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Performers take their dreams to Park City and Sundance

Published: Thursday, Jan. 28 2010 12:00 a.m. MST

Kristin Diable performs at the Rescue Haiti Acoustic Series at the Harry O's loft in Park City.  (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News) Kristin Diable performs at the Rescue Haiti Acoustic Series at the Harry O's loft in Park City. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

PARK CITY — The famous and the beautiful hog all the headlines from Sundance worldwide.

Robert Redford explains every year that he wants more focus on films, and then a bunch of films starring the famous and beautiful roll into town, and those in the media can't seem to help themselves and write or broadcast all about the jet-setters.

But the actual Sundance Film Festival, rather than the media that cover it, is certainly as much about the anonymous artist as it is about veteran actors turned rookie directors or "A-list" stars making a foray into "independent" film. There are hundreds of actors, directors, cinematographers, writers and musicians all trying to use Sundance as a launching pad. In the cinematic world, Park City — not Disneyland — is where dreams come true.

Kristin Diable performs at the Rescue Haiti Acoustic Series at the Harry O's loft in Park City.  (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News) Kristin Diable performs at the Rescue Haiti Acoustic Series at the Harry O's loft in Park City. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

At least three films, including last year's "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' By Sapphire," have gone on to compete as Oscar best-picture nominees and lots of less obvious careers have used the festival as a launching pad, which inspires hope.

Kristin Diable is launched, at least a little. A 25-year-old musician from Louisiana, she makes her living as a musician — but that doesn't mean she knows where next month's rent is coming from. She arrived in Utah with her guitar on her back to play and make new fans while hoping that some of those fans would be film and television decision makers.

"Right now making it as an independent artist is not about selling $10 CDs, it's licensing," she said.

Diable (and no, that isn't a stage name) has landed her songs in a couple of commercials (a reel is available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulRRSzroTAU) but those fade away and like anybody else, she wants to be in pictures.

Kristin Diable performs at the Rescue Haiti Acoustic Series at the Harry O's loft in Park City.    (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News) Kristin Diable performs at the Rescue Haiti Acoustic Series at the Harry O's loft in Park City. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

"It is one thing to tell people about your music but to show them, you really get in their archives," she said pointing at her head. "Half of the narrative of film is music."

She played as part of the Rescue Haiti Acoustic Series, but that meant that she kicked off an event that was by its nature put together in only a few days and was trying to gain traction as it, and she, started. Crowds, designed to consist of celebrities and media only, were sparse to start with. But she stood at a microphone with her electric six-stringed traveling companion and played her guts out.

Like most "starving" and starting artists, living on her music isn't easy. She went to school and worked in New York City and participated in the cliched struggles to break out and eventually settled in New Orleans where she found joy as a musician. She has a following in both places but she wants to move beyond being a regional musician.

Kristin Diable performs at the Rescue Haiti Acoustic Series at the Harry O's loft in Park City.  (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News) Kristin Diable performs at the Rescue Haiti Acoustic Series at the Harry O's loft in Park City. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

"I don't want a career defined by geography," she said, although she plans to stay in New Orleans and soak up its heart and give back by spending her money and energies there, but her ambitions are greater.

"I have been working at it a long time and I am pretty good. Ultimately I want a sustainable career. I want to write songs that will be around for a while, that have some life to it on it own terms. There are great songs yet to be written."

And, Diable and so many like her in Park City hope, great artists yet to be discovered.

e-mail: lc@desnews.com

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