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Sundance blog 2: a warm welcome, new shoes and jetlag

  • Sundance

January 2015

Edward Lawrenson and Pia Borg are at the Sundance Film Festival this week to present their short film Abandoned Goods. Ed is also sharing his Sundance diary, and this second instalment is about waking up to an impressive landscape, getting a warm welcome (not to mention new shoes) from the festival, and coping with jetlag.

Ed writes: Friday was the first full day of our Sundance experience, and we’re beginning to find our feet. We arrived late night on Thursday and it wasn’t until morning daylight that we were able to appreciate how impressive the setting is. Park City is surrounded by mountains, and the air is dry, bracing and crystal clear. Behind our hotel is a toothpaste-white slope of a snow run. It’s breathtaking. Perfect weather for skiing.

And promising conditions for film-viewing too: the sheltered intimacy of a cinema seems an especially welcome proposition here, and already I see many screenings are sold out.

We’ll be watching our first film on Friday night; the earlier part of the day was spent getting our accreditation and filmmakers’ welcome pack (including distinctive winterproof coats and shoes – which has the added advantage of making directors identifiable by the shoes they wear).

We also attended a festival brunch that Sundance held for filmmakers from outside the US. A relaxed and welcoming speech from festival director John Cooper underlined Sundance’s international commitment. And he also gave an invaluable tip for filmmakers who might find the experience overwhelming: go see other films.

He followed this speech by asking all the filmmakers to come up to the stage and introduce themselves and their film on mic (which we all did, with varying degrees of enthusiasm and self-consciousness).

It felt good to be included in such a diverse selection, and I later caught up with a few British filmmakers: Louise Osmond, who’s here for the world premiere of her documentary Dark Horse; Mark Cousins, who is presenting his essay film 6 Desires: DH Lawrence in Sardinia and is also serving on the international documentary jury; and William Bishop-Stephens and Christopher Eales, here with their short animation Two Films about Loneliness. All three had their Sundance premieres ahead of them, and were facing the prospect with a mix of trepidation, excitement and jet lag.

About the jet lag: it’s a long flight here, and getting to Park City is not cheap, nor is staying in a ski resort during peak season. So Pia and I are very grateful recipients of British Council Travel Grant Funding for Short Filmmakers, supported by the BFI. The fund (details here) has allowed us to attend a number of festivals in support of Abandoned Goods, and we really appreciate the opportunity to do so. Not only have we been able to get a sense of how the film plays in different cultures with international audiences, travelling with the film has allowed us to meet and talk about the short with other film professionals (curators, journalists and the like). Now we’ve orientated ourselves, we plan to do that in earnest, preparing for our Sundance premiere on Saturday.

You can also read part onepart twopart threepart fourpart five and part six of Ed's Sundance diary.

Follow @British_Film on Twitter to keep up with all of Ed's blogs from Sundance.

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