Sundance Diary Day Three, Saturday, January 30, 2021

Dive into the Reimagined Sundance Film Festival 2021. Read my festival diaries. You’ll feel like you’re in Virtual Park City.

Smartphones Become Royal Shakespeareans in Dazzling ‘R#J.’

The opening weekend of the reimagined Sundance Film Festival is in full swing. Instead of battling traffic gridlock in Park City, I’m making full use of the custom-build festival platform to pop into New Frontier activations and watch festival premieres without ever standing in a wait-list line. The all-digital programming makes Sundance accessible to global artists and audiences unable to make Park City’s journey. I’m impressed by the worldwide Sundance artists sharing ideas and stories in the daily Artist Meetups. Looking ahead to 2022 and beyond, I’m convinced that the Sundance Film Festival will continue to transform as a hybrid event with accessibility as a critical value.

What I’m Watching:

‘R#J’

Premiering in the NEXT section at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, filmmaker Carey Williams keeps the idea of love, at first sight, the core story of his immersive take on Romeo and Juliet. The GIFs, Memes, and Live Streams that pull our attention towards our smartphone screens become Royal Shakespeareans in the dazzling ‘R#J,’ a vibrant refresh of the most famous love story. There have been plenty of Shakespeare productions that leap from the wooden stage boards to new mediums. Filmmaker Carey Williams distances himself from other modern-day updates and digital theatre productions with creative risk-taking that’s one-of-a-kind.

What’s transformative about ‘R#J’ is Williams flipping the point of view into the smart screen. Read my full review of ‘R#J’ here.

The Latino Hub celebrates diversity and inclusion at Sundance.

What I’m Learning:

Our Road to the Sundance Film Festival Presented by The Latino Hub.

The diversity and inclusion values receive the spotlight in a lively panel featuring Latina and Latino artists showcasing new work at the Sundance Film Festival. Composer Rene G. Boscio (‘R#J’) joins filmmakers Mariem Perez Riera (‘Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It’), Alexis Gambis (‘Son of Monarchs’), Maria Belen Poncio and Rosario Perazolo Masjoan (‘4 Feet High’) take part in a lively panel. Supporting artists from marginalized communities is a crucial Sundance value. It’s inspiring seeing festival partners like The Latino Hub rise to the task.

‘Making’ 4 Feet High’ was a journey because I have a disability. I am in a wheelchair. I have the experience. My co-director (Maria Belen Poncio) has the art. We put that together for this project.’ – Rosario Perazolo Masjoan, lead artist, ‘4 Feet High VR,’ explores female sexuality in an inclusive spirit.

What’s New:

Who needs sharing a sofa at the Filmmaker Lodge when you can connect with a global community of Sundance creators via Zoom during daily Artist Meetups? A Google Spreadsheet takes the place of sharing business cards or contact info via AirDrop. Let’s pledge to build a virtual transit center, and shuttle stops for Sundance 2022 to spark festival buzz around favorite festival films.

What’s the Same:

Long days and late nights are Sundance routine for artists, audiences, industry leaders, and media pros. Sure, late hour concerts at Rock & Reilly’s on Main Street are on hiatus this year. However, every night is a Midnight Screening night thanks to the festival platform.

Behind the Screens:

A reimagined Sundance Film Festival does not change the need for streamers and distributers to buy great content. Apple paying $25 million for CODA, about a hearing girl in a deaf family who joins the school choir, answers any questions about a robust marketplace in an all-digital Sundance.  

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