The Sundance Film Festival 2013 was filled with its usual mixture of great films, fun events, and memorable parties this year as filmophiles and entertainment industry professionals flocked into Park City, Utah for a week to celebrate the art of film.
While I love the atmosphere that any film festival evokes, Sundance has grown exponentially during the past three decades, and so has its ability to attract more people than the festival itself can sustain. But despite the long lines, escalated ticket prices, and influx of brands into every corner of the city, there’s no doubt about it: Sundance is one of the year’s most exciting motion picture events the year.
Read my film recap here! Now, on to the parties!
I was invited to attend some of the many celeb and VIP gifting suites. The first morning of the festival had me visiting a private event hosted by PAX at a private residence off of Main St. What is a PAX? It’s an awesome new premium vaporizer made by San Francisco-based Ploom. Let me just start by saying that while I’m not a proponent of smoking, but if I were to smoke, I’d definitely recommend using a PAX over traditional cigarettes. The PAX is a state of the art, metal, rechargeable vaporizer that any smoking enthusiast should get. At the lounge, not only were we able to test the PAX, but guests were treated to a fantastic breakfast by Top Chef Ilan Hall. The friendly staff of his downtown LA restaurant The Gorbals prepared a scrumptious meal, the perfect way to start off a Sundance morning! Being introduced to PAX in this relaxed environment away from the hustle and bustle of Main St. was a welcome surprise. With a hefty $250 price tag the PAX may be a smoking device for the elite. But for its design and function, it’s well worth the investment for any smoking connoisseur.
Hyde Lounge entertained a handful of late night gatherings and daytime suites, such as the Oakley Learn to Ride, which paired expert snowboarders with celebrities who ventured up the slope decked out in slick Oakley and New Era gear. Adrian Grenier, who seemed to be everywhere at Sundance, was one of the regulars, along with Brian Geraghty. Visitors were treated to delicious Emergen-C cocktails and Chocolate Cream of Wheat – the only other time I’ve seen Chocolate Cream of Wheat was at Sundance last year…but boy was it good!
Much to Sundance regulars’ enjoyment, Village at the Lift returned this year for its 11th time to the base of Main St. With suites set up by New Era, Samsung, Stella Artois amongst others, VATL was a popular destination for those looking for a warm hat, refreshing brewski, or simply a place to get out of the 20-degree Park City weather. I grabbed a comfy New Era Yankees ski cap. True story: Harvey Weinstein had apparently reserved all the NFL playoff teams hats for his annual championship game viewing party at Sundance the next day! I spent a good hour relaxing in the Samsung lounge taking Instagram photos which they printed out for all guests and making custom t-shirts. Naomi Watts made a visit to the lounge to do an interview to promote her Sundance film TWO MOTHERS.
One of the best lounges at Sundance had to be the Miami Lounge, which attracted the likes of celebrities Michael Cera, Courtney Love, and Mario Lopez to enjoy gifting from brands such as Carlo Pazolini, Disaronno, Rudsak, Johnny Was, Sabra Hummus, Lifeway Foods, HINT Water and Udi’s Cafe. Guests enjoyed live broadcasting from Sirius XM & Rotten Tomatoes as well as a live DJ performance by Danny Masterson, also known in the industry as DJ Mom Jeans who partied it up with brother Christopher Masterson. The beautifully ornate Pazolini flats that were being gifted along with the rustic, southern belle Johnny Was dresses made this the destination of choice for many fashion-conscious celebs like Paris Hilton. The Udi’s restaurant offerings were a health-conscious choice of gluton-free food options that were shockingly delicious. I bumped into Miles Teller, best known for his work in the indie darling RABBIT HOLE and PROJECT X, who’s film THE SPECTACULAR NOW earned him and co-star Shailene Woodley the US Dramatic Special Jury Award for Acting. It was one of the best lounges of the festival and for sure to be one I go to again next year.
Talent Resources had yet another suite at this year’s festival, but maybe it’s time for them to find a bigger space. Being asked to wait outside the lounge because it was too busy (while continuing to let talent in) was frustrating for the people made to wait outside. When I heard one of the organizers secretly tell the bouncers it would be at least 20 minutes, I decided to take a hike. Luckily, I was able to find my way into the Lipton Tea room to warm up with some hot tea, the Gillette razor room where I voted scruff over clean-shaven, and one of the most inspiring participants of the festival, the End Polio Now Photo Activation. Before Sundance I had never been in a commercial…now I can say I have! On a mission to eradicate the world of this debilitating disease, Rotary has traveled the globe taking pictures of thousands of celebrities and supporters seeking to make the World’s Biggest Commercial to build awareness of their efforts to rid the world of polio at long last. Even though the world is 99% polio-free, if we don’t finish the fight now, more than 10 million children under the age of five could be paralyzed by polio in the next 40 years. That’s pretty scary! So take part in this great cause by going to EndPolio.org and become a part of the fight to End Polio Now.
From waffles each morning at the Independent Filmmakers Lounge, to getting my daily fix of Ciroc and Stella at the Sundance HQ pre-parties, to the ASCAP Music Café, this year’s Sundance event calendar was stacked with some great cards. It was a gamble trying to get into some of the lounges as they were packed to the brim with celebs and VIPs. The after parties were never a guarantee, although rubbing shoulders with Nicole Kidman, Dermot Mulroney, Ellen Page, Brit Marling, and Mia Wasikowska at the Fox Searchlight party was pretty incredible. Who knows what next year’s festival will have in store for us, but if it’s anywhere near as fun as this year’s, count me in.