February 14, 2006

Paul’s Final Entry

Category: Pauls Words — ericsoup @ 4:02 am

My final entry here on Sundance. A post script that will try to pick up where I left off for the sake of posterity, buy on the morning of the premiere, cialis Monday (alas, rendered with the knowledge and after-tone of already knowing now, as I did not know then, of The Event of Late Friday Night…on which I will tread—when I arrive at Friday night).

Dear hearts—hear this long last entry with a blithe British accent, as we love our ancestral cousins for the early Blair years, the late Diana years, ‘The Office,’ The Stones, the mother tongue. But most of all for their stiff upper lips—I must set the scene for you. The story goes on, you see. I am now returned to gray and dank New York City, on the eastern coast of America. I sit here at 284 Fifth Ave., floor five, apartment ‘D,’ on my couch, in the night shirt of vintage Italian cotton that Kelly and Steve gifted me for Christmas, eating a piece of pizza from Pete’s just down the block, sipping my way through a Sierra Nevada (so much for detox); it’s ten of eleven, I just returned a while ago from yoga for the first time since before the festival: I am thoroughly home, returned to my environs, and yet I know not what the hell to do? One becomes accustomed to parties every night and screenings every day. And what of the Q&A’s? I’ve a lot A for your Q, but where perchance is the audience? All gone home it seems. Cruel yo-yo. In truth, I was warned the festival would be something of a roller coaster. What no one told me was that the roller coaster would be suspended from a yo-yo.

Ah, but back to Monday…

MONDAY

The day started with an interview for local television. Our cast is a drinking group of individuals, not sure if I’ve mentioned that already. Not a judgment, just a fact. Susan the least of that, but what she lacks in constitution is more than made up for by Russell, Kate and myself. And also with a tradition in the theatre undergirding all four of us and vying for primacy with the crack-of-dawn lifestyle that is the TV/film world, none of us are bona fide morning people, I wouldn’t say. But there we were. The interview went easily enough. I felt we were all a little tense, our first time out as a group. Kate Grant, God bless her generous heart, every time she opened her mouth she led the point back to her appreciation towards me. Kelly felt afterwards Russell was heavy on the ‘you know’s’ but if that was his ‘first nerves’ tick, he got it all out and was as smooth as silk every other time he opened his mouth in interviews and in the Q&A’s. There was one question at one particular Q&A about how he felt about playing a guy who kills a kid and he hit it so far out of the park I doubt that answer has landed yet.

All in all the interview was pretty painless—a good warm up—and on the way out I did a quick thing for some college news station thing and then off to swag it with Sally on Main Street before a 2:30pm Moviefone interview with Russell. We hit some place from Soho with $200 jeans for free and a leather studded belt courtesy of some…’belter’? from LA. And a couple boxes of Godiva chocolates, which I pulled for my family. The interview with Russell went pretty well after we loosened up. We had to ask each other questions fed to us from the prompter. We kind of hit a groove towards the end and it was fun.

Next, Sal and I met up with Kelly for the Participant Party which was a bust. We met Jeff Skol which was great, even if I haven’t spelled his name right. I told him we should be in business together because we want to make the same kind of movies. Al Gore was there and God knows who else. But the place was like a greenhouse tent—cooking—and Sal couldn’t find her contacts so we gathered our bags of booty and bolted soon after arriving.

Kelly and I headed home for a change and just to gather our wits before heading over to the Sundance House to hear MB play. Everyone was there which was great, caught up with my family and the other folks who’d come in from Lynchburg. I felt bad for MB because it was a lounge-y type room with everyone talking and I knew damn well she didn’t know this would be the deal or she wouldn’t have taken the gig. She’s too awesome to play as background but it was quite an alignment of stars to have her there anyway. Shortly thereafter and just before I had to take off for dinner was when my mind started to get blown. My gang from LA and points elsewhere arrived in from the airport and things just started to tilt towards overload. There’s a lot of love wattage that comes off these guys, between us all. We’ve all known each other for upwards of fifteen years and it’s just intense, being in this business together, in this life. A greater group of loved ones one could not ask for. So they started to roll in the lounge and I felt even worse for MB then cause the volume amped up considerably, but I know she was happy to see everyone there—they being her pals too, after all. So we all we were met and quickly and feverishly tried to adjust our vertical holds to contain the insane confluence of place, people and time: there we all were at Sundance.

