With up a snowstorm expected to dump as much as two feet of snow on Park City Saturday night, festivalgoers and filmmakers gathered at the Racquet Club for the Sundance Film Festival awards ceremony.
"You know, the festival is coming to close tonight," said Geoff Gilmore, director of the Sundance Film Festival, reiterating that the growing Wasatch Mountain town is the festival's home and will stay that way. Continuing he added," Its time to reflect on the past 10 days -- I have been doing this festival for a long time and in the end what stays with you is certainly not what happens here tonight...what stays with you is the special moments that make up your time here."
Marking a few of those moments, Gilmore singled out the individuals who wrote out and delivered checks at Sundance screenings this week: $10,000 was given to start a school in the coffee-growing hills of Argentina after a screening of "Black Gold," while another check for $25,000 was presented to aid migrants in Sudan, at a screening of "God Grew Tired of Us."
Continuing Gilmore concluded, "For us at Sundance, what we will remember is all the stories and storytellers -- you and your films."
On his birthday, Richard Glatzer joined his partner (in life and in making the film) Wash Westmoreland on stage to accept awards for their film "Quinceanera." "We are not the likeliest people to make this movie," explained Westmoreland, "I am a Yorkshire man, Richard is a New York Jew...and we are both gay, so we owe a huge debt to our cast." Continuing he added, "This goes out to the people of Echo Park -- as (our character) says in the movie, 'it's a nice day for a quinceanera'. Thank you everybody for showing love."
Later, accepting the grand jury prize, Westmoreland added, "Sundance is like this microscope -- it can tale something very very small and make it big, thank you forever."
"Wow, this is getting embarrassing," smiled James Longely in a characteristically calm tone, while accepting his third of three awards Saturday night, for best director, best cinematographer and best editor (for "Iraq In Fragments", "I want to thank Sundance and all the great filmmakers who are here, its been a really great pleasure."
"Wow, this is really nuts man," muttered Dito Montiel, director of "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints," "You know, shoot, I didn't make no list so I am gonna forget everybody." He acknowledged a few folks, including producer Trudie Styler and actor Robert Downey Jr, then, starting to choke up he added, "Thank you guys, this is nuts..."
Director Christopher Quinn, accepting one of his two big prizes for "God Grew Tired of Us" said, "People are dying by the thousands in the Sudan -- I hope that this film can shed light (on the situation).
Accepting a dramatic special jury prize for "In Between Days," director So Yung Kim acknowledged that she and her team made the film by funding it themselves, with a crew of four. "I want to thank family and friends for believing in us and for all of tyou out there who keep dreaming about telling your own story, please go do it and doing wait."
"This is an important first step towards getting this film in front of the voters before the important 2006 election," said Ian Inaba, director of "American Blackout."
"Arriba Mexico!," screamed someone from the audience as Juan Carlos Rulfo accepted the world cinema doc award for "In The Pit." It was one of two docs from Mexico to win a prize Saturday night.
Bounding down the stairs to the stage to accept his award for "De Nadie", filmmaker Tin Dirdamal said, "There are thousands of Central American immigrants and Mexican immigrants being tortured and killed...this is for them and lets hope it doesn't happen again."
"I have something to say," said Alex Pastor, director of "The Natural Route", winner of the international short film award. Clearly overcome with surprise, he added, "Just give me a sec...in a minute or two I am going to go out and call my mother, she is sleeping right now, there is an eight hour difference in Spain -- I guess that's it, thank you everybody."
"I am going to call my Mom too," said Carter Smith, director of "Bugcrush," "Thank you to Darren and Sarah and Lee who worked really hard (on a) really long short film about gay, hallucinogenic, bug bites."