For most Utah locals, when the Sundance Film Festival is mentioned the first things that come to mind are celebrities and Park City. Though Sundance is a film festival, it’s rarely the first thing people think about when they think of the festival. But for people like me, it’s all about the movies.
Being the film lover that I am, I’m shocked at how many of my friends and acquaintances have asked me, "Have you seen anybody famous?" This shocks me because I’m not driving up to Park City every day hoping to meet some person that the media tells me is famous; I’m not up there to walk up and down Main Street in the freezing cold; I’m up there to see movies that might otherwise never see the light of day. And I’m surprised by how many people don’t go to Sundance for the movies.
For the first time, this year I was given press credentials to the festival and received admittance into any "press and industry" screening. These screenings are not filled so much with reviewing press but with studio executives and key members of other film festivals. And therein lies another shocking fact: I learned that most of those people aren’t there for the love of movies either; they’re there for business.
Some days of the festival I watched four or five movies back to back to back to back to back – for love of film. These people were sitting through the same movie marathon that I was, only they were doing it to make a quick buck on something they had no hand in creating.
Some of these industry people represent studios that distribute certain types of art house pictures. So if they’re watching a movie that half-way through takes a turn toward something they’d never purchase or distribute, they have the audacity walk out of that theater and into one that might be more promising a business prospect.
Now, don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not saying that every industry member or Utah local making his or her way to the festival isn’t a film lover. I’m saying that this year I’m shocked to learn how many people make their way to Park City, in blizzards and single-digit weather, for everything other than what the festival is truly about – film.