Sundance Movie Review #1 (and Icon of the Day) – Beasts of the Southern Wild

In the most brilliant performance of a young child actress I have ever seen Quvenzhane Wallis stole the show with her portrayal of “Hushpuppy”. This film covers some emotional territory related to the trials and tribulations of living in the remote and mostly forgotten outskirts of southern Louisiana. Hushpuppy and her father Wink live in derelict trailers patched with a menagerie of found wood and spare parts. They travel around in the back of an old pickup truck converted into a boat. Hushpuppy has a life most would find unimaginable and unlivable but knowing nothing else her blissful ignorance shines forth in her strength that she unknowingly possesses. Her independence is intertwined with her dichotomous need for her father’s presence. Wallis’ portrayal of Hushpuppy was both playful at times and tear jerking. The resilience of the folks who eek out their living on the fringes of society is captured in a voyeurs perspective of the impoverished but hardy residents of the constantly challenged Louisiana coastal parishes.

As the first film I have seen here at Sundance, I am excited at the potential this crop of films possesses. Last year we had a slew of amazing films one after another. This year I can expect nothing less if not more if “Beasts of the Southern Wild” is any indication of the quality of films that are awaiting the public.

Last but not least I would like to give my icon of the day award to the courageous and talented Quvenzhane Wallis who received a standing ovation on stage after the conclusion of the film. Here she is relaxing after receiving her accolades for her performance.

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Art galleries at Sundance

There are a plethora of art galleries to be seen on Main Street and in Park City. One caught my eye as it will many others.

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This wonderful space houses some of the most beautiful landscape photography you can find. Similar to Peter Lik but with his own stylistic touch. There is a bonus visiting this gallery as well. Downstairs is the original HAL 9000. Hurry up and take a peak before HAL tries to destroy the world again!

Sundance Volunteer party recap

The volunteer party for Sundance was held in the same location at the mountain ski resort but seemed much more crowded this year. Highlights included Stella and Grey Goose flowing freely (though the wait to get some took some patience) and some great free food including some vegetarian options (thanks for thinking of us non meat-eaters). Here are some photo highlights.

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Here’s proof I am actually here.

Icon of the Day – festival day 0

My first daily icon of the day goes to my former associate at Yarrow, Carson Knuth. I first spotted this cat busting out mad dance grooves at the volunteer party last year. Carson brings back his 6’4″ frame to this years party and rocked it out to the fine tunes of DJ Bentley. Here’s a video of him in action.


Carson Knuth Dance Moves

The Digs

So I have checked in to my Sundance sponsored housing. It is far better than I was expecting. We have a living room kitchen and two bathrooms for 3 people. It is cozy and a splendid surprise. Thanks again Sundance Institute for treating your volunteers so well! Now the photos.

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My bed.

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The master bedroom. (Andy is a lucky guy!)

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This is that lucky guy.

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The kitchen is big but empty. We shall take care of that tomorrow with a trip to Fresh Market (old Albertsons)

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Our amazing living room with real fireplace.

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And last but not least the war room aka the dining room.

Where to Get Caffeine

An essential part of festing for both Volunteers and filmgoers is filling up on your favorite choice beverage. There is a Starbucks located up the block from Yarrow. Warning the line gets long here during first weekend. So try the Starbucks inside Fresh Market right nearby or grab an energy drink here at the market. Also Java Cow on main is the spot to see and be seen while drinking a cup of Joe but the wait here can be even longer than the Starbucks. Worth it if you have one of those awesome grub stub vouchers that gets you a free meal. And here is a pic for the first of many caffeine pit stops. Gloves off to soak in the cups warmth.

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Sundance Gear

So you want to know all the swag full-time volunteers get. Here is the lowdown.
1- awesome orange coat that converts into vest made by Kenneth Cole. These things are sure to prevent a hunting disaster or two in the future as well. Thanks mr. Cole for my current body warmth.
2- awesome smart phone friendly gloves made by timberland. it drove me crazy last year taking glove off every time i had to use phone. These bad @ss mittens have two finger capacitive touch and are remarkably easy to use on my iPhone that I am writing this blog post with.
3- brita water bottle with carrabiner. Handy for hydration you bet! It’s funny how dehydrated youcan get in subzero weather. I believe there are filling stations all over. Trust me you want to drink water. Yucky dry lips suck.
4-microfiber scarf similar to last years. Thanks Acura for this warm gift. Someday I will be able to afford buying the car to match.

That’s it for gear. Lots of other goodies too but that’s for another post.

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