PARK CITY, UT – In what was a lively and festive opening weekend here in the breathtaking Wasatch Mountains, Sundance Film Festival 2020 lived up to it’s billing as one of the most memorable in a long time.
With highly buzzed-about and anticipated screenings such as the Barack and Michelle Obama-executive produced documentary “Crip Camp”, that follows the story of a summer camp in the 1950’s for handicapped individuals, that ultimately evolved into the fight for equal rights and the signing of what is now the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), “Miss Americana” the much-anticipated Netflix-produced Taylor Swift documentary directed by Lana Wilson, “The Dissident” that chronicles the story of slain Washington Post journalist, Jamal Kashoogi and his anti-Saudi stories that led to his murder and the clever psychothriller, “The Night House” starring Rebecca Hall (The Town, Iron Man 3).
While there were other note-worthy documentaries and notable screenings going on at Sundance, no one film seemed to be on the lips of festival goers and media quite like Crip Camp. In what was his final speech at Sundance, Hollywood icon and festival founder, Robert Redford gave the keynote speech in front of a packed Eccles Theater before the premiere showing of Crip Camp.
In what was a powerful and emotional tour de force that dazzled and left not a dry eye in the house, Crip Camp ended to a standing ovation from the crowd. Perhaps it was due to the current political climate in the Age of Trump, or the recent emphasis of mental health and wellness that struck a chord with many in attendance, but there was no doubt that Crip Camp was on the minds of many.
Whether you were attending the various screenings in and around Park City or Salt Lake and discussion panels at the IMDB Studio at Acura Festival Village, WarnerMedia Lodge, The Atlantic, or Chase Sapphire on Main, there was a star-studded who’s who of celebrities and politicians such as First Lady Hillary Clinton, who was attended her self-titled documentary, “Hillary”, the aforementioned Swift—along with her rabid fans—who turned out in full force for “Miss Americana”, Will Ferrell, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Anna Hathaway, Kevin Smith, Tate Donovan, Stanley Tucci, Kerry Washington and Stranger Things heartthrob, Joe Keery from the social media satire comedy, Spree.
Some could argue that Hiliary and Taylor saved the festival, but it was the movies and quality of screenings that made this year’s Sundance truly stand out.
Sundance 2020 could very well easily go down as one of the best in the festival’s history due to a combination of documentaries, Oscar-worthy screenings such as Worth, Minari, Kajillionaire , the open discussion and growth of 5G, smart tech, New Frontier content in augmented and virtual reality as well as the estimated 250,000 estimated film enthusiasts, media credentialed outlets, volunteers and staff that will make their way to the snow-capped and quaint locales that are located 30 minutes east of downtown Salt Lake.
Whether you were at Sundance to see screenings, get a glance of your favorite Hollywood celebrity, network or close on a deal, this festival had a little bit of everything for everyone, and whatever you take away from it, you will surely not be disappointed as this year was one of it’s very best in recent memory.