Sundance/Slamdance 2010

Posted by mikehedge on February 10, 2010

Back from Sundance 2010! It was a truly amazing experience.

This year, I decided last minute to drive out to Park City for Slamdance and Sundance. The drive out was a pretty rough experience. At times it was 10mph through thick snow storms. I ended up making it without driving off the road and without needing to put on my chains!

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I made it just in time for the Filmmaker Summit that was being put on by Slamdance, Saskia Wilson-Brown, and Lance Weiler’s Workbook Project. It was great being part of the Summit. Bomb It director, Jon Reiss was there doing a special workshop for Hunter Weeks and Mike Dion’s mountain bike adventure documentary Ride the Divide.

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Every year Dan Mirvish and the other Slamdance people challenge Sundance to a sledding competition. It’s always fun to join in. The group out on the slopes this year was great!

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After the sledding, Slamdance hosts a hottub discussion about indie film. Some really great conversations this year. Filmmaking stories and distribution stories are always great to listen to and learn from when they are being told by people with some incredible expereinces like American Hardcore director, Paul Rachman.


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I got to attend the huge Indieflix/IndieGoGo party, which was way fun. So many great people there including Burden director Mike Lynch, Scilla from Indieflix, Slava and Danae from IindieGoGo, Lance Weiler, and Zak Forsman and the whole Sabi team!

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Since both Lauren Randolph and I (the two greatest jumposhot photographers ever) were both up in Park City at the same time, our flickr friend, Rick decided to make the drive up from Salt Lake and join us for some jumpshots! it was such a huge blast! Rick rocks! Rick has given me a run for the number one jumpshot phtographer in the world status, I better keep shooting!!!

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I got to see many films while in Park City. Some I had tickets for, some I had to hike for hours in the snow to get to the wait list in time to get a ticket, and one film changed my life. Here are some of the films I saw:

Lucky, a documentary about people winning the lottery.

A great documentary called Teenage Paparazzo which follows 13-year old paparazzi named Austin Visschedyk made by Adrian Grenier

Runaways which is about the 1970′s rock and Joan Jett starring Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart.

Grown Up Movie Star, which is about two young teenagers growing up, shot in Canada.

I really wanted to see Katie Aselton’s film The Freebie. I had heard great things about the film, so made sure I had tickets. The film is great! Loved it! A truly great example of an indie film, great story telling, great look, very small budget. Passion project.

Cane Toads 3D!!!! A great documentary about one of Australia’s greatest environmental problems; cane toads.

Gasland Josh Fox’s very important documentary about the hydraulic drilling process called “fracking” check out the trailer

Countdown to Zero a doc about the world’s near nuclear disasters.

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and last but lot least,

my most favorite documentary film I have ever seen:

Lucy Walker’s Waste Land

The main experience I had at Sundance (which was worth the entire cost and time of going) was the film Waste Land. It was directed by a women named Lucy Walker, and it followed a NY artist photographer named Vik Muniz, to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as he did an art project in the world’s largest landfill/garbage dump. The story follows him as he takes photos of some of the people living in the garbage dump. These characters become the main focus of the doc, we learn about who these people are, what their backgrounds are and what they feel about life and about their work.

Vik ends up shooting some portraits of these people. He then brings in a ton of garbage into an art studio, and arranged the garbage as if it was pixels of the photo. He ends up shooting photos of the garbage looking straight down on it from 50 feet up. He takes these photos and makes giant 60 inch prints from them. He then takes some of the people from the garbage dump and heads to a super famous art auction in UK and NY. These prints of garbage end up selling for tens and tens and tens of thousands of dollars. We see the main people crying and transforming, as they realize that their garbage is actually art. Worth a lot of money. They basically have life-changing experiences as they tour world famous museums with the prints, and are doing interviews for major press and media. The money goes back to them and the landfill association. The film ends with a beautiful epilogue telling us what has happened to each of the main characters.

Waste Land is an incredibly powerful doc, it touches people, it makes people cry and it makes people think. It’s not the trash or the money, it’s the emotional experience that the people go through as they transform into a whole new reality about their lives. This is exactly what ATDS has, and is the higher level stuff I talk about in my internal ATDS blog posts.

While watching the film I cried many times. Truly beautiful crying. One because of how the story developed and two because the main message of the doc, is identical to the main message I plan on reaching by the end of ATDS.

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Here is the trailer for Waste Land:

I was lucky enough to be able to join up with Matt Scott and several of his friends. We all stayed together in a condo, saw movies together all week, hung out photowalking, it was really nice getting to know weveryone and I truly enjoyed the adventure, thanks guys!

Here’s a twitter to recap the good times:

Thx for the good times @laurenlemon @dzevans @ddarcyana @mattscott711 @nattie27 You guys made my week super awesome! http://flic.kr/p/7yGzMW 4:08 PM Jan 28th 2010 via web

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While in Park City, I got to meetup with several As The Dust Settles Board of Advisors, including Jeffrey Abramson and Scilla Andreen. Many ideas were shared. I also had great conversations with Chris Paine and with Adrian Belic, about Burning Man and ATDS.

Here’s a twitter that summed up the Sundance part of my trip:

Fun times at @sundancefest @slamdance jumping, photos, parties, films, crying, ideas, people, sledding, parties, long walks in snow, so fun.
5:53 PM Jan 26th 2010 via web

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The drive back from Sundance took me through Reno with Lauren. We stopped off at the Bonneville Salt Flats. (same place that I shot UYUNI.)

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Lauren was part of a Reno art show where she got to display some of her great photo work. At the show, I got to see @caitran @dirtydiana @audreyobscura as well as some other neat Reno Burners

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I stopped by Tahoe for a great day of skiing at Heavenly with Nathan then headed to the SF area to go photowalking with fellow photographer and inspiration of mine Jill Carmel. I then headed over to meet up for dinner with Primal Quest friend and fellow adventurer, Aja Cook

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and that is the end of this adventure =)

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Mike

  1. Tiff Said,

    and all of a sudden I'm back in Colorado, 10 days in to getting rid of everything. Wow.

    Wasteland…amazing. A. Maze. Ing.

    as are your February adventures!

  2. Mike Hedge Said,

    my February adventures? what happened in Feb?

  3. Rick Smith Said,

    Great post Mike. It was kind of you to spend some time with us there. I know you guys were very busy but it made my January!!!

  4. Mike Hedge Said,

    Hey Rick! it was awesome! thanks for coming out!

  5. Tiff Said,

    Did I say Feb? I meant Jan. :)

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