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It's that time of year again, when the small resort town of Park City, UT gets overrun by celebrities, publicists, paparazzi, and other industry types for the Sundance Film Festival. And, after their movies have premiered and their portraits have been taken, those celebs head out for a bite at one of the fest's many hotspots.
Here's a look at 3 of the most popular nosh spots during this year's fest:
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The Sundance Institute is teaming with AEG Europe to stage Sundance London, a four-day film and arts festival that will be held in the city’s O2 entertainment district on April 26-29th, 2012. Sundance London will include screenings of films from the 2012 Sundance Film Festival (taking place in January 2012), live music performances and panels.
Most people think the Sundance Film Festival is all about the best in independent film, but its really just an excuse for celebs to party while wearing cute cold weather gear.
Now that the fest is in full swing, Main Street in Park City, Utah is crawling with celebrities. Just yesterday, Demi Moore, who's in town to promote her latest film, Another Happy Day), had a romantic lunch with hubby Ashton Kutcher. At the same time, Chris and Liam Hemsworth were getting snowboarding lessons down the street and Kate Bosworth was walking the red carpet for the 2011 Creative Coalition Spotlight Initiative Awards.
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The notorious British street artist Banksy premiered his first film, Exit Through The Gift Shop, at Sundance this week. But, true to form, he didn't allow it to be listed in the fest's catalog nor did he tell anyone about its place on the schedule until last week. This is no surprise coming from an artist who keeps his identity and whereabouts under tighter wraps than most people in the witness protection program.
The film is about street art, but it is also about Terry Guetta a.k.a Mr. Brain Wash, a successful commercial street artist. In the '90s Terry was obsessed with capturing his life on video. At the same time, he was hanging out with his cousin, the street artist Space Invader, who worked nights in France and Los Angeles covering the town with pixel aliens. Terry quickly became obsessed with street artists and, suddenly, his two passions combined. This meant for the first time someone was capturing the best graffiti artists in the world (including Banksy) working. The problem was, Terry's film sucked, even though he tried really hard, he just couldn't pull it off. This is where Banksy stepped in and decided to turn Terry's footage into Exit Through the Gift Shop.
That does it for our Sundance Film Festival coverage this year. We ate some good Mexican, we walked up and down Main Street God knows how many times, we toasted with the locals and we even got to chill with Cisco Adler. (Wait, is that a good thing?)
Hope you had a chance to follow our adventure on Twitter, in the Jaunted Flickr Pool and on our Sundance 2008 Map. And just 'cause we're done with the 'dance doesn't mean you shouldn't stick around: We've got lots more fun field trips planned this year.
Sadly, we've fled the icy streets of Park City, but that doesn't mean that Sundance isn't still chugging right along. Though folks are already filtering out of Utah, the fest continues until Sunday. If you're sticking it out, you can actually watch some movies now that there's a bit of breathing room in town.
Tickets are still available for "Black List"--which HBO already picked up--and for "Raisin in the Sun", starring Diddy and Sean Patrick Thomas. You can also get tix for "Sugar", a complex rags-to-riches sports drama from Sundance stars Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.
Saturday is Awards Night, followed by the Awards Night Party at the Park City Racquet Club. Besides the hobnobbing, you can also make plans there for films to see Sunday morning: All the winners will be screened the next day throughout town, and last-minute tickets will be available.
The road to our condo (for the night)
During Sundance, rooms at the Yarrow Hotel start at $400 a night. Given that the Yarrow is about as swank as some suburban Comfort Inns we've stayed at, that really sucks. So how did we beat the system? Couchsurfing Park City.
We'll admit, it wasn't easy to find a place to crash; lodging is tight when 50,000 people descend on a town of 8,000. But as the film fest continues this week, more and more people will be heading out, leaving floor space and couches--and maybe even some bedrooms--wide open. It's up to you to scam your way into those spots.
Our first few tries didn't pan out. One friend who was in town on business couldn't host us per company rules. Another pal was too busy working to even meet up for a drink, let alone put us up for the night. A few random emails to some random people we found on the Internet didn't even net replies.
