As Park City is winding down and shopkeepers are going back to business as usual (hopefully having made a tidy sum from festival goers and temporary rentals), it’s time to look back on Sundance 2020.

It was my first time at the fest, and there are so many things people don’t tell you about it or that you have to experience for yourself. That the time it takes to get from one venue to the next, and that the lines you’ll encounter there can be daunting was widely explained to me. What wasn’t talked about was the kindness, patience, and generosity of the volunteers. When the organizers say the volunteers make it happen, they don’t add that in part that’s because they calm flustered filmmakers, clarify plans for confused film fans, and cheer the folks who aren’t morning people when they drag themselves to an early screening, and cheer the morning people when they fight to stay awake for a midnight show. Talk to groups of volunteers working at specific venues and you’ll find a tight-knit bunch of very different people who trust and respect each other. It’s one of the most beautiful aspects of the Sundance experience, over and above the actual artistry on display all over the town.

I spent a lot of time at the new Latinx House during the fest. (I wrote about it HERE.) I can’t speak enough about the power of belonging it created for those who spent time there, especially the Latinx creators who had been to Sundance in past years and who’d felt like outsiders. The many panels and events there were eye-opening and inspiring. As a female film critic I know what it’s like to work in a world where we are half of the population but only a small percentage of those represented in front of and behind the camera. It is so much worse for Latinx women. To hear so many content creators, activists, and studio representatives talking about ways to change the landscape in a place that was safe and joyous was really beautiful. It can be done, and the founders and supporters of the Latinx House are helping build the way forward.

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