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.





Hank's Sundance Blog 2010- Entry #5

After having a drink with Ronna Wallace, our rep for Shakespeare Behind Bars, I wandered out to the lobby of the Marriot HQ, and wondered what to do next. As I began to slip into a people-gawking haze, I suddenly recognized someone: Caroline Libresco, Senior Programmer for SFF.  After catching up with her—she had just come from doing an interview for Latin America TV—she asked what I was up to now.

“I was just getting ready to do some blogging,” I said.

“Would you rather go to the HBO party?” she asked.....

The party was held at the Canyons Resort in a 'rustic' bar/restaurant called The Cabin, with pix of past resort guests like Leno, Oprah, Bridges and Baldwin covering the log cabin walls. Trays were circulating with mini taco bowls filled with bloody mary shrimp shots, and once you fought your way thru the crowd toward the bar, you were treated to an all you could eat made-to-order sushi bar.  You could wash that down with the free booze, and then turn to the full buffet with filet mignon. Finally, if you had any room for it, you could finish with a selection from the platters of mini chocolates. Lois Vossen and I just happened to be strategically standing near the kitchen, so we had first dibs on the mousses and tortes. Lois, like any good person, loves chocolate.

While the party was crowded, it wasn't packed like some of these gatherings can be. You could actually have room to talk like an Italian. The partygoers included HBO's Lisa Heller, filmmakers Morgan Spurlock, Rory Kennedy, Liz Garbus, and Lisa Leeman, IDA's Tamara Krinsky, composer Miriam Cutler, editor Kate Amend, as well as a who's who of commissioning editors—Nick Fraser (BBC), Catherine Olson (CBC), Mette Hoffman Meyer (TV2) and Claire Aguilar (ITVS).

As it turns out, all of these CE's were sitting together, digesting the fare. The vibe seemed very casual, so when I saw an open chair across from Nick Fraser, I sat down, and waited to catch his eye. Moments like these don't come along every day, every year, or ever for that matter, and since I did not feel like waiting for the next op, I grabbed the moment.  Soon enough, we were talking about Shakespeare Behind Bars (he helped fund it), and then I pitched him a new project. He asked some questions and gave me some feedback on it, and then we talked about other things, like films we had seen.

Thinking back on it now, I am somewhat giddy with my good luck. I feel very fortunate to have met up with Nick and the others and be in their relaxed company. I am grateful to have run into Caroline and for her invite. Still, the opportunity to find myself at the party, and at the table, came along in part  because I put myself out there—I went to Sundance—and it also came along because of years of work.  All of this combined with the fact that it appeared to be the right moment: I read the vibe of Nick and he seemed open. Plus, I had spent some time prior coming to Sundance thinking about moments like these: if I saw so-and-so, what might I hope to speak to them about, etc.  Luck + Prep + Location + Sushi + Wine.

And now I have something much better to blog about.



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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