With my old CalArts classmate David Fain at a Slamdance party


I just went to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. It was my first time, and it was all right. I wasn't there to "shop my projects around", since it's not like there are distributors sitting in chairs lined up and down Main Street. No, I went there because I've been knocking Sundance for years and I thought it was hypocritical to bash it without actually having been there. Also, I wanted to see some of the movies. I wasn't that taken with the festival's programming, but I met a lot of nice folks while waiting in line (many of them, surprisingly, just Salt Lake City movie lovers who trek into town every year to sample the wares) and found some new friends in the people who drove me home from Utah. There were also a lot of interesting film folks with whom I shared a condo (though some of them were a bit too obsessed with parties and their careers). But the best part was simply running into old friends and hanging out with them.

Here's my advice: Attend Sundance once. It's exciting to be there. However, there's no need to go again unless you have actual business there. There's nothing but long lines, celebrity stalkers, more non-Sundance film festivals than you can shake a stick at (even though Sundance rules Park City with an iron fist), and the usual stuff you see in a ski resort town: snow (much of it peed in), overpriced restaurants and little chalets. I suspect there isn't nearly as much "networking" as everybody thinks. The parties are mainly about people trying to a) get in, b) see celebs, and c) score free drinks.

Meanwhile, Marc Wade and I tweaked the Claustrophobia rough cut a bit last Saturday, so I think it's safe to say that I now have a final cut! At least visually. And Marc, who still works at my ex-employer Paramount Pictures, screened the rough cut to 10-12 former coworkers, all of whom enjoyed it. That's encouraging.