Amidst the bustle of out-of-towners checking in, the opening press conference, the premieres of two Competition films and a shorts program, and the launch of New Frontier on Main, a quieter but no less celebratory event was unfolding on the edge of town. At the Temple Theatre, a small crowd of 170 guests gathered to celebrate Day One of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Titled "An Artist at the Table," the event was inspired by Sundance founder Robert Redford's deeply held belief in the value that artists bring to society at large, and the vital role that an artist's perspective can play in addressing social, political and environmental issues. Proceeds from the event benefited Sundance Institute, the presenting organization of the Sundance Film Festival.
Following an opening celebratory toast, guests attended the premier screening of Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman's Howl. After the screening, a dinner by Talisker chef Ruben Aguirre was served in a warm, intimate setting back at the Temple Theatre. And yes, there was an artist at every table. Ranging from jurors Morgan Spurlock and Ondi Timoner to 2010 filmmakers Joseph Gordon Levitt and Shirin Neshat, the room was filled with the people whose artistry is at the heart of what Sundance has always been. Following welcomes from Redford and Institute Chair Wally Weisman, musicians from the Institute's Film Music Program took the stage. Will Calhoun, Kim Carroll, Lili Haydn, iZler, and Gingger Shankar performed a series of pieces integrating new material with the music they have each composed and/or performed for film. The music program was produced by Film Music Program Director Peter Golub.
On the eve of a Festival that has yet to unfold, "An Artist at the Table" served as yet another reminder of why it is we're all actually here again in this snowy mountain town: to celebrate artists and their work.
Providers for "An Artist at the Table "were Barclay Butera, Talisker, and The Canyons.