Saturday, February 03, 2007


Sundance 07: Lilli Carre and the Filmmaker Pecking Order

Some Sundance filmmakers, like Brett Morgen, whose opening-night documentary “Chicago 10,” about the anti-war protests surrounding the 1968 Democratic Party Convention in Chicago, took part in an opening day press conference with Sundance founder Robert Redford. The spotlight was bright and lasting, granting Morgen a level of awareness other filmmakers lacked.
“Chuck & Buck” and “Good Girl” screenwriter Mike White returned to Sundance for his directing debut, the ensemble comedy “Year of the Dog.” His experience was relatively chaos free, complete with a pre-screening dinner party where reporters were invited to chat with White and his cast as long as tape recorders were turned off.
Rory Kennedy, longtime documentary filmmaker and social activist, took part in the traditional Sundance treadmill on behalf of her film “Ghosts of Abu Ghraib,” zipping from screenings to panels and countless interviews throughout Park City, Utah. Still, she enjoyed numerous comforts, including a car service, to make the hectic schedule a lot more tolerable.
My favorite Sundance meet involved filmmaker Lilli Carre, in town in support of her short film “How She Slept at Night” (pictured above). It was late on opening weekend and I was searching for a Wi-Fi signal at festival headquarters. Carre was in need of a place to nap and the hallway couches outside the press office doors worked perfectly for her.
Deadlines kept me from talking much with Carre and her partner before they left to attend a screening. Still, in the few minutes we shared, we discussed the Sundance topic of choice: what movies have you watched; what did you like and what did you hate?
It seemed that Carre was left to fend for herself at Sundance without dinner parties, car services, gift houses or any of the festival pizzazz. She was proof of the cruel truth of pecking orders and the low food chain status of a shorts filmmaker.
On a brighter note, our meet was that rare Sundance moment, a non-scheduled, sponsor-free, completely casual get-together. Lilli Carre was simply looking for a place to snooze but our chance meeting brought back memories of Sundance at its laidback best.

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