Friday, January 27, 2012

Sundance Day 8 and 9 (The End)

Me and Joe Malina at our Salt Lake screening.

Waiting for our TV interview.

Our TV interview. Jonny's not paying attention.

Kelly watching from the other side of the room.

Fun times at Park City TV.

A happy Kelly at Slamdance.

Main Street on our last night.

Me waiting to go on to the TV show.

A group of us are sitting in the Salt Lake City airport waiting to board our plane back to Texas. I have this pit in my stomach. I'm eager to get home and see Mark and get back to the normal world. But on the flip side, I'll miss the condo dance parties, the movies, our new filmmaker friends, running into random friends on Main Street and maybe just maybe ... the snow. But here we are ... about to dive back into real life. I'm about to spend an entire weekend reading student scripts, working with my Women in Cinema girls and squeezing in some time to hang out with Mark. Thank god for his patience.

So here goes the last of my Sundance recap ...

Day 8
Kelly, Jonny and I woke up at the crack of dawn to make an 8:15am interview at the Park City TV station. We were the suckers to take the early slot. I looked around their station, shocked at how many people are up so early. And because they forgot we were coming we had to quickly debrief the interview guy and hand off our trailer. The interview went off fairly well aside from the guy kept calling Jonny, "John" and our trailer played a little wonky.

After the interview we headed to brunch on Main Street. It seemed like tumbleweed was practically rolling through the streets.

I head over to the Eccles by myself to catch Safety Not Guaranteed. I won't give too much away because I really loved this film and I hope it's already gotten a distribution deal. But it was totally up my alley. I'm a sucker for kind hearted characters and 80s throwbacks and being able to see a director's big heart all over a screen. And, would you look at that-- in the credits I noticed a friend from a long time ago working with the casting director that we're working with right now on Nikki. Small world. That gets smaller every single day.

Afterward I headed home to chill out for a bit and get a little work done. But before I knew it, I was trekking back up Main Street with EJ to do one last interview for our little silly videos. Okay, so I am not the best interviewee. I'm not funny or witty without my cohorts Jonny and Kelly. Poor EJ just wanted me to be funny. "Be funny, Kat." And I wasn't. Sorry EJ.

Kelly met up with us for dinner at our favorite spot Flanagans. We frequented their fine establishment three times over 24 hours. I'm a creature of habit.

After dinner I met up with Jonny and Farah at the Egyptian theater to see The Pact. Nick who directed The Pact was one of my first Sundance friends back in our LA orientation. He had a short version of The Pact at Sundance 2011, found a financier, wrote the feature and was back a year later. I will totally take that scenario, please. We had a blast watching it. I discovered that Jonny likes to talk to the screen, "Oh that's brilliant', "Oh shit, that's bullshit.", "Dude, don't go in there." I on the other hand, just hid my face under my coat the entire time. It's a really fun horror film. With practical FX that floored me.

We spent our last night hanging out at the Slamdance party, taking photobooth photos, seeing our 33 Teeth friends and drinking free beer. No beer for me though. We came home in time to witness our crew's dance party in condo 415. Our remaining crew being Ashlyn, Beth and EJ drunkenly dancing in a circle in their living room to booty music. And in that moment, I felt old. It was like Jonny, Kelly and I were the mom and two dads hanging out with our kids. So we went home and went to bed.

Day 9
We slapped our alarm clocks bright and early to pack and check out. Then we headed to see Bones Brigade at the Marc Theater. Kelly and Jonny reverted into teen boys at the sight of Stacy Peralta, Rodney Mullens and Caballero. No lie, they were giddy little kids seeing and later meeting their idols. It was cute..

We raced over to the Prospector for our last screening of Hellion. One last packed theater. One last intro to the film and one last time seeing it huge and loud on a big screen in Park City. I wasn't quite ready for that part to be over. Hearing a sold out crowd laughing and responding to this little film we had no expectations for.

Then a last lunch with the gang and back to catch our shuttle. And that's when we called it a week. A successful, exhausting, exhilerating, terrifying, gratifying, bonding, inspiring week.

So what's next for our little Hellion? We have something in the works to get it out into the world, but probably can't talk too much about that just yet. We have some festivals lined up. And I've been writing like mad to get a decent feature version ready to start plugging in the spring.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sundance - Day 7

Main Street Mayhem.

Dinner with the girls.

The girls (Ashlyn and Beth).

The days are dwindling as we near the end of our Park City adventures. Two more to go before heading back to warmer days in Austin.

