Sunday, January 21, 2007

Why I hate Park City

IN order to properly do a film festival you have to have the proper frame of mind. I wasn’t in the proper frame of mine, and it was all the fault of the people of Sundance.

Yeah, I have a chip on my shoulder, I did everything I was supposed to do, and was asked to GO this year, they were positive, and they were sending me all the spam they could. Invitations to a whole bunch of screenings were sent out, and this was after they also told me that my application hadn’t been accepted. This is taunting. They told me, no, they didn’t tall me. They usually don’t even send rejections unless people ask why, and they do it really late, late enough that local hotels make lots of money by refusing to give refunds when FULLY PREPAID reservations are made. Few hotels, anywhere in the world do that, but the Chateau Apres Lodge, which has a dormitory (one of the most expensive youth hostels in the country, but the cheap compared with everything else) has made sure that if something happens a month before you show up, then you’re out hundreds of bucks. That’s why I came, to get some value out of this money.

When Sundance comes to town, the prices quadruple in Park City. A small town with beautiful scenery, and a number of picturesque neighborhoods. I hate the place. It’s not the locals who are particularly obnoxious, but the people who arrive to work at the festival. The state of Utah is very anti-booze and bars are only allowed at private clubs, which charge five bucks “membership fee” to all the tourists who want to get a bite to eat, the rest are permanent “private parties”. We hoi polloi, a position that I now fill, aren’t welcome. Well, we’re welcome on the streets, where crowds of curious tourists crowd around doors where corporate sponsors make sure that the famous are fawned over and properly paid with swag. I got a baseball cap and all the Red Bull I can drink. Whoopie! Better than nothing I guess.

However, the people at Sundance have been dicking around the publicist as well as the public. Most of the publicists are hard working, very nice people, However one (a Canadian) invited me to a screening and when I showed up, there was no ticket. He forgot to inform me. Oops. This happens a lot at Sundance.

This doesn’t mean that everyone treats you like dirt. No, in fact most of the people who aren’t paid to be mean are anyway. The lower a person is on the totem pole is probably nicer than those at the top, something that isn’t always the case elsewhere.

The ticketing for the films is somewhat bizarre. If you are trying to get into a sold out screening (in Sundance, EVERYTHING is sold out in advance) it’s best just to show up when the film starts and there’s an excellent chance that you’ll get in via the waitlist. I tried it that way three times and got in every time. Still, it’s iffy, and if you don’t want to wait hours in the freezing cold, then it’s the only real option.

Slamdance is only in one place, but they’re really packed too. The other counter festivals Xdance and something else I don’t remember the name of, were totally empty. That means the only options are going skiing, which is very expensive, or eating at one of those resturaunts you have to wait days to get into. I should have stayed home.

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