Sundance 2016: In Conclusion

Posted By Audra Coulombe on February 01, 2016 10:42 am | Permalink
Hey everyone! I made it to the end, and if you've been reading with me, so have you. High fives all around!

I attended the second half of Sundance, and based on what I've heard, it seems that the festival is like this: busier at the beginning, calmer at the end. The beginning is great if you're looking for more parties, events, and possible celebrity sightings. The end is perfect if you actually want to get into screenings without one of them fancy-pants all-access passes. 

So...on to the end! 

Saturday started off delightfully nerdy with a live podcast show. Podcasts are great ways to make a morning subway ride go by faster, and one of my favorites is Song Exploder by Hrishikesh Hirway ( Hrishikesh takes songs apart layer by layer, and he interviews the artist about the process. Usually he produces the podcast in a studio, but I was lucky enough to see him interview KT Tunstall live.

KT Tunstall has had a few hit singles which you may have heard, and they talked about her song "Suddenly I See." I geeked out in the front with some folks that I met from Milwaukee.

Then there were more films!

Birth of a Nation - AKA the big winner at Sundance. I'll be honest - plenty of people with actual journalism credentials have done a wonderful job discussing this film. So I won't do that here right now. At this point I'll just say:

1. This film will most likely be in theaters this year. You should absolutely put it on your movie to-do list.

2. I cried in the same theater for the second night in a row (first night was the Newtown screening).

3. I really, really liked it, and I felt lucky that Nate Parker (director and lead actor) was there to talk about the film post-screening (below). He got several standing ovations - everyone was so moved by the film that we were just standing up all over the place.

Brahman Naman - I needed some levity after spending the past two nights crying in the Marc Theater, and this gave me the laughs I needed. 

The Land of the Enlightened - It was described as "whimsical," which was a funny choice of words. The landscape they captured was beautiful. They described Afghanistan in a folk story as "God's Garden." But then you see Afghan kids using old American mortar shells as toys, and "whimsical" just feels sad and unsettling instead.

Finally, I went to a party, as promised. The final Awards Night Party had a DJ, a big line to get in, and big lines for drinks. No Joseph Gordon-Levitt sighting as I had hoped in my first post of this series, but it was still a solid party (below).

All in all, it was a great festival. If you go, prepare yourself for the altitude (your heart will race just by walking down the street, even if you're a battle-hardened NYC walker), bring a tote bag (no tote bag swag...I was disappointed, and carried my dorky looking backpack to carry my laptop), and bring some good boots. 

Check this out: 

I am now in LA, preparing for the Visual Effects Society awards. If you've been following me during my Sundance adventure, thanks for doing so! It's been a ton of fun describing my experience for you.

Now...back to work.

Audra Coulombe is Marketing Manager at The Molecule (, a VFX, MGFX, and VR studio based in New York City, with an office in Los Angeles too.