Wednesday I caught up on a little work. I read one of the many students scripts in my inbox. Getting enough time in between everything to get into "work head space" is nearly impossible. I was commiserating with a fellow professor on the bus the other day about not being able to get anything done here. So I already warned my husband that this weekend I'll be consumed with script notes for my UT kids. I'm sorry UT kids for sucking at juggling all of this.

After staying in my jammies most of the morning, I showered and headed out to catch Carrie Preston's That's What She Said at the Library. I laughed my ass off with a sold out crowd. I've known Carrie for years through her husband. So it was really sweet coming into the festival with a friend outside of Texas.

I headed back to the condo to meet Kelly and head out for our Salt Lake City screening. We caught a ride in a fancy Acura sponsored Sundance vehicle with Driver Justin and the two Erins from My Best Day. It was a nice chance to catch up with the Erins about our weeks activities and compare notes.

Just barely in time, we walked into a sold out Salt Lake crowd. And in the lobby, lo and behold, we see our good friend Joe Malina from Austin, TX. I lit up, so happy to see his sweet, little face.

Aside from the volume being messed with at the beginning (it's supposed to be really really loud people, it's heavy metal), the audience seemed to love the short. Lots of laughs in all the right places and then some. We finally got to check out My Best Day. A sweet, small town tale filled with colorful characters beautifully performed by a bunch of New York actors. In particular I'm a new huge fan of Raul Castillo (Cold Weather).

For the first time since we've been here, we got a Q&A. You're not supposed to if you're in front of a feature, but I'm not sure the theater manager knew that. We got hit with several questions .. inspiration for the short? How many days shooting? What on? Babysitter story? I think they liked us because they kept laughing at our silly stories. Yes, we're weird.

Afterward we skipped the party to come home and stare at a wall and decompress. We needed some serious decompression. Day 7 ... the end.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sundance - Day 5 and 6

Getting snow plowed by Jonny Mars.

Having drinks with Dee Robertson (Holiday Road) at the Shorts Awards Party.
Farah ... being weird.

Kyle Henry, Renee, Beth and Ashlyn.

The Jupiter Bowl Shorts Award Party.

Sadly, this was going to the party, not returning home from it.

Me and Kelly after our radio interview.

Drew and Jonny after our radio interview.

Mars posing so I could get a picture of Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) in the background. Shaved head guy to the left of Jonny.

Jonny's photo shoot at the radio interview.
Waiting for the bus early in the morning.

EJ interviewing Farah at the Redstone. Some man walked up to me, "Who's that woman?" I responded, "It's Farah."
The gang at the Redstone for our second screening.

Thank god Renee had her car to drive all of us to the theater in the snow.

Things are becoming a bit of a blur at this point. My thought processing skills have weakened and my lack of sleep has left me numb. So I'll try to keep it brief because often times pictures speak louder than words. And they're more fun.


1) Sleeping in for the first time. Well, sleeping in meaning waking up at 9am instead of 7am. But still I needed it.
2) Running into Jenn from LAFF and catching up on a trip over to the Prospector to see Kid-Thing.
3) I met up with Amy and Augustine to catch Kid-Thing and we wasted time talking Fassbender and watching Beyonce Youtube clips. As the theater filled up, I will say, it was sweet to see so many Texas faces in the Prospector auditorium for the Zellners. And our beloved boys didn't disappoint. Kid-Thing is a bittersweet reminiscing of those days as a kid wandering the woods and creating our own universe. And trying desperately to find a connection where sometimes there are none. And most importantly, what it means to be a good person and how to process that as a kid.
4) From the Zellners, I scrambled to meet the other half of my crew and drive over to the Redstone theater for our second screening. Still waiting to see it, but I think EJ got a lot of fun footage from the audience, our intro and the aftermath of the evening. That should hit the cybernet soon. Overall it was another great screening. A little bit of a different response from the first audience. Not as many laughs, but definitely more gasps. Afterward I opted to bypass a big party being thrown at the Holiday Road house and catch up on my inbox instead. I still have a slew of scripts staring at me to read and give feedback on. And I'm trying hard to get to it, but it's been such a whirlwind.

