As far as trips to Sundance are concerned, yesterday’s direct flight from Philadelphia to Salt Lake City was entirely without delay or incident. Shocking. Only took 10 years to have a not-so-eventful trip. Then again, there’s always the trip home next week…

While the trip itself was uneventful, the day, as far as Sundance-related info, wasn’t. Catching up, here’s what I just now know, that you probably knew yesterday while I was traveling.

The Westboro Baptist Church crew is coming to Sundance, specifically to protest and picket the premiere of Kevin Smith’s horror film, Red State. In an inspired move, The Harvey Boys (the production company formed by filmmaker Kevin Smith and producer Jon Gordon, named so out of respect for their time working with, and learning from, Harvey Weinstein, and “as a shout-out to an Indie Icon who once said ‘F**k this traditional bullshit, I’ll do it my way…'”) will be peacefully counter-protesting the Westboro Baptist Church protest. You can read the full press release here, but if you’re interested in joining in with the picketing of the picketing, it begins at 6pm at the Eccles Theater on Sunday, January 23, and:

For thirty minutes of fun-filled photo-opportunities, the Harvey Boys will peacefully counter-protest the WBC Eccles Theater Protest. All are welcome.

Wear YOUR dopey sentiments nobody gives a s**t about on a sign of your own making, as you stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the folks who’ve mastered the art of writing utter horseshit on cardboard! BYOS (Bring Your Own Sign)

The scoffing and the mocking will begin sharply at 6pm. Remember: this is a PEACEFUL protest. The only venom you bring is printed on a placard, your only weapon: wit.

Even if you don’t see Red State at the premiere (have you seen the eBay ticket prices), at least you can get some peaceful protesting in.


Everyone always says that Sundance is growing bigger each year, but I didn’t know it had grown all the way to India! One step closer to global domination! From the official press release:

Sundance Institute and Mahindra Group today announced a multifaceted agreement that showcases the commitment to and support of independent cinema around the world both by the Mahindra Group, one of the largest companies in India known throughout the world for its commitment to excellence and to social responsibility, and of the nonprofit Sundance Institute, one of the world’s leading cultural organizations

The collaboration allows for the establishment of the Mumbai Mantra|Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab which shall become an annual event in India, and the Sundance Institute|Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award to be awarded annually at the Sundance Film Festival….

…Under the aegis of the ‘Sundance Institute |Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award’, four visionary filmmakers from around the world will receive a grant, attendance at the Sundance Film Festival for targeted industry meetings, mentoring from Institute staff and creative advisors, participation in a Feature Film Program Lab, and year-round support. This initiative will extend over a three-year period, benefiting 12 awardees. Beginning in 2012, one out of the four directors will be an Indian – a commitment to fulfill Mahindra’s vision to champion a new generation of Indian filmmakers. Recipients of the 2011 Sundance Institute |Mahindra Global Film Making Award will be announced January 25.

Scheduled for Spring 2012, the inaugural Mumbai Mantra|Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab will provide an opportunity for six-to-eight filmmakers from India to develop their works under the guidance of accomplished Creative Advisors in an environment that encourages storytelling at the highest level. Explained Michelle Satter, Director of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program, “This Screenwriters Lab is a natural extension of our international work in support of emerging artists and independent voice. Over the years, the Feature Film Program has partnered with leading film organizations in Latin America, Europe and the Middle East to create Labs for screenwriters with great success.”

My email inbox is full of invites to parties and events that no one will actually let me into when I arrive. It’s a cruel trick, sending an email that’s all “Hey! This amazing thing is happening! We want you to know! RSVP!” and then you do respond and it’s met without either total silence or “I’m sorry, we cannot confirm your RSVP.” Then WHY tell me!?! It feels like something that happens right before a bucket of blood is dumped on my head.

I’ve been doing this gig, or variations on it, for long enough to know that, at Sundance, even when you’re on the list, you’re not necessarily on the list. I’ve been in lines at events watching local-hire bouncers turn people on the list away left and right, while slipping in their friends. I’ve seen well-dressed people (overly well-dressed for freezing cold winter) have screaming fits over getting in to a party that is only marginally related to anything going on at Sundance (in that it’s a concert, and someone on stage said the word “film,” or has seen a film, or something). Me, I came for the movies, so I don’t take rejection quite so hard. When you’re seeing 3-5 flicks a day and then trying to find time to write about what you’re doing, standing in line for a party feels like a majorly inefficient use of your time.

But what do I know? I know Skullcandy is going to be having a concert series at Harry O’s starting tonight. From the official press release:

Skullcandy will be taking over Main Street and making some big noise during the Sundance Film Festival this week as they activate the “Skullcandy Series: 10 Nights at Harry O’s” The headphone accessories giant, born in and headquartered in Park City, will be entertaining Sundance-Goer’s throughout the entire duration of the festival. These events are ticketed and exclusive. Thus far confirmed talent includes:

– Jan 20 – Snoop Dogg with Lil Jon DJ set

– Jan 21 – Ghostland Observatory

– Jan 22 – The Roots and a Tribe Called Quest film debut & surprise performance)

– Jan 25 – Ozomatli and Mix Master Mike

– Jan 26 – Lauryn Hill

– Jan 28 – Kascade

And many more to be announced….

I’ll be heading over to pick up my credentials in a few, and then I’m going to hit Main Street, maybe catch the opening day press conference. We’ll see. Once you’re on Main Street… anything can happen…

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