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Established 1995 filmfestivals.com serves and documents relentless the festivals community, offering 92.000 articles of news, free blog profiles and functions to enable festival matchmaking with filmmakers.

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lost in Park City

Greetings from the quiet space below main street known as the digital center. It's peaceful here at 10:00 a.m. but once the sun sets, the v.i.p. lines form , the alcohol flows and the ego's engage it's total carnage.

details so far:

Emporer's Journey: this 84 minute french documentary follows the life cycle (in all it's romance and drama) of the emperor penguin. Filmaker Luc Jaquet spent 14 months on an antarctic iceberg shooting 140 hours of footage (including underwater scenes) with a crew of two people. The Q+A where he told stories of the challenges of beating weather, lonliness and financial problems making this film give new meaning to the term independent. I couldn't help but notice how much the high heeled Angeleno's making their way up icy main street later that day resembled the marine bird 'stars' of this doc.

Juliette Lewis And the Licks: we swindled a couple VIP passes for this show featuring the actors band at Harry O's and I wasn't expecting much. I was wrong. The Licks are a nuclear assault of new york dolls , stooges~style rock and singer Juliette Lewis seems to be posessed by the spirit of GG Allin...amazing show. Kings of Leon followed with their 70's , sludgy rock and were another great surprise but they failed to maintain the excitement Julliette and her band generated.

Parties: the party scene here is a huge part of the festival and every night turns into the pursuit of the coveted space behind the velvet rope and the best gift bag. Alliances are formed, strategies are planned and the game is on. The strangest turn of events happened after our publicist friend failed to get us into the UTA party at Riverhorse Cafe. While we were in line we witnessed a high level executive at the agency turned away by a surly doorman after producing photo i.d. and a business card. If a UTA executive couldn't get in to a party he likely paid for, our chances weren't looking good. It was 2 a.m. , cold, and i was working on two hours sleep , I decided to call it a night.
The search for cabs is another adventure as every night dozens of festival attendee's, drunken snow-boarders and locals battle for a warm ride home. I was out of cash so I braced myself for the contest and hit an atm at the marriot to fund my ride home. As I tried to leave the bank kiosk an overdeveloped muscle brained doorman denied me access to the street and forced me through an exit that led me right into a huge celebrity filled party for some fashion magazine in the crown royal lounge. I've never been informed to my satisfaction why a fashion magazine is present at a festival that celebrates independent film, but, I quickly dialed my friends, filled them in on the loophole and grabbed a Red Bull as my second (third?) wind kicked in. I It was the first time I remember ever been thrown into a party.

Shorts; As a producer of a couple of stars on the short festival circuit I always pay close attention to each years crop of animated shorts. I really believe in the short subject as a seperate and distinct art form and I favor stand alone narrative over something that plays like a pitch for a feature. Chris Landreth's "RYAN" is a blend of documentary and 3D animation that tells the story of every artists biggest fear; losing his mind. I think that this short will be nominated for an Oscar and if there is any integrity in the AMPAS system it will win. Chris' film faces stiff competion from Disney's beautiful tempra paint inspired "Lorenzo" Another stand out short is Shane Ackers post apocalyptic battle for the soul "9" . The characters movements relate the story in such a skilled way this directors world stays with you long after the show ends (more at www.shaneacker.com)

Panels: Micheal Winterbottom held court here yesterday morning at the filmmakers lodge. Micheal is here to promote his latest feature 9 Songs. Consistently taking us to the edge of the humanity of his characters his work always challenges the viewer and the same can be said for 9 Songs his chronicle of sexual behavior that alternates between musical moments , graphic sex and elegant scenes of everyday life. Animation and fantasy were represented at the ' Imaginary Worlds ' panel hosted by cinephile Leanard Maltin. The panel featured a who's who of animation , visual effects and cgi both on the panel and in the audience. Sam Chen (Eternal Gaze), Nirvan Mullick (Box Man) were seen in the small crowd at the Egyptian Theater. Panelists included Dave Mckean and his producer Lisa Henson (daughter of the late Jim Henson) who are in town to present "Mirror Mask' a poetic, ethereal journey to the animated and live action landscape created by Niel Gaiman creator of such notable graphic novel titles titles as "SANDMAN " and "Black Orchid" The venue was the only event I attended that did not sell out and this is likely due to the view of Sundance as an "indie, live action event. The truth is most of the filmmakers represented on this panel fight a much tougher battle for the hearts , minds and wallets of the people who 'greenlight' projects than their dv cam toting , writer - director colleagues. But that makes cgi a little subversive and more appealing to yours truly. The panel brought up a new buzzword created when cgi reaches the edge of its potential and can't quite simulate human actors. The 'uncanny valley' is a term that describes the place we find ourselves when films like Final Fantasy or Polar Express miss the mark and project a certain inhuman creepiness. The panel also explored and showed clips from Spiderman 2, Lord Of the Rings and Lemony Snicket. These huge budget studio films worker bee's;the digital artists and technicians that create these spectacular images, are constantly working on the edge of reality and reinventing cinema .

Slamdance; Sundances poor cousin was started 11 years ago as a response to the studio system co opting the latter festival and alienating the indie-warrior filmmaker it once embraced. This years roster included the documentary "Ringers : Lord of the Fans" and one of the most memorable and surreal moments for me was opening the door to the Treasure Mountain Inn just as the fans (cast?) of this film about the Lord Of The Rings fans posed for a photo in full regalia. The faux - Gandalf was particularly scary and we excused ourselves quietly to get past the freak show and see Rob Stefaniuks Canadian comedy that blew up at this years Toronto Film Festival . "Phil The Alien" . Phil is named when his space craft crashes in the remote forests of northern Canada and he is referred to as a 'filthy alien' by his captor. The recovering alcoholic spaceman is befriended by the strange locals of this eerily familiar northern town . He lives in a beaver lodge with a talking rodent voiced by Canadian Comic Joe Flaherty and emerges from the creek each day to drown his sorrows. The film was preceded by "The Return Of Blakes 7" a british spoof of the 70's sci-fi series of the same name. In this short the spaceship is a volvo and the destination an all night gas station. The actors that portray Gareth and Tim on BBC's 'the office' do a great job of portraying people dedicated to being a little out of synch with reality. Both films were USA premiers .

I highly recommend
OLD BOY, HUSTLE AND FLOW , Through My Thick Glasses (animated short) Sailors Girl (short) The Youth In Us (short) David LaChappelles dance - doc RIZE

Seen around town ; Steve Buscemi, Snoop Dogg, Maggie Gylennhall, Kevin Bacon , Steve Odenkirk, Robert Redford, Patricia Clarkson ...and Michael Bolton (???)
Dane Allan Smith
Festival Ambasador

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Chatelin Bruno
(Filmfestivals.com)

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