This blog will appear a little late. Running around Sundance trying to compose thoughts on borrowed computers (see Saturday’s blog) has its challenges. It’s given me a whole new outlook on the cloud. I’m organizing photos on my Mobile Me iDisk, saving jottings as saved drafts and tasks in Gmail. With all the talk of cable cutting recently, I’m laptop cutting and it feels liberating. Or perhaps I’m setting myself up for purchase of an upcoming iPad 2.

Speaking of failed hard drives, ARRI’s Guenther Noesner replied to Saturday’s blog: “Turns out we ran into this issue as well last night. We asked Matthew Schneider from PostWorks to do a quick edit of the footage… after working all night on our little film, his MacBook Pro crashed and could no longer boot up – all editing had to be redone on a different machine. In addition another drive where I tried to dump the SxS cards seemed to turn out to be corrupt as well – your blog is actually the perfect explanation. Something to remember when working with hard drives in high altitudes.”

All hail solid-state memory.

Today was a mixed bag in the best sense. Films screened included Ticket to Paradise, above, a moving drama from Cuba about Havana street kids who, during the “special period” of the early 1990s, intentionally infected themselves with AIDS to obtain clean sheets and daily meals at a state hospital (HD origination I think, probably Varicam, with a flat, dingy, soft-looking film-out by Bolivar Labs in Caracas); Branden King’s Here (top), a road movie/love story that unfolds across the rough terrain of Armenia, between a cocky American satellite cartographer (Ben Foster) and gifted female Armenian photographer just back from a successful show in Paris—which sounds like a bundle of Sundance clichés except that it bristles with emotional intelligence, remarkable pacing, and indelible screen chemistry of the sort Tracey and Hepburn once delivered in spades (35mm origination, 2.40 widescreen); and Morgan Neville’s Troubadours, a competition doc about the legendary West Hollywood club that briefly played ground zero to a Who’s Who of early ’70s singer-songwriters like Carole King, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, and import Elton John. (HD origination—goes without saying now for indie docs.)

Here is notable for another reason. It began as a non-narrative multimedia piece in the New Frontier section of Sundance 2008. New Frontier, under the veteran curatorial leadership of Shari Frilot, is the section of Sundance devoted to experimental multimedia and formally innovative feature-length films, often fiction/nonfiction hybrids. As such, it has gotten overlooked in the past. (Confession: a feature I produced, Memories of Overdevelopment, premiered in last year’s New Frontier.)

This year I think New Frontier has stolen the limelight. Formerly confined to a dark basement space on upper Main Street, New Frontier has blossomed—exploded might be a better word—into a mini-campus located across from the Park City Library. A row of three small buildings called Green, Red, and Blue brim with multimedia installations and screenings, with the Blue Building doubling as a microcinema and the Green Building as a reception space. The Red Building, not to be missed, contains four floors of installed multimedia art, each more stunning than the last.

Enter the front door of the Red Building and you’re plunged into darkness. Then you encounter a wall of at least a hundred silver DVDs protruding like mushrooms, each with a unique image projected on it, each in turn reflecting its image onto the opposite wall. Next you enter a screening room and are handed active-shutter 3D glasses to view wraith-like dancers floating in blackness that resemble nothing so much as writhing strands of Day-Glo DNA, compliments of choreographer by Bill T. Jones. Upstairs is actor James Franco’s wicked deconstruction (he twists all the voices) of the 1970’s sitcom Three’s Company, projected in fragmented form on three walls. Nearby is the participatory, web-based animation created to accompany Johnny Cash’s somber ode to mortality, “Ain’t No Grave,” called The Johnny Cash Project. Remember, I said four floors… these are but a handful of what the Red Building has in store. All a must-see, if at Sundance.

This evening in the Blue Building Canon premiered the results of its contest-driven collaborative short film, The Story Behind the Still (available on Vimeo February 7th), a project initiated a year ago by HDSLR pioneer Vincent Laforet and shot entirely on Canon HDSLRs by a contingent of short-film directors who came out on top in Canon’s selection process. All of whom were in attendance and introduced at the reception in the Green Building by Laforet (below at mic) and actor Judd Nelson (below right). All of whom, not surprisingly, sang the praises of Canon HDSLRs.