Sundance Film Festival Diary Day Six Tuesday, February 2, 2021

3 min readFeb 12, 2021

Curious about the reimagined 2021 Sundance Film Festival? Read my festival diaries. You’ll feel like you’re walking along Virtual Main Street.

Filmmaker Natalia Almada takes audiences on a beautiful journey into nature and tech via her Sundance documentary ‘Users.’ Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute.

The reimagined Sundance Film Festival is close to wrapping its seven-day schedule. It’s a shorter event compared to the classic ten-day festival. Sundance veterans know that many attendees exit Park City after the opening weekend. Perhaps a shorter Sundance will become a new normal in the after-Coronavirus economy. I know a seven-day Sundance delivers additional values around affordability. Seven days feels right to me and a step towards new appreciations around work/life/travel balance.

What I’m Watching:


Filmmaker Natalia Almada takes audiences on a beautiful journey into nature and tech via her documentary ‘Users,’ making its premiere in U.S. Documentary Competition at the reimagined Sundance Film Festival.

Sounds and visions of motherhood, nature, and technology merge beautifully and thoughtfully in ‘Users.’ Almada directs and edits a rich movie experience with layers of soft-spoken narration and sound supporting extraordinary photography from ocean waves to raging forest fires. There’s not a dull moment in the movie. From an early image of Almada’s newborn baby falling asleep in a smart crib, a core question drives storytelling throughout the film. Is my baby going to love tech like a smart crib more than me? Late in the movie, an old oil man looks at his desert wells and questions his prospects.

“I can look into the future, and I don’t see myself in it,” he says, speaking to the camera. It’s similar to the questions you’ll find yourself asking after traveling through the indoor farms, massive container ships, and raging forest fires throughout ‘Users.’ What is our world becoming? What’s my place in it? ‘Users’ is the rare film sparking these philosophical questions. Click here for my full review of ‘Users.’

Meet seven-year-old Lucy, a virtual being created by Fable Studio using generative AI tools. Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute.

What I’m Learning:

‘The Power of AI & A Virtual Being named ‘Lucy.’


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