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Sundance 2020: Whether you’re a first-timer or an old hand, these insider tips will enhance your time in Park City

5 Tips on Getting Around

1: If you drove a car into town, park at your lodging or a park-and-ride location and don’t plan on using your car again until you leave.    
 
2: Allow yourself enough time, and you can rely on the free shuttle service that runs on multiple routes (see the route maps, pages 54 and 55. Calculate how long it should take to get to your destination, then add an hour. You’ll probably use the Theater Loop most often, as it runs between Main Street and the primary venues 
 
3: If your destination isn’t too far, walking may be the fastest way to get there. The 1.2-mile Poison Creek Trail, which runs from the Prospector neighborhood up to Main Street, is a  good  option. Just be sure you wear warm, flat boots with rubber soles. 
 
4: Local taxi companies know shortcuts and routes that avoid the heaviest congestion. 
*Park City Taxi (a.k.a. 649 Taxi) 800.649.8295 pickmeup@parkcitytaxi.com 
*Four Seasons Concierge Transportation 435.657.5306 
*The Driver Provider 800.700.2687 driverprovider.com

5: The rideshare companies you use at home may not be as reliable during Sundance. They will often recruit drivers from Salt Lake City and beyond, who won’t be familiar with local streets. 

2 Ways to Stock Your Fridge

SHOP 
Whole Foods, 6598 N. Landmark Dr.
All the usual suspects, plus a ramen bar, local beer, and seating made from repurposed ski lifts.  


The Market at Park City, 1500 Snow Creek Dr.
Upscale grocery store carrying local products including Red Bicycle Bread. Bonus: The state liquor store is in the same parking lot.  

Fresh Market, 1740 Park Ave.
The closest supermarket to downtown, open until 1 A.M.  

ORDER 
Store 2 Door, store2doorpc.com
Same-day grocery orders (for a late fee), house-made meals, plus alcohol, too.  

All Seasons Grocery, allseasonsgrocery.com
Full-service delivery, groceries to booze, with an affinity for local brands.

Park City Grocery Express, parkcitygroceryexpress.com
Eco-conscious company with a reputation for speedy delivery and attention to detail.  

The Grocery Girls, thegrocerygirls.com
Stocking condos for 17 years; also  offering wine recommendations and snack platters.  

8  Grab-and-Go Lunch Options 

If you’re in Prospector:  
Este Pizzeria, 1781 Sidewinder Dr. 
(pizza by the slice) 
Fairweather, 1270 Iron Horse Dr.
(organic and vegan sandwiches) 

If you’re on Main Street:
Atticus, 738 Main St.
(pastries and coffee) 
Riverhorse Provisions, 221 Main St. 
(upscale breakfast sandwiches and bowls) 
Main Street Deli, 525 Main St.
(Park City’s best sandwiches) 

If you’re in Kimball Junction:
Vessel Kitchen, 1784 Uinta Way
(shakshuka and flatbread tacos) 
Maxwells, 1456 Newpark Blvd.
(more pizza by the slice)

If you’re in Thaynes Canyon:  
Element, 1400 Snow Creek Dr.
(inventive organic and vegan fare) 

6  Local Tippling Tidbits

1: Bars and restaurants sell alcohol every day of the week to those over 21. If you’re in a restaurant you’ll need to order food with that drink.

2: Mixed drinks might seem less potent than back home; bartenders must use a device that limits the amount of booze to 1.5 oz. per drink.

3: Utah’s old 4% percent alcohol beer law has been overturned and 5% beer is now the norm. You can buy it at most grocery and convenience stores.

4: There are several state liquor stores in Park City—a small one in Old Town (460 Swede Alley), the motherlode (1550 Snow Creek Dr.), and another at Kimball Junction (1612 Ute Blvd.). All are closed on Sundays and holidays. Some hotels have their own package agencies. If you want a bottle of wine on a Sunday, try Old Town Cellars (890 Main St.).

5: Looking for local suds? Head to Wasatch Brewery (250 Main St.) for a bottle of Polygamy Porter, or Squatters (1900 Park Ave.), where Hells’ Keep Belgian Golden has snapped up a bunch of awards.

6: Utah’s DUI limit is 0.05 blood alcohol level, the strictest of any state.

Sundance 2020: How Park City’s altitude might impact your health, and what to do about it

Got a headache? Feel exhausted? Not sleeping well? For most Sundancers, the culprits are maximal partying and minimal rest. But for visitors coming from sea level (hello, New York and L.A.), altitude might be equally responsible. There’s less oxygen in the air at higher elevations, which can result in oxygen deprivation. For help, we spoke with Dr. Michael Kagen, a local concierge physician whose number is on speed-dial with several Park City resorts.

Q: How serious a problem is altitude sickness in Park City?

Dr. K: Although people can start having symptoms at 6,500 feet, Park City’s base is low enough that we only see mild altitude sickness symptoms. The highest resort in Park City (Deer Valley) is at 8,300 feet, so people aren’t sleeping at an altitude that would cause severe altitude sickness.

Q: What are the general symptoms?

Dr. K: We tend to see only mild symptoms here: dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, lack of energy, sleep problems. Severe cases might involve nausea and vomiting. Symptoms generally commence between 12 and 24 hours of arrival, and people start to acclimate within a day or two. Symptoms are generally gone by day three.

Q: Who is most susceptible?

Dr. K: Age, sex and general health don’t seem to make a difference, but people with lung or heart disease should avoid high altitudes. Visitors who live at lower elevations are susceptible, and people who’ve have altitude sickness previously are at a higher risk.

Q: What can visitors do to avoid it?

Dr. K: The biggest thing is giving your body time to adjust. Don’t exert yourself for the first 24 hours. Don’t drink too much alcohol — a glass of wine is fine, but don’t go too hard. And stay hydrated.

Q: When should you seek medical help?

Dr. K: Anytime you are concerned and don’t like the way you feel, speak to your regular doctor. You may think that whatever you’re suffering from has
to do with the altitude, but there may be something else going on.

Q: What is your general treatment?

Dr. K: Acetazolamide (Diamox) and dexamethasone are both used to help the body adjust more quickly. I don’t prescribe either of them a whole lot—mostly before a guest arrives, and at first when they get here. Overall the treatment is patient-specific, and can involve resting, drinking water, supplemental oxygen, or descending to a lower level. It’s very rare that a visitor has to shorten a stay, unless they have a lung or heart condition.

Q: What about visitors having sleep problems?

Dr. K: This is a really common question. People wake up with their heart pounding. First, stay away from respiratory depressants such as alcohol, Barbituates, or tranquilizers — they can be dangerous if you’re low on oxygen. Lower air pressure at higher altitude means you are getting less oxygen, and respiratory depressants will worsen the problem. We often do a sleep assessment to see what is happening.

Q: Overall, what’s your best advice for Sundance-goers who want to stay healthy?

Dr. K: Stay hydrated and avoid strenuous physical activity. And stay hydrated!

Sundance 2020: Sundance Institute execs, staffers, and volunteers share unforgettable moments from festivals over the years

Betsy Wallace 
CFO and Managing Director, Sundance Institute 

During SFF 2018 we showed the documentary “RBG.” I was so excited to hear Ruth Bader Ginsberg was going to be on a panel and I tried every avenue to get a ticket. But to no avail! I whined to anyone that would listen. A day later, after our early morning Festival Operations meeting, my colleague Tina Graham leaned over and whispered that RBG was in the room. I thought Tina was tormenting me. All of a sudden, this wonderful older woman wearing oversized sunglasses floated past and asked for a cup of coffee and a breakfast burrito. We didn’t know whether to curtsy, salute, or shake her hand. What a glorious morning that was for me…to actually meet RBG! 
 
Charlie Sextro 
Senior Programmer, Sundance Film Festival 

The most electric screening I’ve attended was the “secret” world premiere screening of “Get Out” in 2017. Because I screen most of the program in rough-cut form at home by myself, I’ve never been more jealous of an audience — they were going to see such an incredible movie for the first time in that exciting environment. The crowd went crazy.  
 
Alyssa Ludwig 
Artist Relations Liaison, Sundance Institute 

In 2017 we screened “The Force” and the film’s sound designer, James LeBrecht, was in attendance at the Prospector Theater. Jim uses a power chair and the only way he could access the stage was through a side door, which was blocked by 2 feet of snow. I had to relay the news to Jim and the film team that he wouldn’t be able to join them onstage for the Q&A. I left the screening and later received a call from the theater manager explaining that he had recruited the help of the Prospector Hotel staff: They shoveled the sidewalk and the entire pile of snow blocking the door so Jim could go around the building and enter onstage.   

