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White at Sundance: Day One, History
Posted: Jan. 21, 2008 Sign-in to Comment Bookmark and Share

My wife and daughter went to the Inauguration--you might have seen them; they were the ones clapping and cheering--and I flew to a Red State.

Yes, I have landed at Sundance, spelling my comrades Eddie Schmidt and Tamara Krinsky. Thanks for keeping my seat warm, mates! I'll take it from here.

I didn't have that celebrity-soaked plane trip that President Eddie reported on, but I did enjoy a pleasant flight-and-shuttle-ride-long catch-up with former IDA Programs and Events Manager Tracie Lewis (now programmer at Film Independent).

But about that Inauguration, I watched as much as I could of this world-shaking event, but just as Obama laid his hand on the Bible, Southwest made its last call for boarding.

But some of the highlights leading up that moment: George Bush Senior hugging Bill Clinton as if he were the son he wished he had...Dick Cheney doing his Dr. Strangelove routine one last time...George Bush Junior entering the stage to a chorus of boos...The Queen of Soul channeling both Marian Anderson and Mahalia Jackson with her tear-jerking rendition of "My Country 'Tis of Thee."...The multitudes around the world--from Kenya to Indonesia--anticipating this moment...And Obama himself, the last to arrive--poised, centered, rooted, self-aware...

Anything else--even the 25th edition of Sundance, which itself was straddling history by opening in the Bush Administration and closing in the Obama Administration--would be, well, ordinary.

And, touching down in Park City for the midpoint changeover, I sensed a lower-key vibe, a deference to the magnitude of the day. Fellow scribes were gathered in the press room, solemnly watching the parade; Main Street was eminently walkable (although I was turned away from the Sundance Channel party), and the Sundancers beamed a beam of history.

More mundane matters--my condo is wireless-less. I figured that wireless connectivity was as basic an amenity as pillows, blankets and hot water, but apparently the condo owner, mired in a dial-up world, considered WiFi the equivalent of mints under the pillow and fog-free mirrors. So, having sought out a solution to my wireless-lessness, I post my missive a day late. But now that I've found a clean, well-wired place, I'll be a post-aholic.

I did manage to catch a screening at the Temple Theatre--a new facility for both Sundance and Park City--Pamela Yates' The Reckoning, which profiles the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its mission to bring the perpetrators of the world's worst atrocities to justice. The protagonist, prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, and his team go through the Byzantine process of building cases against warlords in Uganda and The Congo, as well as the President of Sudan for genocide in Darfur. Although the ICC has the participation and support of over 60 countries-not including the United States, China and Russia-the wheels of justice turn very slowly. Yates is in it for the long haul with her film, having launched an audience engagement campaign: www.IJCentral.org, which aims "to build a global grassroots movement and social network for an effective international justice system."

 

 

ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, subject of Pamela Yates' The Reckoning (Prod.: Paco de Onis).

 

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