1) Jonny, Kelly, Drew and I woke up early and headed up to the Harley Davidson store on Main Street to do a radio interview for .... some Salt Lake City radio people who I can't remember who it was right now, but I'm sure we'll figure it out and get the podcast. Needless to say, it was fun. Five minutes tops and a photo shoot.
2) Spent some time with Kelly at the Headquarters where we ran into Karinne and Don Hertzeeldt, Alec from Lone Star Film Fest and some other random folks.
3) Kelly and I headed back over to the Eccles, where my friend Ava DuVernay was about to screen her debut feature Middle of Nowhere. And it was stunning. Fantastic performances and beautifully beautifully shot. And I ran into a Tribeca All Access friend randomly.
4) Then dinner with Alec and some short filmmakers back at our favorite Main Street spot Flanagans. The poor waitress we had at 10am was still there at 7pm and apparently would be there til close. And then off to the Shorts Award Party at the Jupiter Bowl. It was nice by this point to know so many folks in the room-- new friends, Texas friends, old friends. Sadly we didn't win anything, BUT we did score something maybe even better. We ran into Mike Judge who was on the shorts jury. And when he realized who we were he blurted out-- "I fucking love that short!" He gave us so many sweet compliments that just made our night. We talked Austin, Arts and Labor, our mutual friend and sound designer, Eric Friend (Hellion, King of the Hill) as well as small town Texas. So yeah, that kind of made our entire night. Maybe our entire trip.
5) On the way home with Karinne, a drunk Jonny Mars and Kelly, I finally got snow plowed by Mr. Mars. After several earlier attempts, he finally threw me into a heaping pile of snow at one in the morning. I was drenched in snow from head to toe, and freezing cold screaming at him. And by the time we made it to our 7-11 destination to get toilet paper and snacks, Jonny realized his phone fell out in the snow where he took me down. So we had to trudge back up there and look like idiots digging through snow and trying to listen for his buried ring tone while a drunk guy passed us on the sidewalk, "What are you guys doing?"
6) The end of the night involved: our crew getting kicked out of a hot tub (Kelly, Karinne and I stayed behind), two local girls wandering into our condo in their underwear after getting kicked out of the hot tub and a dance party in Farah's condo. Ah youth.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Day 4 (The Weirdos at the Party)

The Shiningesque hotel where they hosted the IFP dinner.

Mars and Aaron Marshall at Slamdance. And some weird dude in a hat.

Kyle super happy because of his crazy swag. And Wehling. It was one insanely hilarious night. So much that my stomach was aching from laughter.

Our new friends Erin and Erin from My Best Day at the IFP dinner.

Kat and Mars at the IFP dinner. I don't remember why we were looking like that. Maybe because of the singer songwriter playing on stage while we ate?

Our very fancy dinner spread. Although they forgot to give us napkins. At first we thought it was just a rich person thing.

Kyle, Jason and Jonny eyeing a miniature of the hotel.

Me and Kelly Williams. Looking cool.

Me and the Mike Akel. I miss this guy!

First thing's first, I'm sleeping in tomorrow. All the movies I wanted to see ... sold out. Which was a sign. A sign that I need to read the 25 student scripts that hit my inbox today and start sending back notes. I miss my UT kids!

Once again, it's late. EJ's cutting new videos (quite a few) to upload tomorrow. Jonny's roaming around in his PJs and the rest of the crew are out at parties.

Here is Day 4 in a nutshell cause I'm freaking tired--

1) Great meeting with the San Francisco Film Society about upcoming grants.
2) Outfest Brunch where they took my picture on the red carpet. "Me? For real? Okay."
3) Interview with a house full of Elon University kids.
4) Getting stuck at the Slamdance Headquarters where football was on huge screens everywhere.
5) Fancy schmancy dinner for the IFP with Kyle, Jason and Jonny (and Rebecca Hall) where we came home with insane gift bags. Silver plated flash drives, what? Really?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Day 2 and 3 (Our wintery snowed in mountaintop adventure)

Me and my dear friend Michael. A sweet surprise at our screening that brought tears to my eyes.

It's cold. Damn cold.

The boys trying to look all important. But looking like total dorks.

Me and the boys. I love this photo.

My first Getty Image photo. I feel cool now.

The Hellion gang.

The wonderful and absolutely lovely Kelly Sears at the Director's Brunch. We were bus buddies.

Our bus mishap. Broken down cars climbing mountaintops.

Me and Drew at the crack of dawn.

Farah and Stephen. Sexy faces.

Again, it's super late and I'm extremely, utterly, "oh my god please just give me a pillow" tired. I'm functioning on 4-5 hours of sleep each night and it ain't pretty.

I'll start with Day 2. Okay, let me remember what day it is ... okay, it's Saturday-- so Friday Kelly and I hit up an 8:30am screening of Your Sister's Sister. Totally enjoyed it. Beautiful performances. Then a full day of meetings, more crew members and cast members arriving, dinner at a really really fancy restaurant on Main Street that I would never be able to afford on my own, running into friends at a few parties with Jonny and Farah, meeting lots of great filmmakers, programmers and then going to see Tim and Eric. Note to self-- if you haven't gotten any sleep, do not go to the midnight screenings. Bad, bad decision. Even if Kelly begs and pleads you to go-- say "No, Kelly".

