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Sundance 2017: A Reel Retrospective

Spark Public

Sundance 2017: A Reel Retrospective

Paris Nguyen shares the highlights of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

February 1, 2017

The 2017 Sundance Film Festival has come to an end and I am currently using a jumbo-sized popcorn tub to catch my tears. Though I am devastated that Sundance is over, I am so glad that I had the opportunity to experience such an incredible celebration of cinema with close friends and thousands of fellow film nerds. Film is art, and Sundance is a showcase for artists to share their creations with people who truly appreciate cinema in all its forms. As I write this blog I keep reminding myself that while tears dry, the power of film lasts forever. So please enjoy my list of favorite movies and moments from Sundance.

Films to look for later this year

The Big Sick

(Comedy, Romance; Release Date: TBA)

Equal parts hilarious and heartfelt, this movie is based on the real-life love story of comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his wife, Emily Gordon. This film deftly explores love, comedy, trauma, cultural differences and family dynamics in a wholly satisfying way that is engaging throughout its 119-minute runtime.

Casting JonBenet

(Documentary; Release Date: TBA)

Easily one of the most unique documentaries in recent memory, this film explores the tragic death of six-year-old beauty pageant star, JonBenet Ramsey. Collecting accounts from local residents of Ramsey’s hometown, this fascinating documentary explores the consequences of collective memory and social sciences in relation to piecing together one of the most engrossing unsolved mysteries of our time.

I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore

(Comedy, Thriller; Coming to Netflix on Feb. 24, 2017)

Part backwoods thriller, part buddy comedy, and 100 pewrcent proof that Elijah Wood can pull off a rattail haircut, I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore provided one of the most fun viewing experiences I’ve ever had in a movie theater.

The Discovery

(Sci-Fi; Coming to Netflix on March 31, 2017)

Set in a world where scientists have proven the existence of an afterlife, this is a film that explores the consequences such a discovery could have on society. The Discovery provides viewers with a solid dramatic turn from Jason Segel in this dark, original sci-fi film.

Band Aid

(Comedy; Release Date: TBA)

A movie about a garage band… that looks like it was filmed in a garage with a budget of about $12… but in the best way possible. Band Aid cleverly tackles marital distress, the woes of being a struggling artist, and coming to terms with the mundanity of life.

Fun to be had in the sun… dance

Paris with Elijah Wood. Close Encounters of the Celebrity Kind 

Elijah Wood. Melanie Lynskey. Kumail Nanjiani. Fred Armisen. Paris Nguyen. Four of these people are actors. One of these people starred in a Value Village Halloween commercial when he was 11 years old, where he played a dancing scuba diver with a tragic past… and a deadly sense of rhythm. All of these people were at Sundance. Sadly, I still fit into that scuba suit.

The coolest car at Sundance (it's made of ice). Unintentional snow sports

Park City, Utah: A land of ice and snow… and more snow. A land where you’ll enjoy the best sledding of your life, despite not having a sled or having any intention of actually sledding. A land where every accidental slip becomes the prologue to your next epic adventure. You haven’t truly lived until you’ve stumbled upon a patch of sidewalk where someone has inexplicably watered their lawn nearby in 20-degree weather, resulting in a nine-foot stretch of ice-covered Slip ‘n’ Slide. I have lived.

The Cinema Café at Filmmaker Lodge

Every morning at Sundance the Filmmaker Lodge hosts an hour-long interview session with various filmmakers and artists, and members of the general public are occasionally invited to join in . I had the pleasure of sitting in on a conversation with Logan Lerman about his new film, Sidney Hall. If you ever find yourself at Sundance, I highly recommend attending one of these intimate filmmaker discussions.

Food to fuel your soul… and your face

El Chubasco

Photo courtesy of Yelp.

The salsa bar speaks for itself. Actually, it doesn’t so I’ll speak for it. There’s an incredible selection of free salsas: pico de gallo, verde, jalapeño, chipotle crema and mango to name a few. There is a salsa here for everyone. El Chubasco is located about a block away from the Sundance Festival Headquarters and most meals are under $10. You’ll have trouble beating that price point, plus it’s all the salsa you can eat!

Sammy’s Bistro

Photo courtesy of Yelp.

This casual-chic american diner is also close to Sundance headquarters and serves up a wide array of gourmet dishes for a reasonable price. Featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, Dives, Sammy’s Bistro provides fast friendly service, creative entrees, and a relaxing atmosphere. I recommend the chivito club sandwich, which is packed with succulent pork tenderloin, fried egg, bacon, and creamy cilantro sauce. I also hear that Sammy’s offers a mean breakfast menu too, so this is a great spot to start or finish your day at the movies!

As the aroma of buttered popcorn and cola-stained floors fades, I must now face the harsh winds of reality as I attempt to assimilate myself back into society. However, on the bright side, the 2018 Sundance Film Festival is only 506,880 minutes away! See you in Park City next year!


Paris Nguyen

Paris Nguyen is Spark Public's entertainment writer/reporter. He is a writer and journalist who specializes in entertainment news. He graduated from the University of Washington in 2013, majoring in psychology and cinema studies. With a passion for all things film-related, Paris spends the majority of his free time exploring the expansive world of cinema. When not munching on popcorn in a dark theater, Paris enjoys cycling, rock climbing and feebly tossing a frisbee in the general direction of other humans. Paris grew up in Issaquah, Wash., where he developed a deep fondness for hiking and pronouncing the name of his hometown incorrectly.

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