February 3, 2011 —
I don’t realize how nervous I am until after the screening at the packed, 1300-seat, Eccles Theater in Park City, UT when the anxiety fades. And it isn’t until the last frame of the film hard cuts to black and the credits roll that I know for sure it’s gone off without a hitch.
The film plays well, with laughs and gasps in all the right places. I’m at the Sundance Film Festival with a movie I edited called “Martha Marcy May Marlene” and I breathe a massive sigh of relief.
It’s incredible to think that just a few weeks earlier, Sean and I were deep in the editing room, still moving huge chunks of the film around and, a few months earlier, I was putting the rough cut together at the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance on Main Street in Narrowsburg. Time flies.
The film stars Elizabeth Olsen who, with two movies at the festival, the press labels as “the next breakout Sundance Star.” I am not surprised; she’s nothing short of excellent in the film. It also has great performances by Sarah Paulson, Hugh Dancy and John Hawkes. They are all there, and it’s nice to catch up with them again.
After the premiere, we go out to lunch. It’s interesting because most everyone is seeing the film for the first time. I (obviously) have seen it so much that I can recite it line for line. But it’s great that we are all finally on the same page and the conversations flow faster than our mouths will speak them.
“What did you think of...? Why did you choose...? I loved that part...”
I enjoy talking through choices with friends and colleagues. Find it interesting what strikes them, what doesn’t. Pleased that their responses are resoundingly positive.
There is a small reception and then a huge party. By the time we get back to our house that night, I am totally beat.
We are staying in a large beautiful lodge right off Main Street up on King Road with many of the film’s crew members. Most of them are old friends who I don’t see as often as I’d like, and it’s great to be hanging out for a more extended time together. It’s a nice place, with a glorious view of Park City. Late at night, we relax in the hot tub and reminisce about the old days.
It’s a short walk down to Main Street, “down” being the key word. “Up” on the other hand is a nightmare and leaves me completely out of breath. I blame the altitude and not me being out of shape. Though in actuality, it is probably a combination of the two.
Three days into the festival, Fox Searchlight picks up the movie in a late-night negotiation session. It’s a vintage Sundance moment and we all go out to celebrate. I can’t stop smiling.
I meet some cool people, see some good movies and before I know it, I am heading back to New York City to start a new job cutting a commercial.
A few days later, I tune into the Sundance website for the awards ceremony. I am in the nick of time to catch Sean winning for “Best Director.” I leap up and clap my hands. I am shocked and proud. Humbled and overwhelmed. Wishing I was still there to celebrate and happy to be home.