A Renewed Rebel with a Cause …
The kinship between the nation’s capital and its West Coast friends was apparent at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, aka: SUNDANCETWENTYTEN. I’d heard this was to be a “new kind of Sundance” and that founder Robert Redford wanted to get the festival back on track with a theme fueled by rebelling, recharging, and renewing (the anti-Hollywood). It worked. These pros took their purpose, craft, and intent and delivered excellent films. And oh, there were parties, too.
My Washington group consisted of David Vennett, Philippe Cousteau, Andy Baldwin, Susan Roberts, and Nicole Boxer. The contingency grew when we spotted MC Dean’s Bill Dean and Apex System’s Win Sheridan, who had invested in Sympathy for Delicious (starring Christopher Thornton, Mark Ruffalo, Juliette Lewis, Orlando Bloom and Laura Linney) and Hesher (starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman and Rainn Wilson).
Thursday night had the heaviest snow Park City had seen in months but that didn’t effect the Absolut Party at Easy Street on Main Street – which is party ground zero. It’s packed with every bar, restaurant, and shop an otherwise sleepy ski town would need. We entered and walked right by Bill Murray, star of Robert Duvall’s Get Low. The air and energy were electric. While the attire was more casual than in Washington, it was nice to be in a laid back environment. Spotted: Morgan Spurlock director of Super Size Me.
The party was in full swing when Climate Refugees producer and director Michael Nash entered. I had met him through Kimball Stroud and David Vennett during the IMPACT Film Festival 2009. His documentary was about to make a huge splash here. “We’re the American Express and Bing showcase film!” he exclaimed. “I get to hang out at Sundance Resort on Sunday with Robert Redford.” (He got to hang with Bill Gates, too.)
On Saturday we screened Get Low, directed by Aaron Schneider and starring Duvall, Bill Murray, Sissy Spacek and Lucas Black, and Climate Refugees. During the Climate Refugees reception, we mingled with Nash, Justin Hogan, and Keith Kohn (score producer), and Michael Mollura (composer). The film was well-received and stirred the crowd to a lively Q&A session. Even Sen. Barbara Boxer, who had introduced it at the IMPACT Film Festival in Washington, took the mic.
The house was rockin’ and the vodka was flowing at the after-party. While we were dressed in cold weather attire, other guests looked as if they walked off the set of Gossip Girl: Miami. The swinging soiree included photo sessions, a DJ, dance floor, and a tiny Alice in Wonderland-like door, which I heard led to a world of misbehavior. Before exiting, we caught glimpses of reality show stars through the paparazzi pile and a “rap star” with the requisite entourage.
On Sunday we visited Stein Eriksen Lodge for brunch. The winding drive there offers stunning views. Try the five-star champagne brunch. Normally one can spot dark-spectacled celebs, but that day it was packed with hungry skiers and NFL playoff viewers.
That night we headed out in the hottest mode of transportation ever created: the Music Taxi. Only cool cats book this karaoke van complete with a working mic and speakers, glow-in-the-dark sunglasses and songs that take you back. After singing our way up the winding roads, we made it to the stunning St. Regis Deer Crest Resort in Deer Valley for dinner at J&G Grill. To get there, take the funicular at the mountain base, which whisks you 500 vertical feet to the main building in 90 seconds. There, we caught the shadow of Paris Hilton wearing sunglasses at night as she glided out of a chauffeured black SUV and slipped past the step-and-repeat where Philip Seymour Hoffman and Josh Radnor chatted with reporters. Upstairs in the airy, casually luxe, and contemporary J&G Grill, we took in the exhibition seating, where guests have a great view of the open kitchen. Chef Shane and sous chef Justin told us that they look to keep the menu concept straightforward and “farm to table.” The highlight was the black truffle pizza, which my dinner mates kept stealing.
Our last soirée, “The Dry Land Party,” was held at The Yard, or, to the untrained eye, a warehouse. Sponsored by Bing, the Creative Coalition and Red Bull and hosted by the film’s star, America Ferrera, and director/screenwriter Ryan Pierce Williams, the standing-room-only was pure energy. I chalked it up to the overflowing Red Bull. Our entertainment was Lyle Lovett, who sounded great, but his somber genre of music didn’t five with a crowd itching to gyrate. After one set, the DJ appeared and the crowd got its wish.
On Monday we left exhilarated, inspired, somewhat exhausted and ready to return to real life back in the “Polly” of “Pollywood.” How fortunate we are to have Redford and the Sundance leadership in our “Pollywood” world. Sundance is an open invitation for those who appreciate coloring outside the lines, rebelling against the mainstream, making a statement, provoking insight, shocking viewers with brave words and performances, and celebrating divergent thought turned into action. And the parties aren’t too bad either.
You can read more about Pamela’s Sundance adventures at www.pamelaspunch.com