PARK CITY, UTAH — Filmmaking Minnesotans, current and former, didn’t win awards at the recent Western-themed closing ceremonies of the Sundance Film Festival. But they didn’t lose, either.
“Quid Pro Quo,” co-produced by Sarah Pillsbury, screened in Sundance’s Spectrum category and thus wasn’t eligible to compete for the jury and audience awards bestowed along with barbecue and drinks on Saturday night. The team of Sam Thompson and Tucker Dryden — director and writer of the short “There’s a Werewolf in My Attic!” — played their film (to significant acclaim) at the Slamdance Film Festival, not Sundance.
And Mankato’s Wes Schuck, I’m told, unspooled his feature-length rock-doc “The Curse of the Blessed: As Told by the Muse” not at any Park City festival, but in a rented space on Main Street, where he remained ineligible for awards, and, alas, elusive to this reviewer.
Below is a list of significant award winners — along with some recipients in categories of my own.
Grand Jury Prize Winner (Documentary):
“Trouble the Water”
Grand Jury Prize Winner (Dramatic):
Best Movie That Looks Like It Could’ve Been Shot in Minnesota:
Most Understandable Journalistic Error:
A Park City paper’s mistaken claim that “Juno” premiered at last year’s Sundance.
Most Typical Journalistic Error:
Writing about movies without having seen them.
Best Press Office Flyer:
“Restaurants Under $7 in Park City.”
A parka-pocket-sized box of Cheerios to promote midnight-movie “The Adventures of Power.” Breakfast!
Anything free and edible that I didn’t get.
Most Tiresome Example of Recession:
No free Starbucks coffee this year!
My Most Surprising Celebrity Sighting:
Seeing Kirsten Dunst — director of the short film “Welcome” — waiting for her bags, like the rest of us, at the Salt Lake airport (at least I think it was Dunst).
My Least Surprising Celebrity Sighting:
Seeing jury member Quentin Tarantino, who was, predictably, everywhere.
Most Inspiring Example of Counterculture’s Endurance at Corporate Film Fest:
The hippie-ish guy doing yoga stretches in the aisle before a screening of James Benning’s equally rare and experimental “casting a glance.”
Best News at Sundance:
The birth of Skyy Kaylen Rivers Roberts at a hospital in Salt Lake City, a mere day after the world premiere of “Trouble the Water,” the documentary including her parents and other Katrina survivors.
Worst News at Sundance:
Heath Ledger’s death
Overhearing an obnoxious radio journalist’s live-from-Sundance lament that the late Heath Ledger has been getting too much “publicity.”
Best Celebrity Hissy Fit:
Any actor’s angry refusal to answer red-carpet questions about Heath Ledger’s death.
Best Celebrity Suck-up:
“Why We Fight” director Eugene Jarecki, choking back tears in his jury prize tribute to “Trouble the Water” heroine Kim Rivers.
Worst Celebrity Suck-up:
“Hamlet 2” screenwriter Andrew Fleming giving Elisabeth Shue the dubious honor of playing an awkwardly fictionalized version of herself.
Best Celebrity Rant:
Patti Smith’s fierce spoken-word “indictment” of Dubya in “Patti Smith: Dream of Life.”
Coolest Head Under Pressure:
“Wordplay” director Patrick Creadon, calmly awaiting news of whether he could take the last remaining seat at the last remaining screening of “Trouble the Water.”
Biggest Waste of Bidding-War Money:
Focus Features’ $10 million purchase of high-school “comedy” called “Hamlet 2” — amounting to $2 million per laugh, as a critic friend put it.
Best Sundance Button:
“I saw ‘Roman Polanski’ at Sundance.”
Best Song in a Movie:
“Rosemary’s Lullaby” in “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired.”
Best Scene in a Movie:
Kim Rivers singing “Amazing” in “Trouble the Water.”
“Trouble the Water”