*dusts off blog*
"A closed mouth does not get fed." Wow. I'm cringing right now at the sight of this undergrad-essay-cliché-quote opener, but I honestly can't begin without it. Why? Because it is legit the theme of how this -- *points to cover pic* -- came to be. It's how Cinema Bun and Sundance was in the same room, uttered in the same sentence... breathed the same air.
How did we get here? Two words: I asked. I did the insane and submitted Cinema Bun for press credentials to cover the weekend's films and not only did I score comp tickets to the films, I got RED CARPET CREDENTIALS. Read it again... I had to. 50-lem times.
Per Sundance Institute's website, Sundance NEXT FEST is "a summer festival celebrating film, music, and the renegade of spirit of independent artists." Think the spirit of Sundance in Park City, Utah, take a chunk out of it, and place it smack-dab in downtown Los Angeles. Los Angeles' Broadway, a barren block of condemned and non-functioning theatre buildings, came alive this weekend as the Sundance Institute showcased its annual pickings of Sundance LA premieres.
Saturday, August 13, 2016
First day. I shook off the Imposter Syndrome dust, walked over to media check-in, and one of the most surreal moments of my life happened. I passed the velvet rope and went over to our marker. The marker read: Cinema Bun. I vividly remember staring at it for what seemed like eons, yet was probably seconds. We were here. And we deserved to be. I breathed in the air and just processed everything. We're still very much a growing and evolving podcast (which is quite the uphill battle amongst podcast juggernauts) and the successes we've made so far is nothing short of sweet.
The sun glistened against my skin like a forcible phoenix, only mimicking the glow in my eyes. I can't even front; I was entranced. And right before I knew it, talent and filmmakers alike were approaching, the marketing team was whispering each name in my ear, I hurriedly looked at my Face Sheet... And. It. Was. Game. Time.
Yeah, um... it was all kind of a blur. Well, actually, it was a weird combination of blurry and remembering every single detail at once. I remembered Craig Robinson's bulbous belly as he inched toward me with a sweaty teddy bear smile. But, I forgot what he said. LOL... luckily, I have it recorded. ;)
Best to You (Artist: Blood Orange; music video premiere) - This music video served vivacious visuals and I fell in love with the song, too! I discovered a new artist and I look forward to diving into their stuff. The video stars Lorely Rodriguez (a.k.a. Empress Of) and Amandla Stenberg (who was there to introduce it!)
Morris From America - I don't want to give away too too much of my thoughts, as we're reviewing it on the podcast, but, I will say this: visually, it inspired me in the way that made me fall in love with film. And filmmaking, specifically. It was a really heartwarming and well-done coming-of-age film, that I highly recommend.
After the film, there was a youth talent show hosted by Craig Robinson and, if you see the film, you'll see why and how this connects. There is always something about creative youths that lights a special kind of fire under my ass. The magic inside them... a little bit of that can be lost as you get older, but if you look hard enough... you can find it again. I think I did, that evening.
Sunday, August 14, 2016
Second and last day. The Downtown and Dirty Shorts presentation, hosted by Nick Kroll. Short films. My favorite part of the entire weekend, to be honest! I was a bit more settled into my space and comfort zone and had pretty much gotten into the flow of things, rather smoothly. I saw familiar press faces, chatted with up and coming filmmakers. I won't even lie. As fun as it was being on the press side of the rope, I'm a creator at heart and felt it tugging toward the other side of the rope. The interviewees. But, hell, why not do both? I'm a Jack of all Trades. Would the FEE-male version be Jill of all Trades? Queen of all Trades? That last one was for you card players. Anyway...
Affections - This film followed a lonely woman seeking intimacy in quite unlikely places. It was moving with a humorous lilt... perhaps the most effective way to convey emotional core. And also, the most difficult. But, it definitely kept its balance.
The Procedure - When I tell you this is one of the more terrifying and chilling... yet hilarious films... that may not make much sense. But, somehow this film conveyed all of that, in a matter of minutes. In fact, I think this was the shortest of the bunch. If not the shortest. Very well done.
A Reasonable Request - This film is probably quintessential quirky Sundance, in that it takes this poignant theme -- the classic father and son bonding -- and twists it into this... shock value... soup. I can't even tell you HOW it's shocking, but it's essentially what makes the film. And if I told you, it'll ruin the whole film experience. Which is blasphemy.
Thunder Road - I'm just gonna go ahead and say something that was tough to reconcile given the great group of films, but... this was my favorite. Not only was I thoroughly impressed by the single-take factor, but I fell in love with Jim Cummings. This film was written, directed, and starred him and he so flawlessly executed this character, I was left in awe. He's a star. Like, seriously... remember that name, if you don't know it, already.
Too Legit - Also, a quintessential Sundance film. Remember that asinine Todd Akin quote about "legitimate rape?" This film takes on that idea and puts it on its head in a super interesting and thought-provoking manner. And it starred... how dope is this... Zoë Kravitz!
That evening, I wrapped up the press junket with the Under the Shadow Conversation with John Landis (yes, THAT one) and director, Babak Anvari. Babak is so wonderfully adorable and the leading cast members that did the red carpet, Narges Rashidi and Bobby Naderi are equally gorgeous, inside and out.
Beautiful People (Mark Pritchard and Thom Yorke; music video premiere) - Visually stunning. The various textures of this could be felt in the seats, if that makes any sense.
Under the Shadow - This chilling film immediately gave me (and others) The Babadook vibes, considering it centers a supernatural force with a mother-child dynamic. I'd have to say, though, this was a bit scarier. I definitely have to commend the director, Babak for sticking to his guns and having this filmed in Iran and keeping the dialogue Farsi. It really added to the tone and authenticity of the film, as the environment and culture was like another character. Very impressive that he convinced the producers, especially for a first feature.
We wrapped up the night with the afterparty called, Next Door with free drinks sponsored by Stella Artois and Don Julio. IT WAS LIT.
Overall, this was an experience I'll never forget. I am wrapped in an inspiration cloak at the moment, and my veins are throbbing with the urge to create. And so, I will. And so, I am.