Despite causing agita throughout the industry for threatening not to circulate his annual “Sundance Party List” for talent, publicists and media — Chris Ryan’s encyclopedic tome is forthcoming and will be likely forwarded several times by the time you’re reading this post.
This is not that list.
Instead of a comprehensive treatise, I’ve picked the intimate, special and the unique gatherings of the creative community and people who make Sundance scene special and so broadly popular, even amongst those who never set foot in a theater.
The Main Street stalwarts are back: Tao (Friday-Sunday), Village at the Lift, the free lunch café inside Village at the Lift (again with the chefs and menu from LA’s Animal), and countless lounges inviting industry faces to “come inside and warm up with [insert name of random sponsor here]” all return.
Our own colorful coverage from previous years paints those pictures well and is not repeated here.
This year, for the best under-the-radar, click on.
Delta’s Private Flight to the Festival: The Delta Festival Shuttle
The stratification begins before you even get out of the 310.
The most clever and organic brand activation this year begins in Terminal 5 at LAX. Talent agency UTA worked with Delta to organize a special flight for filmmakers, influencers, agents, and so-called, “media-elite” to the airline’s SLC hub on Thursday morning.
The 180 handpicked fliers will fork brunch by Lemonade, enjoy expedited security, and live entertainment on-board – that’s live, not like getting to watch a sneak preview of “Z for Zachariah” on the back of your neighbor’s seat.
Who gets first class? Details to come in a later post.
(Full disclosure: I am newly minted “media-elite,” earned a seat and it is not bathroom row –middle.)
Stylist Ilaria Urbinati’s Eddie Bauer Capsule Collection Preview Party
Friday night, January 23
When GQ writes “Get Ilaria on the phone,” as the caption under photographic evidence of male celebrity fashion crimes, they reference the woman who styles or has styled the “golden boys” of the red carpet: Bradley Cooper, Ben Affleck, Armie Hammer, Ty Burrell, James Marsden, and “Game of Thrones” Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and women who run like Nina Dobrev and Lizzy Caplan.
Also read: The Stylemaker Behind Emmys’ Golden Boys
With a significant following of friends in town, and her partner in their former boutique Confederacy, Danny Masterson, spinning the early evening event, this is a flicker of fashion in between the flicks.
The Eddie Bauer Adventure House (in a new space this year) hosts, an offshoot from E.B.’s daytime activation with a rock climbing wall, DJ’s, lots of drinks, and lots of people hanging out around a faux indoor fire. Typical of producer/marketers BMF Media’s other footprints at Lollapalooza and Ultra in Miami, it’s a music-driven hangout space, an evolution from what would have been a ‘gift-driven celebrity photo opp space’ in the T-Mobile Sidekick era.
Jeff Vespa’s The Verge List: Sundance 2015 Party
Saturday night, January 24
Odds are you still do not know John Boyega.
You will by Christmas, when he joins Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o, and Harrison Ford in the new “Star Wars” film. Jeff Vespa, the wireimage founder and official festival photographer since 2003, tapped Boyega a year ago for “Verge,” his digital/print marker on the young talent he expects to blow up in the next year.
Jenny Slate was in the class of 2014 as well, following Jonathan Groff from HBO’s “Looking,” who led the inaugural selections in 2013.
Vespa’s intimate huddle near the Village at the Lift delivers low stress and actual connection to emerging filmmaking. Last year, after Sony Pictures Classics acquired “Whiplash” early Saturday morning after overnight negotiations, one producer of the now-awards season contender was still celebrating at Vespa’s get together fifteen hours later.
This year’s crops of names to know include Olivia Cook, Tony Revolori and Shameik Moore (from the aforementioned, “Dope”), Keir Gilchrist, Thomas Mann, Chloe Rose, and Bel Powley.
“Dope” at the Acura Studio
Acura Studio, Saturday, January 24
That noise you’ll be hearing coming from the corner of Main St. and Heber on Saturday night will be the party for “Dope”, a “geeks in the ‘wood” coming of age story about teens in Inglewood. Pharrell Williams produced music for the film and his company I am Other executive produces, but (update), he will not be there. After winning Sundance two years ago with “Fruitvale Station”, Forest Whitaker’s production company returns with this film, which sports A$AP Rocky’s first acting role and an appearance from Tyga.
150 people will be in side, many more outside for sure.
This will take over the Acura Studio space, an official festival partner, that will have junkets throughout the days and parties at night. Helping shuttle celebrity talent and the bold names above around, they have a fleet of 55 MDX and it is what will be arriving at your house/hotel/condo if you open your Uber app in Park City.
Eli Roth (who looks to be making his first Sundance appearance) and Keanu Reeves will celebrate there on Friday night, while Sarah Silverman will not be watching the SAG Awards when toasting “I Smile Back” there on Sunday night.
