Sundance Filmmaker Blog: Alicia Conway, Rite


Today I noticed that the only clocks that I’ve seen that seem to tell the correct time in all of Park City are the ones I carry on my person. In our condo, on the street, in restaurants and shops, all the clocks are stuck at various times or are just ticking away on some alternate reality time of their own. I think that’s a great metaphor for what I’ll call “Sundance Time.” No one ever seems to know what day it is. Despite the fact that today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and is a holiday, and tomorrow is the inauguration, for crying out loud, inevitably someone still says, “Wait — I thought it was Sunday!” about once an hour. It’s weird. Where do the days go? For that matter, where do the hours go? I’ve been up since 7 a.m., and since then, it’s been a blur of brunch, lunch, screening, meetings, party wristband acquiring, art viewing, handshaking, and postcard exchanging.

I’m back at the New Frontier on Main venue, and I’ve seen a couple more pieces of truly compelling video art. Turns out Mother + Father has a “Father” section, too, which is almost as interesting as the “Mother” piece. There’s also another piece — I don’t know the title or artist — that invites viewers to place their hands on a human-sized panel, which prompts a video to begin. There are several subjects, each of them a woman who has been abused or harmed in a war, and randomly, one of these subjects walks up to face the viewer, places their hand on the viewer’s hand, and simply gazes into her eyes. Nearby, an electric candle-lit book gives each woman’s story. It’s astonishingly moving; I actually started to cry.

At lunch, we happened to be seated next to Steven Soderbergh and some members of his entourage. I’m fundamentally opposed to starf**cking, especially when it means interrupting someone who’s trying to have a meal, but I got it in my head that I wanted to take a picture with him for my film’s Web site. When he finished his lunch and went to leave, I asked him if he would mind if we took a picture, and he refused because he thought it might draw too much embarrassing attention. He said he would do it if we saw him on the street. That’s what I get for violating my own sensibilities about approaching celebrities. Oh, well.

Minutes later, Chris Rock and a woman who was presumably his wife sat down near us. Funnily enough, I would never approach him. Never. Even though I’m a ginormous fan. But in this case, it’s because Chris Rock must get stopped constantly, and I just didn’t want to contribute. Also, he was not leaving; he was still trying to EAT lunch and sorry, but interrupting someone’s meal is just plain not OK. And finally, after being shot down by Steven Soderbergh, who I imagine does not have trouble walking down the street unrecognized, I just wouldn’t have been able to bring myself to do it anyway, even without all the other inhibitions.

In other news, my composer and I got interviewed for ASCAP’s website while attending a composer/filmmaker brunch this morning, so it will be cool to have some more video interview footage from Sundance online. I also got interviewed at our premiere by’s Film Fix. We’ve been lucky to get quite a bit of press, I think, for a short, and people keep stopping me to tell me they’ve heard about my film. That’s exciting and flattering, and every single time someone says that, I look around for whom they might be talking to and then realize it’s me.

I also saw a great movie this morning: our good friend Frazer Bradshaw’s film Everything Strange and New . It’s not a standard-issue narrative film. I would place it somewhere in the intersection between fine art photography, photo essay, narrative film, and film art. I enjoyed it a lot and was moved. Frazer is a lyrical storytelling style, and I was glad to get to see his film after hanging out with him for days at the fest so far, having no idea what his film might really be like. Now I’m finally getting truly exhausted. The festival takes it out of you. There’s just so much to do and see, and to ever go to sleep is to miss something. I also find myself meeting new people, having lots of high-energy conversations, and being generally “on” all day. I’m one of the most extroverted people I know, but even I need some recharging sometimes.

Tonight is the William Morris party, which is the only agency party I’m invited to. Looking forward to it. More tomorrow.