I dashed and met Kelly, found our driver and were off for our Am-Ex dinner outside of town. Sometime before getting to the festival, our amazing coordinator, Summer Gerard, informed us some AmEx Centurion Club members wanted to host us for dinner before our premiere and allowed as how these folks were loaded and might be potential investor types and really how could we resist? Our driver for the would-have-been brief jaunt there and back was a hoot. Got us lost no less than three times. No idea where he was going. I remained calm throughout, however, actually went to great pains to put him at ease which he seemed really appreciative of. I think I had adjusted to the intensity of the events and my surroundings by this point and felt myself returning to that relatively steely cool place I was in while shooting the movie itself: compartmentalized and running at a super high efficiency level where you don’t dare expend precious energy or emotion on things you can’t change or do anything about.

The dinner was a bust, several of the guest were drunk and rude while I was expounding on my (albeit limited) knowledge of indie film making vis-à-vis our movie, which the lady from AmEx asked me to do in front of the fireplace. My voice was horse and perhaps not as captivating as it has the potential to be at full force. I downed a couple of glasses of wine, afterwards, however. Had a lively conversation with some fellow from New York and later had an odd conversation with some slightly tweaked woman from Minneapolis while shoving down a lamp chop. All in all, it was kind of a motley crew of folks. I was left with the impression that super rich people believe, perhaps rightly so, that they are excused from observing the generally accepted rules of polite behavior which govern decent society and separate us from the less intelligently designed of the species. Whatever. Our driver fetched us and got lost on the way back, naturally, but finally we pulled up to 24 Daly, where my parents were staying and where the pre-premiere party was already in full swing…

As Kelly and I went to open the front door, dad came out by chance. Surprised to see us, he stepped back inside and announced us and this tiny dollhouse of a place, packed with people, erupted into cheers and applause. I thought my head was going to explode. In thirty-five years I’ve never experienced anything close to it. An unfathomable combination of people from every corner of my life, past and present, was within. I just couldn’t contain it. Jason Moore was the first person I saw across the way and his red face was bursting into tears so I climbed into his arms and squeezed as tightly as I could for as long as I could and if there was ever a moment that truly embodied the spirit of coming full circle, this was it. I just can’t even put into words…Alex Perrow Wood in one corner—my high school sweetheart?? I mean, come on. Justin Colvin was there, all seven feet of him. The whole family, the L’burg crew, Steve Carter, Soup, Jeannie, Kate, Russell and Susan, all my guys, Alex Smith and his crew just for oddity sake…Connie Britton…MB and Mark. And then when I thought I couldn’t take any more, MC and Marshall walked through the door!!! My dearest gal pal from NYC who is now hooked up with my oldest friend my home, whose oldest brother is one of the main reason I got into acting in the first place and who ended up marrying my aforementioned high school sweetheart just now standing over in the corner—and all of us standing in the living room of my best friend from college’s house which my parent’s have rented in Park City—ALL HERE BECAUSE THIS LITTLE FREAKING MOVIE I MADE GOT INTO THE SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL!!!! Really, there comes a point. You reach the ledge, and then you have to step back. So. So.

We departed in multiple SUVs and taxis for the racquet club. Sal and I and my folks rode in a sweet heated-seat job the PMK people sent for us. Styling, I must say.

