Film Fever: Black-coat affair

By By Danny Letz

By Danny Letz

When people discover you’re a Sundance junkie, the reactions usually vary between, “Have you seen any celebs this year?” and “Aren’t all the movies about butterflies flapping their wings for 40 minutes or something?”

Despite the fact that I’ve never witnessed either of these phenomena, I can attest to the group of people that come attached to the celebrities and the festival itself: the super-hip, super-sexy, ultra-chic, ber-pretentious, black-clad army of producers and “somebodies” that clutter the festival like a January inversion.

One of these L.A. bohemians bemoaned to his significant other at a Starbucks: “Oh, these people. I’m surprised that anyone could be able to stand this, this, stagnation. I mean,” he lowered his voice, “there aren’t even any black people here.”

The two ordered their coffees, then told me to move, not realizing that I was in fact wedged between a pair of women with boots that looked like they were skinned from a yeti. When I couldn’t move, they pushed past me anyway.

The women in the yeti boots scoffed at me, then continued their conversation about getting into the Pharrell and Paris Hilton concert Saturday night. I should mention that the two were more than 40 years old, with an almost equal number of facelifts.

I mention these things only because for so many people, Sundance isn’t about movies.

It’s about the event.

It’s about meeting people, making contacts and somehow managing to out-snob the regular residents of Park City (which they do with amazing precision).

But once the lights dim, the true intent of the festival comes through: This is THE opportunity to see films by up-and- coming filmmakers from around the world. Indie movies belong to a genre all their own, and, like horror or romantic-comedy movies, they are an acquired taste.

Some, like “Drained”–the Brazilian portrayal of a man vested in the power that he gains from his pawnshop and the power he holds over the money-desperate patrons that visit his store–are simply among some of the better movies you’ll see anywhere. Of course, nothing is perfect, but “Drained” comes close to the mark.

Others, such as “Bugmaster”–the second live-action picture by Katsuhiro Otomo (director of the acclaimed anime “Akira”)–aren’t necessarily my cup of tea; but if lengthy, overdrawn, metaphorical, meditative cups of tea are your thing, check it out. Though I challenge anyone to tell me what the hell the movie is about. Good luck.

The second Shorts Program has a series of films that are among some of the most diverse and inventive films I’ve seen at the festival this year. If you can’t get a ticket, you can see some of these shorts online at sundance.org, but the best part about the shorts is, arguably, meeting the creators, which you can do if you lay down some dough for a ticket.

Just beware of the out-of-towners and the people that will invariably ask if you’ve seen any celebrities.

Just ask if ass****s count.