Friday, January 30, 2009


And don’t I love starting my weekly blog with that phrase! Five days, nine films, one spa treatment, one closing night party, and one cross-country ski lesson later, I’m back to sunny SoCal, fifty degrees warmer and much wiser about the inner workings of film festivals and the various grades of icy rain and powdery snow.

Thanks to the amazing organizational and texting skills of Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, Dr. Kristiina Hackel, 35 Cal State LA students (undergrad, MA and MFA students) also enjoyed Sundance, some catching as many as 15 films.

Student highlights included:

1) Our own post-screening talk by
Robert Siegel, writer/director of Big Fan also known for writing The Wrestler and as longtime Editor-in-Chief of The Onion. Mr. Siegel was joined by Executive Producer (and wife) Jen Cohn, as well as Coproducer/Editor Joshua Trank in the parking lot of Eccles Theatre.
2) The breakfast for the Sundance Institute’s educational outreach
program. Students in the program who brought films were randomly drawn and five of the eight films shown were from Cal State LA students!
3) Students’ ability to find extra tickets and meet people in “the industry.”

4) Carla’s screening combined with Selena’s ice cream birthday cake at Davanza’s pizza.

My Sundance highlights:
1) Paper Heart, a complete quirkfest featuring SoCal
comic performer Charlyne Yi as well as recent indie fave, Michael Cera.
2) Sin Nombre, Cary Joji Fukunaga’s powerful drama of immigration from Central America to the US border.

3) Robert Siegel, running into Kris and me at Nollywood Babylon, handing over extra tickets to I love you Phillip Morris (Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor) and putting Claudia and Rochelle on a shuttle to the Sundance Resort to see the film.
4) After sun and rain, a final day and evening of big flakey snow in Park City that passed the stick-out-your-tongue test.

The closing night party music was a bit of a lowlight (well, I’m older); nonetheless, I managed to strut it again with students and new friends.

As always,
Your Dancing Dean

Pictured, top to bottom: The Cal State LA crew at Sundance; the Park City slopes; "Big Fan" Executive Producer Jen Cohn and Professor Kristiina Hackel; Director Robert Siegel meets with CSULA students; Dean Terry Allison at 'the Dance!'

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