Rachel “Cola” Engel 
Theater Manager, Sundance Film Festival  

The weekend prior to Sundance 2012, the Green Bay Packers had gotten knocked out of the NFL playoffs. “Beasts of The Southern Wild” was the film with all the buzz that year and the evening it was screening I went to see how the lines were shaping up. While doing so, I overheard a group of guys talking about [running back] Ryan Grant. I figured they were maybe discussing the recent loss or someone else also named Ryan Grant. But that changed when a gentleman gently stopped me with his hand on my shoulder.  
“Is that a Brewers shirt you’re wearing?” 
“Yeah.” 
“Are you from Wisconsin?” 
“Yeah.” 
“Are you a Packers fan?” 
“Yeah.” 
“Hi, I’m Ryan Grant, running back for the Green Bay Packers.” 
I think my jaw literally hit the ground as I shook hands with him. He and his buddies had to waitlist for the show — fortunately, we got them seated. Whew! 

John Cooper 
Director, Sundance Film Festival  

One of my favorite moments was very early in my career and a time I learned one of my most important lessons: Never underestimate your audience. It was a midnight screening in the Egyptian and we had programmed a wild film called “Vegas in Space,” a campy drag extravaganza. We sat in a bar on Main Street killing time, palms sweating until 12:00 when we were sure no one was going to be waiting at the theater. When we arrived, the lobby
was packed and electric…and yes there were many men in dresses from all over the western states! It was a great night. 
Also notable: Anna Wintour, Tammy Faye, Joan Rivers, Shirley MacLaine, Viola Davis, and Ruth Bader Ginsberg, to name just a few of the incredibly talented icons I have met…in and out of dresses. 
 
Rosie Wong 
Director, Industry Relations, Sundance Institute 

We’re always told not to take pictures of the talent. I broke that rule once. “Damsel” was premiering at the Eccles in 2018 and Daisy, the miniature horse from the film, walked the press line. Sadly, I missed it, but then she came back into the building’s rear entrance for the Q&A. I’ve never seen a more excited group of staff and volunteers (myself included) as we got to pet her, brush her, and take all the photos we wanted! I started crying, I was so happy.  

Sari Navarro 
Coordinator, Sundance Industry Office 

Two years ago, I went to a film’s after party at the invitation of a friend who had worked on the film. The DJ was killing it, playing jam after jam, and I was really enjoying the party, dancing the whole night. At some point the host asked us to give it up to the DJ. It was Idris Elba. 
 
Sara Mendoza 
Volunteer/Greeter, Sundance Film Festival  

Another volunteer and I decided that the best way to greet people for Penny Lane’s film “Hail Satan?” was, of course, to yell, “Hail Satan!” The reactions from the crowd were great: people yelling it back, making devil horns with their hands, giving us high-fives. But the most memorable was a woman who walked past and said “I’ll never hail Satan.” As the film was exiting the same woman walked past us and said, “I still won’t
hail him, but I guess he’s not so bad.”
All hail to the power of film! 
 
Heidi Zwicker 
Senior Programmer, Sundance Film Festival 

Last year, I was lucky enough to introduce the world premiere of Minhal Baig’s beautiful film, “Hala.” Just after the screening, she Facetimed her mom to tell her — for the first time — that she had made a film, and held up the phone so the entire audience could wave hello!  Standing beside her on stage for that emotional, celebratory moment is an incredibly special Sundance memory. 
 
Ross Richey 
Coordinator, Accounts Receivable and Revenue, Sundance Institute 
 
One year while assisting Customer Support, I took a call from somebody upset that the film “Infinitely Polar Bear” was waitlist-only. Looking at alternative options, I hyped a film that seemed to fit their taste and had two seats open for the premiere, which they reluctantly accepted. That film was “Whiplash,” which ended up winning the festival’s Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award, being a Best Picture nominee, and holding spot #36 on IMDB’s Top 250 films of all-time list.
I’m still proud of that recommendation! 
 
Andy Hecht 
Production Services Manager, Sundance Institute  

There is one theme that underlies all the classic memories I have of
the Sundance Film Festival. Whether that memory is of movies, venues, prevailing over trials and tribulations, or social gatherings after hours, it is
the people — the staff and volunteers — that make all the memories I am happy to have.  

Sundance Film Festival Guide 2020

Adventure seekers: Park City activities outside Sundance

When you’ve got a few hours to kill between screenings, why not take advantage of visiting a town that’s considered a winter paradise by both Olympians and billionaires? In addition to housing two of the country’s top ski resorts, Park City has other outdoor activities from mild to wild; quick intermissions to all- day undertakings.

If you’ve got most of a day

Even if you couldn’t identify a cross-country ski at a dozen paces, you can spend a glorious day sliding across well-groomed trails. Book a guided tour leaving from White Pine Nordic Center (just a few minutes’ drive from Old Town), and you’ll be contacted in advance to see what kind of excursion you’d like: a nice-and-easy glide through the winter scenery, or a workout you’ll be feeling for days. No need to bring any equipment of your own; all you need are warm boots and the right clothing (you’ll work up a sweat, so think layers). And don’t forget your sunglasses.

