PARK CITY, Utah--Sure, you can venture out to this snowy resort town, pay for overpriced housing, squeeze into crowded shuttle buses, deal with lots of Hollywood attitude (these, of course, the glass-half-full observations), or you can do a little Sundancing from the comfort of your own home.
With access to Apple's iTunes, you get a little taste of the Sundance Film Festival's indie works by downloading up to 10 short films for free during the 10 days of the festival, which means you have until January 25.
Sundance got a record 5,600 submissions this year for its shorts program, from which 96 were chosen to screen either in one of six shorts programs or before a related feature-length film. That was a 10 percent rise in submissions from the prior year, which assures some tough competition.
"Mittens off, badges on, this year marks one of the finest selections of shorts at the Festival that we've ever had," programmer Todd Luoto said in an article on festival Web site.
The shorts made available on iTunes, with distribution and encoding services by Shorts International, were chosen "as a sampling of the festival's unique shorts filmmakers' voices," Luoto added. "Some are funny; some are sad. Some are serious. Some are just plain crazy and need no classification, and some couldn't be classified if we tried--just the way we like it."
From the comfort of my warm hotel room, I've only downloaded two of the 10 so far, Acting for the Camera and From Burger it Came. But in doing so, I can already affirm Luoto's statement about the range, with a gentle warning that they are not the kind of films you'll see in mainstream movie houses.
Here are the shorts available on iTunes (under Movies, click on the Shorts genre) and their descriptions provided by Sundance:
Acting for the Camera--An acting class. Today's scene: the orgasm from When Harry Met Sally.
Countertransference-- A comedy about an awkward woman with assertiveness problems who seeks the questionable help of a therapist.
HUG--Drew is a musician with a contract ready to sign. When Asa, his friend and manager, realizes Drew is off his meds the across-town drive to sign the contract becomes significantly more complicated.
Field Notes From Dimension X: Oasis--Captain Fred T. Rogard muses in isolation on planet Oasis.
From Burger It Came--An animated film that recounts early 1980s-era Cold War fears of a young boy in middle America. Using a variety of techniques, the visual narrative is colorfully assembled over semi-documentary audio conversations between a grown adult recounting his fears and his mother's memory of the time and her own concerns.
I Live In The Woods--A Woodsman's fast-paced journey, fueled by happiness, slaughter, and a confrontation with America's God.
Instead of Abracadabra--Tomas is a little bit too old to still be living with his parents, but his dream of becoming a magician leaves him with no other option.
James--A young man grapples with the impulses and thoughts about being gay.
Magnetic Movie--Natural magnetic fields are revealed as chaotic ever-changing geometries, as scientists from NASA's space sciences laboratory excitedly describe their discoveries.
This Way Up--Laying the dead to rest has never been so much trouble.