MCN Blogs
Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

Sundance on Ice: The Escape

Sundance Class of 96.jpgPACKING FOR SUNDANCE each year, I tote along a valuable guidebook about the history of the Sundance Festival’s hometown, called “Park City Underfoot.” I leave it on the coffee table of the condo, and no one ever consults it. The first draft of history is more urgent. Who needs backstory when there’s a hailstorm of privileged moments. Still, there’s a wealth of backstory in this mining town, not limited to the past 25 years of the festival or the last decade or so of exurban sprawl. Whenever I pass this cemetery on the edge of town, which is largely populated by children, I think of the movies and hopes and careers that have been interred at festivals past: call this portrait “Sundance Class of 96.”
Joseph Smith’s wilderness is easier to escape now, especially on Sunday morning on the way to the Salt Lake City airport (SLC, tagged on luggage parked in foyers, mud rooms and basements nationwide).
Joseph Smith's wilderness.jpg

And it’s especially easy if you’re being ferried by Town Car.
Escape from Park City (by Town Car).jpg
The packs thin toward the last several days of the festival. Still, writers and reviewers gather to fashion consensus.
Critical consensus.jpg
The swag shacks up and down Main Street are shuttered, the freshly stenciled logos freshly scraped off, such as Hollywood Life(less) House.
Hollywood Life House (after).jpg
Lush, fluffy snow fell for a few hours on Saturday, as this view from inside the hospitality suite.
Outside Hospitality.jpg
Inside hospitality, interviews still. I have no idea who’s parked in the Cowboy Seat.
In the cowboy seat.jpg
Earlier, I saw a geometrically satisfying composition of a newshen and her camerabear against the backdrop of the nearby hills, but didn’t catch them in time: quickly, he turned his bright light on my oh-just-taking-shots-of-the-sky-doh! act.
Quick draw.jpg
If Hollywood is a place where you can die of encouragement, is Park City where you can languish from detours?
Or from simple YOU DO NOT BELONG HERE?
Utah’s not another country: the Burger King stars-‘n’-stripes droop and drape here as well.
From the multiple screens of the “anterior” press tent during the closing night awards, Terrence Howard is natty, speaking fluent Howardese.
Terrence Howard presents.jpg
And Miguel Arteta wears a goofy t-shirt and goofier grin.
Miguel Arteta's ice cream.jpg
Closing night (not)rave.jpgIn the din of the underpopulated after-party, colleague Robert Koehler and I are shouting about So Yong Kim’s prize-winning mood gem In Between Days and move on to Claire Denis’ L’intrus and Hou Hsiao-hsien’s underrated mood piece, Millennium Mambo, when a quartet of women schooled in twirling light up one of the party’s favors, streaking Hou-like neon colors across the drab confines of the tent.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.

Movie City Indie

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon