Experience Sundance 2013: Love Movies? This May Not Be the Film Festival for You

By  · Published on January 21st, 2013

My first full day of my very first Sundance was yesterday, and I’m already tired. Sadly, there were no obese snorers for me to kick like there was during my first movie on Saturday (he did not appreciate it), but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been witnessing some other sad behaviors.

But let’s look at the good stuff first…

I love movies whether I’m watching them at home or seeing them in a theater, but while I’ve only been covering film festivals for a few years now they’ve quickly become one of my favorite ways to experience new movies. SXSW, SFIFF, Fantastic Fest and now Sundance are places where I’ve been able watch multiple films per day with other like-minded people. The real bonus of festivals though is the opportunity to discover unexpected gems and filmmakers to watch. There will always be titles you’re eagerly anticipating, but nothing compares to walking into a movie with zero knowledge outside the title and finding something memorable.

Geographically speaking, while I’d love to attend warm and sunny beach-side Cannes at some point, Park City is in a beautiful part of the country. We’re surrounded by snow-covered mountains, which yes, means it’s colder than a witch’s tit (something my dad always says that I’ve never really understood) but the nippiness is worth the view.

I’m also finding much love and respect for the Sundance volunteers. They’re friendly, informative and constantly buzzing around helping newbies like myself figure out where the hell they are and where they should be instead. I would blame exhaustion and lack of sleep, but I just got in town yesterday!

But here’s where I’m having a problem:

There have been multiple walkouts at every single screening I’ve attended so far. It’s not large portions of the audience by any means, but it’s been anywhere from five to fifteen people I’ve seen stand up and exit before the movie’s over. These aren’t bad movies either, as even Sarah Polley’s delightful, funny and introspective Stories We Tell had six people exit the theater before it ended.

I’ve rarely witnessed this at SXSW and never seen it at Fantastic Fest, but it’s happened at every movie I’ve seen while here. I suspect it’s a mix of industry professionals and people trying to maximize their schedule. Either way, though, it’s rude, and every time I see another one I reach my boiling point. Wait. That’s not my column. Goddamn I’m tired.

Tired, and excited all to hell to be here.

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.