Sundance Film Festival - Day Five

Missing a deer and a dead elk, Elf lands poolside with brill trio from Brit fantasy MirrorMask; US Lackawanna Blues one to watch.

by Amber Wilkinson

Period drama Lackawanna Blues

Period drama Lackawanna Blues

Another early start followed by a brisk battle with my laptop before heading into Park City to interview writer Neil Gaiman, director David McKean and producer Lisa Henson.

On the drive in we witnessed a deer race across both carriages leaping the central reservation along the way, we gave it 5.9 for style and 6.3 for putting the frighteners on the passing motorists. Not to be outdone, we later spotted the largest piece of roadkill I have ever seen, an elk... the whereabouts and state of the car that hit it are unknown. Am beginning to realise why the motorists drive round in the equivalent of small tanks and would not be surprised to see a tiger on the road.

Headed straight for the MirrorMask, pictured below, publicist's office, nearly banging into Neil G on the way. Still, always good to know your prospective interviewee is in the building. Turns out the publicist had press notes for the film all along, despite someone in the office denying all knowledge of them a couple of days ago. Ushered poolside - remember the sauna from my Peter Mullan saga? - I had time to give the notes a quick once over and be squished off a table by a man with a large piece of equipment - photographic, that is - before Neil, David and Lisa arrived.

MirrormaskMy favourite interview of the festival so far, they were all lovely - especially if you consider the time of day. It was great to interview all three of them together, nice to get a different perspective on some questions. I was amazed to learn that the budget was a mere $4 million - it looks so much more expensive than that. Good to hear that the Henson company still plan to remake Neverwhere "in some form". It's a shame the interview with these three people, as entertaining as they are, ended so soon. But it's a publicist thing, I guess, and I'm sure they must be very busy... and, boy, can I relate to that.

Interview over, I fell into chatting with a Sundance veteran. He says he's been coming here for 10 years and that each year the standard is on the up. We headed for Main Street, snagging a couple of free Hewlett Packard hats in their suite, which sounds great until you consider that they have, allegedly, been giving away ipod-style players at some point this week. Headed to The Spur bar for lunch and were entertained by very pleasant singer/guitarist Julie Hill who was playing to a shamefully small audience. Waitress was of the 'you don't want change, do you?' variety - but you can't have everything.

Fed and watered, we hit the bricks to see some films. I opted for Lackawanna Blues and was not disappointed. Set in the segregated America of the 1950s and '60s, George C Wolfe's debut feature is adapted from the hit play of the same name. It follows the story of Nanny (Law and Order's S Epatha Merkerson in the performance of her career) a boarding house owner who offers solace, hope and, when needed, a good ticking off to the lost, lonely and disenfranchised within her community. This film has a superb ensemble cast and is directed with visual flair and joie de vivre, as each character's tale is subtly interwoved with the next.

Tony meanwhile had trogged off to see Wolf Creek - allegedly the most scary thing to come out of Australia since Dame Edna Everidge. A slash 'n' grab horror it, apparently, covers all the bases without once breaking new ground.

A quick regroup in the bar before we head for the final screening of the day Between, starring Missing Without A Trace's Poppy Montgomery. Possibly only outranked by 9 Songs in terms of the number of people walking out, it is hard to know where to begin to describe the true awfulness of this film. A dreadful script, dodgy acting and nonsensical direction conspire to waste an hour and a half of my life - still, there's always tomorrow.

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