We arrived at the racquet club, did the press line. I got our entire entourage, which was unofficially deemed by the festival volunteers to be the largest of the fest, into the heated tent away from the common rabble, which was great. The energy was kinetic, whatever that word means. More than that word means. Some other word I don’t know or that doesn’t exist yet but that I don’t have time to make up just now. Finally everyone got in and seated. I went over my notes scribbled on the back of the check from the Tai place on Main where I stopped in for a glass of wine to be alone and think that afternoon and where I ran into Steve Carter, Kelly and Bill Ladd, of course. Geoff Gilmore gave me a great and kind intro, which I can’t rightly remember, and then I hit the stage. Other than feeling like my face was buried and/or blocked by the microphone most of the time, I felt pretty good. The truth is I like a microphone and an audience. Go figure and I wound up being an actor. I like being in front of people, I feel incredibly at home and comfortable there. I like talking to people and making them laugh. I like to learn my lines and think my thoughts and then the feeling of kissing it up to God and floating in the moment of bliss and Attention and trusting that the right words will come in the right order and that if you give over to Them and It, the delivery will be right on and Communication and feeling will have transpired. And Connection with loved ones and strangers alike will have been achieved. It’s great. And I think it went right well. My main concern was just wanting to make sure I properly and copiously enough expressed my gratitude to all the people assembled.

The movie started and I sat in the back row with Kelly, Vanja and Steve. For the first few minutes I found myself crouched over on the floor at the far end of the aisle, undercover I guess. Not unusual for me to spend a little adjustment time contorted in a fetal-esque ball when fear strikes. But after the first few scenes I resumed my seat and lived through it. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to watch but I’m glad I did.

The Q&A afterwards was great. I don’t remember much. I know Gabe asked a question and Genevieve asked about the title but I couldn’t see that it was her and gave her kind of a saucy response, which she rightly ribbed me about later. And Anne Heche’s husband, Coley, got the truth-pulling award as he wouldn’t let me off the hook for my pat answer about where the inspiration came from for the story. He was on me and it was good, forced me to get closer to the truth, which is never a bad thing. Apparently it will set you free, in fact.

Great to mix it up with people afterwards. My first experience of being with total strangers who really seemed to get the movie. A couple people in tears, which was mind-blowing and so cool. And then also, what I now know was an ominous presaging of things to come…a reporter from Variety (evil sounding cymbals here) came up and asked how he could get our production notes and our clip reel. He seemed anxious, even enthusiastic. With more time and wisdom, I can see clearly now, dear reader, what was lost on me at that moment: a creature who pleasures itself in drawing blood from another will only seem anxious and enthusiastic when it is about to do so. I could say ‘duh’ now. But dear reader, I was ever so much younger then. I do laugh though at recalling how we were all whispering ‘it’s the guy from Variety!’ And making sure he was swiftly ushered off to just the right person to get just the information and material he needed to write his review. Uh-huh. Anyways, more on that later. We’ve still four sublime days to tick away before The Event of Late Friday Night (more evil sounding cymbals).

Our entire force of folks moved on to the after party at Nacho Mama’s where Margaritas and chips were in abundance. Got to have a few good chats with folks but mostly floated in the ether of the afterglow. Recall speaking with sweet Anne Agar, Cooper’s mother. And a good talk with Jason about the movie. And Ethan, from the LA Gersh office was great and Coley and I talked about the representation of faith in the movie. Later Gabe Coleman presented his brilliant t-shirts which said on the front: ‘Paul Revered’ and then ‘The Forgiven Posse’ underneath, with a goofy picture of me Hank photo shopped from a party at his house last fall. On the back it said, ‘The critics are coming, the critics are coming!’ Truly brilliant. Things wound down in time, I think everyone was spent. Got a scant few words in with MC and Marshall as they were leaving to head back to Salt Lake, an early departure in the a.m.

