Sundance: Inside Tuesday's Parties With Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac,' Rose McGowan, Ted Danson

Rose McGowan YouTube Panel Sundance - P 2014
Getty Images for YouTube

Rose McGowan YouTube Panel Sundance - P 2014

Highlights from Tuesday's conversations at the festival included a revelation by "Dawn" director Rose McGowan that "I hated acting and I really hated fantasy."

PARK CITY -- As the mid-way exodus from Sundance began on Tuesday, Park City’s Main Street was conspicuously less jammed, while die-hards continued to catch movies and dip into events. 

Writer-director Nicholas Jarecki was among those who caught the secret premiere of Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac: Volume I, and seemed to dig it. "It was the Kill Bill of f---ing," he grinned. "It was crazy and cool."

At an only slightly more chaste Women in Film Panel at the YouTube on Main Street venue, industry pros talked about how new technology is helping female artists level the playing field and reach wider audiences. 

Moderator and former Kodak exec Anne Hubbell, who last year launched Tangerine Entertainment (a production company and community-builder for women directors), warned she prefers to observe a "no-bitching policy" during panels on women’s topics.

Raunchy and raucous comedienne Mamrie Hart shared a recent episode about Shia LaBeouf from her weekly YouTube series You Deserve A Drink -- she makes a bespoke cocktail for the person who she feels had the worst week in pop culture. "The glory of the Internet is creation, completely unfiltered," said Hart.  "I can do exactly what I want. And it’s immediate. I have a direct connection with my audience. It’s really cool to see exactly what a 16-year-old girl liked about a video."

Fellow panelist Rose McGowan, who's at Sundance with her directorial debut, short film Dawn, talked about how a power-outage at her house last summer was the catalyst for a career shift. "I realized I hated acting and I really hated fantasy, which is primarily what I did," she admitted. Living in Los Angeles, is "a popularity contest," she continued. "I’d be a lot more popular if I was in Men in Black 75, making billions of dollars. There is just so much that goes with it that was too hurtful. But I didn't even care about that; it was more about not having a voice and I was stifled for a really long time."

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McGowan, who is best known for TV series Charmed and film roles such as Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror chapter in Grindhouse, added, "Even if you’re playing a strong woman, it's still through the eyes and purview of a man. And generally, if you're a woman and you have boobs it’s a pretty narrow box you’re in."

Filmmaker and Webby Awards founder Tiffany Shlain, who has had four films at Sundance over the years, showed a clip from her new AOL series, The Future Starts Here. "I was really skeptical," she said, of when AOL approached her. "I wouldn’t normally trust a corporation. I have a very particular style, (but) they really did give me a lot of creative freedom." Shlain's show got 20 million views in the three months, she said. "As a filmmaker, that was like crazy sauce."

Shlain also addressed a question about the recent changes to net neutrality. "It’s not over," she said. "The web is the great equalizer on every level. I hope you all feel really empowered to get engaged on this issue of net neutrality. Most people don’t even understand it. We need to own it more and be more vocal. This is a web that we are all building together."

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Kamal Sinclair, who is senior manager of the Sundance Institute's New Frontier Story Lab, added that there’s been a 47 per cent jump in smart phone ownership globally, giving way to new audiences who've never consumed media in the traditional ways. They are "new eyes, new ears, new collaborators, co-creators and participants in your story."

Shlain added that the "boundaries are so blurred right now," when it comes the type of screens on which to view content. She believes that this is the year that storytellers will stop being fixated on where their projects premiere. Though Shlain says she hates the term "'binge viewing,' which sounds like a visual eating disorder."

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Later Tuesday night, at The One I Love party at Eveleigh, the film’s stars Elisabeth Moss, Mark Duplass and Ted Danson got cozy with friends who were still in town. Danson carefully ushered wife Mary Steenburgen upstairs to hang with his stepson and the film's director, Charlie McDowell (Steenburgen's son with Malcolm McDowell). "We're just really here for our son," said Danson, as McDowell's girlfriend Rooney Mara chatted with others nearby. Also among the crowd were Anne Hathaway and producer/hubby Adam Shulman, as well as actor Paul Eenhorn, whose film Land Ho! was just picked up by Sony Pictures Classics. Eenhorn was at Sundance last year with Next category winner This Is Martin Bonner