Sundance 2007: Day Four

Domesticated Zombies?! Every bit as uneventful as it sounds - at least Clubland makes up for it.

by Amber Wilkinson

Send A Bullet - A dodgy picture which doesn't really convey corruption in Sao Paulo - "shows an aspect of Brazil few know much about."

Send A Bullet - A dodgy picture which doesn't really convey corruption in Sao Paulo - "shows an aspect of Brazil few know much about."

Ah, Sundance the glamour, the glitz… and the grimly early starts. Up at 6.30am again to greet the day with my first nosebleed of the festival. It seems the altitude is destined to get to me every year and despite bunging moisturiser up my nose like it’s going out of fashion it has all been to no avail. It seems wrong to be both this cold and this dry simultaneously. Still, at least it means the sun is out.

Not that Eye For Film had time to soak up the rays, heading straight to an early screening of Manda Bala (Send A Bullet). This documentary explores life and lawlessness in Sao Paolo tracking corruption both at a political level and murder and mayhem on the street. It’s powerful in places, if slightly sprawling, but certainly shows an aspect of Brazil few know much about.

Next up was Fido – a zombie comedy horror starring Billy Connolly, not that there is much emphasis on horror. It was all rather sub-Shaun Of The Dead. Set in an imagined world of Technicolor, where zombies have been tamed as household pets, Billy Connolly plays the eponymous Fido in a role which sees him keep his mouth shut for what must be a record amount of time. The film starts well but doesn’t have enough jokes or punch to sustain its running distance, unfortunately.

Having managed to secure a place to cover the red carpet of Clubland and then watch the film, Eye For Film headed to the filmmaker’s reception which gets held every fest. The idea is that publicists are strictly not invited, so that it offers the chance for journalists to meet the cast and crew of movies big and small in a relaxed environment. This often means that it is chiefly the world strand of the film festival and short films that are best represented by their cast and crew – but there were also a couple of big-hitters in attendance yesterday.

Crispin Glover was spotted – again looking very dapper – in the corner pushing his latest flick, while we also chatted briefly with An Nguyen, who is here promoting her debut movie Year Of The Fish. As you can see from the photo, I have also acquired an attractive Sundance spot, just as well An is adding some glamour. Year Of The Fish is a rotoscope animation set in New York’s Chinatown and she seems thrilled with the role.

An Nguyen chats to Eye For Film.
She also told us a bit about her role in Neil Jordan’s latest movie The Brave One, which stars Jodie Foster, whom An describes as “A total professional and a real lady”. An has to be shot in her scene and said it was weird being hooked up to the squibs which go off. She said they let you practice a scene like that first so you know what will happen, but she hadn’t been prepared for the noise which is, apparently, so like gunfire it’s scary.

We also got the chance to talk to smallscreen star Kathleen Gati - pictured below (24, Bones, Desperate Housewives). She’s out here to promote Trade – showing as part of the Premieres section – a gritty film based on a true story about child sex slavery. We’ll tell you more if we get the chance to see it on Wednesday night.

Tony meets Kathleen Gati.
A couple of bottles of Stella Artois later (I’m amazed they let beer that strong into Utah, given the joyously draconian drink laws), we slapped on the SPF 15 (see day 2) and headed on the bus to the Eccles Theatre for the premiere screening of Clubland. The bus was the most packed I’ve seen. Credit has to go to Park City for organising these shuttles to take you right round the town for free. Also to the volunteers who brave the cold to stand out at the stops for four hours at a time, helping people get where they need to. We salute you and shiver on your behalf.

The queue was down the street for Clubland - Brenda Blethyn's latest movie about an ageing London stand-up in Australia coming to terms with the menopause and her sons' growing up. Heartwarming and a real crowdpleaser, Eye For Film also got to chat to Brenda briefly on the red carpet - although, due to an interview tomorrow we didn't keep her long.

The principal cast of ClublandBrenda Blethyn

She looked effortlessly stylish in a black trouser suit with a lovely blue wrap. She said she was thrilled to be back at Sundance again - she is a regular attendee and pals with Robert Redford. Describing her fellow young cast members as "wonderful" she also took time in the Q&A after the screening to make special mention of Robert Wilson, who plays her brain-damaged son in the movie, since he was unable to attend. Co-stars Emma Booth and Khan Chittenden were also present and we got the chance to catch a few good snaps of them all.

Emma BoothKhan Chittenden

All of that was about enough excitement for the night, although I had a slightly odd encounter on the way back through the Marriot hotel - the central hub for press here - buttonholed by a Floridean film student she asked if I'd answer a couple of questions on camera. Doubtless my spot will look even better in as a moving image. Not. Turned in early so we could make the early start screening of Anthony Hopkins' Slipstream tomorrow. Will report more then.

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