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The Sundance Journals, Part 1: Settling In

The blog's been quiet for the past week while I've been at the Sundance Film Festival meeting with funders and broadcasters and getting amazing inspiration from the films here. This is the first of three reports from the festival.

Celebrities seen: 1 Tilda Swinton, looking quite fabulous in a brown and black sheath and very high heels at the screening of her film “I Am Love.”

Cebreities who walked by me and I didn’t notice them: Clearly dozens because I keep hearing the young’ins talking about all these people they’ve seen whose names mean nothing to me.

Ounces of vodka imbibed: None, because we’ve only been drinking at public bars where each regulation Utah liquor shot is carefully measured and designed to never ever get you drunk. Sticking to wine for now.

Hello from Sundance!

First of all, I want to send super special thank yous to Carollina, Raquel, Gloria, Matt and all the other amazing donors* who have helped get me here. Thanks for your ongoing support - it means a lot! In the next installment you'll hear all about the fantastic meetings I've been having with potential funders. So...

After 7 years of volunteering for the festival, I’m here as a civilian filmmaker for the first time which means I no longer have to work every day! Yay!

On the other hand, I also no longer have free housing in a chalet with a private bedroom; free admission to all the films I could wait-list myself into; a Kenneth-Cole-designed staff ski jacket; and the intangible but perhaps most important inside scoop on everything happening at the festival that only a network of 1500 volunteers can get you.

But although I am now on the living room couch and have to pay for my own film tickets, the chalet I am sharing with three other people is still lovely and has a hot tub, which for some reason I haven’t yet used. I think this is where you all start shaking your heads and muttering under your breath about how boring I’ve become now that I’m hitched.

I’m sharing the house with the lovely, talented and Canadian Helene Taylor who stars in a fantastic Slamdance short called Monsters Down the Hall, which I saw at my first-ever Slamdance screening. Boy, the Slamdance screening rooms seem tiny after dwelling in the glory that is Sundance! But I guess you can always brag you sold out all your shows. My other housemates are two very charming brothers from NYC who appear to be stalking Rachel Hunter and still haven’t cleaned up the pizza box and Coke can from two days ago. Also, I’m very glad we have girls and boys bathrooms for reasons I’ll leave up to your imagination.

The festival seems emptier this year and there’s a marked decrease in giveaways, although I have to tell you about the two new kids on the block.

L’Oreal has a tent set up right by Main Street doing makeup and hair for anyone who drops by. Now there's a sponsor I can get behind! There is also an army of young women who are very earnestly giving away samples of some new foundation whose key feature is its own tiny roller I kid you not. I haven’t gotten my new hairdo/makeover yet because I never have time to wait around for my turn and am instead rushing off to a film or panel. Clearly my priorities need to be reexamined.

Brita is doing a pretty cool promotion as well. Instead of giving out thousands of teeny little plastic water bottles, they’re giving out big lime green water bottles with a metal hook thingie (carabiner?) to hang it from your bag. All the Sundance theaters and venues have Brita water coolers, so you just fill up whenever you're low so Park City doesn’t fill up with teeny little plastic water bottle garbage.

Sorry, Kenneth Cole, but the staff jackets are butt ugly this year. They’re white with epaulettes and black writing all over them. Some of the volunteers are wearing them inside out showing their gray and red linings. Way cooler, but probably not regulation. I’m sporting my vintage slate grey 2007 jacket, which I thought would be impressive but in fact doesn’t get noticed at all. So I find myself constantly telling people I volunteered for here for seven years and ‘that’s not how we used to do it” sounding totally like some senior citizen talking about how they used to get to school.

Now it’s very late and I’m off to bed. My housemates are still out partying and have threatened to come back and all jump in the hot tub. Luckily my couch is just yards away, so I’m sure to join in the fun. Whether I want to or not.

Good night, I hope...

Tomorrow: My thoughts on the documentary "12th and Delaware," about how the abortion wars play out at one intersection in Ft. Pierce, Florida.

If you want to help us offset some of our travel costs, please consider contributing $10 to our Sundance fund. Information is at the top right corner of the blog's home page.