I’m trying not to be repetitive, but this was just another great day at the Sundance Film Festival. Mom and I slept in after our late night, and reheated our leftover Hot Pot (from lunch yesterday) for breakfast. We are staying at the Avenues Hostel in Salt Lake City.
It’s a standard hostel with bunk rooms and public hang out areas. We booked a double private room with an ensuite bathroom…there are a few here. Our room is on the second floor just off the upstairs TV room which made me nervous about noise at first. It hasn’t been an issue, yet, as the other guests seem to abide by the quiet hours. Quite near our room is also the kitchen, so it was very convenient for heating up our soup at breakfast time. The windows from the kitchen have a lovely view of the local ‘avenues’ neighborhood and the mountains; a beautiful scene to awaken too.
The drive up Parley’s canyon to Park city has been a breeze – very quick from here to drive along the foothills near the University of Utah and hook onto I-80 east. Our first program to view today was the Animation Shorts, but we got up to the venue earlier enough that we could make a quick pit stop at the outlet mall where mom wanted to do a bit of shopping. The shorts program was at the Redstone Theater, which isn’t in Park city proper; it is out near the freeway at Kimball Junction so there is plenty of parking right there. Wonderfully convenient. While in line on the way in we met the director of ‘Avocado’s’ – so I got my picture with her. It turned out to be a cute little film about a few moments on a subway – shown from different peoples’ eyes. The animations were neat or wierd or bizzarre or funny. My favorite was the funny “Dr. Breakfast”. Loved it….a guy has his consciousness decide to go on an eating binge around the world leaving his body at home. Well, the local deer befriend and take care of him. It had the audience roaring. Another about a cicada was poiniant – reflection on how the Japanese nuclear reactor meltdown will affect other creatures as well. A few were just to odd and dark to enjoy. Mom was less than impressed and commented that she almost fell asleep a few times. oh well. Later at lunch Tyler agreed with her that animated shorts are crap! Well I enjoyed the branching out into a bit of oddity.
We had lunch at Loco Lizard after picking Tyler up at his place. Rosalee flew home today, sadly, so it was just the three of us. The carne asada was great! Tyler wanted to see if he could get some tickets to other shows at the special Sundance headquarters office so we dropped him off there and went on our own adventure to find a snowshoe trail. Well, I had printed out a few options at home before we left so we followed the directions and found that there was just no parking at the trail. We were on our way to another spot when mom eyed a playground. So, just to get out, mess around, and get mom accustomed to snoeshowing we figured messing at a snowy playground would be fine. Snow had been coming down all afternoon and hasn’t stopped yet…as I type now at 11pm! The playground was a fine place to walk around until we realized it was along a great trail right through town! The mcleod trail follows a creekbed through the neighborhoods on the east side of Park City. Perfect. We ended up having a great time and staying out longer than we expected. By the time we got back to the car we needed to get moving to our evening film.
I found out that one of the sundance parking lots is free after 3pm so we booked it over there – and by ‘booked’ I mean drove slowly in traffic, overshot our turn, got gas, and then finally found it. There are shuttle busses running everywhere, but we chose to walk. Our snowshoeing rejuvinated our need for some outside time…and it was a nice snowy, but cold, night. Bundled we walked the mile or so into town to the New Frontier. This place was cool. New Frontier is a category at Sundance where the programs are integrating film with other art forms like music, visual art, computers, etc… So there is a gallery of smaller programs and exhibits in the New Frontier to walk through an explore in addition to a small intimate theater. We truly enjoyed the first 3-D program called “Evolution” – it was just a giant wall collage of scenes from humanity. In 3-D! Another fun one was Bear 71 – an example of how technology can help people connect with animals more. It’s a huge web-map of all the online animal cams; we were given an ipad to aim at the big map to follow any of the animals. Neat. The New Frontier also has a little cafe/bar. We filled our Sundance water bottles at the ‘Hydration Station’ – free bottled water tanks that are setup all over the festival. After all this we were not sure what to expect from the film we had tickets too. It was Himalaya Song and started at 7:30pm – we got to see the world premier!
Himalaya Song is a film and accompanying live music that follows the story of Anya – a geologist living in Delhi that travels to the Himalaya’s to help handle the effects of global warming. Along the way we learn about the native traditions and beliefs in the mountains and how there is much commonality between India and China. Mom and I were both blown away. It was an amazing show. There would be footage of the mountains or people while the narrator told the story, and between chapters would be a more artistic abstract film while the musicians were the focus. The music was inspiring, too. It was all written specially for the project by the two performers. During the Q & A session at the end we found out about traditional musical instruments from both India and China used during the performance. We were also all given a bag of Special Oolong tea from the area! Amazing. We stayed long enough to give the performers/director a handshake and thank you and then were off. Both mom and I really felt like Himalaya Song was a super well put together and worthwhile production – blending live music with narrative and film made it seem intimate. I guess the small theater did, too. Talking about all this artsy stuff made our walk back to the car very quick.
Before going to the hostel we were in the mood for something sweet. Drove around the ‘not downtown’ parts of Park City to find stuff closed, so a $1 sundae from McDonald fit the bill. We ate in the car in the parking lot. The snow was still coming down in full force, so our drive back to SLC was slow. I-80 was covered in slush and fresh powder; so much I couldn’t see the dotted lines. I’m sure tomorrow all the fresh snow with be gorgeous!