Sundancing… I’m an Indie Films Fan

Sundance Film Festival

My wife and I aren’t really sundancing.  If you’re not an Indie Films Fan, you may not be aware of the January event each year in Utah, the Sundance Film Festival.  One fan stated that the Festival should be called “Snowdance” as there wasn’t any sun.  We’ve certainly had our share of snow this season.

Sundance is an experience and there are times you have to dance from foot to foot just to keep warm, especially if you’re waiting in line outside.  The experience can be fun but also frustrating.  I’m not a patient person and waiting in line is my least favorite thing to do.  Each year, the Sundance Institute prints a catalog, 200+ pages, of the do’s and don’ts of the festival as well as descriptions of films by genre and their date, times, and locations.  Thus, the experience begins…..

 

 

  • Review each genre’s films/categories and highlight selections.  We usually make selections from several different categories. Many are not only entertaining but also educational.
    • Drama
    • Documentary
    • Premieres
    • Short Program
  • Pickup Tickets – picking up tickets is usually a wait-in-line event
  • Waiting in line to view a film provides an opportunity to learn where people are from and what films they’ve seen, not to mention if they’ve seen any stars.  One gentleman noted that he had seen Shirley MacLaine… darn, I chose the wrong film
  • View Film
  • Q&A

 

Of course, there are informal activities such as crowd watching.  I watched as a lady almost enter the Men’s Room as I shouted “Lady.”  Stargazing… I have to confess I continue to look but the only stars I’ve seen are those in the sky.  Though, there are reports of many in attendance.   When another patron prides him or herself on seeing a celeb, I’m envious and like I said wonder if I should have selected that film.  Of course, engaging the numerous volunteers in conversation helps with boredom for yourself and the volunteers alike.  I’ve often wondered now why didn’t I volunteer…  they have nice gifts, especially those jackets with “Kenneth Cole” on the back.

 

Dina & Scott
Ticket Stubs

Following a film, there may or may not be a “Question and Answer” period.  It depends if the producers, writers, directors and actors are present for the viewing. I love the Q&A’s.  However, since these individuals are more comfortable behind the camera and actors play a role, they are not always capable of making this entertaining, or even answering questions.  A favorite question references their inspiration. If you’ve read my previous blog post about the film, “Dina,” you know the Q&A after that film was very interesting.     We met Dina in the lobby and she has since become a Facebook friend.  You have to see the film.

 

In addition to seeing “Dina” we saw a Docuseries Showcase of two films.  The first, “Abstract: The Art of Design” followed Christoph Niemann as he designed and illustrated covers for The New Yorker magazine.  The film followed his workday and process from 9 to 6.  The second in the showcase was “Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On.”  The film explores the work of two female porn filmmakers.  A film relative to the Marfa Art Institute in Marfa, Texas called “I Love Dick” focused on a New York couple, one of whom was a “resident fellow” at the Institute.  His wife a filmmaker whose film was accepted then rejected by the Venice Film Festival. She became infatuated with artist, Dick Jarrett, a rancher and a contributor to the Institute.  We felt very voyeuristic and saw enough kinky sex in these last two films until next year.  Like I said I pick the wrong films.

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“Dina” – A Documentary Film Following an Autistic Couple

A Film at the Sundance Film Festival

Each year at the Sundance Film Festival, my wife and I attend at least four films from a very diverse group, drama and comedy to documentaries. Yesterday, we attended “Dina,” a documentary following an autistic couple. When we selected this film, I did not realize that it was a documentary. At first, I was disappointed that it was in this category as I thought from the film description that it would be comedic. Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely humorous moments.

   Throughout the viewing, I had some unanswered questions. Were Dina and Scott actors or were they an actual autistic couple? Could Dina and Scott be actors that were cast in the roles of an autistic couple? I decided they had to be damn good actors if they were. At first, the film moved rather slowly for me, however, it did become more captivating as it approached the end.

When the film concluded, a number of viewers quickly exited. My wife and I however stayed for the “Q & A.” It is always a treat to hear the writers and directors share their inspiration for a film. In addition, Dina and Scott were special guests onstage. They not only revealed much about the film but also their lives. The film was not scripted, but followed the lives of Dina and Scott, an actual autistic couple. In the film, Scott often responded with a grunt in agreement or a verbal “ahuh.” Likewise during the Q&A, he didn’t have much to say. Of course, Dina monopolized the microphone and was very transparent. She shined and called herself a “Diva.”

Dina shared several times that she studied acting, drama, and journalism in college. She also emphasized that she is a national public speaker. Not only was Dina very articulate, but also very inspirational.

The father of one of the directors had been Dina’s teacher. In fact, she had babysit that young man. The father had since passed, but the son stated he had known Dina his entire life. He had become Dina’s mentor.  TaDa! The film was born out of life experience.

Shame on those people who left immediately after the conclusion. They missed so much. Dina and Scott were also in the lobby afterwards. It was our pleasure to tell Dina how much we loved the film and that we find her very inspirational. For the many people who view autism with derision or mockery, shame on you. Take a ruler and smack your hand, better yet your mouth.

My wife and I are ready to see “Dina” again. I encourage you readers to see “Dina.” To Dina and Scott, I say thank you for sharing yourselves and best wishes to you both.