If you’ve got a morning

For those who like their thrills fast and scenery unspoiled, snowmobiling could be just the ticket.www.rockymtnoutfitters.com/utah-snowmobile-tours will pick you up at your resort, drive you to a private 9,000-acre backcountry ranch, and let ‘er rip — after, of course, you’ve been properly briefed on how to operate your two-person Ski-Doo. If you haven’t packed appropriate duds, no worries — they rent powder jumpsuits and boots, and the helmets are free.

If you’ve got a few hours

For a kid, backyard sledding is one of the joys of winter. Kick it up a major notch with tubing at the Soldier Hollow

Nordic Center, about a 30-minute drive south from Park City in Midway. The 1,200-foot sliding lanes are groomed and fast, and lift service gets you to the top without any huffing or puffing. If you don’t stop for too many pictures in the shadow of Mt. Timpanogos, you should be able to get around 10 runs in during a two-hour session. It’s hard to beat for snow-in-the-face, boots-in-the- air good times.

Sessions sell out, so reserve in advance at utaholympiclegacy.org/product/winter-tubing.

If you’ve got 90 minutes

Most of us will never make it to an Olympics, even as a spectator. But you can get a good feel for the event’s pomp and spectacle by spending an hour or more at the Utah Olympic Park off S.R. 224 just outside of Kimball Junction, where the 2002 Winter Games’ ski jump, bobsled, and luge competitions were held. A free museum features plenty of videos, simulators (virtual ski jump!), and hands-on displays; don’t leave without posing for a picture with the Olympic Torch. If your timing is right, stick around to watch Olympians in training — the true definition of awesome.

Director’s cut: programming director Kim Yutani previews this year’s buzziest dramas and hottest documentaries

With 10 years of programming under her belt, Kim Yutani knows a thing or two about what clicks with a Sundance audience. In her new role as director of programming, she talks about this year’s conversation-starting dramas, controversial documentaries, and Mountbatten, her aide-de-camp.

Q: Which films do you feel will produce the most buzz around the industry?

A: Documentaries should generate a lot of conversation, especially the ones that focus on controversial people — Harvey Weinstein in “Untouchable” is a prime example. “Where’s My Roy Cohn” should be interesting — he’s a fascinating character, and it couldn’t be more timely. And then there’s “Out for Blood in Silicon Valley,” about Elizabeth Holmes — she’ll be on people’s minds.

Q: What are the most surprising performances?

A: One is Zac Efron as Ted Bundy. It’s a different look at Bundy, told from the perspective of his girlfriend. He comes off as very charming and seductive, and people will see a different side of Zac Efron. We can’t stop talking about Annette Bening playing Senator Diane Feinstein — yesterday a group was talking about her performance as Oscar material. And Emma Thompson is amazing as a talk show host in “Late Night” — the role is so funny and sophisticated.

Q: Can you point to any new talents with breakthrough performances?

A: Discovering people is one of the things we love most about programming. Ashton Sanders isn’t a brand-new discovery, but “Native Son” is a breakout film, and he is so good in it. Awkwafina isn’t exactly a new name either, but you see a very different side of her in “The Farewell.” And somebody incredible you’ve never heard of is Tiffany Chu, who is in “Ms. Purple.” Sundance is going to be a big moment for her.

Q: What new directors should we be keeping an eye on?

A: Certainly Makoto Nagahisa, who directed “We Are Little Zombies.” His short won the Grand Jury Prize in 2017. I’ve never seen anything quite like this film. It’s masterfully crafted, funny, and a complete sensory overload—a lot like being in Tokyo. Also an incredible young woman, Pippa Bianco, who took part in our labs. Her first feature is “Share,” and she’s looking ahead at a long career.

Q: Which films most wowed you with their sheer inventiveness?

A: I’d look at the “Next” section of the festival, which is devoted to inventive and groundbreaking work. There are so many, but I’ll mention Alistair Banks Griffin’s “The Wolf Hour,” which is set in a single room. Naomi Watts gives a very internal, very affecting performance. And “The Sound of Silence” is a love story set in a distinct world that is so inventive in its use of sound. It’s low-key, subtle, beautifully crafted — I really want people to see this one.

Q: Did a theme emerge in the documentary programs?

A: We try not to program to themes, but this year we noticed a lot of films are looking at pursuing truth; probably a sign of the times. I think there’s a strand of journalism in these films — searching for the truth and then contextualizing what’s happening. We’ve got films about journalists — “Mike Wallace Is Here” — and whistleblowers who can no longer keep the truth within them. I’m thinking about “Official Secrets,” “Untouchable;” “Out for Blood.”

