By Merle Bertrand | January 24, 2000

Woke up this morning to a Chamber of Commerce snowfall…and the lightly hungover, already fatigued realization that we still had another full week to survive. Jimmy finally made it in after 17 hours of dealing with the airport Gestapo. So, too did resident jack-of-all-trades “Doc” McFadzen after his three day drive in the Misery Loves Company urban assault vehicle packed with promo materials as well as instruments and gear for the upcoming performance at the FT/WILAY party by our soundtrack band The Agency. Today marked my first visit to Slamdance HQ for the filmmakers’ introduction meeting, held in rooms with sweltering temperatures set to rival the bowels of Hell. The Slamdance banner hanging from their headquarters looks like a huge black and white bow tie. (Sounds geeky, but it looks better than it sounds flying defiantly amidst all the omnipresent Sundance street banners.) There, among other things, festival directors Peter Baxter and Dan Mirvish warned filmmakers that anyone caught passing out flyers for their screenings on Main St. will be arrested and fined $2,000, and that the police will shut the fest down. How many articles of the Constitution does THAT violate? Tonight we split up into four factions, each trying to get into different parties, invited or not. The Slamdance party was packed. Forty-five minutes to elbow my way up to the bar for the free vodka. I grabbed two. Everyone else is asleep as I write this, so I’ll get the dirt tomorrow. Until then…
Highlights and Impressions: The streets were noticeably more packed today, probably due to the Slamdance and No Dance openings…There’s an unmistakable sense of underdog camaraderie amongst the Slamdance filmmakers…I’ve never seen such a concentration of mini-DV cameras in my life…heard a harrowing story from an Iranian filmmaker who’d been given a, shall we say, highly thorough strip search by U.S. Customs…also met a very attractive woman who’s seeking funding for a film on New York’s, um, fecal matter…Silliest Moment: Squealing young teenage girls running across the street shrieking that they’d just had their picture taken with Ben Affleck…Most Terrifying Celebrity Sighting: Tammy Fae Baker’s Phyllis Diller imitation at the Slamdance Party. On that pleasant note…

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