Entertainment News: Update From Sundance
Checking In With SD Filmmakers At Park City
Monday, January 23, 2012
KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando checks in with San Diego filmmakers at Sundance.
A pair of films with San Diego connections had premieres at Sundance on Friday. I checked in with the filmmakers to find out how their screenings went.
Over the weekend, I checked in with filmmakers James Vasquez and Destin Cretton to see what they were up to in Utah.
"Right now I'm walking in the snow in Park City," Destin Cretton tells me on his cell phones as he tries not to sound out of breath, "The snow is coming down pretty hard and I'm freezing my butt off."
"Currently, I am at the Salt Lake City airport where it is snowing like crazy, on my way back to San Diego," says James Vasquez.
Vasquez had a whirlwind trip to Sundance, staying in Park City for barely 24 hours. On Friday, the film he produced, "That's What She Said" had its world premiere. Here's the film's director, Carrie Preston, introducing the movie.
"So 7 years ago," she states, "Kelly Overby and I had a dream to put her script on film and I have to say tonight at the world premiere at the Sundance film festival, I feel like I'm still dreaming."
"It was a full house. There were 100 people in the waitlist line," says Vasquez, "It was a really enthusiastic crowd and lots of cheers, lots of laughter. It was fun. Actually the after party was the first time that the entire team had met."
That's because "That's What She Said" was a film made on two coasts. Vasquez, Preston, and Mark Holmes make up the San Diego based company Daisy 3 Pictures. But Preston shot her film in New York City while Vasquez and Holmes produced from their Normal Heights office.
Destin Cretton's film, "I Am Not A Hipster," was shot in San Diego and focused on the indie music scene.
In a scene shot at the KPBS studios last summer, a DJ grills a musician on the air: "Seriously though man why did you pick San Diego, there's a lot of cities with indie music scenes. I hear Austin is nipping at our heels."
"The premiere was really incredible," reports Cretton, "It was a very emotional experience for me. I had to get up and give the opening speech and they told me that the theater was going to be kind of small but there were so many people there it freaked me out. There wasn't an empty seat in the theater."
But Cretton is a Sundance vet, having taken home a best short award in 2009. This year -- for the first time -- he had a feature film screening.
"It is a really different experience coming with a feature," he says, "It feels like there's a lot more pressure cause everybody is coming to the theater specifically just to watch your movie. You can't really hide behind the other 9 short films that are in your block."
Cretton's film also played to a sold out crowd. For the after party, he had San Diego musicians provide something of a concert.
"I think that the band barely made it here," Cretton says, "With a van packed to the brim with their musical equipment but they made it up through the snow... Honestly, that concert was the highlight of my day. It was really special to me to be able to hear those bands play that night and share a little piece of San Diego with the people up here at Park City."
Unlike Cretton, Vasquez was a Sundance neophyte but the festival lived up to all of his expectations: "We've played a lot of festivals with our previous 2 films but this was upping the ante a little bit, there was a red carpet with a lot of press there, the stakes were just a little higher. So you sort of had to be in your toes at all times. But it's also fun... Already we've had several articles written and people talking about it. Just walking around Park City last night, walking around Main Street, people would see our credentials and our "That's What She Said" hats and would stop us and say we want to see that film but we can't get in, do you have extra tickets? So there's a good buzz around it."
"Honestly," Cretton says, "I try not to pay too much attention to buzz cause all that is just so temporary."
What pleases Cretton is that his film is connecting with audiences: "I had a lot of great conversations with people both from the industry and just from people who have come to watch movies who genuinely liked it and connected to the emotions that were being portrayed there, and that makes me more happy than anything."
Both Cretton and Vasquez are fielding calls from all sorts of people these days. They don't know if any of these calls will lead to a distribution deal but for the moment they're just happy to have their films in the spotlight of Sundance.