Day 3
Woke up to freezing temperatures and heavy falling snow. This was the morning of our big director's brunch. While waiting at headquarters for the shuttles, I met the very sweet, Anna Mussoa, director of the short L Train. We talked teaching, good moms and how words of inspiration have long lasting impressions. Then I found my bus buddy and one of my favorite Texas filmmakers, Kelly Sears. We sat next to each other on the way to and from the Sundance Lodge where we'd brunched with all the Sundance directors and the man, himself, Mr. Robert Redford.

But here's where things get freaky. The whole bus ride up the mountain, all I could think about was The Sweet Hereafter. Snow everywhere, little fall offs from the road. It's horrible to say, but it's true. We're creeping up the mountain with about 30-40 filmmakers in tow until we come to a dead stop because a car broke down. Traffic is stuck both ways. Luckily a fireman showed up and helped the poor girls who had to push and turn their car around to go down the hill instead of up. Then the filmmakers who threatened to walk the rest of the way and created a bit of a stir got back on the bus. But the bus then inched it's way along. So the bus driver sent those of us in the front to go stand in the back where I saw my friend Rhys (The Thing) and we chatted for a bit while. And lo and behold because we alleviated the front weight of the bus, it finally gained traction and made it up the hill. Physics at work at Sundance, who knew? Unfortunately the third bus (the one directly behind us) wasn't so lucky. It crashed into some cars or something like that. No one was hurt but all kinds of rumors swirled through the brunch tables of what happened to "the third bus". Needless to say the weather today turned in a big way.

So at brunch and after downing a mimosa (I don't drink and the altitude made me a little-- loose) I visited with old friends (the Zellners, Kyle Henry, Carrie Preston), new friends (Rhys Ernst, Rodney Ascher, Erin Greenwell, Nick McCarthy) watched the likes of Mike Judge and Juliette Binoche wander around and listened to Robert Redford's annual inspirational speech. And yep, I had tears in my eyes. And yes, I was completely inspired.

I had to scramble to get home after a slow slow crawl back to Park City (again with my bus buddy, Kelly). The stress of getting back to my condo to get ready for our premiere combined with my major lack of sleep sent me into a tail spin of anxiety. So I came home as our cast and crew went to dinner and I made Kelly stay behind to calm my frayed nerves. He's good at that.

And now comes the fucking awesome part. We all got to the Yarrow Theater at 5pm to meet our shorts liason Kylie (who we love!!!). We headed to the holding room (aka the green room) where there were free snacks and the Wireimage photographer came and took your photo against the Sundance backdrop. I almost started crying a million times just pacing around and taking photos with everyone. And then lo and behold my old dear friend Michael Emerson (from jumping off bridges) shows up and I couldn't help but start crying. We go back. To when I was a fifteen year old kid in Jacksonville and taking Shakespeare workshops from him.

Our screening was ... fucking awesome. The audience laughed and laughed. More than any other audience we've screened for. It was an pretty fucking amazing experience. It's kind of hard to describe. After my introduction from introduction, we watched Hellion then hung out at the bar where my high school friend, Katie showed up! All said and done-- a really really wonderful night.

Right now the six drunk boys I'm sharing my condo with are talking (rather loudly, well, mostly Mars talking too loud). I won't go into details about their hilarious conversation that's making my stomach hurt, because sometimes drunk conversations shouldn't be repeated.

For me, I think it's time for bed. Our premiere = Done. And kick ass.

Tomorrow ... another Sundance day filled with brunches, IFP dinners, meetings and hopefully, hopefully one movie.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sundance - Day One (The Misadventures Begin)

Me and my new free purple boots. Thank you Timbaland! Not sure I'll ever wear them ...

Chase and Kelly pre-flight. Kelly does smile (kind of).

The first gang on the scene. Me, Aaron (Slamdance Programmer and Doc Juror), Kelly (Hellion producer) and Steven Janisse (AFF Programmer)

It's late. Super late and I'm still up. Even after waking at the crack of dawn and rubbing elbows a the big opening night party with a ton of fancy people I didn't know. But so are Kelly and EJ. Kelly's in his room screening docs because he's on the documentary jury for Slamdance. And EJ's finishing up a fun little video we made at the office yesterday. It'll get uploaded first thing in the morning. Our juvenile antics will hopefully brighten your day. We'll be making videos every day or so and sending them out into cyberspace for your comedic enjoyment. Our Sundance adventures! So here we go. Day one of being an official Sundance filmmaker--

Our Delta flight carrying the SXSW team, Mr. Chase Whale, Kelly and myself touched down in Salt Lake around 2pm. We were only delayed ... ah, maybe 3 hours.

