Sundance Filmmaker Blog: Alicia Conway, Rite


Last night at midnight, my film played for its very first audience at the Egyptian. In my wildest fantasies, I couldn’t have made up a better way to show this film: midnight on the first night of Sundance, at the Egyptian, in front of a fantastic horror film (we’re paired with Grace), surrounded by friends. I still can’t get over that the first film I ever directed and took on the festival circuit is playing at Sundance. Everyone kept asking me if I was nervous, but I’ll tell you, it was more like a reunion than some kind of test or whatever I might have expected.

We had a huge group of people in the audience who were there specifically to support Rite, including actors Tabitha Morella and David Bickford, producer Aaron Goldstein, composer Kays Alatrakchi, and of course, my husband/associate producer/editor Ben Rock, along with a bunch of good friends. It was also coincidence time, because my friend Brandy Davis happened to be the volunteer working at the Egyptian, so she got to see the film. I even ran into an old co-worker from ten years ago!

There was a minor hiccup when the film started playing without audio, but it was quickly fixed, and interestingly enough, I got a lot of compliments about how the film held its own, even without sound — the audience initially thought it was intentionally silent, and they watched in rapt attention, without a cough or a noise. That was kind of neat to see. Just like making a movie: you have to embrace the accidents.

This morning, I’m typing right now from the Cafe and Lounge at Headquarters at the Marriott, and I’m about to get on the bus to go to the Sundance Resort for the Directors’ Brunch. This is the event — other than my screenings, of course — that I’ve been most looking forward to. Is it wrong that I’m thinking about the food? But mostly, I’m SO excited to meet the other filmmakers.

Oh! Highlight of my morning: I ran into Bill Plympton, who I had the pleasure to meet years ago when he created the artwork for the Florida Film Festival. I don’t really know him or anything, but he was perfectly lovely to chat with and even made a little drawing for me on his postcard! I’m sad that I probably won’t have a chance to catch his film, but I’m hoping I’ll have a chance another time. He asked for a copy of mine, which I found very flattering (don’t worry, Kays! I gave him the soundtrack, too!).