In several taxis we headed back to the guy’s house, Sally, MB and Mark, Jason, Alex and his gang and the usual suspects. We were joined back there by a few more randoms and at that point I was ready to run into the night. A huge burden had come off, a threshold crossed over, getting the first screening out of the gate. We hit the wine good and hard deep into the night. Sal stayed quite late which was very pleasing, as did Jason. It was pretty amazing, all in all, as it was throughout the several days of my guys’ trip, to be amongst all these friends that had known each other upwards of fifteen years in some cases. Had so much shared history, so much tried and tumultuous water navigated…I’ve been struggling in the last year or so with the advent of my thirty-fifth birthday, reconciling my arrival at what seems to be the corridor towards middle age. It comes on out of nowhere, I say. But something about the week and these days wedged in the middle surrounding the premiere and the confluence of all these people representative of all these years…I think I grew into this age and era for the first time and started to own it for the greatness it suggests in terms of survival and thriving and continuance.

I crashed with Old Man, displaced Steve, god bless his generous soul who procured this great pad to begin with. Begged my press appearances in the ‘morrow as reason for a bed instead of the couch and need not of as it was forced upon my out of kindness.

TUESDAY

After a brief few hours of sleep…took a sublime walk from Deer Valley back to our place on Park. There was still a good wedge of the moon in the sky as I set off just after seven a.m. The sky looked gorgeous and I felt remarkably well and happy for having had so little sleep and so much wine. Adrenaline and love must be a natural purifier. So I stopped by Starbucks, picked up a coffee and headed back in time for a quick shower and change before going over to the 8:30 screening at the Racquet Club. I rattled off a somewhat lackluster intro to the movie, made a joke about the party after the premiere the night before that didn’t really land and then headed to the back row where Vanja was watching again. The Q&A afterwards was rollicking again though. I was more awake by then and the cast joined me and we took some really sharp and pointed questions. It was this morning that Russell so eloquently answered the question about his perspective as a black actor playing this role given the event that takes place in the film. He said, among other things that as far as he was concerned, Ronald had already been executed. If you put an innocent man through what he’d been put through, the state had already taken Ronald’s life. He got quite an applause and the moment was very powerful.

Sharon Lawrence was there and came up afterwards and was really kind and outgoing about the movie. Sally and I took the shuttle back to town and found ourselves on the bus with Roger Ebert. So at this point, I’m still a little reticent about the self-promotion thing so I pass her a card to give to him, which was totally lame because he was sitting right across the aisle from us. So she did. He takes it without much comment and since I was being too lame to say anything or plug my own movie in concert with the card, a little live audio perhaps, the moment passed. Then I decided to call my little sister Cara, just to chat, why at this moment, I don’t know. As we’re talking I overhear Roger say something about wanting to go see Flannel Pajamas—which to be honest I’d heard mixed to not great things about, though I’m sure it’s lovely and no disrespect to Jeff Lipsky who I met and posed for a photo with at some point and who I’m sure is every bit as lovely as his movie. But it got my Irish up because: Why go see his movie and not mine, I thought? But I actually said out loud, in the midst of my conversation with my sister. Both movie’s had been equally touched by the gilded hand of Dramatic Competition selection—why shouldn’t you place the same emphasis of import on seeing my movie, which frankly holds some gravity and aspires to deal with the tumultuous days and hours of the world we’re living in right now, something more substantial than pajamas anyway, no disrespect to romantic comedy. Anyway, this was kind of partially an internal monologue and partially something I was kind of, with increasing volume, saying directly to Roger himself. And damn he didn’t start to engage and ask me about my movie. At which point, I put the phone which was still nominally at my ear with my sister on the other end, in my pocket, and re-upped my urging of Roger to see our movie at the Eccles tomorrow. He seemed convinced it might be worth his time and snapped off a few shots of me and Sal with his camera for his website and we were thrilled.

We got off the bus at Main Street at which point I remembered that I’d left my sister on the phone in my pocket and I called her back and apologized profusely and assured her I had not become ‘that Hollywood guy’ who would do such a thing as drop my phone in my pocket with my sister on the other end just because I had a moment’s chance to pitch my movie to Roger Ebert even though I had done just that. At which point Sharon Lawrence walks up from behind exclaiming to Sally and I how she snapped a picture of Roger photographing me and Sally and how great was that and I said she simply had to send it to us at which point I went to get a card out and proceeded to put my phone back in my pocket again. For a second time. With my sister still on the line. At this point, dear reader, what can I say, other than that I forgot myself. I’m not proud of it, but there it is. I called my sister back and she briefly but magnanimously said that I shouldn’t worry about it; all was forgiven and then she quickly got off the phone.