Q: What makes you most proud about this year’s lineup?

A: I’ve always been attracted to international films, and have invested a lot of work in building relationships and making them as important [here] as U.S. films. This year I feel like we’re seeing the fruits of our labor. It’s a turning point for Sundance and international films. I can’t take credit for it, because it’s a group effort, but I’m also really proud of the fact that, when you look at the program, you see a lot of female filmmakers; the most women we’ve had directing films in a very long time. They are taking risks and producing some of the most interesting work out there.

Q: What’s your strategy for getting through the festival with your health and sanity intact?

A: That is the question of the century! It’s been a big shift for me, transitioning into director of programming. But at the same time I’ve been part of the team for almost 10 years. My familiarity with the process has prepared me well — also the fact that I share the work with a great group of programmers. Beyond that, my cat, Mountbatten, watches every movie with me, and helps me through
it all. He’s a little more opinionated than I am. If he doesn’t like something, he gets up and leaves.

Sundance survival guide: tips from the staff of The Park Record

Every January, the staff of The Park Record prepares for the film festival with equal parts excitement and trepidation. The paper’s foot soldiers spend hours navigating the crowds, searching out celebrities, and guarding their secret parking spots. Here are their strategies for surviving and thriving during the 11 days of Sundance.

Visit the festival’s online store and take a look at the Sundance colors this year (they change annually). Then, make sure not to wear them. Walking around with a dark blue jacket
that matches festival volunteer uniforms is a sure way to attract people harassing you with questions. — Carolyn Webber Alder, business and education reporter

Be courteous to Sundance staffers, the vast majority of whom are volunteers. For that matter, be courteous period. It’s a hectic 11 days and all of us, from restaurant servers to festival-goers, are simply trying to survive with a shred of sanity intact. — Bubba Brown, editor-in-chief

One of the coolest places during Sundance is the Sundance ASCAP Music Café. Performances begin at 2 P.M. and sets run about 45 minutes. Artists who have performed in the past include Rachael Yamagata, Michael Franti, and Clare Bowen from the TV show “Nashville.” A Sundance Film Festival pass grants you admission. — Scott Iwasaki, arts and scene reporter

Try to get into the private parties! Sometimes you can talk your way into the Chase Lounge or into spots like the pop-up Tao club. Great music, out-of-town guests, and film lovers in a fun setting! It’s also fun for locals to see their favorite spots transformed for those 11 days. — Angelique McNaughton, county reporter

Some of the best films at Sundance are always documentaries. Tickets are tough but typically not as tough as the star-studded premieres. — Jay Hamburger, city reporter

Time is limited during post-screening question-and-answer sessions with filmmakers and cast members, so if you’re going to raise your hand, make it short and sweet. Oh, and ask an actual question. Fawning over the film for two minutes is not a great use of anyone’s time. — Bubba Brown

Plan to have no plans. You never know what you’ll find by wandering into a space on Main Street. — James Hoyt, copy editor

The best chance for celebrity sightings is usually the first Saturday of the festival. Celebrities who are appearing in films or producing them are usually seen out and about around town. — Angelique McNaughton

Take some time to check out the smaller tech demos! They’re doing amazing stuff with VR – I almost punched an exhibitor in the face trying out a haptic glove last time. It was awesome. — James Hoyt

Dress appropriately! Winter clothes and winter shoes are your best bet. I would highly recommend avoiding high heels or other shoes with low traction. You can always take layers off when you get to screenings or other events. — Angelique McNaughton

If you want to hear some great bands without having to buy a Sundance Film Festival pass, check out the Access Film Music Showcase. Showcases begin around 5 P.M. Some of the musicians who have performed include Christopher Hawley Rollers, Mark McKay, and Taylor Martin. There is no cover charge before 8 P.M. For information, visit accessfilmmusic.net. — Scott Iwasaki

Resist the FOMO (fear of missing out). You will have it, whether it’s about a celebrity sighting on the other end of Main Street or the fact multiple films you want to see are screening at the same time. Missing out on awesome things is a fact of life at the festival. It’s not worth stressing about. Go with the flow. That said, don’t be shy about packing in as much action as possible. — Bubba Brown

In any town, the library is the perfect refuge. If you need a bathroom, an outlet to charge a phone, or just some peace from the craziness outside, escape to the Park City Library on Park Avenue. — Carolyn Webber Alder

Remember to support the restaurants that support you by staying open during Sundance instead of closing to the public in favor of corporate events. — Jay Hamburger

Triple check the venue you’re going to, because it’s not always easy to rush over to the right one if you get it wrong. — James Hoyt

Ditch your car and use Park City’s free public transit system to get around. You won’t regret it when you avoid paying a fortune to park on Main Street and don’t have to worry about driving on packed, snowy roads. — Bubba Brown

Don’t ignore Slamdance! There’s all sorts of cool stuff there, and you never know who is going to blow up — like the Russo brothers. — James Hoyt

You don’t need a ticket to see some of the best dramatic and, sometimes, comedic performances during Sundance. They are on public display on Main Street, particularly over the opening weekend. — Jay Hamburger

Always be on the lookout for free, high quality stuff like water bottles, espresso, and even beer. — James Hoyt

Enter screenings without expectations. Allow yourself to be surprised and delighted by the storytelling. And seek out under-the-radar gems, which is where much of the magic of the festival is found. — Bubba Brown

Ready, set, blastoff: the breakout performances of Sundance

Sundance is famous for revealing directorial sensations, but it’s also a place where many on-screen talents first catch the public eye. For these 23 household names, Sundance was the moment when the world sat up and took notice.

Peter Gallagher, 1989
His role as a lecherous lawyer in the revolutionary “Sex, Lies, and Videotape” was rewarded by roles in “The Player,” “While You Were Sleeping,” and “American Beauty.” Not to mention a Tony nomination and a four-year run on Fox’s “The O.C.”

Andie McDowell, 1989
After her star turn in “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” MacDowell shone in 1990’s “Green Card” and 1993’s “Groundhog Day.” In 2018, at the age of 60, she soared again in the critically acclaimed “Love After Love.”

Hugh Grant, 1994
Initially rejected by the film’s screenwriter because of his good looks, Grant charmed audiences at Sundance and throughout the universe as Charles in “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” then went on to mega-fame with roles in “Mau- rice,” “Bridget Jones’s Diary, “Notting Hill,” and “Love Actually.”

Owen Wilson, 1994
Shown at Sundance as a short in 1994, Wes Anderson’s “Bottle Rocket” featured brothers Luke and Owen Wilson — the latter of whom almost joined the Marines after the subsequent feature-length film’s box office failure. He went on to appear in “Rushmore,” “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Wedding Crashers,” “Zoolander,” and “You, Me and Dupree.” Wow!

Edward Burns, 1995
Unknown when he wrangled a prize-winning Sundance screening for his film “The Brothers McMullen,” the writer-director-actor went on to co-star in “Saving Private Ryan” and “Sidewalks of New York,” as well as playing Bugsy Siegel in TV’s “Mob City.”

Parker Posey, 1995
The “Queen of the Indies” found fame in “Party Girl,” the Sundance sensation that was the first feature film to be broadcast online. Since that time she has appeared in some 30 movies, including “For Your Consideration,” “Best in Show,” and “A Mighty Wind.”

Michelle Rodriguez, 2000
She followed her role as a badass teenage boxer in Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner “Girlfight” with starring roles in the physically demanding “Blue Crush” and James Cameron’s “Avatar,” and has been a constant in the “Fast & Furious” franchise.

Vanessa Hudgens, 2003
“High School Musical” and its brethren notwithstanding, Hudgens made her film debut in the coming-of-age film “Thirteen,” which won her notice when it received national acclaim. She then found regular work in “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” before exploding into fame in the Disney franchise.

Nikki Reed, 2003
Not only did she co-write “Thirteen” with director Catherine Hardwicke, but Reed co-starred in the film. Subsequent work has included the part of Rosalie in the mega-grossing “Twilight” films.

Evan Rachel Wood, 2003
Wood earned a Golden Globe nomination for her role in “Thirteen,” which also garnered a Sundance directing prize for Catherine Hardwicke. Wood has appeared in indie fare such as “Running with Scissors,” cable dramas (“True Blood”), and currently stars as Dolores in HBO’s “West- world.”

Jon Heder, 2004
This Brigham Young University student had never acted when he was discovered by “Napoleon Dynamite” director (and fellow Cougar) Jared Hess; upon the film’s debut, he immediately became a Sundance legend. Other films include “Just Like Heaven,” “The Benchwarmers,” and “Blades of Glory.”

Amy Adams, 2005
Despite appearing in Spielberg’s “Catch Me If You Can,” it was the 2005 Sundance premiere of “Junebug” that gave Adams her boost to stardom. After her Academy Awards nomination for the film, she co-starred with Meryl Streep in “Doubt” and “Julie & Julia,” and has starred in “American Hustle,” Zack Snyder’s Superman films and “Sharp Objects.”

