a big fan that I even have watched Connie and Carla, more than once. So this was a pretty big deal for me. Such a big deal that I didn’t do as I usually do with celebrities and just pretend I haven’t seen them, but actually took out my cell phone and snapped a picture—only to accidentally erase it. Oh, well. The memory is imprinted in my heart. I love you, David Duchovny!
That night after work I booked it up to Salt Lake to see Save the Date with my friend Meagan. I admit that I mostly wanted to see the movie because it had Allison Brie (aka Annie from one of my favorite shows, Community) but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was also starring Martin Starr, also from one of my favorite shows, Freaks and Geeks. The movie was funny and it was odd/cool to see Allison Brie in such a muted, un-Annie role, but the most pleasant surprise of the evening? Martin Starr has gotten attractive. Like, really attractive. He’s no Brad Pitt, mind you, but he’s got that long-hair-beardy (George Harrison circa late 1960s) vibe going on that strangely works for him. Bill Haverchuck, you have grown up, and good things have been happening to you.
Thursday the 26th— There was nothing I was especially keen on seeing after work, so I decided to let my friend and fellow coworker Eve take the lead and choose our film selections that day. AND—I’m really happy I did. She chose some films I probably wouldn’t have seen on my own but ended up being some of my favorite from the festival, including (as mentioned above) Wrong. Apparently the director has a history of making quirky, funny films; his last Sundance film called Rubber was about a tire that goes on a killing spree, which I’m kind of dying to see. Wrong was so weird and funny, I really can’t do it justice by trying to explain it, but just give it a chance. I should also mention that I’d only had four hours of sleep the night before, so I might recommend that to maximize the hilarity of it all.
Afterward in a total about-face we went and saw Violeta Went to Heaven, a bio-pic about the Chilean Folk Singer, Violeta Parra. It was just a beautifully done film that told her story in a really compelling, non-linear way. And the music was AWESOME. There’s one song in particular toward the beginning of the film that I can’t remember the name of and that I’ve been scouring the internet to try and find information on because I really want to hear it again.
Between films I saw Mark Webber (star of three films at Sundance, and writer/director of one) and once again, Brendan Hines (see Wednesday). Really good day, over all. J
Friday the 27th— Friday I didn’t have to work until the afternoon, so I went up early to see a morning show and got to see my favorite film of the festival, The Imposter (see above). This movie is so good, not just because of the content matter, but because of the way they present everything, it’s just really well done. Also, during the film I was sitting next to the director of Searching for Sugar Man, which is just one of the awesome things about Sundance. Afterward they had a Q&A with the director and the producer, and then it was off to work—my last day! The people I worked with were amazing and 99.9% of the people we helped were lovely, as well. It was a truly wonderful working experience.
After work I once again booked it up to Ogden to meet up with Meagan and see Liberal Arts, starring my apparent doppelganger Elizabeth Olsen and Josh Radnar, aka the guy from How I Met Your Mother, who also wrote and directed the film. Turns out? He’s awesome. I’m not a huge fan of the show, but I might have to give it another look after seeing what this guy can do. The movie was sweet and smart and really funny, I’m excited to get to see it again when it comes to theaters. Also, Zac Effron made a surprising and hilarious cameo that is not to be missed.
Saturday the 28th: I once again headed up to Salt Lake to see my last shows of the fest with old roommate and forever kindred spirit, Cheryl Johnson. We saw Teddy Bear, a foreign film (can’t remember but think it was Swedish?) about a body builder who is too shy to talk to women and is emotionally bullied by his teeny tiny mom. Despite a few shady places, it was surprisingly sweet. After hanging out for a while in Salt Lake, I headed back up to Ogden for the last time to see The Words which was all about writers and had a surprisingly non-Indy cast, including Bradley Cooper, Dennis Quaid, Zoe Saldana, Jeremy Irons, and another of my loves, Ben Barnes. The movie was all right, but Ben was lovely as usual.
And that was that! Now I’m back to real life again. No chance encounters with celebrities. No obscure films. No free stuff. And even if John still refuses to acknowledge his feelings, it was an awesome experience, and one I’m grateful I had! Now, on to the next adventure. . .