At noon I had an interview with Back Stage which was great, good questions. I gassed on for pages but then too I had a lot to say. I’m the cover piece for their I think quarterly focus on film supplement magazine in March. Stopped up and had quick chats with Connie and her friend afterwards which great. Very cool to be re-connected with her after several years. She’s a kickin’ lady.

Sal and I went next and met everyone at the Getty Photo shoot and then over to the People magazine shoot—both of which went well and the latter of which included a swag sweep through homeopathic vials for whatever ails you, a keen little mp3 player, another pair of jeans that cost five times as much as the most expensive pair I’ve ever owned…and finally a bottle of Liz Arden age reverser—or something like that. I haven’t tried yet but will follow up regarding. The last photo of the day was wire image and we were all wiped and frowning and the photographer was like, Guys work with me here! And we all busted out laughing and were back.

I skipped the workshop on Creative Independence and headed for the media hub and Park City 1, to meet up with my contacts for this interview on the slopes thing. Basically this rad snowboarding dude whose name totally escapes me right now and I went up and took some runs while he interviewed me about the movie. He was super sweet and we caught the last brilliant block of sun on the top of the mountain. The exhilaration of exiting the lift and seeing the whole valley below and the fresh air and lack of everything to do with the movie and show business was stunning. I’d been told the road to keeping your sanity at Sundance led right up the chairlift and it was true and I regretted I’d not gotten out yet and would not for the rest of the time. But for this hour and half all was made right. Took me no time to get back into the flow of the slope, though I truly felt like Rip Van Winkle awakening after years of absence. Skis have changed, the style of skiing on the altered skis has evolved…all in all I’m ready to get back at it next year for sure.

Tuesday night was Competition dinner, which was a delight. Sat and visited with So and Brad. Maria, Hillary. A sweet woman, Kathleen, from Australia, a doc maker and playwright, came over, had seen the film and we ended up talking with her the whole night. Just the kind of connects you dream of making at a thing like this. And all at once one feels a part of a community, even globally so; like there is someone to look up next time I’m in Melbourne.

Kelly retired, tired, understandably so. I waited in line at the Kodak party for an hour of my life I wish I’d had back. Only because I’d heard there was great swag to be had, a full blown addict at this point. Got all the way the to door and heard the word ‘capacity’ and just junked it. Ran into Soup on the way back down Main Street and we headed over to the Wristcutter’s party at the Queer Lounge. Give it up for all under the great queer umbrella, nobody else’s party the whole week came close (except Gersh’s). Was somehow found by a cute woman named Tatiana who turns out was a producer of WC and got me set up with all access bracelet. At this point again, such a flash point of how all the madness of coordinating people the whole week came together: Mom and dad had been supping with my gang and they all made it over somehow and somehow got on the list, through Hank and CAA, I think I heard. We chatted for a bit and then the folks took off and we mad danced in the next room, had a ball. I met some cool folks, everyone doing interesting things. Courtney, part of Alex’s gang, and I were at it a bit on the dance floor. Then we all headed over back to the man ranch in Deer Valley. Redux. More wine into the night. Steve, again, thanks for the bed.

WEDNESDAY

Another morning walk home, another coffee at Starbucks. Court TV interview was first up, went well I think. Guy seemed to like the movie, got it. Stopped by and sat with Sal, Randi and Rosemarie DeWitt, who is lovely and who came to the screening the next day. Had a sake and a beer. On the way home a Spanish guy in an SUV stopped me asking for directions to the headquarters, which I gave him while also giving him a card for the movie. He said, swell, he was a distributor and he’d try to check it out. I said don’t delay, it’s the hottest ticket in town, or some windy prattle, as I’d gained some confidence in the self-promotion department by then. I gave him my number and said call for tickets.

