Friday, January 19, 2007
Sundance, Day 1 (1/18/07)
We've arrived! My team and I landed early this morning in Salt Lake City and hit the ground running. First on the agenda ... the festival's opening day news conference with Robert Redford, president and founder of the Sundance Institute.

I had a chance to talk with Redford one-on-one. He spoke passionately about the festival's mission to promote independent filmmaking. He also addressed the growing popularity of "swag" gift suites that sprout up on Main Street in Park City during the festival each year.

Redford believes ambush marketers have their own job to do, and that's OK, but the festival isn't about commercialism or Paris Hilton breezing into town for the parties and festivities (yes, Redford specifically mentioned Paris). He wants people to know Sundance is meant to foster and encourage filmmakers and be a platform for their work, not a platform for freebies.

Redford will only be here in Park City for one day because duty calls. He's off to work on a film with Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise.

After the presser, the festival's opening film, "Chicago 10," had its premiere. The documentary tells the story of the group of Yippies who successfuly disrupted the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. It's told with archival footage and ... animation?!

Between covering these events, we managed to check into our accommodations, hit the Sundance headquarters to get the all-important festival credentials, set up our temporary workspace, and stock up on groceries. We're excited: Nearly 200 films will be screened, and about 50,000 folks are expected to roll into town. It's going to be a busy 11-day festival, but we say "bring it on"!
If you happen to run in to a Jane Clemmons there, tell her I said "hi" and that we really need to catch up...soon.
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