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After the stars leave, Sundance festival-goers settle in for the movies

Published January 26, 2012 5:31 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Park City • On the seventh day of the Sundance Film Festival, Park City's Main Street is calm on a sunny afternoon. Not a star in sight.

Which doesn't seem to bother anybody who is here to see independent films.

"This is our first time here," said James Jones of Philadelphia. "We've been enjoying everything, from the mountains in everybody's backyards to all the friendly people."

He and his cousin Yolando Hagwood, of Irvine, Calif., have seen a couple of movies and plan to see a couple more. They haven't seen any celebrities, and they're not sweating it. "I wouldn't come here just to go looking for stars," Hagwood said. "That's just kind of a waste."

Jones added: "I don't have a problem seeing them, but it's not a big deal. If we do, we do."

Teenagers Robyn Bakas and Aspen Binder, here with a film class from their Lakewood, Colo., high school, have seen a few actors. Not on Main Street, but in screening venues during Q-and-A sessions after the films.

Robyn liked the bragging factor. "It's pretty cool to see them. It's something to tell my friends."

Aspen liked the opportunity to see and hear the actors after the film. "It's nice to actually see them in person after you've seen the movie," she said. "After 'Filly Brown,' I saw Gina Rodriguez. She was really sweet."

(You probably don't want these teens as your guides if you're star searching. After all, they've never heard of Rodriguez's co-stars, Oscar winner Edward James Olmos and Lou Diamond Phillips.)

Maureen Augustyn of Thousand Oaks, Calif., is another first-timer at Sundance, and for her it's more of a family event. One son lives in Utah; the other two (and their wives) accompanied Augustyn and her husband to Utah for the festival.

"It's just very exciting," she said. "The films we saw were wonderful."

She's seen "Arbitrage," "Bones Brigade" and "Celeste and Jesse," but at screenings in Ogden and Salt Lake City, which tend not to be big star-magnets. "No, I don't really care about that," she said. "We're interested in the movies."

And then there's Mike McCrae, who's lived in Park City his entire life. All 25 years. He didn't go anywhere near the festival until Thursday, Day 8.

"I'm meeting a friend at the music cafe," he said. "We're going to experience the night life tonight. It's fun. I like to see stars sometimes. I like how they stir up the pot for a couple of days and then let it settle down. I like the settled-down part."

spierce@sltrib.com; facebook.com/nowsaltlake —

Live from Park City, it's the 2012 Sundance Film Festival awards ceremony

Follow the awards announcements on Twitter with Tribune film critic Sean P. Means @moviecricket. He'll be live tweeting from Park City's Basin Recreation Field House during the 7 p.m. event Saturday, Jan. 28. Parker Posey — who has appeared in more than a dozen Sundance films, including this year's "Price Check," which is screening this year in the out-of-competition Premieres section — is the host. Awards for short films were announced at a separate ceremony on Jan. 24. Check blogs.sltrib.com/sundance for updates.