Shia LaBeouf and Ben Savage

I packed as much as I could before I went to bed, so when I woke up at 5:30am I could just get up and go. The walk to the SLC Central Station was a little more than a mile away from my hostel and it was 9 degrees out, so I was prepared for a miserable morning. Despite the fact that I lived in NY for 2 months, getting harassed by creepy men on the street is way scarier when it’s that early in the morning, you are alone, and there is no one else in sight. I called my mom and vented to her about how I think being in SLC is ruining my experience. I was in the middle of the action for both Cannes and Telluride, meeting lots of people from all over, including people from the industry and volunteers. I was able to see films starting at the crack of dawn and ending at 2am. I’m used to going to bars and parties with friends. It’s all a part of the experience. Unfortunately, SLC offers none of that. I am the only person on my team that doesn’t live in SLC so everyone has a car and is able to drive. I have to walk everywhere, at least a mile everywhere I go and it’s been in single digit weather. The situation is frustrating, especially for the amount of time and money it takes to be here. After I got my venting out, I replanned my day to maximize my experience. All I knew was that if I saw Ben Savage, my day would be complete. I got to PC at 9am. I couldn’t pick up my ticket to Blackfish until 10:15, so I finished getting ready in the Sundance HQ bathroom and picked up a free snack. When I got to the MARC Theatre, I picked up my ticket and got in line. Blackfish: “Notorious killer whale Tilikum is responsible for the deaths of three individuals, including a top killer-whale trainer. Blackfish shows the sometimes devastating consequences of keeping such intelligent sentient creatures in captivity.” I loved it. It was everything I thought it would be. The filmmaker had a story to tell and she had great interviews, research, and found footage to support her message. Sea World does not respect their employees, particularly their trainers. It began with the death of a trainer in 2010 and the film went from there. During the Q&A, the director pointed out that the director of The Cove, Academy Award winning documentary from 2009, was in the audience. Just happened to be the man who was super into the film sitting directly to the right of me. I was sitting next to an Oscar winner the whole time! What a great way to start my morning in PC!

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After the film, I walked over to the Eccles theater for the 3:30 screening of The Way, Way Back. “Duncan, an introverted 14 year-old, comes into his own over the course of a comedic summer when he forms unlikely friendships with the gregarious manager of a rundown water park and the misfits that work there.” I got there two hours before the screening to ensure I got a ticket since it was the premiere. The film was FANTASTIC. My favorite thus far. It was touching and funny. Definitely a feel good film. The writing and cast were both outstanding. There was a well deserved standing ovation after the film. Oh, and during this film, the president of Fox Searchlight had the privilege of sitting next to me. After the film, the large and talented cast and crew came on stage for the Q&A: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Sam Rockwell, Allison Janney, Maya Rudolph, and more. It wasn’t the first time I’ve seen fellow Denison alum Steve Carell on stage, but he did not disappoint. He was hilarious when interacting with the crowd. I could not have been more excited to see such an inspiring cast and crew on stage. I would love to see more from these directors and writers: Nat Faxon and Jim Rash.

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I got out of the theater and immediately picked up a ticket for The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman: “Traveling abroad, Charlie Countryman falls for Gabi, a Romanian beauty whose unreachable heart has its origins in Nigel, her violent charismatic ex. As the darkness of Gabi’s past increasingly envelops him, Charlie resolves to win her heart or die trying.” Yeah, I didn’t understand the plot either. The film stars Shia Labeouf and Evan Rachel Wood, so of course I went. The film was weird, but action packed and entertaining. I enjoyed the plot of the film, but not the message. It basically said that it was okay that a character dies because he lived his life by falling in love. Personally, I don’t agree, so yeah, I felt bad that the character died. Also, it was so “Titanic.” They were only in love for two days. I pretty much blacked out during the Q&A because of the excitement I felt when Shia Labeouf was on stage. He shaved his head so I didn’t even recognize him at first. He was dressed sloppy too. Kept his facial hair!

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As I was leaving the theater, I felt so happy from seeing Shia. All of sudden, I hear someone behind me saying, “Can I get a picture with you?” I turn around, it’s BEN SAVAGE! Crazy. Amazing. My happiest moment. THE Cory Matthews! My favorite character from my all time favorite television show. From then on I could not stop smiling. After the film, I went to pick up my first meal of the day… At 9:30pm. I went back to Liz’s apartment. We caught up a little bit and ended our night by watching some episodes of Boy Meets World. I went to sleep early knowing I’d have to wake up at the crack of dawn yet again.

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