We checked in at our condo, where Steven Janisse, EJ and Aaron Marshall were anxiously awaiting our arrival. Actually they were out having pizza and having fun. We unpacked our bags then headed to Sundance headquarters. On the way (and why I love festivals so much) we ran into David Lowery (our good friend and editor) on the bus-- as well as (again!) the whole SXSW team.

Now, this is the fun part. Apparently when you're a director at Sundance, they give you free shit! I wanted the cool boy boots that they give away, but sadly they didn't have my size. So instead I got these kind of crazy purple snow boots. I guess these are what they think the girls like. I did get a bad ass winter coat which I love. I'll definitely wear the coat. Not sure I'll ever wear the boots. If you're interested in some purple snow boots, send me a note! And because my "entourage" of boys came with me, the TImbaland guy gave them a bunch of men's anti-wrinkle cream. No lie.

After dropping off the boots, up to Treasure Mountain to get Kelly checked in at Slamdance where we meet back up with Kelsey Coggin and Evan Roberts producer and director from the Slamdance short 33 Teeth. After a quick dinner at some brewery, we hike back down Main Street (down is better than up) where we run into David Fabelo (editor of Sundance short Fourplay Tampa) and Mr. Jason Wehling (Arts and Labor cohort and producer of Fourplay Tampa). I think they already had a few beers at this point. All of which led to an impromptu soiree at the condo before the big opening night Sundance party.

A few beers (and Diet Cokes) later, we all head over to the big opening night party where we stand in this crazy ass long line for a while where Jason and David get interviewed about their "sex movie".

We all know how much I suck at parties. BUT, I'm getting better I'm proud to say-- especially when you actually know people at these things. I ran into Nicholas McCarthy who I met in LA and who directed one of the midnight movies, The Pact. I can't wait to see it. I love horror. And I love ghost stories. And met Nick's producer Sam. Met Rodney Ascher, director of the Frontier film Room 237. And crazily enough ran into an old student Jamie Moore who's at Sundance making a doc on the Sundance film LUV. I think I heard Mr. Wehling screaming something from across the room at one point. After a few more beers, I'm sure. He'll be the life of the party this week.

I'm sure there's a ton more, but that's all I got for now. Wait for the video in the morning! I'm waking up early for an 8:30am screening of Your Sister's Sister. Also got tickets to (Mark will be so excited) Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie and a Brazilian film I know nothing about Father's Chair.

So far so good!

And word on the street (this one's for you Yen Tan) people LOVE the posters and are eating our buttons up like mad.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Countdown Begins

I’m Ready! I’m Ready! "Kind Of" Checklist:

1) My official Sundance winter coat has been decided. I’m not embarrassed to say I tried on at least 10 different winter coats friends lent me probably 10 times each to determine the fashion to warmth ratio. I decided on the one that doesn’t make me look like a weird marshmallow but will still keep me toasty. Thank you dear husband for suffering through “Does this look okay? What about this? Too puffy? What about this bunchy part near my butt?”

2) “Intern Kevin, I love you. But only in an intern/boss kind of way.” Intern Kevin has created a beast of an itinerary for me. Pie charts, flow charts, calendars, pop up videos … okay, maybe not pop up videos, but with the flood of invites you get (parties, workshops, dinners, drinks, desserts, tennis matches …) the week in Park City was giving me mini panic attacks. So Intern Kevin has organized my life like the bad ass that he is. “Intern Kevin, you are getting one ‘holy shit awesome’ letter of recommendation this semester!”

3) The Target travel aisle and I have become close intimate friends these last few weeks. Together we’ve created “Kat’s Mini Portable Pharmacy”. You name it, I got it: aspirin, aleve, lip balm, hand lotion, hand sanitizer, packages of tissues, Vitamin C, Emergence-C … I will not get sick. I will not get sick. I will not get sick!

4) Almost all of our promotional materials have arrived. We’ll be armed with postcards, posters, buttons, T-shirts, business cards (with special links to the film), regular business cards. If you see us, please take something from us. The more promotional materials we get rid of, the more room in our suitcases for the pot of gold swag that our friends keep telling us you get everywhere at Sundance.

5) Lastly … breathe, Kat. I’m trying to just chill out and enjoy everything from here on out. We’ve worked our butts off leading up to this whole Park City madness, so now I’m ready to just step back and savor every second of it. Just enjoy the people, the new friends, the movies, the beautiful Sundance experience.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Please God

THREE DAYS TO SUNDANCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!