Sundance Blog: Urban Hiker's Guide

Susan Gerhard January 20, 2009

Susan Gerhard, Main Street, Tuesday, Jan. 20: Since the last time I did laps around Park City with an overstuffed backpack, I subtracted three pounds from the laptop and added three pounds to the quads. Result: I did not end up on all fours in the lobby of the Yarrow Hotel with a strained back, as I did in … was it 2004? …. when Caveh Zahedi and Amanda Field gamely rescued me and nursed me back to health. This year, on all fours in the Yarrow was Jeff Daniels, on screen in a chiropractor-meets-self-hating self-help writer rom-com (Arlen Faber) that seemed an unlikely entry in the Dramatic Competition, though it charmed me, and, as it turned out, had an SF connection. Later that night: In the glow of Chris Rock who introduced his and Jeff Stilson’s Good Hair, an investigative essay on the alternately toxic/wonderful world of African American hair design, from Al Sharpton’s history with relaxers (which began with James Brown and a visit to the White House) to the Indian temples where shaved locks sacrificed to the deity begin their journey to Beverly Hills salons for women’s high-fashion weaves.

Today’s highlight (aside from the obvious on CNN): A cautionary tale for the Facebook generation in Ondi Timoner’s We Live in Public, along with an in-person appearance from the currently off-grid Josh Harris, looking castaway as ever, but demonstrating just how entertaining differences of opinion between a docu filmmaker and her subject can be. (See the trailer.)

And to the incredible panelists—a brilliant export from the museum-gallery continuum, Laurel Nakadate (Stay the Same Never Change) Frazer Bradshaw (Bay Area filmmaker of Everything Strange and New, starring local notables, including Beth Lisick), Scott Sanders (Black Dynamite, picked up by Sony) and David Russo (The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle) who spent a few hours with me at the Filmmakers’ Lodge Monday for the discussion that they tell me was-going-to-be-called "Crazy-ass Filmmakers," but was judiciously renamed "New Fresh Filmmakers": thanks for your kindness to the moderator. More on that in a future post.

Tomorrow: Looking forward to seeing how La Mission plays in La Park City before heading back to the neighborhood myself.