Recently I had an opportunity to review a film about a film and a film festival. Being in the midst of two festivals = both in Florida, I had to delay a bit until my schedule cleared. So here we go.
The film is called Park City and the director of this film is Hannah Rosner. For those of you who may not know where Park City is and what it is known for – the answer the answer to those questions can be answered in four words – The Sundance Film Festival.
In fact, I had briefly considered applying for press credentials to attend Sundance. However, I live in Sarasota, Florida – and a journey to Park City, Utah would involve considerable expenses like air fare, apartment rental, and a car rental – and all of that in high season, because when Sundance is not happening – Park City Utah is a major ski-resort town.
Plus, I would have to leave the warm climate of Sarasota and venture out to the wilds of Utah for some if not all of the last 10 days of January. So I passed on attending which of course meant that I didn’t apply for press credentials either.
But Sundance is one of the largest of Independent Film Festivals in the United States, so I can say with certainty that other folks would be willing to take on the possible hardships.
Hannah Rosner’s film is the story of a small and scrappy band of indie film makers who got a chance of a lifetime. Their film was accepted by Sundance and would be screened there.
The film is the story of their adventure – from getting to Park City, to enjoying the party atmosphere, and once there – they discover that the sole 35mm print of their film has gone missing.
Think about that – you make a film and then lose it. It is no wonder that the tag line of this movie reads – An Adventure They Couldn’t Remember.
Co written by Hannah Rosner and Julia Turner and Directed by Hannah – the film is centered around the foursome. Hannah, who actually directed the film plays the Producer. Joey Mireles plays the Director, Dave Huffman plays the crew or production assistant, and Jill Evyn plays the wanna-be diva who in the film is called The Talent.
So off they go on a shoe string budget which might even be a bit of an overstatement. They travel in a cramped Prius. Dave’s job is to make a video of the trip and he’s fully prepared with his cell phone camera. Hannah is the producer and driver, as well as something of a den mother to her buddies.
Jill’s head is filled with visions of grandeur centered around reclining in a hot tub with a bottle of red wine – alone. Director Joey wants his film to do well, and he’s hoping to hook up while in Park City.
But despite the oft-repeated statement that getting there is half the fun – their trip is problematic.
Did someone remember to gas up the car before they departed – No.
Do they have enough money for a hotel room in Vegas – No.
The thing about these folks that despite the fact that they are extremely ill prepared to make a splash at Sundance – despite the fact that the competition at Sundance can be called something like swimming with the sharks – they’re undeterred.
And that’s why we like them. Sometimes the jokes are telegraphed in advance, and sometimes the script stumbles – but they are really a sweet bunch.
Hannah Rosner shines as the most level-headed of the bunch. She bears a strong resemblance to actress Kate Mulgrew in her younger days. I’ll give her a rousing bit of applause as the lead character and she directed the film. Dave plays Dave the Production Assistant and he seems to fit the role of a stoner P.A. perfectly. Mireles as the Director of the film within the film – an opus called Hearts and Cash – which we never do see – is a good-looking dude. His heart is in the right place with regard to his role – and his likeability factor is strong.
Jill as the wanna be diva has the hardest role to play – that’s assuming that she’s not a diva in real life.
So there’s our happy band on their way to fame fortune and glory.
Rosner has delivered a film that is part drama, part comedy, and at least one-third of the film is done in what we might call mockumentary style. If we say that this film is about the movie industry from the ground up – we’d be right. Arriving in Oz – er Park City, the group is immediately caught up in the spirit of the festival which for them seems to be all about the pouring and consumption of liquid spirits.
It doesn’t seem all that glamorous – and that’s likely because our film friends are at the low-end of Sundance. They are newbies and have yet to gain admission to any of the holy of holies – meaning the A-List parties. In fact Joey even says at one point – let’s find a real party.
The only one who scores seems to be Jill, who manages to sleep with a producer. But Hannah, Dave, and Joey don’t quite get to the same place. Then the film print goes missing….
What I liked – I loved the pseudo interviews. In these, each of the actors breaks through the 4th wall (so to speak) and is apparently being interviewed – and this is where we get their feelings about what they want to do in films and in the future. These look and sound real, but Rosner has said that these were just ways of advancing the narrative by stepping outside of the narrative it self. Which means the actors could discuss what had happened in a way that wasn’t as confining as the actual script for the non-interview segments.
I also simply loved the way these folks seemed so relatable. When Entourage took their actors and story to Sundance, we watched movie stars partying and meeting the movers and shakers like Harvey Weinstein. In Park City we aren’t anywhere near those kind of celebrities or people with a power base.
Rosner and crew are making fun of the industry in one sense – as they are all in the low-rent version of Sundance. And their aspirations and hopes won’t be met without some serious struggles. And that’s why the film works. We never do find out what happens to them post-Sundance – and that open-endedness helps considerably.
Overall the film will please. Considering the limited budget. and the youth of the parties involved – it plays rather well. If you are a struggling film maker you will have an interest in the film – because – well, Sundance should be, or could be on both your calendar or your horizon for next January.
For those of you who may wish to see this film – it has recently become available on-line. Yes, Rosner and her co-producers Jill Turner and Megan Boundy have got their movie on i-Tunes.
What I have for you is the Official trailer: