Gingger Shankar is a Sundance Institute Alumni Advisory Board Member and the director of the 2012 New Frontier installation Himalaya Song.
On Day 3, Mridu, Dave, and I (Himalaya Song) were able to start really settling in to the groove of things. We had our first major rehearsal on Thursday and now we’re two days away from our first performance. I am so tired at this point after three days of no sleep and constantly talking that I’m pretty sure I’m not speaking English anymore.
This was my first trip to park city in five years where it was not snowing when I landed. It has been the warmest Sundance anyone around here can remember. Driving up the familiar route from the airport to Park City was so surreal since there was barely any snow on any mountain! So you can imagine the excitement in the town (and the ski resorts) when the news came that we were finally going to have snow..
This early morning started with the Directors (and New Frontier artists) Brunch. It is an event that Sundance puts together up at the resort for the creatives to all be able to eat together, mingle and actually get a chance to hear about everyone’s projects. We had 3 buses take us up to the resort. We noticed that the snow was really starting to come down. The trip up to the resort proved to be quite an adventure. I was in the first bus which, luckily, made it up the mountain. The other two buses of directors had quite interesting adventures. Because the snow started coming down so hard and the road crews were trying to keep up, the journey up the mountain was quite treacherous. The second bus apparently hit a car and the third one got stuck so half the directors had to get off the bus and walk up the steep mountain. Some of them didn’t arrive for an hour after we started! The funny thing is that this ended up being the easier part of the journey. It took many more hours to get off the mountain once the roads were closed! At least it gave all of us a chance to really get to know each other. Nothing like five hours in a bus to get to know someone!
The brunch was at the Sundance Resort, where I attended the Film Composers Lab five years ago. It ended up being a reunion of sorts. Derrick Hodge (who attended the Labs with me and performed at An Artist at the Table on Thursday), Todd Sklar (who was a volunteer for Sundance when we were at the Labs) and I all ran into each other in the middle of this enormous room. After talking and reminiscing about how we were all just starting out at Sundance 5 years ago in this very same place, I come to realize Todd has directed a film this year that’s at Sundance. It hits me that this is EXACTLY what Sundance is about: It’s about creating a safe space, nurturing talent, continuing to support each artist through their individual journey. Talk about a full circle.
It was a loud and exciting room of creative people talking, laughing, sharing and (most importantly) eating. Then Mr. Redford walks in and you can hear a pin drop in the room. He shares with us the history of Sundance and how it has evolved from when he bought a few acres of land so many years ago. You realize what this man has created just because of his love of storytelling and artists. It hits me just how lucky we all are to be here at this moment.