Two days ago I saw, as noted, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl at the Park City Library. I wasn’t entirely delighted — i.e., mixed-positive with a few quibbles — and yet I was sufficiently impressed by the witty film-nerd tone to want to capture video footage of the post-screening q & a.
I was sitting in the second row near the center aisle, and knew from experience that the footage would look compromised if not shitty with this or that person’s head in the way. So I ducked down and lowered myself onto the wooden floor, lying on my back in front of the first row of viewers so as to not to block anyone’s sightline, and started recording.
I had a pretty good angle with the iPhone and things were going nicely when I felt a tap on my left shoulder. A pudgy Sundance volunteer — a girl in her mid 20s — was telling me I couldn’t do what I was doing. I naturally ignored her as (a) I wasn’t planning on shooting for more than a couple of minutes so all I had to do was stall, and (b) there was no sensible reason for me to return to my seat anyway. A minute later another pudgy volunteer — a woman of a superior rank — tapped me on my shoulder and insisted. By then I had captured the footage so I grumbled and got up and returned to the second row.
After the q & a I asked the senior volunteer why they had made such a big deal out of something that wasn’t interfering with anyone’s eyesight or discussion and involved no flash photography. She said that the Park City Fire Marshall had stipulated that lying on the floor was a fire hazard — possibly the most logic-free rule I’ve ever heard in my life — and that they had no choice but to enforce the law. Yeah, okay but c’mon…you can’t be serious.
I knew that calling the fire department and asking the reason for this nonsense would be a waste of time. They would probably say that if a fire had broken out a guy lying on the floor near the front would impede access to the exits. Most people with the initiative to lie on floors would, of course, be the first ones to escape if a fire occurred. I am a cheetah when it comes to emergencies. I would be out the door so fast the backdraft suction would carry two or thee others with me. You know who would actually impede access to exits? Slow-moving people (old, obese, wheelchair-bound).
The bottom line is that I’ve taken my last floor-POV video from the Park City Library. C’est le Sundance.