Abigail Breslin, 2006
Her role as Olive Hoover in Sundance breakout “Little Miss Sunshine” garnered an Academy Award nom for the six-year-old, who then went on to work in “No Reservations,” “Definitely, Maybe,” “Zombieland,” and “My Sister’s Keeper.”

Ryan Gosling, 2006
Gosling’s performance in the feature “Half Nelson” won him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. (The full-length film grew from the short “Gowanus, Brooklyn,” winner of a Grand Jury Prize in 2004.) Since that time, he has teamed with director Damien Chazelle on Oscar favorite “La La Land” and last year’s “First Man” and is one of the most bankable faces in Hollywood.

Melissa Leo, 2008
After a long career in films and television, it was Leo’s role as a desperate mother in “Frozen River” that finally brought her Hollywood’s approval—including an Academy Award nomination as Best Actress. After, she appeared in the HBO series “Mildred Pierce,” the film “The Butler,” and “The Equalizer” movies.

Gabourey Sidibe, 2009
Sidibe’s portrayal of an abused 16-year- old in the Grand Jury prize-winning “Precious” won the former receptionist and gospel singer from Bed-Stuy nominations for Best Actress in both the Golden Globes and Academy Awards. Starting in 2015, she has starred in the series “Empire” and “American Horror Story.”

Jennifer Lawrence, 2010
Before “The Hunger Games,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” and “Joy,” Jennifer Lawrence put Hollywood on alert with her rendition of a girl from the Ozarks in “Winter’s Bone.” It earned the Grand Jury prize at Sundance and netted Lawrence a nomination as Best Actress at the Academy Awards.

Elizabeth Olsen, 2011
There was nothing cult-like about the praise Olsen received for her performance in “Martha Mary May Marlene,” which premiered at Sundance and won a directing award for Best Drama. Subsequently she’s gone on to a collection of indie films, including Spike Lee’s remake of the South Korean thriller “Oldboy.”

Quevenzhane Wallis, 2012
Though she had to fib about her age in order to audition (she was five; the minimum was six), Wallis beat 4,000 other young actresses for the role of Hushpuppy in “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” eventually becoming the youngest person ever to receive a Best Actress Oscar nomination. Since that time she has appeared in “12 Years a Slave,” “Annie,” and “Trolls.”

Michael B. Jordan, 2013
Audiences loved him in “Black Panther” and “Creed II” but Jordan says his favorite career moment was standing on the stage at Sundance with the rest of the cast of Grand Jury and Audience Award-winning “Fruitvale Station.” “It … kind of started this whole journey in a real way.”

Tinotheé Chalamet, 2017
It was a big year for the young actor, who won raves — and a best actor Oscar nomination — for his portrayal of Elio, a teenager who falls in love with an older guest at his parent’s home in Italy in “Call Me by Your Name.” That same year he also played a supporting role in Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird”; 2018 saw him in the drama “Beautiful Boy.”

Kumail Nanjiani, 2017
Nanjiani was already a credible comic actor before he teamed with his wife, Emily V. Gordon, on the script for rom-com “The Big Sick,” a Sundance premiere that was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the 90th Academy Awards. He has co-starred since 2014 in HBO’s comedy series “Silicon Valley” and lent his voice to “The Lego Ninjago Movie” in 2017.

Josh O’Connor, 2017
His role as a young Yorkshire farmer in “God’s Own Country,” which capped its directorial win at Sundance with 11 Brit- ish Independent Film nominations, finally cemented O’Connor as an actor worth following. He plays aspiring writer Lawrence Durrell in the ITV series “The Durrells in Corfu.”

Documentary ‘Anote’s Ark’ immerses audience in climate crisis

If President Anote Tong looks familiar, it is because he has spent the last five years tirelessly trying to draw the world’s attention to his country’s desperate plight.

He has traveled to the Vatican to plead with the Pope Francis. He has addressed the United Nations and appeared alongside former U.S. President Barack Obama at the Paris Climate Accord sessions. He has flown over the North Pole to witness the melting glaciers, and he has waded through countless media interviews trying to convey the message that, due to rising sea levels caused by climate change, his country is about to sink into the sea.

If that happens, he warns, other lands will follow. According to Tong, The Republic of Kiribati is the canary in the coal mine.

In 2012, Matthieu Rytz joined Tong’s Quixotic quest to raise awareness of Kiribati’s precarious future. Rytz, an accomplished photographer based in Montreal, specializes in covering the effects of climate change on remote communities. Together, he and Tong deliver a powerful message.