At the Eccles, we had a brief confab with our gang, Craig and Steve and Alison in the lobby before the screening. They were basically giving us the low down on what the press word as of then was. It was definitely mixed and the cloud Kelly and I had been riding upon since very early in the morning the day after Thanksgiving, descended a little and we got slightly nauseous, to be honest. These guys are all business and there was no padding or shaping and the news was not bad by any means it simply became clear at that point that we were not going to get raves, and what all that meant for me and the film I didn’t really know, I just knew damn well I didn’t feel like going out and introducing it in the state I was in. Which clearly the mother in the dearest of all dear, Alison, saw and she promptly pulled me aside and said, in so many words: this movie is great and that no matter what happened, she would not rest until it got sold and distributed out into the world. It was another of those moments in the life, which at this point, to an embarrassing extent, I felt I was racking up this week. I was really moved, one of those instances of just the right angel at just the right moment stepping in and holding sway over a moment of wavering.

The Eccles screening itself, once we got out of the lobby and into the theatre which was always where I felt most confident, was a high point of sorts, as predicted. We had a near capacity 1000 or so, maybe close to 1100. The place is huge, like my high school auditorium from growing up.

And who was there but Roger Ebert.

To see and feel the movie on this huge screen was unforgettable. John Cooper introduced us and after my opening remarks Kelly and I watched really from the edge of our seats in the balcony. I, of course, never wanted to see the movie on any screen smaller than that afterwards. This time after, just Kate and Russell joined for the Q&A and we got a partial standing ovation, which was one of the coolest things ever. Again, had such a lively bunch of questions and back and forth and people really feeling passionately about the subject matter. I was approached by some students and their facilitator from Biola University to come speak to their filmmaker and theology student group. The head of the Milan FF invited us to show. I saw my Spanish friends in the lobby, they had made it. My aunt and grandmother were there. Nori, a friend of Thomas Golubic’s came up afterwards. And Roger Ebert snapped more photos and commented to Kate that all the questions from the audience afterwards annoyed him because people just can’t handle a movie that makes you think. Which we took to be a ray of light in the search for critical support.

Amazing dinner at the Blind Dog afterwards. MB and Mark joined Kate, Shelby, Vanja, Craig, Steven, Alison, Tom Paul, Steve, Soup, Grandma and Mary and Nancy. Cheese fondue and steak, killer meal.

Tom Paul and Soup joined forces and we met up with my gang on Main Street, Gabe was finishing a birthday dinner and Nikki and Jason were in tow to beat the band. We headed around back to a bar where MB was playing, ran into Connie again, more cocktails and eventually headed over to Deer Valley for a redux x 3. Made a brief pass at angels in the snow with Rob under the trees wrapped in white lights beside the pool out front of the place. A moment I should like to go back to for a moment when I pass from this life on my way to the next. Tom Paul was the first hero of the evening in getting the stereo up and working. Late night dancing again, wine. Ended up in the hot tub across the way. Steve got naked cause you can’t teach an old dog new tricks and because frankly, his cock can hold up to a public viewing, even in the cold weather…and thanks again for the bed.

THURSDAY

Up with the fellas for their departure. Hitching a ride home, a little ways down the road realized I’d lost my phone—angels in the snow perhaps? Hopped out, waved them fond farewell and went back in search to no avail and headed home, another morning walk, this time disconnected from everyone I have ever known, unable to reach for the time or see who tired to get in touch with me the night before or call my sister and put her in my pocket in a moment of fluster…

