Monday, February 2, 2015

How We Sundance

Yesterday marked the end of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and another fine year of fabulousness for the Morningstar clan.

Steve volunteered doing IT for the Fest again this year which means that he worked full-time for two straight weeks making sure the venues had wifi, printers were working, and technology glitches never got in the way of thousands of people enjoying independent cinema. Plus he got a cool jacket out of the deal and got to wear his credentials on his belt like a cool kid (I've been informed that only tools wear creds around their necks. There are a lot of tools in Park City.

We saw 3 movies in this year's Week of Fabulousness:
  1. Shaun the Sheep
  2. Last Days in the Desert
  3. A Walk in the Woods
And there was not a bad film among them! Some may say that the overall quality level of independent film is rising, but I'm going to say that over the past decade we've finally learned how to choose movies from a one-paragraph description and single photo.

Hot tip from the Morningstars: Always avoid films with the words "sexual awakening" in their description. Always.

Film 1 was the world premier (yes, world premier!) of the Shaun the Sheep Movie and we enjoyed the full Sundance experience on this one.

We looked fabulous waiting in line. And we were first in line.

We were given super fabulous Kid's Fest "credentials" that made us feel like a million bucks.

We wore sunglasses inside.

Mission accomplished.

The film was fantastic and if you like the Aardman movies you'll really enjoy Shaun the Sheep when it comes to theaters in April. We won't give you any spoilers, but at one point a claymation animal control officer, pursuing Shaun and company, climbs into a sheep-and-dog-created Trojan horse through what would be it's bung hole and gets stuck. Epic cinema.

One of Aardman's co-founders, Peter Lord, was at the screening and facilitated the most delightful Q&A I've ever attended. Having the normal pretentious film-snob questions replaced by the honest curiosities of kids was so much fun for everybody, and Peter Lord was kind and good-humored with each query.

My favorite questions were:
  • Is it harder to draw a movie or do the clay?
  • Which came first for Shaun, A Close Shave or the Shuan the Sheep Movie? (this was Ben's question and Peter Lord said that he was stumped but if he had to guess he'd say the A Close Shave came first because Shaun looks more mature in the movie)
  • How do they look so big in the movie when they're really so small?
And Peter Lord even brought 2 of the stars of the movie - actual figurines used in the filming! It was such fun.

And adding to the thrill, we happen to see Peter Lord outside the theater and he was kind enough to take a photo with the boys. As you can tell from their faces, this was a major big deal. It's not every day you get to meet a giant of stop motion at the world premier of one of his movies!

After Shaun the Sheep we hit Park City Main Street to take some photos and be seen. Because, let's face it, when you've picked outfits with this much care, tried on every pair of Minnie Mouse and Barbie sunglasses at Walgreens to find just the right look, and have just emerged from the world premier of a major motion picture event, well, the world needs to appreciate it all.

After that we ate some pizza and went home for naps. You can't sustain this level of fabulousness without fuel and rest.

The rest of our Film Festival experience, candidly, paled in comparison to Shaun the Sheep but it was still a lot of fun.

We got to see Ewen McGregor in person at the premier of Last Days in the Desert where he plays... wait for it... both Jesus and Satan. It was actually a surprisingly good movie - very artsy, lots of walking around in the desert.

And our Sundance experience culminated with A Walk in the Woods, Robert Redford's first Sundance movie ever, believe it or not. Based on the Bill Bryson book, Mr. Redford and Nick Nolte made quite the old guy odd couple as they attempted to survive the Appalachian Trail. Very fun. Not Shuan-the-Sheep-fun, but a pleasant way to pass two hours nonetheless.

Here's our summary of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival:

Steve was a total hero and fixed a million IT issues, basically keeping the festival going single-handed (this is my assumption, he's to modest to confirm the truth but I'm sure that's about how it went down).

Steve saw James Franco multiple times.

I saw the stars of 2 of our 3 movies. Admittedly one set was inanimate.

And we looked fabulous.

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