MCN Columnists
Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar

Sundance Dispatch: Good News, Bad News

The good news was, I flew Southwest, where Bags Fly Free!(tm) So I was able to bring two bags. Major bonus, because that meant I could bring more boots! And a stash of food cheaper than it would cost me at The Market Formerly Known As Albertsons. The bad news was, my flight was delayed 90 minutes. The good news was, my ticket was Section B, so I scored a window seat. The bad news was, I was dozing as we landed, we had a rough landing, and I whacked the hell out of my head. It woke me right up, though. Memo to self: bring your travel pillow next time. And, we landed safely, also good news.

The good news is, my bags did not get lost! My boots and Balance Bars are safe. The bad news is, I did not have a shuttle reservation, so I have a long wait for a shuttle to Park City, made longer by a traffic accident that caused a pileup behind it that blocked the road to the airport and prevented shuttles from getting in for a while. At least that’s what they told us, but there were whispers of conspiracy theory abounding.

So there were about 100 people (it felt more like 1,000) packed in the chaotic baggage claim waiting for shuttles, and most of them had reservations which meant they were ahead of me in line. So I amused myself people-watching and listening to various Sundance people try to argue their way to the front of the line-list with variants on the ever-persuasive “Do you know who I am?” and “But I have a film at Sundance!” arguments. The shuttle people in Salt Lake City deal with Sundance people every year and thus are not only unimpressed, but seem to derive some pleasure from saying, “That’s nice, but too bad for you.”

The good news was, though, that although I was going to be arriving too late to pick up my press badge, David very sweetly made the trek over and was able to persuade them to give it to him. And the further good news was, because the fates were smiling on me or the shuttle line boss guy took a shine to me or whatever, I did get on a shuttle sooner than I expected. And because I have done this trip many times now, I was savvy enough to quickly ask the driver if I could grab the shotgun seat so I wasn’t crammed in the back with the 10 poor folks who had to squeeze in around this woman carrying three (THREE!) fur coats and a large Russian fur hat. She also reeked of way-too-expensive perfume, which tripped off an asthma attack for me (thankssomuchforthat), but I fended it off with fresh air and an inhaler.

More good news: I made it to our house in Park City in time to say a quick hello to everyone, unpack my stuff because I hate to live out of a suitcase, and then trek over to a gathering of friends for a heart-filling round of “It’s so good to see you!”s. Sundance is like Winter Camp for film geeks, and my pack of friends here, the ones I care most about, are like extended family, so it is always so good to get here and see everyone I’ve been missing since Toronto.

Also on the good news/bad news front: I heard one very positive impression of Josh Leonard’s The Lie, and one very negative. I love love love the T.C. Boyle New Yorker short story, but when I read it I thought to myself how great it would be with Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. So I absolutely must see it for myself to see what I think of Leonard’s adaptation and the chemistry between him and Jess Weixler (loved her in Teeth and Peter and Vandy).

After getting my soul filled up a bit with all that loveliness, it was time to trek over to the lovely Yarrow Hotel (actually, I scored a ride in an actual CAR and thus avoided the shuttle) with my press badge duly dangling from my neck to make it to two press screenings: Project Nim (awesome, loved it) and Silent House (trippy one-shot horror film based on La Casa Muda, which screened at Cannes last year). Reviews of both coming soon, stay tuned.

One minor glitch (not really “bad news” per se (yet): The press line at the Yarrow was, seriously, the most chaotic I’ve ever seen it at Sundance. Just crazy-crazy. Maybe they weren’t expected so many of us to descend upon them en masse what with the four public screenings or something, but yowza! I was directed and misdirected back-and-forth between two lines for Silent House, but did manage to get in. This is not a complaint about the volunteers, who were doing their level best to keep it all in check and sort things out, but I sure hope they get it all figured out in a hurry or there will be some grumpy-ass press people by tomorrow or so.

But the good news we should all keep in mind in spite of crowded shuttles and disorganized lines? We’re at Sundance! Which means we have the coolest jobs ever and should be grateful non-stop for being paid to be here, am I right? So happy Sundancing, more soon.

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One Response to “Sundance Dispatch: Good News, Bad News”

  1. jennab says:

    Kim, you HAVE to bribe your shuttle driver to stop at the Wild Oats in Kimball Junction; every incarnation of Albertson’s sux!! We usually conspire with the other passengers, each party gives the driver $20, and he gives us about 20 minutes to make the mad dash through the store. Result: MUCH better time in Park City!

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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