Some tenseness back at the condo, anxiety running over the lack of press word coming in. No word yet on the posting of the much anticipated Varity write-up. The Hollywood Reporter, nothing. And also would mark the last time I will ever be foolish enough to wait in hopeful anticipation for such write-ups, but we felt were on a roll at that point and were re-constituted and made bold by the overwhelming response we were daily receiving at the screenings. And the Racquet Club that day was no different. Our team seemed pleased at the turn out for this late in the week of the festival. One of the ushers pulled me aside and said she loved the movie. Another lively and inspiring Q&A afterwards. Glen Morshower, an LA actor on ‘24’ came up with his wife after and we had a lovely talk. He had thoughts about the ending which were very valid, re giving us a little hope of the change that might come in Peter’s character but overall he was just effusive and very supportive and complimentary. After Craig, Kel and I shoved down a quick piece of pizza, did a drop by with the Biola group, which I found extremely gratifying. Answered questions about my background and about my thoughts on the religious content in movie. Answered some head on questions I knew I would get sooner or later and it was great to take a ‘dry run’ on them in a relatively low-key environment. Would have loved to stay longer, they were incredibly gracious and really seemed to connect with the movie. A woman who had come up to me at the screening that morning in tears talking about her own need for grace and how she connected with the subject matter of the movie therein and how the movie had changed her life, gave me a hug on the way out. It was one of the greatest moments of my life.

Saw In Between Days, which I liked, had a great deal of beauty in it. I was tired though as was Kel and she left early out of sheer fatigue—we were at a week plus by now and winding down. Went home and had a great meal with Nancy, Kel and Mimi who got in today. New troops, reinforcements, bed early, much needed sleep.

FRIDAY

Saw Wristcutters and thoroughly enjoyed. The Sally Mann doc, as well. Can’t account for much else of the day at this point a week later. Headed down to Salt Lake, hooked up with James Kelly and his pals. Didn’t watch the screening but walked around downtown Salt Lake trying to find a bite, a beer and basketball game, which actually proved something of a challenge in this little town of odd social club laws. Finally settled at the Marriot for just as much and then back to the theatre for another lively Q&A and a packed house. And the great Joe McDougal was in the house with his lady friend, Zan. I hugged him ten or so times and he seemed to really dig on the movie.

Got back to our place just shy of midnight and that’s when Soup found the Variety Review online. It was a mean-spirited thrashing. Nothing against the guy not liking or getting the movie, but he was vicious and the tone of this ‘market review,’ as it’s called, reeked of spurned lover. I had to seriously wonder if I’d slept with this reviewer and abandoned him at some point prior in my life and forgotten about it—not out of the realm of possibility. Though, truthfully, dear reader, I would never sleep with a critic. And on a second and third review the name never rang a bell. And I marvel at how poorly bile weathers the passage of even days, sitting here now some days after having started this (after) blog account of the remainder of our time at Sundance. Even four days ago I was still smarting this review a little and now think it but a receding pinprick overwhelmed by an ocean of the imperturbable. So that’s it: The Event of Late Friday Night. But at the moment at hand, it did take the wind out of all of us. Something of a death settled over the condo and I headed shortly thereafter to bed.

SATURDAY

I stayed in my room in the a.m. and fiddled at the computer I guess, though I have no evidence of work that I can find. I came out of my room finally to see Lief who gave me a hug. And who, let me pause now, dear reader to say, I am very fond of. In the flurry of the blur of ticking off events at the beginning of the long sojourn in PC, I met Lief the first day and forgot to mention it. We hit it off right away and had a great conversation about post modernism and relativism and I realized, through I could barely keep up, this guy was a man of some considerable thought and would be most invigorating to be around. And I regret I hadn’t more time with him during our stay. But he was there in every pinch; book ending the trip on both weekends and was a huge support. In any event, he gave me a hug of support, a rallying of the troops, battening down of the hatches. I didn’t really know what to feel. I suppose there is a great deal of the process at this stage of the journey, as I think I remarked upon earlier, that took on the emotional dimensions in my person as were present during the original shooting of the movie: a certain compartmentalization and forward stature that doesn’t allow, indeed considers indulgent and inefficient, pausing to grieve the un-undoable. I found myself then as still now, operating on, what for me, is a fairly remote plateau of insulation. I may be overstating the point but having overcome the obstacles we had to in order to make this movie…there was no stopping it now.

