The following are the numbers of hours sleep I got during the week of Sundance:
3, 7, 4, 4, 2, 8, 20.
That first number is the night before I left. My flight was at 7am, my taxi at 5am. I finished packing at midnight but it took me a full two hours to get to sleep: two hours of grinning at my ceiling, thinking about the films, the parties, the celebrities, my first proper film festival, my first actual business trip and my incredible luck. After all, Sundance is the Paris Fashion Week of the film industry calendar. The Sundance stamp of approval reverberates across the marketing material of independent film releases for the rest of the year. For fans of cerebral (read: pretentious), independent (read: cheaply-made) films, it’s Mecca.
The night I arrived I got a full seven hours sleep, mostly because my first day featured no parties, films or excitement whatsoever. It became quickly apparent that I was there to work. Specifically I was my company’s official designated driver. (Of course, I told the guy next to me on the plane I was working in acquisitions, but this simply resulted in him pitching his documentary to me - a novel, thrilling experience for the first ten minutes, but much less exciting one hour later).
After 20,000 film types descend on the small resort town of Park City for the festival, there is no parking left whatsoever. So my job was to be johnny-on-the-spot with the rental car so that our execs could move swiftly between screenings and meetings. A small role, but essential nonetheless - and frankly, I was happy to be there at all.
Our Head of Finance had literally laughed in my face when she found out that the CEO had aksed the one Brit from the office to be the driver. Besides minimal experience of driving on the right, I also am not accustomed to driving in snow, or to Park City (which is decidedly non grid-system). That first night I only managed to nearly kill my CEO once, as a result of pulling out onto a dual carriage way without looking both ways. He saw the funny side, eventually.