Sundance Filmmaker Blog: Alicia Conway, Rite


The crowd gathered on Main Street for the Inauguration.

I am the walking dead. My eyeballs feel as heavy as croquet balls, like they’re falling out of my eye sockets. I have old woman posture, shoulders slumped forward and legs shuffling, head dropping as I nod off mid-sentence. It occurred to me much too late (like, yesterday), that I should’ve done a photo series of my eye bags: what they were like the day I arrived, fresh and perky, last Thursday, and then every day how they deepen and darken and look more and more like I’m being repeatedly socked in the face. Alas, missed opportunity.

In much more exciting news, yesterday was one of the most inspirational and exciting days I’ve had in a long time. We started the day by dragging our exhausted heinies out of bed at the crack of dawn (OK, 8-ish), to go watch the Inauguration on Main Street with hundreds of other people. Despite the sleep deprivation consequences, that was the right move. I’ve never felt like a president truly represented me before. I’ve never felt like we had exactly the right leader. And I’ve never been so glad to see an old administration go.

To be with hundreds of people with tears in their eyes and children on their shoulders waving American flags was possibly the most patriotic thing I’ve ever done — and for possibly the first time in my life, I felt such a swell of pride to be American. That’s been the farthest feeling from my heart in the last few years, so it was refreshing to say the least. When the news report explained that Obama was president at noon, even though he hadn’t yet taken the oath of office, the guy standing next to me said, “Woo-hoo! Raise the roof!” and for a minute, everyone did.

We made some new friends the other day — the filmmakers of Art & Copy, who are very cool guys, all of them. Turns out they had emailed us an invite to THEIR Obama celebration, which featured veggie “Obam-lettes.” Yum. Sorry we missed it, but the Main Street experience was great, so I figure it works out. However, this morning we did get to see Art & Copy, and it was beautifully done. It’s a doc about advertising, and the subjects are ad men, which for a filmmaker can be treacherous and potentially resentment-inducing waters. But this doc celebrates creativity and innovation in advertising, and it’s hard not to be inspired by some of the geniuses who read people so well, they know how to affect behavior. Pretty cool.

Yesterday, after the Inauguration, we got to see a film called We Live in Public, also a doc. Wow, I was not ready for how spectacular this film would turn out to be. It deals with serious and relevant cultural topics like where is our technology heading, how will it change the culture of connection between human beings — and how will it affect our sense of what “tribes” we belong to — and how mindful are we about the choices we make every day to bring about this new culture. Now I want to see director Ondi Timeron’s previous doc, Dig, which I hear is just as good.

We are about to leave Sundance after having been here a week, and I have a feeling the minute I sit in my plane seat, I will be unwakeable until they force me off the plane again in LA. However, I have TONS of photos and stories that I haven’t had time to tell, so I will keep blogging once I return — this time with pictures!

Check back tomorrow.