What a long, strange trip it’s been (Allen)

The sun has set on Sundance 2006, and the population of Park City, has suddenly shrunk from one billion journalists, filmmakers, freeloaders and cineastes to a ski bum named Rob and that one Ukrainian film critic who mistranslated his info and thought the festival started today (“Drat! No moofink peek-chures for Goolav!”).

No more cramming into makeshift theaters in the Park City Library, heads tingling with anticipation and melting snowflakes. No more sitting elbow-to-elbow with film lovers from across the globe. No more hoping that whatever we’re about to see will help us forget about how very cramped and stuffy and wet we feel.

That’s what Sundance is all about: Losing yourself in the story being told on screen. This year was especially good-not just artistically (“The Science of Sleep,” “Eve and the Fire Horse”) but financially as well (“Little Miss Sunshine” sold for a record $10 million).

The movies weren’t the only unforgettable things: I won’t forget the Lithuanian journalist who shared her chocolate truffles with me, or the goofy editors from RottenTomatoes.com or Roger Ebert, who saw me gazing into my laptop and said, “The glow from your monitor makes you look so otherworldly.”

Next year can’t come soon enough.

[email protected]