Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content
Emmys 2017
Every unforgettable moment, every gorgeous dress.Click here


Lisa Schwarzbaum's top five Sundance memories

Lisa Schwarzbaum’s top five Sundance memories — Why she loved ”In the Company of Men,” ”Waking Life,” and more

Posted on

Waking Life, Ethan Hawke, ...
Waking Life: Everett Collection

1 My first Sundance, in 1997, where I learn that locals call us festivalgoers PIBs: Persons in Black. Welcome to Park City. Where you can’t. The first and only year I rent a car, I park in a legal lot off Main Street. After an overnight snowfall the thing vanishes, towed for ransom some 100 yards away at the police station.

2 Press screening in 1997 of unknown indie In the Company of Men, by unknown filmmaker Neil LaBute. Journalists watch in a hotel banquet room darkened by blackout sheets. I enter innocent. I emerge bruised, provoked, thrilled.

3 Big buzz in 1998 for Nick Broomfield’s doc Kurt and Courtney. Then bad news: Official screenings have been canceled due to fear of lawsuits. Whispers go out about a supersecret, invitation-only screening at midnight. An armload of journos pile into a back room at an old Elks lodge. The super-secrecy is much more exciting than the film.

4 In 2001, Harvey Weinstein is very, very mad because of something I said weeks earlier about Chocolat. He summons me to the lobby of the biggest screening venue at 8:30 a.m. He pours out his wrath in public. It is a fearsome sight. I enjoy enhanced street cred with fellow critics until noon.

5 Waking Life: It’s a dream, it’s a trip, it’s a beautiful, state-of-the-medium cinematic representation of stream of consciousness. And when the 2001 premiere is over, I find myself screaming with delight. That’s me, emerging from the Sundance early-morning screening, dancing in the sun.