Do Egyptians see movies at the “American Theater?”

Or maybe “Texas Theaters.” Somehow, the “Appalachian Theater” doesn’t quite have the necessary evocative ring to get people in seats.

One of the nicest venues at Sundance is the Egyptian Theater in Park City. There is another Egyptian Theater in Ogden, UT and others elsewhere. This is what Wikipedia has to say about the subject.

Egyptian Theater, Park City, UT (photo pilfered from Sundance Channel)

Turns out the first one, built in 1922, opened shortly before the discovery of King Tut’s tomb. According to Wikipedia, as many as one hundred copycats of this style may have once existed in the U.S.

Grauman's Egyptian Theatre, 1922 (Wikipedia image)

While the motif is kind of silly, reminding me of the fake “Bavarian” town of Leavenworth, WA near where I grew up, it is still much more fun than the typical modern multiplex.

Sundance documentaries I’ve seen so far.

Friday, 1/27: BIG BOYS GONE BANANAS!*, SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME,
Wednesday, 1/25: DETROPIA, THE IMPOSTER.

Tuesday, 1/24 additions: THE AMBASSADOR, CHASING ICE, PUTIN’S KISS.

ETHEL, 1/2 REVOLUTION, THE LAW IN THESE PARTS, A FIERCE GREEN FIRE, 5 BROKEN CAMERAS, PAYBACK, SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN, THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES, UNDER AFRICAN SKIES.

If you scroll through my Twitter on the main page sidebar, you can see some of my commentary.

Also saw OSLO NOVEMBER 31 (see post below), WRONG, TEDDY BEAR, I AM NOT A HIPSTER,  MOSQUITA Y MARI, CORPO CELESTE. Loved the last two. The others, not so much.

Lastly, I’ve added a few posts below this one that were in draft form for a while. I adjusted the dates so they’d be in the right order, so if you’ve been reading these as I posted them, you probably haven’t seen those yet.

No livestreaming at Sundance (huh?)

Besides the obvious and well-known films, Sundance Film Festival also includes panels at Filmmaker Lodge and special multi-media installations at New Frontier. Today I nearly missed out on a panel on indie film distribution at the Lodge because it was over-capacity. Luckily I was first in line, so when a few people left, I got in, missing only the first ten minutes.

While I was waiting, I checked in to Twitter on my iPhone to see if anyone in the audience—or if Sundance officially—happened to be livestreaming it. If so, I could just watch it there or go back to the condo and watch it on my laptop. Not only was it not livestreamed, but doing so is prohibited without the written permission of the Sundance Press Office.
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Sundance film: 1/2 REVOLUTION documentary

1/2 REVOLUTION
Documentary

This evening, I saw the beginning of the doc 1/2 REVOLUTION about last year’s Tahrir Square uprising. I had to leave the theater to help with a minor medical emergency, but what I saw of the film looked inspiring and intense. Great for riot-porn junkies. In the first scenes, some of the first confrontations in the Square, people are being beaten back by riot cops, but chanting “No violence! No violence!” A short time later there was a scene where the word “Egypt” was written in English and Arabic in the blood of a slain protester spilled on the pavement.
read the other 1/2

Live from Sundance Film Festival 2012

This will be my eighth year as a volunteer at Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. I’ll be here till Monday, January 30th. For the previous seven years, I’ve worked at the Yarrow Hotel Theater or Holiday Theaters helping run the press and industry-only screenings. These are the same films that the public sees, but in theaters reserved for industry people.

This year, I’m back at the Yarrow, but doing something a little different. I’m helping coordinate the seating of the entourages that many filmmakers bring with them to their film screenings. This is usually the cast and crew and friends and family. It would be a good job for someone who likes to meet stars, since you get to hang out in the “green room” with them.
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Mic check!?

This morning I was out in the big tent at Library Theater, in the ticket line for ETHEL, the documentary on Ethel Kennedy. The crowd liaison was having to yell to try to get the talkative herd’s attention before beginning the process of letting us into the theater. A similar thing happened a bit later in the theater when a manager tried to begin the introduction of the director.

Both times, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if they’d yelled “Mic check!” Certainly some people there have been involved in Occupy or have seen the mic-check practice online and would respond. If enough people echoed the call and others became silent, it would be a measure of how deeply (or not) the Occupy Wall Street memes had penetrated mainstream society.

I’m just dying to try it to find out.

Sundance film: OSLO, AUGUST 31ST.

OSLO, AUGUST 31ST.
Narrative feature.

It’s a big deal for any director and crew to premier a film at Sundance. You want to fill theaters, get standing ovations, generate buzz, attract buyers or distributors and so on. Last thing you need is some nobody like me panning your work on social media networks. (I sent out my first tweets as the crowd was still leaving the theater after the premier.)

Maybe it’s because I went through a depressive period myself the last half of December and can’t relate to a downer story (or can relate all too well and don’t want to). Or maybe it’s because I like a story with a long arc—i.e. where the protagonist starts one place and ends up somewhere far away, emotionally speaking. Either way, I felt that OSLO was a waste of good acting, directing and screenwriting, a downer film that goes nowhere.
click for more, if you’re in a downer mood