We rode out to Sundance in a convoy and had a meal at the Foundry Grill, met up with Joe, Regan and his wife, Janis, as well, both lovely people. Stephie and Leslie were there as well, as was my dear agent from LA, Paul Rosicker, who flew literally in and out just for the screening. And we finished with an amazing, full screening, another partial standing ovation and a great final Q&A. We humped back to Salt Lake in a blizzard. Had to hold our breath all the way to Heber, as I was sure we were going to run out of gas. I even ran the Trail Blazer in two-wheel drive when we needed four most just to conserve gas. We finally arrived safe, drove straight up and were dropped off at the awards ceremony, hustled in, downed some Champaign and watched as folks picked up their trophies. Excited for Hillary. I think Kelly wanted us to win something more than I did or expected to. Was glad to have that over—my first awards show. Can’t say much for them. Honestly if you don’t win, it’s kind of just something between you and the cocktails and food buffet waiting afterwards. To which we were soon mercifully delivered.

Hooked up and Steph, Les and co. Kelly and I went in search of a few people we wanted to see. I went over and introduced myself to Terrance Howard, one of the jurors. He was nice and seemed genuine about the movie but reads smooth as silk from a mile at midnight and might have just been playing me. Had a great looking suit on and babe in a fur on his arm. Go Terrance. Had an awkward conversation with Alexander Payne wherein I thanked him for that great piece in Variety a year and change back that Kelly and I used as our inspiration during production. He seemed more interested in getting laid than listening to me and I can’t begrudge him that. He could consider a haircut or at least having it thinned out in the back. Just my opinion. Allen Rudolph was a character, another juror. Couldn’t seem to get his words together about our film, other than to say it was courageous and clearly we had made just the film we wanted to—which he said was the highest compliment available to a filmmaker. Says he. Also said the shooting polarized the jurors beyond repair, which was interesting. It was clearly a difficult position to put him in and it really wasn’t our intention, only that Kelly has worked with and knew him and wanted to say hi. But I found myself unable to pull myself away from watching him somewhat squirm as he tried to sort his words. Is that bad of me?

Found Shelby and was about to read her the Variety review which I’d hand copied and put in my back pocket for inspiration/motivation when a woman came up to me, a producer who had a dock at the fest, and said she been to festival for thirty years, had seen over a dozen movies at this year’s fest, she knew movies, knew people, people were talking and that FORGIVEN was the best film in the festival. Totally unsolicited. And this you see, dear reader, just hours from the end of this great journey exhaustively detailed in the pages above was the epitome of the entire experience that became, has become and I have doubt will be the experience of dealing with this movie we have wrought—FORGIVEN—as it wends its way out into the larger world: I am about to read a transcript of a ‘review’ which describes our movie in so many words as shit, nothing more, when I perfectly sane, credible person of presumably no greater or lesser humanity or soundness of mind and body than said reviewer of said ‘review,’ approaches me from our of the clear fucking blue and says: You’re movie was best movie at the festival. Go figure.

Gave Trevor Groff and John Cooper a hug and headed on our way…and who was heading out the door in front of us with his slim posse…but Ryan Fleck, who sat in front of me on the flight out from NYC oh so many moons ago.

SUNDAY

Shoved all my swag in my bag and we all headed to the airport—Soup, Kelly, Plummy and I—just as we’d arrived. Changed planes in Cincinnati. Soup and I got a slice of pizza and a beer at Wolfgang Pucks and were accosted by a drunken lady at the bar. I was tired by this point and wondering if I had a ‘kick me’ sign on the back of my jacket. We arrived at JFK real late, saw the closed up little burger hamlet where we’d had burgers and beers before our flight out eleven long days before. Soup went the way of Brooklyn in his own cab and Kelly and I headed into the city, crashed at my place, I back on the couch, Plummy went down without much event, as did I, as did we all. And now a week later still, getting back to life, pushing forward with the sale prospects, taking meetings with development people, heading to LA tomorrow to screen and follow up with more people. What a lark, dear reader. What a lark indeed….

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