Film Scouts Diaries

1997 Sundance Film Festival Diaries
Day Three: Redford Sighting?

by Liza Bear

PARK CITY, Saturday, January 18.

Every winter eagles (bald and golden) roost in a certain valley above Park City, but a festival veteran warns me that the Robert Redford press conference is de rigueur. So I shelve my plans to watch the eagles soar and head for the Sundance Institute, where I won't need binoculars.

Driving across the bridal white landscape, I trade latest impressions with fellow travelers: a writer at Elle who partied late and a writer for Vogue Australia who's writing a book about Australian directors. In addition to "Love Serenade," four other Australian features have been picked this year: "Love & Other Catastrophes", "A Fistful of Flies", and "Children of the Revolution", starring Judy Davis. The makers of the fifth, "Black Rock", the most talked about film here, have stirred tremendous interest in their "product" by refusing to screen it to buyers before its premiere next week.

After a while, the broad-shouldered, scrub-covered slopes give way to steeper, more rugged terrain. Following a river bed, the road twists and turns like the best of plots. We are deep into the Provo Canyon. The sides close in on us and pretty soon we alight at the Sundance complex beneath a towering, scalloped mountain.

Brightly-clad young skiers huddle together excitedly awaiting the ski lift, but we head over to the screening room to grab our seats among the 100 other journalists. At the back of the space, 14 cameras, aligned like a firing squad, are trained on the festival organizers. More cameras line the path from the door as far as the bridge over the waterfall gurgling outside the windows where, sooner or later, Redford will make his entrance.

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