First, a word about the weather. Two snow storms in two days and the National Weather Service has issued a storm warning for heavy snow and strong winds from tonight (Thursday) until Sunday! A local weatherman described the situation as a spinning wagon wheel, with us getting hit by spoke after spoke in the form of blizzard like snow. The Kenneth Cole designed uniforms for volunteers this year break with tradition and are white, trimmed in red and black. For the past few years, the uniforms have been black…which fits well with the festival as the locals refer to Sundance attendees as “PIBS” – people in black. The uniforms are very attractive, but will not be nearly warm enough for me given the weather
forecast….guess I will have to add more layers than my usual four.
The festival kicked off with a press conference by Robert Redford and Festival director, John Cooper. Redford is enthusiatic about the festival’s “return to its roots”. In recent years, he said that there were too many celebrities and “marketers”. He hopes that the present economic situation will keep the marketers away and there will be more of a focus on film. The gossip is that Redford has been seething since Paris Hilton showed up last year in a pink snow bunny (yes, literally a bunny) outfit and hijacked all the publicity. Redford discussed his interest in the documentaries and international films and quoted T. S. Eliot “Let’s return to the place where we first started, and see it for the first time.” He noted that he is disappointed that he can only stay around for part of the festival. He has a busy schedule doing post production work on The Conspirator, a film starring Robin Wright Penn that he is producing and directing. Redford was dressed in a western shirt, cowboy boots, and a beret. How Hollywood is that!
In keeping with a more minimal approach, there is no splashy opening night
premiere of one film. Rather, to emphasize the diversity of the festival, there will be three screenings. The first is Howl, one of the buzz films – a biopic about Alan Ginsburg. The second show is a series of short films and the final screening is Restrepo, a documentary about the US Army Second Platoon fighting in Afghanistan.
Some facts: There were 3,724 feature-length films and 6,092 short films submitted for consideration. Of the films selected, 41 countries are represented, including first time entries from Greenland and Estonia.
Tomorrow I work an eight-hour volunteer shift and then hope to catch an evening film, followed by tickets for early morning shows on Saturday and Sunday. Give the anticipated weather, I will have to start out VERY early.
Vickie Kelber is familiar to many as an ex-City councillor as well as one who has served in many volunteer positions including work with Christmas Island Style, the Marco Island Film Festival, Citizens for a Safer Marco, the Marco Island Historical Society, and the Collier County Environmental Services Turtle Monitoring Program. Before establishing permanent residence in Marco Island with her husband George in 1999, for 25 years she was School Psychologist and Director of Special Services for the New Jersey Department of Education.
Vickie currently enjoys travel, photography, and as you can see, is an avid fan of films.