Arts & Entertainment

Sundance film at Midnight at The Ray: Birth/Rebirth

PARK CITY, Utah — The first film in the Midnight category of the 2023 Sundance Film Festival was Birth/Rebirth, which screened at the newest Theater of Park City’s Festival, The Ray.

10% of the packed house for the World Premier Feature donned masks, that’s beside the entire professional, personable volunteer staff, which mandatorily had theirs on.

Many attendees walked there, in the dark, in 20-degree weather cold enough to freeze the licorice in their parka pockets. Park City employees created sidewalks after the heavy amount of recent snowfall. 

The director, Laura Moss, holding up child actress, AJ Lister.

Judging from the fact that viewers laughed at the funny parts and gasped at the horror parts, this Frankenstein-esque film hit its mark. The female cast starred Judy Reyes, TV show Scrubs’ sassy, smart, sensitive, straight-talking nurse Carla, in some unexpected but welcomed non-sitcom situations. 

The plot had females grappling with actions only female bodies and minds traditionally deal with, and the theme had ofttimes male reactions therein.

The female director/screenwriter Laura Moss was on hand before and after the film to address the audience. That’s because she introduced, then lifted up the approximately nine-year old girl who plays, as Moss told the audience, “A beautiful monster,” so she could reach the podium microphone. She did so, acknowledging the fact that the 2 a.m Q & A post-show would be way past the girl’s bed time.

Birth/Rebirth had gotten the coveted opportunity to be created, cultivated, and curated in one of the Sundance Institute’s Filmmaker Labs.

Cast and crew with Reyes fourth from the left.

For decades, the Midnight movie series was shown at the Library Theater, thus marking a new era for which the Sundance Programmer told the audience he was excited for the change in venue.

Rousing rounds of applause rang through the aisles for not only the ending of the film, which had movie-goers simultaneously wanting the horror to be over and wanting to see what would happen next in the spectacle. When the credits rolled up the screen, titles like Grip, Gaffer, Best Boy, Costume and Makeup all got their own rounds of applause. It all made sense when, in true Sundance Film Festival form, it was revealed after the house lights came up, that at least 25 members of the filmmaking process had traveled to Park City to be there.

The up close and personal cast/crew discussion that followed, with it’s midnight-appropriate colorful language had the late night crowd rolling in the aisles.

Sundance attendees get to vote for their favorites of some specific film categories. Decades ago they’d hand out paper ballots and pencils, then that evolved into a paper that got a tear on the number, in 2023 there’s an app for that. Birth/Rebirth gets a three out of four stars.

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