Just to close the loop on “Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Happiness’” at Sundance. Wanted to share the experience…It was amazing! 10 glorious days of premieres, wonderful audiences, watching terrific films, meeting fellow filmmakers and people who have been my heroes. A dream come true. (Not to mention that having a film on the erosion of reproductive rights in our country while being 7 months pregnant during the week of the Roe v. Wade Anniversary was something else;)
Below are highlights, moments and films we loved…
*In my intro to the film, I mentioned that I felt like Charlie from Willy Wonka in the Chocolate Factory who who got the golden ticket and was in the factory. I later learned that the director of Willy Wonka, Mel Stuart, was actually present at the screening.
*President Al Gore attending our screening. I had invited him after meeting him in November. His presence created quite a stir and he loved the film. The Q&A was like a political rally. Since this film in many ways is our response to our current administration, it was great to have someone who fights the fight in so many ways watching the piece. It meant even more to us after learning that It was one of the only films he saw at Sundance.
*Showing the film ON the 30 Year Anniversary of Roe v. Wade (1/22) in Salt Lake City. Being in my third trimester, with a film about the need for protection of reproductive chioce in the conservative state of Utah only added to the surreal glow of it all. (I wore a shirt that said “My Choice” stretched over my 7 month pregnant belly.) We did a partnership with Planned Parenthood Utah and they did wonderful outreach in Utah. During the Q &A after the film, someone asked, “With so many doctors no longer knowing how to perform abortions, who is going to take care of the next generation of women?” At that moment a young 22 year old women stood up and said that she started the “Medical Students for Choice chapter” at University of Utah. She asked all of her fellow students in the program to stand, over 15 men and women in the audience stood and there wasn’t a dry eye in the theater.
*On the Anniversary (1/22) the film was shown at Planned Parenthood Affiliates all over the country from Alaska to New York, to Arizona to Pennsylvania to San Francisco where Planned Parenthood Golden Gate showed it at the Four Seasons:)
*Planned Parenthood Golden Gate, financiers of the film, threw a fabulous party at Sundance for the film and choice right on Main street on Jan. 23d. President & CEO Dian Harrison did a great job answering the many questions on choice facing our country at the screening. COO Kim Meredith, Therese Wilson and Erin Brooks had also flown in from SF and the party was filled with friends and supporters from NY, LA, the Bay Area and our new Sundance comrades.
*5 Sold out screenings with over 100 people on the waiting lists for each day. (Only at Sundance and in SF are you going to have documentary films with packed audiences.)
*Sundance’s warm, friendly vibe that I swear has a Burning Man feeling to it all. The programmers and staff at Sundance was just stupendous. So supportive of this film and making sure that everyone was taken care of.
*Robert Redford speaking to all the filmmakers in the House of Doc (Documentaries) and the poster for our film was framed perfectly behind his profile. Yes, we took a photo;)
*The masterful DJ Spooky spinning at one of the parties…and dancing (with some new moves that only my pregnancy could create) with the Sundance “Class of 2003″
*Having so many people in attendance at Sundance from the film (Maya, Xandra, Gil, Jenn, Mark Di, Sophie, Mark Pauline, Molli, Marti, Rae, Dian, Kim, Therese, Erin, Adam, and Lyn), from my family, (Ken, Dad, Ina), Friends (Ella, Joel, Mathew, Gail, Lynn, Ruby, Emily, Dorka, Jan, Gail ) and many more there to support the film.
*Planned Parenthood Golden Gate made these cool “Sundance Survival Kits” that were handed out at every screening that included info on the film, a condom, astroglide, lip balm and a frog. They were quite a hit. –Leave it to a lesbian SF filmmaker to ask where the dental dam was;) Also, we had an extra box of 4000 condoms and they spilled out of our suitcase for the bellhop when Ella King Torrey was retrieving our bags. This poor young, probably-Mormon bellhop was speechless and red.
*Having my father ask a great question at the Q & A. It was like having a family dinner conversation in front of hundreds of people;)
BEATING THE ODDS:
*Most people come to Sundance in hopes of securing a distributor, we fortunately came with a deal already signed with The Video Project (www.videoproject.net) a wonderful activist/ educational film distributor run by Adam Werbach and Lyn Merril. It was wonderful to have this set up so after every screening we had a direct way for people to find out how to buy copies of the film.
FILMS WE LOVED
- Dot the I
- Raising Victor Vargas
- Long Life, Happiness and Prosperity (Sandra Oh and Director Mina -awesome)
- 72 Virgins (short film that was very politically incorrect and so funny)
- What I Want My words to Do to You (Great doc on Eve Ensler’s writing workshops in a max. security women’s prison)
- Terminal Bar (Short – very creative use of flash)
- Downpour Resurfacing & Eric Escobar’s short
- The Pill – the Doc that we showed in front of is showing on PBS on Feb. 24th.
- Ones we weren’t able to fit in but we can’t wait to see.. Capturing The Friedmans, American Splendor, Station Agent & Whale Rider and others…
Feeling happy, very pregnant and ready for my husband Ken’s and my “real” premiere, as in the birth of our first child, which is scheduled to happen on April 14th…standing room only;)