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An LGBT Look Back at Sundance 2012

An LGBT Look Back at Sundance 2012

Annually, the heavy hitters of the film industry gather in Park City, Utah in their most stylish outerwear for 10 days of wheeling, dealing, schmoozing and movie watching at the Sundance Film Festival.

It’s hard to believe that seeing movies can be someone’s job. There’s also those that write the stories, those that buy and those that make and critique the films. Annually, the heavy hitters of the film industry gather in Park City, Utah in their most stylish outerwear for 10 days of wheeling, dealing, schmoozing and movie watching.

While the past few years have slowed the opulent lounges of the early 2000’s at Sundance, this year saw several new companies pop up to sponsor various events and promote their wares. Sundance attendees are considered tastemakers, so invariably companies want to get their new gadgets, ideas or products in the hands of not only the celebs, but also the execs and media.

The biggest challenge is transportation. The largely Los Angles based attendees are forced to use the bus system as cabs are scarce and get expensive. The city offers free buses that run constantly from one venue to the next, as movies are shown at nine different theatres. Lounges, panels and parties are scattered elsewhere, however there are helpful volunteers at every stop to give directions and guidance.


I saw a mix of movies. Funny, dramatic, controversial and soul searching, I recommend all these films when they come to a theatre near you.

About Face

Director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders hits a home run with this fascinating and telling documentary. This film explores beauty and aging through the stories of the original supermodels. Participants including Isabella Rossellini, Christie Brinkley, Beverly Johnson, Carmen Dell'Orefice, Paulina Porizkova, Jerry Hall and Christy Turlington weigh in on the fashion industry and how they reassess and redefine their own sense of beauty as their careers progress. We see images of them in their prime juxtaposed with modern day candid interviews.

Live Free or Die

Director Macky Alston follows openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson into the breach in the struggle for equality. While resolute in his calling, Robinson grows increasingly critical of the central role that religious institutions have played in fostering homophobia and hatred. We watch as he pushes back for equal rights within his own church and see the candid struggles of his fellow bishops to accept and include gay leaders.

Middle of Nowhere

Director Ava DuVernay’s elegant and emotionally inspiring debut portrays the universal dilemma of how a woman maintains herself as she commits to loving and supporting someone through hardship. The film does an excellent job of showing the complexity of making concessions for someone, while struggling to do what’s in one’s own best interest.

My Best Day

Through this film, we follow two characters through one long and fateful day. Funny and borderline absurd at moments, we see the girls and related characters work through issues of abandonment, love, pride, addiction and trust. We see relationships that come in all configurations and the universal yearn for connection. It’s light and worth renting on a rainy day.


Kate and Charlie like to have a good time. Their marriage thrives on a shared fondness for music, laughter… and getting smashed. When Kate’s partying spirals into hard-core asocial behavior, compromising her job as an elementary schoolteacher, something’s got to give. But change isn’t exactly a cakewalk. Sobriety means she will have to confront the lies she’s been spinning at work, her troubling relationship with her mother, and the nature of her bond with Charlie.

Teddy Bear

Dennis is a champion bodybuilder whose impressive physical prowess cannot defeat his social discomfort or solitude. Dennis’s fragile, birdlike mother wields a powerful hold on his heart. This maternal anchor by no means allays his chronic longing for love, so he musters the courage to embark on a quest. In Thailand, amid sex tourists, monolithic hotels, and local gym rats, Dennis begins to overcome his fears and personal limitations. Watching Dennis’s quiet revolution gather steam transfixes us in this subtle, moving story about integrity, the inherent strength in gentleness, and what it means to be dutiful to self.

Parties, Panels and Lounges

GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) threw a party mid week with a Viking theme (see photo). The also hosted several panels throughout the week.

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Fender overtook a local business for their lounge. I stopped in to discover them serving Bloody Marys and Collective Soul doing a set for an audience of maybe 30.

ASCAP(American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) hosted a daily lounge featuring both emerging and established artists like Josh Kelly, Jenny O., Natasha Bedingfield and David Gray. Free to get in, seats are limited and on a first come basis. I stopped in to warm up and listed to a set with Jeremy Current and his bride (who was also performing solo the next day) Bailey Cooke. They chemistry was palpable and the sweet sound made you stare in a quiet, present manor.

Bertolli Soups hosted a chalet downtown. They served warm soup (which is now available in the freezer aisle non condensed) and gave away hand warmers to happy guests. Their Sundance presence was a celebrating National Soup Month with the “Ladles of Love” program, benefitting Feeding America and helping to provide 400,000 meals to those who need it most. The suite also included GenArt, Tic Tac (who has a minty new blue flavor) and Patron’s new Patron Coffee Liqueur XO, which rivals Kahlua liqueur any day.

L’Oreal had their own lounge where they offered makeovers for the weary and gave away lip gloss and mascara. I dropped by twice to see what magic they could make!

All in all, it was a great week. I had some celeb sightings (David Duchovny, Beverly Johnson, Aaron Paul), at some great meals (The Easting Establishment for breakfast, Stella Lounge for lunch and Chimayo for a five star dinner). It dumped snow the first day, which meant my Sorels were put to good use and the bus schedule actually began to make sense by day five. For more information on the festival, head here. 

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Jenn Kennedy