The Producers @ Sundance: Deep Inside…The Hottest.

2011 Sundance Exclusive as witnessed by MP&MY

Saturday, January 22nd

Day and Nite at Cisero’s

How can an innocent stroll on Main turn into an exercise in debauchery?  With Day and Night at Cisero’s! Challenging assumptions of broad daylight  we are seduced by nearly-naked  vixens with Jackie-O shades. We are forced (totally against our will, of course) into a sweaty  two-hour drill of table dancing and Champagne rain to thumping house hits.  We try to resist, to fight, reestablish some sense of moral sanity at  4:25pm.  Useless. Like a Shvits at a bathhouse…It hurt so friggin good!  Iconic event organizer Randy brought the NYC flavor; and midst the bacchanal,  Thor was quietly enjoying his dinner.

“Thus, he journeys into the heart of darkness that is branding…” reads one review for Spurlock’s Greatest Movie Ever Sold.   And thus,  the two of us chug down the hill, White Russians swishing in our bellies.  Hunger has taken over and at such altitudes makes us feel like giddy schoolgirls. We strike gold at Carrera where

MY, MP & Morgan Spurlock

sushi chefs are slicing custom rolls and POM gals push rum-spiked beverages.  Leaving with pocketfulls of cigars and Bustelo cappucinos…genial and expansive.

We stumble into Moving Pictures at The Studio for some facetime with the publisher, Peter Trimarco.  Moving Pic’s show is on our network, SirkTV, and his graciousness is only complimented by Kelly who gives us a tour of the upstairs where forever-divine Andie Macdowell and her daughter Rainey are in the middle of a photo shoot.  Patron shots are in order and we will not soon be forgotten as there lives a bartender in Utah who now knows how to crack a Stella with a lighter.  Base to the thumb… Base to the thumb!

Hours later we scratch our itch at Bing Bar where head Bubblefish, Veronica Welch, from  SundLAnce,   introduces us to her school of tiger barbs.   The door is a Fort Knox of police men and there might as well be a sign out front “99%Rejection Rate Guaranteed.”  A scruffy townie flips off one of the men in midnight blue.  “Bing this!”  As if by osmosis we are whisked inside to a sea of partiers and gulp down Jack and ginger as if air.   Veronica has on the coolest conundrum of a T-shirt by  Future Heretics. It reads Compton Yacht Club.  How awesome!  Her Rubber Duck booties are nothing to sneeze at as well.  Trek Jogger, she points out.  And I want a pair in black for men.  Bubblefish was handling The Nivea for Men House presented by FLAUNT magazine in a gorgeous private home nestled in the mountainous landscape. The place had cast dinners, premier parties, and some serious swag from Diesel, Ben Sherman, and MCM bags.  Trent Magnano’s Midas touch was turning anyone into a celebrity. The Proper Barber’s cut is truth.

Link To Photos: Link 1 Link 2

Half past one Bing  is to the gills  and Veronica leads us to her after hours.  At this cockeyed point  MP and I find it best to each shut one eye not to see quadruple. I the right, he the left.  Our two-headed  Sundance monster walks best this way. In a dark subterrane  we are told to strap on Ion Time Sports Watches made of the natural mineral Tourmaline, used as a semi-precious gemstone and responsible for many health benefits.  A meditative state takes over.  We are focused and alive, concentrating very heavily…is it

Katerina The Bald Beauty @ The Playboy Lounge

the watch? Or the bartenders and waitresses in revealing bunny outfits at The Playboy Lounge? Dear Lord I can’t feel my face.  MP smiles at me. His lips are red.  Did I do that? His wife will chop mine off for sure! More importantly, an executive decision is made on the fly. To pound shots of Tequila Fortaleza with Katerina The Bald Beauty.   This is one beautiful, hand-crafted… tequila!  Feeling like Mexican outlaws in a Richard Rodriguez film we plunk down $120 and repeatedly demand the rabbit ears off a bartender’s head and directions to the grotto.   G-d help us had we had a Bowie knife…

4am.  Sans rabbit ears.  The two of us have taken down a large cheese pie, two chicken sandwiches, a bowl of fries,  a mesclun salad,  various deserts, two sodas, and small child in a stroller, accidently.  What business does he have that late at a pizza place anyway?!   We tip our waitress $100 (Karmatically making up for the fallen infant) and she weeps with joy in our arms.

Sunday, January 23rd

To walk into Superdry is to be awakened by a horsewhip on the backflesh.  Personal fetishes aside,  it’s the one we’ve been waiting for.  Superdry USA, a UK fashion brand, hosted a two-day series of events.  Superdry was created in 2003 following the owner’s inspirational trip to Tokyo. It’s a brand with a vintage Americana flavor, Japanese-inspired graphics, and a UK edge.  Very cool stuff!  The Brad Leather Jacket is my favorite.

Tonight, Danny Masterson’s Downstairs is a pumping hub bub of the biting and the beautiful.  A sexy crush of actors and celebs moving and shaking with NY and LA’s top party promoters and club owners.   Special performances by Adrian Grenier’s Honey Brothers and up-and-comer Adrian Vera are  followed by DJ sets by MomJeans (Danny Masterson) and Cisco AdlerPenn  Badgley was breaking a few gossipy hearts, Twilighter Chaske Spencer and Cassie Scerbo were hanging with  killer Ronnie Vannucci and former gun Matt Sorum, Caribbean pirate Vanessa Branch and pro-shooter Christopher Mcdonald all celebrated with foosball and darts.

Shadow PR repped the event with their standard taste for quality and sharp eye on craftsmanship.   Coordinated by the hot pink-clad Kinley Cross from Shadow’s LA office this was one super smooth night and hands down the MOST fun on Main this Sundance 2011.

Link To Photos (Credit Jamie McCarthy, WireImage):  Link 1

The Indie Mogul Party in Deer Valley…A true filmmaker party.   Rich Kalinsky from Fujifilm had invited us to a distinct lodge with a kaleidoscopic  crowd.   The popular and the scholarly, the cult and the cliched, old and new.   Having just screened Kevin Smith’s Red State, Rich praised the film as  Michael Jackson reminded us that Billie Jean wasn’t his love while a few revelers sucked something or other at the Oxygen Bar.  MP ended up happy after a  well-needed complimentary massage.   FujiFilm, Avid, and Raleigh Studios backed a solid mixer.

The coolest cave that is the House of Blues is filled with rock and roll boys and girls that never die!  And TicketCake’s Dylan Jorgensen makes us feel like royalty…or rather like inside a plush living room  of one of rock’s most decadent and respected.  Dylan is the man when it comes to scoring tix to a hot event.  Come hither sneers and tight minis up to here and Slash hosting  a private event for the release of his Slasher Films.   That’s what I’m talking about!  Slash’s company will focus on a sub-genre of the horror film which typically involves a psychopathic killer stalking and killing a sequence of victims in a graphically violent manner, often with chainsaw or scythe.  The slasher as a genre has it’s own set of characteristics which set it apart from related genres like splatter films.

Slasher has four films currently on their slate.  We most anticipate Nothing To Fear which will reportedly be about the real town of Stull, Kansas, which many believe to be the ‘gateway to hell,’  and  Theorem, the  story of a mathematician who discovers the equation for evil (Aronofsky reverse Pi inspiration? ).  What fresh air to bring back character-driven and intelligent horror films with depth like in the 70’s and 80’s!  Thanks Slash.  And for that girl on the corner of Hebert that squeeked to her girlfriend “Who’s Slash?”…Slash, buddy,  can you please base a “final girl” character on her in one of your films?  But don’t spare her to tell the story.

Monday, January 24th

Dinner at Chimayo is so exquisite that I can’t even begin to describe it.  Nor will I.  I’m not a restaurant critic.  Hell, it’s my first time writing about parties and events  even!   A word of advice: Stay away from guys named Dominic from Chicago that bark about “shift changing” the women they are with even before the dessert arrives. Try not to notice them popping a pill in front of the wait staff.  And whatever you do definately do not believe them when they say “My friend runs that restaurant we go in through the back the kitchen like Goodfellas tell them Dominic sentchyou you with Dominic.”  Because the doorman at the restaurant knows no Dominic and Dominic just kept walking past this restaurant.  Getoutaheeya!

The Best Complimentary Liquor Award (if we’d have one…and I will bring up at next meeting) goes to a yet-officially-unofficially opened Silver. As Ole Blue Eyes would peg “a classy joint.”   Salvation Boulevard had their film bash and  Vegas Cosmopolitan hotel was onboard.   This David Rockwell designed, sleek spot introduced us to a new rye vodka.  The stealth Belvedere bottles, labeled Belvedere Intense,  were poured beside original Belvie and for two guys that swore not to go out tonight it all blended into one beautiful flight change.   The drink to be had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is the 508Hendrick’s gin, simple syrup, basil, thyme, chili flakes, and of course Belvedere…nectar of the gods.

Tuesday, January 24th

The slab of exotic land with running water is the coolest centerpiece we have ever seen.  Hands down the most grass in a room that we wouldn’t dare smoke.  As everyone picked at crispy dumplings and chicken skewers, The INAUGURAL SUNDANCE INSTITUTE | MAHINDRA GLOBAL FILMMAKING AWARD recipients were announced.  Emerging artists from Romania, Mexico, Malaysia and Israel selected for their visionary projects,  were awarded each  $10,000, attendance at the Sundance Film Festival for targeted industry and creative meetings, year-round mentoring from Institute staff and creative advisors, participation in a Feature Film Program Lab, and ongoing creative and strategic support.  That is quite a lot support seeing that most aspiring filmmakers usually must max out their folk’s credit cards and run around in circles memorizing The Guerilla Bible of Filmmaking before the rejection letters from festivals start landing in their mailboxes…

Nevertheless, the Winners of the 2011 Sundance Institute Global Filmmaking Award are:

Event Organizers and Winners

Bogdan Mustata / WOLF (Romania) In this surreal tale, a 16 year-old boy’s dearest wish is realized when his absent father is quite literally reborn and joins the family once again, with complicated consequences.

Ernesto Contreras / I DREAM IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE written by Carlos Contreras (Mexico). A rare indigenous language already on the verge of extinction faces its final threat when its last two speakers, very old friends, have a fight and refuse to speak to one another.

Seng Tat Liew / IN WHAT CITY DOES IT LIVE? (Malaysia). The unexpected presence of an African immigrant hiding in a small Malaysian village arouses the superstitions of the local residents, calling into question whether home is defined by the place you live or by the people who surround you.

Talya Lavie / ZERO MOTIVATION (Israel). A sometimes comic, often dramatic look at the power struggles of three female clerks over one year in an administrative office at a remote army base in the Israeli desert.

Buy the ticket…take the ride.

We RSVP’d with Steve Wilson from BWR PR and are happy that we were able to experience this ceremony. The event directors / organizers are genuine people that have a self-less interest in the cause while securing a foundation and nurturing aspiring filmmakers.  We watched these four filmmakers accept their awards with admiration.  Their’s now is a mysterious unknown.  We pray their hopes not decimate in life’s travails…somehow we think these beautiful dreamers will be alright.  Reach for the stars…you’ll hit the moon.

Banksy?? in a Sundance Alley

Oh!  And we saw some movies.  People, this is a film festival after all.

And if you have gotten this far down please check out our interviews from the festival on this site and broadcasting on our national college television network  SirkTV.

Thanks and see you all soon…

by Max Yampolsky

Delicious Interludes & Rebellious Natures: The 2010 Sundance Film Festival – Feature

The balance of the Sundance Film Festival rests in its ability to remain fresh while straddling the obvious points that have made it both a commercial and artistic crossroads. With a “Rebel” marketing campaign to emphasize its preternatural affluence to the revolutionary mind, the elements of the overwrought passage of gifting lounges from past years still abound. The key right now is in balance and a return of the economy. While levels are nowhere near where they were years ago in terms of pick ups, the low attendance of last year has picked up a little allowing for a more perspective impression of the market. Because of last year’s success after the post-festival pick-up of “Paranormal Activity”, the Park City At Midnight section has taken on an inherent glow for now, out of low budget creativity can emerge a blockbuster.

Films #1 The initial swath of films showed a pertinence of the element of morality and the construct of Darwin’s theory of evolution where survival is dictated by the smarter and the more vicious of the pair.

The first film, “Sympathy For Delicious” marks actor Mark Ruffalo’s directorial debut in a story about a crippled DJ who, after living in his car, realizes he has the power of healing. Christopher Thornton, who is confined to a wheelchair in real life, writes the script and stars as the DJ in a movie which takes a decidedly unsympathetic view towards the element of redemption. Ruffalo himself plays a priest struggling with intention and faith as what he believes is “defined providence” is balanced with real world problems. Granted the film treads on the supernatural with its premise but the ideal becomes one of Judas in a modern world. The temptation lurks in the aura of a bass player who lures him to the element of becoming famous while she herself is struggling with addiction. Placing Juliette Lewis in this role with Orlando Bloom as the lead singer brings a poignancy in the essence of exploiting miracles for one’s own edification which shows some dereliction of presence. The mythic poise of the film sounds alot more grand than it is portrayed on screen because of an understated style and lack of overarching music.

The second film, “Animal Kingdom” takes its matters to a primal level. The casting of Guy Pearce originally seemed to indicate a type of “Memento” shifting. However the progression here is purely survival. The story is told from the point of view of a young man who loses his mother in the first minutes of the film to a heroin overdose. He then goes to live with his grandmother and his three criminally minded uncles including the viciously cruel Pope (played by Ben Mendelsohn). Mendelsohn is able to reap some humor from this utterly unsympathetic heathen who has no regard for emotional structure at all. Joel Edgerton (who played Owen Lars in “Revenge Of The Sith”) has the most viable range especially in his teaching of his nephew as to how to wash his hands. The breakout of the piece however resides in the lesser known uncle who brims with uncontrolled anger and emotion. In many ways, Sullivan Sheperton reminds one of Russell Crowe because of the paradoxes of perception plus the Australian heritage. Nonetheless, he commands the screentime he is in with consummate focus.

Parties #1 The intrinsic nature of Sundance resides in its intention to network but the integration always depends on the level of noise plus respective interest.

The Bing Bar which became a stalwart of this festival on Main Street provides two idealized bar areas in glass view for maximum gawker value. Entering towards the far bar for the UTA Party became a question of Margaritas since the respective filmmakers made their way through within a hooked corner as the small IFC shindig highlighted simultaneously. Later on in the late night, the inset bathed in blue lights as the Gen Art space at 201 Heber highlighted the effects of the 7 Days party with a Patron sponsored bar effecting an intrinsic cocktail with kick called Second Skin. The requisite next afternoon saw the NYU/Tisch School Party upstairs within at The Riverhorse On Main where alumni and newly minted graduates/students mingled for the possibilities of the future.

Bing Supper Club Like the Bon Appetit in previous years, the ticket on Main Street for effective identity and luscious food was the Bing Supper Club hosting a delectable potpourri of different chefs and artists.

The first of tender, the Echoes Of Hope Foundation Dinner, highlighted the plight of foster kids to achieve and make it through college with the help of guardian angels. Chaired by Luc Robataile of the LA Kings along with his wife, the foundation brings needed motivation and help to those who need that extra hand to achieve and attend today’s high tuition colleges. The guest chef, Larry Alexander of STK in Los Angeles, proved exceptional with a multi-course dinner that hit all the right notes. The introduction of the beef tartar swirled in congruence with its silky caramel truffle while a meat and potato soup filled with braised beef and carmelized onions primed the focus. The entree course mixed land and sea with a delicious short rib ensconced in wild mushrooms while an apple cider glazed diver scallop vindicated with exceptional taste.

