Sundance Diary: Fourth Day and a Big Pile of Hope

Inside Sundance HQ

By Nancy Johnston (doddleNEWS)

When you are at Sundance and you get a chance to sleep in–do it.

Once again we stayed up late the previous night, but our first film didn’t start until 1:00 pm. At last we were able to take time getting ready before heading out.  We officially started heading up the hill at around 11.00am.

The Sundance Channel HQ looked like a fun place to go, so we went in to check it out and–surprise–discovered lunch would be free simply by ‘liking’ the Chase Sapphire card facebook page.  Sweet.  Not only is Sundance HQ a place where festival attendees can go to hangout, but it is also the place where people come to talk about their films for the Sundance Channel.

After eating a roast beef sub and hanging out at HQ for a while, we headed over to Slamdance for a screening of Bindlestiffs, which self describes as following “ the story of three high school virgins, suspended from school on a bullshit graffiti charge, who flee to the inner city to live out the plot of The Catcher in the Rye.”

The film has it all: a crackhead, hobo, prostitute and a masturbating school security guard with a gun.  It also has a storyline that kept most of us thinking, “where’s this film going?”  Filmed in Texas, Bindlestiffs takes the audience on a crazy ride.  It was a real guerrilla filmmaking effort by a group of college aged kids and it made it into Slamdance–that has win written all over it even if some of the production value was a bit raw.

Hope – You Like Crap, the short film that screened before Bindlestiffs, was hysterically funny.  Hope is Shaun Parker’s merciless critique of a student film he made 20 years earlier, long after he realized that it was a pretentious piece of crap.  I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much in 7 minutes.  Try to find this short and watch it.  You will not be disappointed–especially if you’ve ever made a first film.

Most of the conversations I had today (Thursday, January 26) with other festival attendees included some form of the phrase, “I’ve had a great time, but I’m ready to leave.”  Coming to  Sundance is like running a marathon.  It’s non-stop. Non-stop films.  Non-stop networking.  Non-stop walking.  I guess as the festival starts to wind down and the finish line is in sight, there comes a time when you feel you’ve done it all and then your attention starts to turn toward home.

( Update: The Slamdance Awards ceremony was later in the evening and a great time was had by all. You can find out who the winners were: here. )

Friday is our last day in Utah.  Instead of screening more films, we’ve decided to head up the mountains and ski Deer Valley so in tomorrow’s blog I’ll be reflecting back on what I learned on my first trip to Sundance and then it’s back to Michigan.



How I found myself flying out to Utah in support of an Official Selection

Sundance Diary: Leaving for Utah tomorrow

Sundance Diary: Day One (aka Blue Scarf Day)

Sundance Diary: Two days in and Shorts Program 5

Sundance Diary: Third day and Detroit dreaming

About Nancy Johnston

One of the founding members of Sleeping Bear Films which is located in Bloomfield, Michigan. Used to work in Marketing and Advertising but moved over to film 10 years ago.


  1. shaun parker says:

    Hi, just wanted to thank you for this wonderful write up! Made my day!