• Inconvenient Truths

    January 22, 2019 | News
  • Picking up the thread of my last blog, think about that cash box moment in January 1981. Was it catastrophic? No. It was akin to being caught with your pants down without an audience. Why?  No one clamored outside the festival box office at the Egyptian Theatre that day. In a Band-Aid solution, I retrieved a steel box from my office at the Chamber of Commerce, assembled several denominations of bills to make change, then dashed back to Main Street. With little traffic (and not one traffic light in town) my volunteer helper was set and festival ready. 

    Fast forward to SUNDANCE, January 2000. I personally steered clear of that millennium chaos.  But it’s worth remembering this. Steadfast locals sacrificed a night’s sleep camped outside the box office at the Lower Main Street Plaza. They were the hard-core, celebrated veterans – an original cast of characters who by choice donned thermal underwear and sleeping bags to spend a mid-winter night on a sidewalk in the mountains. In the glory of self-sacrifice, they were rewarded with tickets and stories of hardship. 

    It was in 2006 when my teenage sons, then sixteen and thirteen, begged for tickets to the American adventure comedy film, The Darwin Awards. I failed them. Acting on the adage “half a loaf is better than none,” I took a wild chance on an unknown documentary. In the eighth row, podium side at the Park City Library venue we watched the world premiere of what would become this Oscar winner: An Inconvenient Truth. Al Gore accompanied by Tipper and family trooped down the south side of the auditorium to debut the game changing film. That was a SUNDANCE moment as Robert Redford intended it; storytelling as the greatest platform for getting people to pay attention and take action.

    Each year I recall those snapshot gems like a SUNDANCE sage. Standing shoulder to shoulder in festival cues with like-minded fans of the big screen, they are fun conversation starters. Humble beginnings are often worth sharing, particularly with documentary film fans. They are the ones who will take this thought-provoking message to heart. A quote that plays out in picture and verse with the playful characters in my book, Brides of 1941:

    “When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.”

    – Dr. Peter Marshall