Road to Park City


Rebel with a cause. John Viener aspires to moviemaking greatness...
dir-scr Bret Stern
with John Viener, Paige Turco, John Meese, Syd Field, Christopher Lawford, Bobby Kennedy Jr, Jed Alpert, Jeannie Macintosh, Allegra Kent
99/US 4 out of 5 stars
Review by Rich Cline
The full title is R2PC: Road to Park City, or How to Shoot a Feature Film and Not Go to Jail. And yes, it's basically film school in 83 hilarious minutes as it follows wannabe filmmaker John (Viener) starting with the moment he tells his girlfriend he wants to make a movie ... and she tells him he's nuts. From here John blunders his way through the industry--including real interviews with officials at SAG and the DGA, tips from screenwriting guru Syd Field and even a visit to the Kennedy compound. John has a plan to win the top prize at the Sundance Film Festival (held in Park City, Utah) and he's not going to give up just because he doesn't have a script. Or an idea. Or a clue. Uh, this is a guy who thinks that renting Spike Lee's camera will make his film better.

Stern's blending of fake documentary footage with the real thing is ingenious, as it provides both entertainment and information at the same time. John is a great central figure, asking ludicrous questions that get some very funny responses from the pros. As we follow him through financing, casting, writing, equipment rental and so on, we get a real glimpse into the trials and tribulations of independent filmmaking. It does take awhile to get used to the style (some segments are obviously scripted, others are improvised and others are done journalistically), but the result is so blatantly original and hilarious that it's well worth the effort. Mandatory viewing for anyone who wants to make movies.

[strong language] 7.Nov.99 sliff
US release 26.Jan.01

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1999 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall