I really wanted to write out my thoughts and intentions for the year before posting about any of the things I've been up to over the last month or so. It's nice to start with that framework. However, I'm starting to realize that I'm not in good a place to write right now. That's not to say that I'm not in a good place in general, just that I'm stressed and focused on so many professional projects, that I can't spare the mental capacity to put my personal thoughts together in any way that feels useful. Of course, one would probably benefit the other, so I'll keep working on it.
In January, just before Sundance, I was in Utah for the Art House Convergence. Missy and Ryan picked me up and let me stay with them in Salt Lake before taking me up to Midway for the conference. The snow was beautiful and made me miss wearing layers and heavy boots, and trudging through snow. I realize the insanity of that statement, but I can't help it. I love winter. We had one of the best dinners I've had in recent memory, at a place called Eva -- the kind of place you want to sit for hours feeling warm and soaking in good conversation. It reminded me of one of the dinners I had in Seattle, both of which allowed me to indulge in rich gnocchi and the company of good friends. Missy has one of the photos she took of my wedding in her home office/studio. She has such great style and her home always looks so nice and "finished" -- I'm happy to be included! I didn't get much time in Salt Lake because this was really a working trip, and I was in Midway/Park City most of the time, but it was nice to do some quick shopping/eating/Will and Grace watching and have friends drive me up to the conference.
(I wanted to include some pictures of cute, snow covered Salt Lake. My friend Katie taught me about all the hip people and places you can find in SLC if you know where to look, and now it's one of my favorite places to visit.)
The Art House Convergence was bigger than ever this year, and had something of a trade show feel. Some of it worked and some of it didn't, but I think overall it benefitted from having more of a traditional industry/Hollywood presence. The more attention art house theaters can get, the better. I just hope they don't get overlooked as more big name players try to get a piece of the art house action. The highlight of the conference for me was connecting with people that I respect professionally, on a personal level. Okay, I'll be more specific... I had dinner with David Bordwell. He's a genius and a hero of mine. He gave the best speech of the Convergence for sure (on the history of film exhibition), and I sat in awe while he drank a beer and made everyone laugh. I made some friends, reconnected with old friends, and pitched Tugg about 50,000 times. My bosses gave an excellent panel on how theaters can use Tugg to connect with their community, and it made me happy to be doing work for a company that I really believe is doing something valuable. In a way, the Convergence motivated me to be more proactive with my time and more confident in my projects. I can't say that it was even a professional development thing, as much as just spending time around interesting people with good ideas. I didn't really take pictures because I was so busy, but I did sneak one of DB pre-drinks for Taso.