I was supposed to meet up with my friends for the opening night dinner at Sundance in Park City, Utah. My husband and I were thrilled to be included in this event because this is our 4th season living in Park City and shockingly we have only experienced the Sundance Film Festival On Line.
Because of the chaos of the parking, my husband dropped me off and I followed the signs to the upstairs bar. Apparently being newbies we were totally uncool and quite early. My friends hadn’t texted that they had arrived and my husband must have been circling the parking lot so I was on my own.
I grabbed my Dry January club soda and stood at a high top overlooking the stage and dining tables from the balcony bar.
And a man walks up to me.
“Is this your first time here?”
“Yes, we are slumming it, we are guests of our friends who invited us to join their table, how about you?”
“Yes it’s my first time here and I’m really excited.”
“What brings you here, are you on your own?”
“Kind of on my own, my family is in San Fran, but i’m here with a group. I have 3 films premiering.”
“OMG, that’s amazing. Tell me about them.”
And that was that. I was transported into story after story of David Liu’s journey into producing films after a career in finance. He talked about his passions and his projects and how he came to be here at his first Sundance opening night.
And then my husband arrived wondering why I hadn’t answered my phone. But he understood once he joined in. Moments later our friends texted that they were in the bar downstairs (the cooler more happening spot) and I invited David to join us and meet our friends. And so it flowed, organically, without fanfare or pomp, just one person’s story being connected with our own stories all unfolding at Sundance.
It’s the 40th year of Sundance and I have been blown away by what goes on here. I can see why it’s so popular and that Robert Redford’s vision to create a place for writers and artists to present their stories has been such a success. People look like real people at Sundance. They wear snow boots and bulky sweaters. Even our opening night dinner had a dress code of “Mountain Chic.” That meant chill. Flannels and vests and denim.
People at Sundanca are hopeful, wide-eyed, earnest and full of spirit. It’s incredible and gives one great hope for our future generation of artists and thinkers. In a world of sour and sad news this Festival is a bright light.