Welcome To Sundance: HitRecord at the Movies

Every screening at The Sundance Film Festival begins with a reminder for the audience to shut off all recording devices. All except for one that is: Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s hitRECord at the Movies began with the sudden warning, “Please turn ON all recording devices.”

It was an apt beginning for a ‘film’ unlike any other. hitRECord is not really a movie as much as a variety show, with amusing little shorts screened between skits and interactive discussions led by "Regular Joe,"as Gordon-Levitt likes to refer to himself. (Recorded footage is spliced with live shots which are in turn augmented by Gordon-Levitt’s use of social media sites like Twitter to source feedback from the crowd.) The end result is ‘Wheel of Fortune’ meets Johnny Carson, with a TED talk wrapped in for good measure.

Throughout the performance Gordon-Levitt encouraged the audience to record their own take on the show and send the footage to his website,, where it can then be spliced, remixed and reinvented by others. By doing so, the film becomes not just an exclusive presentation but an inclusive, open-source art project.

One of the more interesting moments was Gordon-Levitt’s challenging the audience to define “independent.” The actor asked the crowd to Tweet their definition of the word, and scanned the responses until he found one he liked. He’d then ask the person who sent the message to come on stage to explain what they meant.

At one point, he invited everybody on stage to help sing a tune à la Andrew W.K. (the perfect moment, I might add, for popping open a smuggled Red Stripe.)

The surprise guest of the night was Parker Posey, the self-professed Queen of Sundance, who delighted the crowd by sitting on the edge of the stage and talking about her experience in indie movies. Posey then played the role of narrator in a reading of the famous whitewashing scene from Mark Twain’s ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.’ People loved it.

At the end of the show, Gordon-Levitt performed two songs — ‘Baby Mine’ from the movie ‘Dumbo’ and a shortened cover of the Beatles’ ‘Hey Jude’ — on his acoustic guitar. The audience ‘na-na-naed’ as he sang, wrapping up the experience with unbridled audience participation.

Please Note: All photos have been taken from the website and have been credited by the screen names of the people that uploaded them

-Mike Abu

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