Just when we were getting really nervous about finding a spot, a friend of a friend called up offering a couch at a condo on Deer Valley Drive. Perfect! The spot was on a few bus routes and provided some people to party with.
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The airline set up shop at the Village at the Yard, which is basically a star-friendly gifting lounge. While we were there, Jessica Alba, Method Man, Perez Hilton and Mischa Barton ex Cisco Adler all dropped by to look through the swag.
And while we had other things happening later that night, VA's Charles Ogilvie kept working the party circuit. Turns out Paris Hilton loves WiFi and wants to try out Virgin's new in-flight system when it debuts. She must not have heard that you can IM from one of JetBlue's planes!
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What? You weren't at Sundance this weekend? It's okay, you weren't alone; apparently many stars stayed away out of deference to the WGA strike or fear of the paparazzi gauntlet they would face. Variety reported that A-list attendance was much lower than in recent years, despite a bumper crop of high-profile movies like the "U2" concert film "U23D" and Robert DeNiro's "What Just Happened?"
Not that Sundance was completely out of star cameos. Colin Farrell flirted with publicity reps while promoting his crime caper "In Bruges," and Mary-Kate Olson fielded 45,000 questions about what it was like to make out with Ben Kingsley for their movie "The Wackness," in which he plays a pot-smoking psychologist. But there was no playtime for Diego Luna and Sandra Oh; they were too busy voting on the Sundance jury along with Quentin Tarantino and Marcia Gay Harden. Someone's got to pick out the next "Little Miss Sunshine!"
[Photo: Just Jared]
Film is obviously the main event this week, but other video art is on show at the New Frontier on Main. Works ranging from Jennifer Steinkamp's Mike Kelley Trees, above, to interactive video sculpture from Daniel Rozin are free and open to everyone in an underground space in the Frontier on Main mall.
The most fascinating exhibit--to us anyway--was a video/photo montage by ©ause Collective. Created in Oakland, it stitches together YouTube-style self portraits of the community into a larger picture of the city. Along the Way had us mesmerized.
Also cool was an installation by Hasan Elahi. The artist who started lifecasting after he says he ended up on an FBI watchlist, has collected a bunch of photos of airports, bathrooms, planes and signage from around the globe. It's total travel porn, and we love it.
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In pricey Park City, the deal of deals is the $2 tall boy of PBR at Bistro 412. Now, normally the restaurant and bar is a perfectly refined American brasserie with stuff like steak frites, salads and cocktails like French 75s and Kir Royales.
But after a day on the slopes, all the snowboarders in town like to head to the upstairs bar for one of the town's biggest selections of liquor. Bistro 412 also has lots of local beer on tap, which is always a hit in a ski town.
The aforementioned beer bargain, though, is what really draws the trouble makers. (And creates just the scene you should be looking for.) During Sundance you'll have to get there early to carve out a spot at the bar, but somehow we don't think you'll mind starting happy hour a little early: We didn't!
If you've waited till now to find your Sundance tickets, you're sorta in trouble as availability is limited. But don't fear: You'll still be able to see lots of screenings. It'll just take a bit of patience and a willingness to give some underexposed films a chance. Good thing that's what Sundance is about.
The first stop you'll wanna make is the Gateway Center. The little mall near the transit center and Main Street is the main box office for the fest. A giant poster with all the films is set up, and those screenings with seats are clearly marked "available." You'll pay $15 for individual tickets, but you won't mind because you came to Park City to watch movies.
Your next option is day-of sales. Every morning at 8 am a few tickets for that day's shows are released to early birds. You have a good chance of scoring these because most people in town for the festival are too hungover at 8 in the morning to be out of bed.
If you want the true Sundance experience, you'll seek out a theater rather than a particular film and line up for wait-list tickets. Starting two hours before the show, you can pick up a number then go have lunch or whatever. Come back about 30 minutes before showtime to talk film with your fellow line-goers. Bonus: Wait-list tix are "only" $10.
Lastly, if you're with the accredited press--there's about a thousand of you--check out the listing of press and industry screenings. (You can find a guide to those shows at press HQ at the Park City Marriott.) Press people are also entitled to one public screening ticket per day; request it a day in advance of the show you're interested in.