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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 Blog 2010- Entry #7

SUNDANCED

The documentary winners are.....Grand Jury Prize for Documentary: Sebastien Junger and Tim Hetherington, Restrepo; World Cinema Jury Prize: Documentary – Mads Brügger, The Red Chapel; Audience Award: U.S. Documentary – Davis Guggenheim, Waiting for Superman; World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary – Lucy Walker, Waste Land; U.S. Directing Award: Documentary – Leon Gast, Smash His Camera; World Cinema Directing Award: Documentary – Christian Frei, Space Tourists; U.S. Documentary Editing Award – Penelope Falk, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work; World Cinema Documentary Editing Award – Joëlle Alexis, A Film Unfinished; Excellence in Cinematography Award: U.S. Documentary – Kirsten Johnson, Laura Poitras, The Oath; World Cinema Cinematography Award: Doc – Kate McCullough and Michael Lavelle, His & Hers; U.S. Documentary Special Jury Prize – Josh Fox, Gasland; World Cinema Doc Special Jury Prize – Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath, Enemies of the People

Congrats to everyone, winners as well as those who competed. Its a triumph to get into the fest in the first place. Best of luck to all the films.

Some final SFF2010 thoughts:

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-When you arrive at Sundance, the first thing you should do is go see a movie—that way you will have an answer to the first question everyone asks you: 'what have you seen?'

-At Sundance one spends 25% of their time waiting for a bus; 25% on a bus; 15% of their time figuring out which bus to take; 15% getting on the wrong bus; and 10% giving up and walking; which leaves 10% for parties, movies, panels, eating, networking and sleeping. Not really, but at times it seems like so.

-Speaking of the buses, I have not been at Sundance for 5 years, but people definitely used to talk more on the shuttles. It was a great way to meet people and get the buzz on which film to see. Could that be because the iPhone was invented in 2007?

-The Joan Rivers movie changed my feelings about her. Going in I didn't really care for her, especially since all her plastic surgery. But the film gave me a greater sense of what makes her go, what drives her at the age of 75 to try and mount a one woman show about her life. I was at the premiere, so that can sway one's feelings about the film, but in talking with others, they had a similar experience—their views of her changed as well.

One of the things I liked best about the film was the access the filmmakers had with Rivers. According to co-director Ricki Stern, the crew usually consisted of herself, and a DP and sound. This provided the film with a raw and immediate feel and gave us many authentic moments. Rivers is savvy of the camera of course, so to get the real moments with her took a lot of shooting and patience on the part of Stern and co-director Annie Sundberg. You have to be patient with anyone, celebrity or otherwise, who is self-conscious in front of the camera, and wait for their guard to go down, and the real person to slip through.

Rivers' Q&A after the film was a standup routine, which was great. Stern and Sundberg got 1 or 2 questions, but otherwise it was all Joan. She is funny! Rumor had it she was going to do some standup at the film's party at The Sundance House on Tuesday night (there was even a table with a mic on the stage), but it never materialized. Too bad.

-I drove home through southeastern Utah, and on down through the 4 Corners, on to Santa Fe. The snow was pretty bad through Provo and Price but let up by Moab. I felt very vindicated when I passed through Monticello, Utah near the Colorado border, and the snow drifts on Main Street were 20 feet high. Good thing I took the other route through Denver and across Wyoming getting up to Sundance. I stopped in a convenience store and they said the storm had lasted 5 days. So I could have been stuck there last week on my way to the fest. The store clerks said another storm was on the way. After checking out the 'Sporting Goods and Flower Shop' next door (a 1-stop shop for the romantic outdoorsman), I hit the road so I could stay ahead of storm.

I ended up getting home around 9:30. Exhausted, Sundanced, Renewed. Ready to get funding for my next project, and keep working with DocuMentors! I'll be writing a more extensive piece on Distribution for the Members Area, as well as Tips about On-line Marketing, so stay tuned for those. Thanks for reading. – Hank

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