Sundance Film Festival, a Local’s POV

Sundance Film Festival Alternative
My son photographing his way around Cuba

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and if that’s the case I hope you’ve missed me enough to be happy that I’m back to blogging again. It’s been several weeks since we last chatted, and lots has happened since then: My son went back to the University of Miami after going to Cuba between Thanksgiving and Christmas (that kid needs his own blog with all his adventures); My latest book, The Memoir Midwife: Nine Steps to Self-Publishing Your Book is selling faster than it takes Oprah to earn another cool million (okay, maybe not that fast, but it is moving); And I attended the Sundance Film Festival when it blew into my fair city (as in Park City) the end of January.

The Sundance Film Festival for Beginners

As someone who’s been to the Sundance Film Festival at least 20 times (I’ve actually lost count) I can safely say it’s as if Mardi Gras and Hollywood had a drunken one-night stand together, and thus produced a bastard child simply known as “Sundance.” Disobedient, spoiled, rebellious, you have to see it to believe it. Main Street, Park City, takes on an adult carnival atmosphere (especially that first weekend of the festival) and between all the parties, technology exhibits, panel discussions, and concerts, it’s easy to forget that there are some 200 films playing in real and makeshift theatres throughout our sleepy little ski town. (BTW, the week of Sundance is the best time to ski in Park City, because starving indie filmmakers can’t afford a beer, let alone a $100-plus lift ticket. The trick is finding a place to stay when you’re not on the slopes.)

Sundance Film Festival
AKA: Welcome to Crazy Town

Although I somehow finagle a credential every year that gets me into the parties and all the hoo-ha, the focus for me is, and always will be, films. I see as many movies during the festival as I can, my record being 41 in a 10-day period. This year I only saw 14, which means I actually had time to go home to feed my son and run the dishwasher. (Not necessarily in that order.)

And as you might imagine, over the years I’ve seen my share of celebrity misbehavior, much of which falls into the “WTF? What just happened?” category.

To illustrate, there was the time a very famous actress burst out of the back door of Flanagan’s into Swede Alley around midnight, just as I was walking to my car. She puked her guts out right in front me, then without missing a beat, turned to me and said in a rummy slur as she smoothed her matted locks, “How does my hair look?”

“Um, fine…I guess. But your make-up looks like a Monet interpretation of The Joker.” Actually, I didn’t say that last part. I stopped after “fine.”

“Thanks,” she said all emotionally choked up, going in for the girl hug like we were BFF’s.

“No, no!” I said, stepping back using my open palms as a shield. “We’re good.”

As my consolation prize, she leaned in so close I could tell she was bombed on Flanagan’s Irish Car Bombs, and said, “You are the best, Jane. I’ll never forget you,” then staggered back into to the bar leaving me totally baffled.

I saw her in the Q&A line-up the next morning after a 9:00 a.m. screening of her movie premiere at the Eccles. She looked surprisingly coherent, given that she probably hadn’t been to bed. The next day I interviewed her on KPCW radio, and guess what? She had no idea who I was. So much for never forgetting “Jane.”

I Just Met a Girl Named Maria…at the Sundance Film Festival

Maria is not at the Sundance Film Festival
Actress Betsy Brandt: Supposedly she is my doppelganger

Which leads me to my next point. Quite often I’m mistaken for the actress Betsy Brandt, who played Maria Schrader on the hit TV show Breaking Bad. I don’t see it, and I bet Betsy Brandt wouldn’t either. But during Sundance people come up to me all the time and either ask me if I’m “Maria on Breaking Bad” or tell me I look like her.

Naturally this is what I assumed was going on when, during this last Sundance, a guy chatted me up while we waited in line to see the premiere of the movie The Bronze at the Eccles. Just another case of Maria-mistaken-identity, I thought. I played along, thinking we’d both get a laugh out of it after I came clean. But suddenly it turned weird when he eluded to our one night together in Stockholm (along with some colorful imagery), and how “…that’s never happened since.”

Okay, where do I begin? A) I’ve never been to Stockholm, B) I’m quite sure I’ve never seen this guy naked. And vice versa. And C) I’m dying to know, WHAT’S never happened since? When I finally convinced him (by showing him my Sundance credential) that I was in fact NOT “Amanda” (so now I look like Jane, Maria, and Amanda—whoever she is) he apologized and then clammed up in total embarrassment.

At this point you’d think one of us would leave to avoid further humiliation. But here’s the thing. We were near the front of the line, and one’s place in a movie line at Sundance is so coveted, it was worth enduring that extremely awkward 15 minutes until the line started to move.

After we got in the theatre lobby we couldn’t ditch each other fast enough.

I swear to God, someday I’m going to write a book about all my Sundance adventures. Someone told me that I should talk about my KPCW radio Sundance interviews, but quite honestly those are always pretty civilized and sedate. Celebrities have their publicists in tow and are on their best behavior when they’re interviewed by the media. It’s when they’re let off their leashes that delicious Hollywood Babylon chaos ensues.

So yes, someday I’ll write a snarky Sundance tell-all book, full of juicy tidbits, intrigue, and Lindsay-Lohan-esque bad girl (as well as Emile-Hirsh-flavored bad boy) behavior. But until then I’ve got my blog.

And thankfully, I’ve got you to read it.


Did you like this post? If so, please click on the banner below to vote for me as a Top Mommy Blogger on I don’t win anything except a higher search engine ranking, plus bragging rights to my kids that I’m not as dorky as they think. (Okay, well maybe I am that dorky, but at least I’ll be easier to find on the Web.)

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Stacy Dymalski-885 (cropped)Stacy Dymalski is an award-winning keynote speaker and stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamorous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage. For more of Stacy’s comedy check out her book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available in bookstores and on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

Also check out her new book, “THE MEMOIR MIDWIFE: Nine Steps to Self-Publishing Your Book”, which is available in select bookstores and on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle.