Sundance 2016 First Look: Parties, People, Places and the Social Scene (Updating)

The hotspots Tao, Village at the Lift, Jeff Vespa’s “Verge” party, and the Kia Supper Suite are all returning for 2016

Last updated: Wednesday, January 20

Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern, Selena Gomez, Paul Rudd, John Krasinski, and Anna Kendrick all have films at Sundance 2016. Virtual reality is also coming to the Sundance Film Festival in a big way.

To navigate the dizzying number of people, parties, and places, TheWrap’s Party Report has the first look at the choice invites and social tentpoles of the Park City scene. This will be updated continually until the festival begins on January 21.

John Legend/WGN America’s “Underground”

Saturday, January 23

David Beavis Gallery

WGN Underground

The party may be hot, but the subject matter is serious.  Legend executive produces the series about a group of slaves, the underground railroad, and a 600 mile run to freedom that does not even hit WGN’s air until March. Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Aldis Hodge, Alano Miller and Jessica de Gouw star and will be in attendance.

Hospitality Lounges

Snow, rain, and anxious Angelenos who want to get out of both are in the forecast for Sundance’s opening weekend. Here are some of the higher end hospitality lounges welcoming in VIPs:

Barclaycard Arrival TheWRAP Sundance 2016 copy

Barclaycard Arrival+ 364 Main (Friday-Sunday, 364 Main): Gifting and interviews in TheWRAP’s interview studio are amongst the activities here with music and film festival ringmasters BMF.

Samsung  (Friday-Tuesday, 638 Park Avenue): The new official festival sponsor is touting free uber rides and reservations at nearby restaurants via their Gear S2 concierge and are on-trend pushing VR entertainment at the festival. They also have a secret show in the works for Friday night.

Toyota Mirai Music Lodge (Friday-Monday, 780 Main St.) – 7 live performances in this music slanted space.

WME|IMG and the IndieLounge (see below) are also rolling out the hospitality.

Village at the Lift
Opening Weekend
Bottom of Main Street

(Isaac Brekken for Village at the Lift)

What had been a gifting bonanza and freebie diner drawing swarms of industry insiders to the base of main street, is converting into more of a media hub. WireImage, the Los Angeles Times, and IMDb will all be there. Eddie Bauer, which has floated around various Main Street locations for a few years, is pitching their tent in the last remaining entertainment marketing hub from the go-go 2000s.


Friday-Sunday, 11 p.m. – late

Under the Village at the Lift

TAO at Village at the Lift with Moet & Chandon and Stella ArtoisUpdate: Tao returns from Friday-Sunday nights of opening weekend from 11 p.m. until late. TAO family like DJ Vice, Politik, and Devin Lucien will spin. But don’t expect to see Emile Hirsch return here.

Adrien Grenier Village at the Lift 2016
Adrian Grenier signs in during the 2015 edition. (Isaac Brekken for Village at the Lift)

Stella Artois Filmmaker Lounge
Friday, January 22 – Sunday, January 24
At the Base of Village at the Lift

Thomas Middleditch, Nick Kroll, and Jenny Slate‘s “Joshy” will socialize here, as will James Schamus‘ “Indignation” (Logan Lerman), and “Trashfire” with Sundance regular Adrien Grenier and AnnaLynne McCord.

Stella’s been in Park City in one form or another since 2004. This year, their prime position at the base of Main Street will again be convenient for a rotating slew of film parties. They will be pouring daytime and night until 2 a.m.

*Where’s That Diner?* Applegate “Reel Food” Cafe at the LA Times Photo/Video Studio
Opening Weekend
Village at the Lift

Over the years, a daily-freebie diner has been produced by Animal restaurant from L.A., Stella, and others, providing a virtual commissary in Park City as Hollywood got a taste of Silicon Valley work style. That is no more. Now, natural food company Applegate is instead hosting limited bites with a walk-through of breakfast tacos and burritos, sandwiches, salads, build your own hot dogs, and lunches to go, but the days of sitting down and ordering “on the house” with your pals has gone the way of the “MySpace.”

*Social Happy Hour * Nylon and Dream Hotels Apres Ski
Saturday, January 23, 4-6 p.m.
Rooftop at Main & Sky

Nylon x Dream Hotels Apres Ski
Nylon x Dream Hotels Apres Ski

A taste of New York (and soon Hollywood) at this annual afternoon drinks party. Divorced from a film commitment, people actually hit the bar and hangout. Mel Debarge will spin.

