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Nail-Biting Artists Now 'Seriously Digging' Sundance

Jessica Ingram works with the amazing Gigapan camera. hide caption

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The Cause Collective, a group of multimedia artists at the Sundance Film Festival, have moved toward the whiskey. At last. As Jessica Ingram writes, their video mosaic "Along the Way" is up and running. Now it's time to party.

Special to the BPP from Jessica Ingram of the Cause Collective:

Greetings, all! Or greetings, poochies, as we like to say in the Cause. We are seriously digging Sundance. This morning we split up. Hank Willis Thomas with Will and Minette to deal with yet another computer switch, while Ryan Alexiev et moi stayed home to work on the website, blog, work on promotional biz, and most importantly, wait for Bayete Ross Smith to arrive.

We all met at 2 at the New Frontier on Main venue for the public opening of our piece. It's great to watch people watch our piece. I watched a 5-year-old mesmerized . . . it's exciting to complete a project and go through all the ups and downs, to work so hard, and then to still enjoy it.

"Along the Way" syncs with what I want to do with my work — it's about community and connection. We were able to connect with about 1,500 East Bay residents, and now they are in relationship to one another in our piece. It's about a community, as seen and understood through its citizens. And it's nicely indulgent — we get to stare at people, we get access to people through this project, and now the viewer gets to have the same experience . . . it's intimate. So after all of our crises, our piece is running well and people are enjoying it. New Frontier is also getting a lot of attention, as Sundance's new hot program. It's going to get bigger and bigger.

At New Frontier today, I was able to see Robert Boyd's piece "Xanadu," which I am seriously impressed with. In a word, it's unflinching. It
s like a music video in four chapters, with brutal archival footage about religion, fanaticism, war and sadness set to four songs. I felt lucky to see it. I also got to see "Sleepwalkers," by Doug Aitken, a short about how people disappear in daily life. It's beautiful. Another must-see, if you have the chance.

Around dusk, Ryan and I also used a Gigapan machine to make a panorama of Main Street, including the New Frontier venue and the Egyptian Theater. Gigapan is a robot created by Carnegie Mellon that you attach your camera to and then program the parameters of your image. The Giagpan's robotic arm takes all of the photos for you and you stitch them all together using Gigapan stitching technology. Sounds space age, with the robot and all, but it's very heady. Check out some of the other Gigapans on their site. You can zoom into images and the quality is much higher resolution than any other cameras available. We'll get the image stitched and show you — we almost made it 180 degrees until the cops came and made us get out of the middle of the street.

Jorge Sanchez arrived while we were there. I think he met more people and was invited to more things in four hours than the rest of us in the three days we've been here. He's good like that.

Once we left New Frontier, we went to the PBS/ITVS party, which was superfun. I have been impressed with how open and generous people are here. They want to talk about what they're doing and about what we're doing. I do feel that our community is growing. I met Mahmoud al Massad, who made the film Recycle, and Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung, who has some shorts at the festival. So fun to meet new people and talk about the work they're doing now and also feel like I'll run into them again and be happy to see them. After the PBS party, we returned to New Frontier to go to our opening party. The highlight of which was when the power went out all over Park City and we were left in the venue for an hour in the dark. It was fun. People totally rolled with it. We danced and took pictures by flash light and had fun.

Jorge Sanchez and Bayete Ross Smith dance in the dark. hide caption

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After the New Frontier party wrapped up, we headed to the next party. That's what a lot of Sundance is, finger food and drinks sponsored by a wide variety of companies. Hank, Ryan, Minette and Will headed home and Bayete Ross-Smith, Jorge Sanchez and I headed to the Seven Jeans/GenArts party celebrating seven fresh faces in Film. Thank goodness my friend from high school, Lia Shepard, got us on the list. People are serious about their lists here. But the party was good. A great DJ, and I finally found some whiskey — I was starting to think Utah didn???t have any. We danced and met people until we were about to collapse. Then home, where Bayete decided to run and pick up Jorge only to drop him on the ice — uh-oh. Jorge's hearing has been compromised, but we're hoping for a full recovery. More tomorrow, and be prepared: I'm setting some goals. Tomorrow is the day we go to the Sundance resort to see Robert Redford. And I will meet that man . . . .

Special to the BPP from Jessica Ingram of the Cause Collective