Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Sundance 07: Old-Time Park City Means Bar Talk with David Gordon Green and Friends
Late into Sundance, I asked veteran actor Aidan Quinn, in town to support his performance in the enthralling drama "Dark Matter," about a Chinese graduate student who sinks into despair, if the fun and casual comradery of past festivals were gone. He answered with a definite "Yes."
Speaking a day earlier, Picturehouse President Bob Berney agreed, although with the qualification that Sundance was still one of the best things about the independent film business.
Still, for those publicists and buyers, directors and reporters, festival programmers and actors who have enough Sundances under their belts to make comparisons (Sundance 07 was my 14th festival as a journalist), it's difficult not to wax nostalgic.
A burst of old-time Sundance emerged on the festival's second Friday, during an interview with "Snow Angels" director David Gordon Green at one of Park City's more casual bars. Once the tape recorder was turned off and a talk about "Snow Angels" (pictured above) ended, the drinks kept flowing and cigarettes were lit. Craig Zobel, director of the Sundance entry "The Great World of Sound" and a longtime friend of Green's joined the chat (Green is also a producer on his film). Soon, other members of their North Carolina posse gathered around the bar.
Topics shared included festival gossip and guesswork involving closing-night awards. But the majority of the conversation focused on all types of movies, whether loved or loathed.
Two promises were made at the bar. One was to watch Zobel's much-acclaimed "Great World of Sound" on disc soon after returning home and to let him know my thoughts. The other was to fulfill a back-home-from-Sundance tradition and go watch some Hollywood fare as a counter-balance to all the edgy festival films. We agreed on Joe Carnahan's gangster movie "Smokin' Aces" and hoped it would be closer in spirit to "Narc" and less like his sloppy debut "Blood, Guts, Bullets and Octane."
Left unsaid was a third promise, the most important of all.
If the group of us are together at a future Sundance, we end the festival at the same local bar with more drinks and smokes.