Creatives on the Move: Tonja Does Sundance

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I am back from dancing on the sun and I've finally brushed off the snow and surreal-ness from my lifespace to sit my ass down and write a recap! 

Sundance has always been on my film festival bucket list. I mean, obviously. It is the largest film festival in the country and any filmmaker who gets those laurels gets to STUNT. I know I will once it happens to me. ;) So, when Cinema Bun copped those official press credentials -- I kid you not -- I almost fell off the bus. I found out right when I was exiting at the bus stop and I almost stepped off to a faceplant. Dream. Come. True. But enough of swooning in the clouds, let's get to the mountains!

- To be honest, the thin air took my breath away several times. Seriously. I questioned my entire existence when I was out of breath after a couple flight of stairs when I'm usually all good for several more flights. Nah, that air was thinner than a wheat cracker. But, those views?? Stunning. I had never been that high above sea level before, so my mouth was agape as soon as I stepped off the plane. And the drive from Salt Lake City was dopesauce. Shout-out to our Uber driver who gave us a rundown of Utah. It snowed just about every day we were there, and there's nothing like a blanket of pure, un-touched snow creating nature's filter. Gorgeous!

- I have to admit, I felt important af once I got my pass and subsequent swag bag. Shout-out to the press office staff, who were super accommodating and nice! That pass afforded me a lovely first Sundance experience as we were able to finagle our way into an exclusive Sundance TV party and were on the press line for Roxanne, Roxanne (a film that just secured a deal with Neon; woop woop!), the latter of which got us in the same space as Nia Long who is even more gorgeous in person, but duh. Gotta give shouts to my crew, DeAndreTaj, and Terrence for handling the social media, photography and audio-technical duties! 

- Now, one thing I didn't get to do as much of is see as many films as I'd like. Now, I'm not new to this film festival thing and I KNOW there's a lot of running around and you're bound to miss out on some things. OH BUT THIS YEAR??? Not only was it the last-calculated 46,000+ folks cramped into Park City, but there was also the Women's March: Sundance Edition going on AND a cyber attack, so needless to say, all that rigamarole cut my viewing time down to a sizable portion. I ended up seeing a Brazilian film, Don't Swallow My Heart, Alligator Girl! (because your film ain't a Sundance film if its title ain't an obscurely-constructed sentence... which is the name of my next film, stay tuned LOL) and a female-filmmaker horror anthology, XX

- Sundance had quite a few panels going on throughout the entire festival and I was glad to partake in one. Probably the highlight of the festival for me other than the Sundance TV party was the SAG-AFTRA "From the Margins to the Mainstream" panel, hosted by The Blackhouse Foundation. On the panel was 2017 Golden Globe/Oscar Nominated Producer, Kimberly Steward (which, shouts to her and her sizable contribution to my comedy webseries, WingChick! Now crowdfunding at Indiegogo, by the way *hinthint click here nudgenudge*), Producer Taj Paxton, Actor/Director Justin Chon, Producer Stephanie Allain, and Funa Maduka of Netflix's Content Acquisition Department. I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Kimberly, Justin, Taj, and Funa and I look forward to working with them soon! 

- You know the ever evasive and mysterious "they" always say that Sundance is where you have the most random celebrity encounters. WELL, CHILE THEY AIN'T LYIN'! In the few days that I was there, I bumped into O'Shea Jackson, Jr., Peter Dinklage, pretty sure Ava DuVernay rode by us in a Jeep, and Joshua Jackson who was on his way to hit the slopes. And all within the same area, or pretty close to it. The latter of which almost gave me and my inner 15-year-old a damn near heart attack, but we not gonna dwell on that.

***PACEY THO!***

Ok, I'm back. Overall, I had a splendid time and I'll definitely be back. With a film or for the podcast, I must experience Sundance again. And I will. And hopefully, Berook and I can tag team it up next time! 

If you'd like to check out pics/video from our time at Sundance:

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- Tonja

ILLYX StaffComment