While it was mostly movie buffs, critics and Hollywood celebrities who flooded the annual Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, this year’s 10-day event was not without some Washingtonians putting their political stamp on the city.
By Kiki Ryan
One such local doing just that was Lanmark Technology Inc. CEO Lani Hay. The Washington businesswoman hosted a cocktail reception for Rock the Vote and The Wall Street Journal in honor of the Sundance film “Hell and Back Again” by director Danfung Dennis.
“I am privileged to be here to support and promote youth involvement in the democratic process by hosting this event at Sundance 2011,” Hay said to a crowd that filled the Jean Louise restaurant, as guests sipped bubbling cocktails made with vodka and Izze sparkling juice.
As a Naval Academy and active duty veteran, Hay is able to personally identify with the documentary that follows U.S. Marines during a helicopter assault on the Taliban. She is also preparing to visit Afghanistan next month.
Given the political bent to the party, it was not surprising to see several other Washington locals, such as Roshanak Ameli-Tehrani, a filmmaker herself, at the event. But the most solidly political, if random, guest was Delaware Governor Jack Markell.
“I’m here for two reasons,” the governor of the state Vice President Biden represented in the Senate for decades. “A friend of mine had his movie premiere yesterday called ‘Rebirth,’ that follows the aftermath of September 11… And also this is my present to my wife for her 50th birthday.” Markell went on to discuss his state’s unexpectedly dramatic recent Senate election. Markell believes Delaware got attention that it “never really deserved it” because of challenger Christine O’Donnell, star of the season’s famous political TV ad, with the line, “I am not a witch.”