Sundance 2007 : Day Seven

Eye For Film joins Garth Jennings for a chat, and turns up to the Filmmaker's party. Waitress and Weapons are the movies du jour.

by Amber Wilkinson

Waitress - a life-affirming little comedy, empowering female strength.

Waitress - a life-affirming little comedy, empowering female strength.

As the day dawned bright and clear, yet again - and increasingly warm - Eye For Film opened their jackets... only briefly, mind.

The town is dotted with signs warning you to watch out for falling snow and ice from the roofs - but the biggest danger is still the risk of falling Aronofsky over Tarkovsky on the icy pavements. Thankfully, our Aronofskys are thus far unscathed. The thought of yet another 6.30am start was too much to bear, so we missed the first couple of screenings. This, of course, meant we were on top form for our interview with director Garth Jennings.

In a kind of buy-one-get-one-free move, we were also lucky enough to speak to his producing partner Nick Goldsmith. I'm not sure which of them is Hammer and which is Tongs and it seemed rather churlish to ask, especially since I'd already laid into Garth regarding my lack of badge at the previous day's screening. Eye For Film is now the proud owner of Garth Jennings' very own 'I AM THE SON OF RAMBOW' badge, and we're so excited about it we thought you might like to see it, too. It has taken pride of place on the press pass, which as you can see below, is large enough to carry your sandwiches in. In fact, navel gazing is a Sundance sport, as you frantically scout and are scouted by rooms full of people.

The newly-adorned press pass - essential for Sundance survival.
But back to the toolbox (do you get tongs in a toolbox?). They are both really nice blokes* - although it turns out there is sin burning at their soul. Garth said: "We feel a bit guilty. we haven't really done the festival, we've been on the mountain skiing and snowboarding. We can watch films any day of the week but we can't go up a mountain... and it's spectacular."

Fresh from snagging a reported $8million distribution deal from Paramount Vantage, they were in a great mood - and in huge demand. We'll be bringing you the full interview later, all 12 minutes and 32 seconds of it. Actually, I owe them, particularly Nick Goldsmith, who pointed out that I was in such a rush to leave I was going without my dictaphones. Then, as I was putting them away, I knocked a coffee cup over... just as well it wasn't full.Suffice to say, I made my apologies and slunk off.

Having missed the screening slot for the next batch of films, Eye For Film decided that the only thing to do would be to attend the Filmmaker's party. These mixers (there are two) are organised by the Sundance Institute, so that journos can hook up with directors and stars without the added fun of publicists. Oh, and there's free food. And wine.

This generally means that all the short film directors and documentarians turn up, along with some of the foreign feature directors. Crispin Glover was in attendance and took time to chat to us about his latest project It's Fine Everything Is Fine. It stands as the central plank of a trilogy, which began with What Is It? Two years ago. He believes it is the best film he will probably ever make and you can definitely see where he is coming from with regard to wanting to make something which normally wouldn't stand a chance in the face of the mainstream.

We also bumped into Brit filmmaker and Ridley Scott cohort Mat Kirkby - pictured right - whose short film, Hard To Swallow, is screening as part of the short film programme. We grabbed a copy and will bring you news of it as soon as we get the chance to watch it.We rolled from the mixer to the Songrwriters Snowball - in the interests of research, you understand. With live acts and free beer it was a shame to leave, but as you have probably noticed by now, we hadn't seen a film all day. To set the record straight, we headed to Waitress and Weapons respectively.

Waitress comes with a tragic history. The writer, director and co-star Adrienne Shelly (pictured below) was murdered shortly after shooting the movie - there is now a foundation in her name, which aims to help women filmmakers, particularly in making the transition from acting to directing (adrienneshellyfoundation.org). Her death is all the more tragic when you consider what a nice little film this is. It tells the story of Jenna, a waitress in a diner, with an unhappy marriage who discovers she is pregnant. Going through with the pregnancy - and writing periodic letters to her unwanted child - she embarks on an affair with her obstetrician and constantly dreams of new recipes for the pies she is famed for making. This may not sound like the ingredients for a comedy, but it is and it has a message as wholesome as Mom's apple pie.

Weapons on the other hand would take your apple pie and shoot it through the head. It's a nihilistic view of disenfranchised, drug-taking youth. So not a lot of laughs there, then. By this time it was 12am - and with a 6am start it seemed wise to quit for the night. We'll be back tomorrow, though, with reports on Black Snake Moan, Away From Her and - we're secretly very excited about this - Donovan.

*Of course, you'll never know if it was badge bribery that makes me say this.

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