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Read Hank and Jilann’s Sundance Film Festival blog,

written as they went through the rollercoaster experience of premiering a film at this world-renown documentary film competition for the first time.

 

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Hank's Sundance Film Fest 2010 Blog - Entry #1

So a few days before leaving for Sundance, I became totally obsessed with the weather...watching the Weather Channel, looking at on-line weather reports, listening to radio updates or cable news stories, as well as asking friends what they had heard. Those LA rain storms (3 of them!) were coming right across my driving route between Santa Fe and Park City. Right smack through northern New Mexico and all of Utah. The last thing I wanted was to end up in some snowbank outside of Moab, so I went on to Google maps again and asked for a different route. I did not like what I found: North to Denver, up to Wyoming and into Utah from the north.  At least 4-5 hours longer, all interstate, lots of trucks. No way! Was it going to be worth it?

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Still as I kept thinking about it—ok, obsessing about it—my gut kept telling me not to drive into the storm, not on the smaller 2 lane highways of southeast Utah, and through the higher elevations/back country avalanche territories between Moab and Park City. Plus the weather in Denver, Cheyenne, and on over and down to Utah was pretty clear.

So I bit the bullet, and left for Denver on Thursday night. I had lots of music and books on tape to listen to, as well as phone calls to make. The weather was fine, and I pulled into Denver after 5 hours of driving. Hit the road at 10 am the next day, and from Denver to Cheyenne was quick. Still it was all north; I had yet to make progress an inch eastward—after 7 hours of driving!

Well, the good news is that I never hit a stitch of weather (well, almost; see below), and a winter driving advisory was on in New Mexico and Utah all day Thursday and Friday. Matter of fact, its still on! The bad news was that Wyoming is wide. Very wide. Yeah, duh, I know. I mean I knew that going in—I knew it was a longer route, I knew it went way out of the way, I knew Wyoming was wide and flat and windy.  But I did it anyways—and I was glad I did, because as of 14 hours of driving over 24 hours, I had not seen a drop of precipitation.

That was until I hit the Utah border, which was of course at nightfall. As I came out of the gas station in Evanston, WY, about 10 minutes from the Utah border, I felt some rain drops on my face. Sure enough, as I headed up over the Wasatch Range and on down into the bowl of Salt Lake, it began to snow until you could not see the road. The only way I could keep going was to trust the trucker in front of me, who was going 10 mph. If he went off the road, then so did I.  But I figured—prayed really—that he had been on this route a few times before, and he would know its twists and turns. Yep, blind faith. I guess I could have pulled off the road, but then you run the risk of getting hit, of it snowing more and more, and you have to drive out in a deeper snow.  Plus, by the time it started to snow really badly, I was headed down hill—which meant sooner or later it would have to stop.  And stop it did—once I hit Salt Lake. 16 hours of driving later.

Wouldn't you know it—its still snowing in Park City—its been snowing all day. Park City has had about 2 feet in the last 48 hours. Hey, but don't knock the weather, as someone once said. Without it we wouldn't have anything to talk about. And without it, I wouldn't have heard so many books on tape.

Btw, its so awesome to be here!  A few hours amidst the buzz on main street, watching a film, seeing old friends...and the drive is all but forgotten...

Stay tuned for my updates on films, panels, and festival buzz over the next week!-- Hank

Also, don't miss DOC TALKS LIVE from Sundance on Monday at 10am PST. We'll be talking to doc filmmakers Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern who have a film in competition - JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK.  REGISTER NOW!

P.S. If you're at Sundance, look for Hank in the DocuMentors ski hat, or pick up a DocuMentors postcard to get the SUNDANCE SPECIAL!! (Special Membership offer)

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