Jeff Vespa’s Verge
Saturday night, January 23
Location Withheld

HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 14: Actor John Boyega attends the World Premiere of ìStar Wars: The Force Awakensî at the Dolby, El Capitan, and TCL Theatres on December 14, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)
John Boyega at the world premiere of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” on December 14, 2015. ( Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

Two years before the glory of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” you could have found John Boyega in the pages of Jeff Vespa’s “Verge.” The magazine arrives at key film festivals highlighting young actors that are about to break big. His Saturday night gathering of the class of 2016 is quality over quantity and a rich stew of industry notables. The names are forthcoming.

PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 19: Verge founder and creative director Jeff Vespa and Alex Shaffer attends the Samsung Gallery Launch Party To Celebrate The Verge List - 2013 on January 19, 2013 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for Verge)
Verge founder and creative director Jeff Vespa and Alex Shaffer at a previous “Verge” party. (Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for Verge)

Kia Supper Suite by The Church Key
Friday, January 21 – Monday, January 25
Cisero’s on Main Steet

Kiana Madani, Thomas Middleditch, Gary Cole, Jay Duplass
Thomas Middleditch, Gary Cole, and Jay Duplass anchoring a booth at the Kia Supper Suite in 2015.

Update: The Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern, Michelle Williams feature premiere “Certain Women” will celebrate here on Monday, January 25. This follows a weekend where ESPN’s multi-hour “30 for 30” miniseries “OJ: Made in America” and Spike Lee‘s doc on Michael Jackson’s evolution from Motown to “Off the Wall” will also toast their premieres in A-List Communications’ space.

PreviouslyKevin Smith, Justin Long, Adam Brody, Natasha Lyonne, Anna Gunn will pass through this foodie destination under the direction of Chef Steven Fretz from The Church Key in L.A. The Creative Coalition will host their “Spotlight” dinner here, which has no relation to the Mark Ruffalo and Michael Keaton Oscar contender of the same name.

Like this first look, these guys started early, delivering the chef’s signature donuts to industry influencers for Thanksgiving and announcing the partnership. They are TheWrap’s Party Partner for Sundance 2016, joining Perry Farrell’s tequila Maestro Dobel and Johndrow Vineyards.

Additional cast dinner parties are in the works.

*NFL Viewing Party*  – The Ainsworth
Sunday, January 24, 1 p.m. – end of the games
Tao on Main St.

For several years, Paige Hospitality Group has been serving up a party with the third and second to last games of the year. In 2015, the AFC and NFC Championship games fell a week earlier, lifting the “Sundance Football Party” platform out of the schedule. The on-screen winners, and many in the room, will be in San Francisco two weeks later for another round of parties.

Additionally, the Gersh Agency is also hosting the Patriots vs. Broncos AFC Championship viewing party (the early game only) on Sunday at Wasatch Brew Pub.

*Cheers* SundanceTV and THR Sundance Kickoff Cocktails
Friday, January 22, 4-6 p.m.
Sundance TV HQ on Main

PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 21: A general view of atmosphere on Main Street during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2015 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images for Sundance)
(George Pimentel/Getty Images for Sundance)

A team-up at the start of the festival.

*Congrats* IMDb STARmeter Award Ceremony honoring Bryce Dallas Howard
Monday night, January 25
Restaurant on Main St.

Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt in Jurassic World.
Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt in Jurassic World.

“The Help” and “Twilight” star follows in her father’s footsteps by stepping behind the camera as the writer/director of “Solemates.” It’s a short telling the story of a couple’s life together through their shoes, per IMDb, which outranks all others as the authoritative voice on this seeing as they are the ones awarding her with this honor. The site recently celebrated it’s 25th anniversary and its largest traffic day ever, with the release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” founder Col Needham told TheWRAP recently of the Star Wars spike.

Indie Lounge
Thursday, January 21 – Monday, January 25
710 Main St.

In the past, Nicole Kidman, Kevin Bacon, and members of Wu Tang Clan have floated through the space. They are one of the few surviving gifting suites in addition to daily hospitality for those at the heart of the festival — indie filmmakers.

This party preview will be continually updated on a rolling basis, with coverage from the events to follow.

Send invitations, bookings, and tips to

Kia Sorento Kia Sorento Celebrity Rides, Park nCity, UT 01-23-16 David Edwards/ 818-249-4998
Our ride (and partner) at the festival. See below.

TheWrap’s Party Report at Sundance is presented by the vehicles that will be shuttling filmmakers and to casts to special events, the 2016 Kia Sorento CUV. Among those special events are The Party Report’s party pal and HQ, the Kia Supper Suite by The Church Key. Keep up with real time images of the scene in Park City on @SundanceParties (Twitter and Instagram) .