The second evening attended, the “Sympathy For Delicious” cast dinner celebrating Mark Ruffalo’s directorial debut, rallied with stars Orlando Bloom and Juliette Lewis in highlighting a story of faith and rock music. The guest chefs for the evening were stellar in comparative rights with Katsuya Aechi of Katsuya and the indominatable Michael Mina of XIV blended essences of both the sea and land in distinctive possibilities. Katsuya’s effervescent sushi offered a blended of octopus and tuna minted with a tangy sauce while Mina brought forth a balance of Kobe beef stew paralleled with a grilled Kobe flank which was both tender and tantalizing.

Skullcandy Sessions: Joan Jett & The Blackhearts Harry O’s always perseveres in the incumbent progression of the hot ticket. With Nas and Wale performing on subsequent reflective nights, the rock fix to be transcended was the undeniable Joan Jett & The Blackhearts. In town with a focus in hand with the premiere of “The Runaways” based on her 70s all-girl band of the same name, Jett raged onstage with a visceral nature that one would expect. Belting out old hits like “Crimson & Clover”, “Do You Wanna Touch” and “I Love Rock N’ Roll” along with new material like “Androgynous” and “Fetish”, Jett was running blood as leather bikini clad girls danced in tandem on the top of the center bar. In true Sundance fashion, Jett brought out her Runaways bandmate Cherie Currie and the film’s stars Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning for a photo-op but kept it pure by not encouraging any half baked reunions instead decidedly racing into another hard rocking tune as the fans chanted along.

Films #2 The second intonation of films at Sundance seen uses higher profile actors in paradoxical approaches to material with subtle and limited effects.

The first, “3 Backyards” is an artsy Long Island tale of a group of locals heading about on their daily diatribes in nothingness. Marred by an incessant visual style that doesn’t quite work and a lack of pacing, director Eric Mendelsohn becomes too encompassed in the minutae that he seems fascinated by. Drawing on a style much like David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet” but without the intensity and emotion, the ideals perceived here become mediocre despite having some exceptional actors to fill the fairly unclear roles. Elias Koteas of “Crash” and “Thin Red Line” wanders in tandem around his house and the neighborhood bordering LaGuardia Airport searching for meaning but his intention and wants are never brought viscerally to the forefront. By comparison, Edie Falco, playing an artist musing on the curiousity of celebrity who takes a famous actress (played by Schindler’s List actress Embeth Davidtz) to the ferry, works with exceptional fortitude on a very thin line of uncomfortability with literally nothing to work with in terms of an overall structure. The piece ultimately ends with questions that do not necessarily warrant follow-up answers because of lack of interest.

The second film, “High School” fares better but only because it knows what it is, truly, to a fault. With the success of “The Hangover”, the intent is to find that next break-out comedy. Warren Zide, who launched the “American Pie” franchise is smart in understanding that buzz needs to be built from the ground up. This comedy which bodes on the premise that two students get an entire high school stoned on high end crystal gonja works simply because of the premise. The odd player within the structure is Adrien Brody playing the Rasta Stoner (like Drexel from “True Romance” if he lived near Ridgemont High). Brody is funny but one obviously permeates that his talents are infinitely above the material. He doesn’t play anything halfway and his intensity shows through on all points while Colin Hanks and Michael Chiklis as school administrators play broad strokes harking for “Ferris Buellar” but instead getting “Parker Lewis”. The entertainment is not excpetional but passable in an efficient way.

