Sundance London 2013

A few days after the visit in Nottingham, I had my second adventure with Sundance. I got accepted again to volunteer during the 2013 Sundance London Film and Music Festival, and again as a Theatre Team member. Somehow, I wasn’t as excited about it as I was the first time a year ago, but still it was one great experience.

On Wednesday, there was a general volunteer training and then we were divided into teams and met our theatre managers etc. It was more official and stiff and less relaxed than in 2012, but it was heartwarming to see some familiar faces among the volunteers.

Thursday shift was pretty boring, just setting up some stuff and being at the Future Filmmakers event. In the evening I worked at the RA. On Friday I was able to watch “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete” and the Q&A with its director George Tillman Jr. After I finished my shift, I went straight to the RA. I was a little annoyed at myself that instead of using my time at the Festival well and watching films for my free vouchers, I was ‘wasting’ my time working at the RA. But that evening, my celebrity spotting was satisfied, because Prince Harry came to the Academy to see the Print Fair unofficially.

Saturday and Sunday was a full on festival experience: crowds, famous people and great films. I watched “A.C.O.D.” and there was a Q&A with director Stu Zicherman and Adam Scott, who played the main character. When I was directing people to Screenwriters Lab, I saw Robert Redford sneaking out of the lift wearing sunglasses (inside the building) and surrounded by his entourage. After my shift, I went to British Music Experience (I wish I had more time for that), Festival Hub to see Wolf Alice and in the evening I saw “In A World…” by Lake Bell and a Q&A with her. On the next day, the first film I saw was a more romantic kind of “Stand By Me” film – Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ “The Kings of Summer”. In the afternoon was a real treat and my highlight of the festival, “Sleepwalk With Me” by Mike Birbiglia and the extended Q&A with Jimmy Carr. In the evening, my sister and her boyfriend joined me and we watched “God Loves Uganda”, a documentary by Roger Ross Williams, which gave us a lot to discuss on the way home.

I tried to take some photos and videos with my little camera, but I had to be very discreet inside the screen rooms during my shifts. Not much, but always something.

A few clips put together.

Will I still be in London for the third Sundance next year?

Kiwi House

So, the volunteer job I mentioned in my two previous posts was helping at building Kiwi House, a place where New Zealanders would come and watch NZ athletes on big screens during the Olympics 2012. It was also a place where the athletes visited themselves to meet their fans and supporters and to show their trophies.

For two days, I was cleaning and polishing tables for the outdoor BBQ area and putting together the fence (which burned a few days after the opening of the House when a gas canister caught fire and exploded).

Funnily enough, on twitter, I was counted as a Kiwi! I must remember if I ever apply for a Kiwi residency or citizenship, I should use these tweets to support my application.

The following week, I was volunteering almost every day in the morning before starting my proper work at noon. We were working already on the site, moving Kiwi House in at Granary Square at King’s Cross and setting everything up before the Olympics started on June 27th.

I wasn’t at the blessing of Kiwi House, but later I watched the report on NZ news.

And where was I watching the Olympics Opening Ceremony? I met up with my friends from England and the US at one of the pubs near Leicester Square. We were early enough to find a nice spot in the upper room with a huge tv set. Slowly the room was filling up with truly international sports fans. We could recognize who was from what country. Mexico and the US got one of the loudest cheers.

watching The Olympics Opening Ceremony somewhere near Leicester Sq

Surprisingly, not many Poles were in the room, but I was pretty proud to see my representation.

I never used my Gold Pass #0002 to Kiwi House. I flew to Poland on the first day of the Games.

Christchurch – A Year (and ten months) On

What’s a better way to spend Christmas than updating your long forgotten blog while house-sitting and looking after your sister’s cats? I can’t promise I’ll spam you with posts, but I’d want to move on with reporting some events before this year is over and a new year brings new things. That’s one of my New Year’s resolutions, to update my blog more often and regularly… as long as there is something to write about.

Looking far back to February, on 22nd I went to see a charity screening of “When A City Falls”, a documentary about the earthquakes in Christchurch in 2010 and 2011.

As you can imagine, it squeezed some tears from my eyes. But I didn’t go there just as a viewer. Because it was a charity event, they needed volunteers to sell raffle tickets. They didn’t have to ask me twice. The prizes were amazing, like 8 day trip to Gallipoli for Anzac day or two sides of a New Zealand lamb. We sold many tickets, even Jarred Christmas bought some from me (a Kiwi comedian, he was in Pot Noodle ads, which some of them directed Taika Waititi), but he didn’t win anything. We raised approximately £13,000 for the people of Christchurch. The event was covered by TVNZ and it was on their news channel the next day. You can even see my back in the video at about 1:34. I was on NZ tv!

It was my first contact with a Kiwi community in London, which was exactly what I needed since leaving New Zealand in December 2011. The person who recruited volunteers for this event was also responsible for the volunteers at Kiwi House during the Olympics, but I’ll write about it another time.
Ngati Ranana