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By Heidi Van Lier | January 21, 2006

In attempt to get myself as much good press as humanly possible, I will be writing a little daily piece here telling my story, my failures and triumphs, and all the hell and happiness that is my experience with my film “Monday” in Park City this year. Already an outsider, being at Slamdance rather than Sundance, I figure what better way to really seal my outcast status by walking FilmThreat readers through all the mistakes I’m about to make while hiking up and down Main Street.

So here’s what’s been going on so far…

PARK CITY – January 21, 2006 – Arrived in Park City late last night, already hurting from 12 hours of anxiety and highway, and was struck by all the familiar feelings of past years. I’ve been coming here since 94 (don’t do the math), and it’s always the same feeling driving up the mountain pass to Park City – a peaceful painful panic. I have a film here this year (“Monday”), which adds to this exponentially. I had a $99 Short last year as well (Baby Life), but couldn’t attend because I was still on my extended hiatus – ok, I had a baby – ok, hyper-extended hiatus, she’s 3 now.

After the most insane lodging scavenger hunt, I headed to the Slamdance Opening Night party as slowly as one can possibly get anywhere as the streets are now so crowded they have to shut them down, and where trying to find parking is like trying to find parking.

I found parking. But then a local woman threatened “someone” was going to call the parking authorities and that I might get a ticket, or worse, get all my fliers and postcards towed somewhere far away where they wouldn’t be of any use. After losing my Associate Producer, Kurt Hahn, on Main Street for more than an hour I finally got to the already packed party…and there was a fat line.

I called Howie Goldklang on his cell and yelled that I was outside, and once finding Kurt again, Howie took us and six of Kurt’s friends (whom I’d never met) into the party. I may not have pull anywhere else on the planet, but Slamdance will always come outside, pushing past 50 people waiting in line, in a t-shirt, in the freezing cold, and let me and 6 people I don’t know into a party.

People had luckily already heard of the film inside, and a cute young box-office boy informed me that the film has already been selling tix at a really good rate. Big sigh of relief there. This is my biggest concern at the moment, selling out both of my screenings.

Spoke to Peter Baxter (Slamdance Patriarch) who at one point said, after informing me of 20 things I haven’t done yet “I’m not making you worried, am I?” (Or something close to that in loud party speak). He really didn’t need to ask. This is a general theme you’ll find running through my “journal” this week. I don’t care how many times I screened my last film (Chi Girl), or how much great press I got, I still want to play hide and seek with the festival staff when it comes time to do it again – because of the “worried” part. Fortunately my pride takes over and I can’t help but show up just to hear the audience laughing.

But I’m still 5 days from my first screening and already the Park City wave is overwhelming. There’s entirely too much to get done here. I need to sell my film, get press, get some kind of new reps (managers or agents), and get someone to set up one of the 2 other films I want to shoot in Chicago. Not to mention I have about 200 people I haven’t seen in a couple years who may or may not care about me or my work at this point. All this goes from sun-up to 4am EVERY DAY.

Fortunately, my last film has been running on IFC frequently for the last 6 months and there might be 1 or 2 people out there who actually liked it. Keep your fingers crossed that they like the new one too – and that they have money. Lots and lots of money.

After light dancing, telling everyone about the film, listening to helpful volunteers and staff, Kurt and I finally get out onto Main Street on foot. We run into a couple people who can’t remember my name but manage to say the words “Chi Girl” when they see me. They are very kind and seem truly interested in my new little movie and will be attending my screening. And we find my car has not been towed from the place where I moved it (an illegal spot at the Treasure Mountain Inn). And I head back to my frosty condo and a bag of popcorn with a side of insomnia. Great.

My brain is racing. All I want is to sell my cute little movie and make some more. All I want is to sell my cute little movie and make some more.

All I want is – yeah – you get it.

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