Chefdance: Kerry Simon/Simon LA With the continuing highlight of exceptional chefs, the aspect of Las Vegas should always be respresented and the enticement of Simon shows the respect garnered. Sitting at the table with Hard Rock Casino royalty, Skullcandy execs and Billy Bush enhanced the point of networking in plain view but ultimately the food spoke volumes in tandem. The inset of diver scallops within a pillow of antebellum grits gave way to a luscious turkey and white bean chili with organic cheddar that was simply ravishing. A tangy beet salad followed by the main course of parmesan gnocchi and a braised short rib balanced the thrusters with a yin/yang throttle. The desert of warm chocolate pudding with carmelized bananas and toffee crisp melted in a parade of tantalization.

Lounges With all the aspects moving towards overwhelming possibilities, especially in specialty cocktails and dinners, the lounges, which have pulled back in a small manner in recent years with the aspect of gifting, reflected an overall permutation within the industry.

The Main Street Lounge across from The Lift was the most easily traversed because of its location and balance of high tech and practical. Like at Comic Con, NVIDIA along with Real D were showcasing their intentions of 3D, albeit in two different forms. NVIDIA showed the essence of 3D digital imaging using Fuji cameras which shows the ability of where consumer brands will be able to evolve in the next few years. Real D, buoyed by video game development and the success of “Avatar”, continues to make strides forward adhering the basis of 3D to a mainstream market.

Badcock Apparel, within Main Street, was the most fun because it realized the tongue-in-cheek essence of the event. Sporting gray tees signifying the title phrase in addition to “Hung Well”, the “Moby Dick Plumbing Service” took the cake with a requisite black rubber cock ring and a flurry of blondes with great senses of humor to make the interim all the more fun.

Elsewhere within the structure, Poken offered a new social networking possibility that, while intensive, requires an adoption by industry-wide recipients but has its head in the right place. Oki SLC offered manicures which gave the hands a rest but gave the girls reign when specified fingernails were painted black in advance of the Joan Jett concert that evening. Lifetherapy, situated a room over, idolized exceptional hand lotion with its “Vacation” line which loved in its vanilla overtones that were simply heavenly.

The House Of Hype Lounge, always a stalwart of exceptional fun at Sundance, occupied the same structure as Bing Supper Club, with a bouncing bar that combined LA cool with a roadhouse sensibility. Throwing back a couple Stellas with some Crown Royal shots warmed off the falling snow blanketing Main Street while Kitchen 24 prepped grilled brie sandwiches with piping hot tomato bisque that soothed the stomach.

Occupying the Yoga Studio structure near The Library which was the infamous location of the “Inside Deep Throat” party many Sundances prior, the Tweet House seemingly thrived because of its specified location. Buoyed by the intensity of Anejo Tequila, the Tweeting Panels balanced forth while the flickering shots enticed the masses. Later, at a midnight party, the smoke relished through the back walls as Dirty Blondes were drank with abandon signaling the quieting of the lights.

Parties #2 The continuation of networking always rests within where the final thoughts lie both with talented colleagues and requisite futures.

At The Canyons, sequestered away from the peering eyes of Main Street, HBO Docs helds its soiree as attendees stuggled to watch the closing minutes of the NFC Championship with watchful intent. Highlighting festival inlay “Sins Of The Father”, the attendance of Stewart Copeland of The Police and Josh Harris, the elusive subject of “We Live In Public”, provided ample wandering influenced by an exceptional sushi bar and excited murmur in the crowded foray.

The Gersh/Butcher Brothers Party held in the background of Spur off Main Street celebrated the low budget horror mavens and undeniably hard workers who definitely know how to party throwdown. The Brothers premiered their new film “The Violent Kind” within the Park City At Midnight sector which was undeniably the hot ticket in terms of buyer interest. As Red Rum was shot and Jim Beam necessitated a celebratory toast unbecoming, the thrust of another Sundance makes its bow.

The 2010 Sundance Film Festival progressed in its possibility of balance between art and commerce. With films that skirt the line between commericial and experimental, the rebellious nature shown seems attainable but with a keener sense of business which is all the more apparent in the deals at hand.