The film’s opening scenes offer a soaring aerial perspective of a verdant island surrounded by a pristine, aquamarine sea as President Tong explains, “We thought that, because we were so isolated, we were immune from the tribulations of this world. But here we are, subjected to the global phenomenon of climate change.”

From the air, Rytz’s camera descends to sea level where fishermen pull in their nets, children play in the water and families gather in simple thatched roof dwellings.

If not for the rising sea, it would be paradise, but Tong’s warnings and Rytz’s deft camera work foretell the coming storms and floods.

In addition to Tong’s international travels — including a scientific expedition to the Arctic Circle — Rytz follows a local family as they struggle to maintain a livelihood on their shrinking island. First the father, then the mother, are forced to find work elsewhere, a fate shared by many of their countrymen.

As Tong’s term as president comes to an end, he vows to continue his efforts to save his nation. Although his hopes to reverse climate change have dimmed, he explores the possibility of building a floating island, or as a last-ditch option, buying land on a nearby island in Fiji.

Tong’s eloquence, paired with Rytz’s stunning photography, combine to form a compelling Sundance-worthy documentary. The film is screening as part of the festival’s New Climate section and will hopefully further amplify Tong’s message that climate change is not a political issue but a global humanitarian crisis.

“Anote’s Ark,” an entry in the Sundance Film Festival World Documentary Competition, is set to screen at the following locations and times:

Friday, Jan. 19, 8:30 p.m., Egyptian Theatre

Saturday, Jan. 20, 6:45 p.m., Redstone 1

Tuesday, Jan. 23, 6 p.m., Broadway 6, Salt Lake City

Wednesday, Jan. 24, 3 p.m., Sundance Resort, Sundance

Thursday, Jan. 25, 3 p.m., Temple Theatre

Friday, Jan. 26, 9 a.m., Temple Theatre

‘A Futile and Stupid Gesture’ is at Sundance

“Wain understands that to tell this story right you need to bypass accuracy and head straight for authenticity.”

~ excerpt from the Sundance Film Festival 2018 Digital Program Guide

It would be expected, of course, that a film dealing with culture-wide irreverence the likes of National Lampoon, Animal House, and Caddyshack would be, at moments, wild, zany, offensive, unrepentant and, at the same time, quite human.

Well, not to worry, you extreme buffoons and marginally functional comedic film buffs out there (myself included): Filmmaker and Sundance veteran David Wain has brought us a quite absorbing piece of work concerning the life and times of Doug Kenney, the brilliant and troubled satirist whose creative notions helped turn “old school” on its head.

Adapted from Josh Karp’s book of the same name, “A Futile and Stupid Gesture,” not unlike its subject, shows little if any fear as it attempts to get inside the heads of Kenney and his co-conspirators as they entertain the re-shuffling of the collective deck – while shipping, without prejudice, Hope and Benny and the boys off to studio system heaven.

Will Forte seems the perfect choice as Doug Kenney, the psychological loner who comes out of an Ohio Catholic prep school to enter Harvard College with a Midas touch for the consciousness-expanding one-liner. Everyone (except Doug himself) loves and adores this blue-eyed blond with the subtle knack to create out of whole cloth.

It must have been exhilarating to tell the story of a genesis of such bandwidth. And, every step of the way, it works. With his extraordinary ensemble cast in tow (Since “Ex Machina,” I can’t get enough of Domhnhall Gleeson), David Wain is on the complex mission of making art by portraying genius and serendipity in a food fight.

Prior to the likes of John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, and Gilda Radner succumbing to the Kenney magnetic field, however, there are those who coalesced around Doug’s light in the castle that housed the century-old Harvard Lampoon.

Therein lays the field upon which the initial seeds were sown. And it would be from there that tiny shoots would break through to the sunlight and, yet once more, re-shuffle the culture.

Following graduation, it would be the “National Lampoon” emerging in a cloud of stardust to completely shape-shift the magazine landscape. Then would arrive “Animal House” and “Caddyshack” and the paradigm, which hadn’t stopped jiggling since the previous quake, would shift once again.

For Doug, the euphoria that surrounded the former would not carry over to the latter. But that’s a story to be told on the big screen once you’re settled in your seat at the Festival. You even get to check out the view from Hanapepe Point on the Garden Isle of Kauai.

David Wain brilliantly hopscotches the outer-actual on his way to the inner-real in a manner few filmmakers dare to tread. To be invited along as the creative license of the figurative gets to the bottom of the emotional plane is transformative.

The cosmology that chased Doug Kenney from Ohio to Kauai and, in between, shaped what many consider the most influential comedy force of the last 50 years is one that, indeed, needed to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.