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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Cat Tales: The Sundance Kid

    I write this to you from the first day in nearly a week where I haven’t been living in my trusty UA hoodie. My usually healthy amount of vanity — an amount that convinces me to get in the shower and change clothes on a daily basis — was recently blown aside in the whirlwind that is Park City, Utah’s Sundance Film Festival.

    Sundance is one of the best-known film festivals in the world and focuses on independent film. It may come as a surprise to some, but “independent” film does not necessarily mean something shot in a buddy’s garage on a camcorder with your neighbors and Rick from the gas station as actors. It simply refers to films that are not a part of the major studio system. So, if we’d like to get technical, “The Hunger Games” and “Twilight” are independent films. “Saw,” “Precious” and “Reservoir Dogs” are some of the big hits that were once Sundance premieres.

    Sundance’s different theaters — some of which include a converted hotel, performing arts center and a library — are spread out across Park City. To access the various locales, and because I didn’t want to slog miles and miles through the snow (actual, respectable amounts of snow and ice, not a Tucson powdering), I had to experience something that Arizonans know even less about than the cold: public transportation.

    The festival has a thorough bus system, specifically implemented for the event, that shuttles people around the city. Though I’m now fairly confident about using certain shuttle lines, to be honest, the trip may have involved several instances of me hurriedly asking knowledgeable volunteers or bus drivers where to get to.

    My most memorable experience, though, came on my final night. As a member of the press, I had the opportunity to attend the “red carpet” — which was gray — of one of the films. I trotted into the room, trusty camera bag in hand, and pretty quickly felt like I was “small time” in a place that felt like “the big time.”

    Milling around were professional photographers and video and interview crews from the likes of the AMC Networks and Access Hollywood. Clutched in my hands was my diminutive Canon T3i, a digital camera that tops out at a few hundred dollars, while surrounding me were camera setups costing tens of thousands that could eat my little guy alive.

    Being hopelessly out of my element, I politely approached a photographer and informed him that I had never done anything like this before; I asked if there were any tips or unspoken rules he could clue me in on. This man, who didn’t need to give me the time of day, proceeded to tell me the ins and outs of how these shoots went. Thanks to him, I felt just a tad less nervous and foolish when the likes of Shailene Woodley (“The Spectacular Now”), Gabourey Sidibe (“Precious”) and Christopher Meloni (“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”) walked through the door.

    I guess what I’m getting at is that we all joke about how, after college, we’ll enter the real world. It’s big and scary and cold and unforgiving and unsympathetic.

    Well, I experienced something of the real world for my career choice (film) for a few days last week. While it was daunting, I feel reenergized, and vindicated, to pursue what I want — and I feel like I just may be able to hold my own. Hopefully, you all can experience something similar.

    Alex Guyton is a guest columnist, and the Arts & Life film reviewer. Follow him @tdwildcatfilm.

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