Festival

Sundance Film Festival

2012

Obama: The Best Film at Sundance

Nick Hornby
Park City Tunes into Barack Obama

Some people huddled together for warmth. Others hugged steaming cups of overpriced coffee.

Some people brought miniature—or, in one case, full-sized—American flags. Others brought their dogs, which come in only two sizes in Park City: bear or poodle.

And some people pulled “HOPE” shirts over their jackets, while others stuck with their fur coats.

But they were all there, hundreds of them—overwhelmingly white, it should be said—standing outside on Lower Main Street, to cheer the exit of a president whose name I’ve already forgotten and celebrate the arrival of Barack Obama. There were teenage snowboarders wearing braces, and middle-aged women wearing Eddie Bauer. Most of them, me included, could have watched from the comfort of a warm condo or hotel room, but they chose instead to share the moment with their fellow skiers and festivalgoers, braving the cold not unlike the hundreds of thousands in Washington.

Not that experience could even remotely compare to being at the National Mall. Reporting from Sundance yesterday, CNN had said the inauguration would be broadcast on a jumbotron in downtown Park City. Instead, spectators had to watch it on one of four plasma screens lined up by Destination Sports, the sound blaring from nearby loudspeakers.

“We were hoping it was going to be on there,” said one woman, a longtime Park City resident, as she pointed at the projection screen by the Music Café tent. “I guess Sundance didn’t get it together in time.”

The TVs were good enough. Like hundreds of millions of people around the world—just a wild guess—the crowd on Lower Main booed Bush and Cheney, and later Rick Warren. The pastor elicited laughter, too, when he pronounced the names of the Obama children, Malia and Sasha, as if he were Jesse Jackson—or cursing.

By the end of the ceremony, two women beside me—one black, one white—held each other and bawled. That’s when, to my surprise, I noticed tears in my eyes too.

Then again, it could’ve just been the cold.