By Chris J. Russo (doddleNEWS)
With the Sundance festival in full swing, I began my Friday morning with a screening at the MARC Theater, formally known as the Racquetball Club, of the US Dramatic Competition Feature, “Hello I Must Be Going.” A lovely little dark comedy with characters you don’t often see in a film, “Hello” stars Melanie Lynskey who plays a depressed 34-year old recent divorcee who moves back in with her parents to live in their lush Westport home. After a chance encounter with the 17-year old son of her father’s potential new business clients, a romance blossoms and complications ensue. (Look for an upcoming doodle interview with cinematographer Julie Kirkwood on the look of “Hello I Must Be Going.”)
Following the screening, I ran over to the NY Lounge to catch the panel, EMPOWERMENT TOWN HALL: Distribution Trends, moderated by Steven Beer, with industry professionals Matt Dentler, John Reiss, Erick Opeka, Logan Mulvey and Ira Deutchman. Focusing on the latest distribution platforms to get your indie features out in the world and seen by audiences — the panel covered the value of theatrical distribution, the importance of film reviews, VOD, and the swift move to streaming content which is predicted to be one of the major sources entertainment will be consumed.
By now, I was starving and needed some real food instead of power bars, so I headed to Bistro 412 to get a cup of their incredible Three Onion Soup, a favorite of mine over the years. After refueling, checked out the Sundance Channel HQ, an awesome lounge at 268 Main Street, that gives out free coffee, lunches and beverages throughout the day. I walked down to the Utah Film Commission Lounge, a new set up on Main Street for the organization, to visit with the Utah gang. (Look for an upcoming DODDLE interview with Utah Film Commissioner, Marshall Moore who talks about shooting in Utah.)
I then hopped over to the HP Lounge at the Kimball Art Center, I was able to catch up on some emails and blogs before I headed to the AFI Party, which was bustling with AFI alumni, students, filmmakers and industry peeps. Cinematographer Rachel Morrison was on a panel talking about her feature, “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Adventure,” while other DP and AFI alumni Amy Vincent talked with me about how cool it was to be on this year’s US Dramatic Competition jury. Interesting coconut-covered chicken tenders were served along with a fine Pinot. And the highlight for me, was meeting the Founder and CEO of IMDB, Col Needham and IMDB Director Jack Bernstein, whom I chatted with about the incredible impact IMDB has had for people working in production.
This was a brief pitstop on my way to the Library Theater where I actually tried to scalp a ticket for myself to the film. After 10 minutes of asking around, a friendly film-goer handed me an extra ticket (another ticket angel!) she had and I was on my way in to see “Keep The Lights On,” the new film by Ira Sachs. The film chronicles the relationship of two gay men and the ups and downs that inevitably come along with addiction. Sexually charged, and fueled by a meth habit that ultimately destroys the relationship, the film ultimately plays as a morality tale that reinforces that both addiction and recovery are hard roads to travel when it comes to love and intimacy. Both dark in tone and subject, the film ultimately seemed to go on a little too long — and despite it’s own poetic sensibility with dealing with such a roller coaster of emotions — it’s a painful ending we have all seen before.