Anything at the Grey Goose Blue Door
449 Main Street, Friday-Tuesday
Last year, Selena Gomez sang acoustic as Bill Macy snapped photos. He had already admitted to enjoying the beverages and performed a 1-man ukulele concert to celebrate his directorial debut.
This year, don’t show up at 2 a.m. looking for Amy Sacco’s late-night pop-up of No. 8 (fka “Bungalow 8”). It’s not here and not at the festival.
The two-story space hosts film parties with people actually here for films. Nicole Kidman and “Strangerland” kick off the festival festivities here, while Friday night’s “End of Tour” party will also be hot. In that film, Jason Segal, Jesse Eisenberg, and a pair of actresses from esteemed DNA, Meryl Streep’s adult daughter Mamie Gummer and Sting and Trudie Styler’s adult daughter Mickey Sumner co-star with the “J’s”.
Kristin Wiig has two movies at Sundance and will celebrate both here as well. Cocktail parties, frosted windows, lots of cocktails, and a great balcony overlooking the street (if you’re a – choke, cough…choke – smoker) continue through Tuesday.
Kia Supper Suite by STK (TheWrap’s Party Report’s Party Partner at Sundance 2015)
The night before she won an Oscar for “Blue Jasmine” last year, Cate Blanchett joined this year’s creative force Richard “Rick” Linklater at STK in West Hollywood for that incarnation of the film-focused dinner party series produced by David Manning.
STK stays the same, but now it’s in Park City with Kia coming onboard as the title sponsor (Follow #KiaSupperSuiteSTK). The lineup is heavy on the opening weekend with the aforementioned Scott film “The Overnight” dining here before their parties, as well as a dinner with Melissa Rauch (“The Bronze”) and upcoming White House Correspondents’ Dinner host Cecily Strong (of “SNL”) breaking in the dishware on Friday night.
A collection of faces from within and beyond film will break bread at the “Echoes of Hope Charity Gala Dinner” on Saturday night, luring NHL legend Luc Robitaille’s crew away from the Canyons where they previously ate in the shadow of the Stanley Cup after the Kings’ 2012 championship. Cuba Gooding Jr., Taylor Kitsch, David Boreanaz, Jason Priestly, and Michael Vartan are expected.
On Saturday, Toni Collette and “Glassland” will have places set for them as well as a joint dinner party for “The Overnight,” “Animals,” and Tangerine, with chauffeur driven Kia Sorentos shuttling the talent around town.
Kia celebrity transport is available for talent beyond these events via A-List Communications.
The “What Are You Doing at Sundance Award, 2015?”
WWE “Royal Rumble” Pay-Per-View Watch Party at Jake the Snake, Diamond Dallas Page, and Scott Hall’s Sundance House
Sunday, January 25 will be the first Sunday since August without NFL, because the Pro Bowl hardly qualifies as a real game.
With Sundance falling one week later than normal, there are no NFL AFC and NFC Championship games to build viewing parties around. In the past, Harvey Weinstein’s intimate viewing party drew heavy from the industry, various New York nightclubs skewed younger at Main Street adjacent bashes, and for several years, ESPN threw increasingly large and lavish parties with the heaviest food, drinks, bands, and stadium-level spirit. That has gone the way of Sportscenter’s “Did You Know?”.
While not to everyone’s tastes, a coterie of ex-wrestlers are in Park City for the slamdance premiere of “The Resurrection of Jake the Snake Roberts,” a documentary. “Snake”, Diamond Dallas Page (“DDP”), and Scott Hall have invited a group of friends and fans from the festival to their Park City house to watch Sunday night’s WWE Pay-Per-View “Royal Rumble” with them.
Adult wrestling fans, pack your signs and t-shirts.
Cisero’s on Saturday Night
306 Main St.
There will be a revolving door of parties and people coming through here on Saturday night, from Kevin Bacon, Ethan Hawke, and Emile Hirsch, to Hailee Steinfeld, Emily Mortimer, and Michael Shannon. They’re calling it the Sabra Hummus House Independent Filmmaker Salon, and NYC based Darin Pfeiffer is programming the upstairs part of this space. (The downstairs, where 50 Cent and One Republic threw parties in previous years is an unaffiliated event.)
The night before the casts from “Ten Thousand Saints,” “Cop Car”, and “99 Homes” come through, as listed above, the producing team behind former Sundance breakout “Martha Marcy May Marlene” (pictured above) will host a non-film related get together for filmmaker friends.
The Sundance Institute’s Claim Jumper Space and Chase Parties
573 Main St., Throughout the Festival
The massive Claim Jumper space has morphed over the years, from Bing Bar to the home of CAA’s party to sitting empty.
Now the Sundance Institute has taken over, making it an official venue. While the top floors will house the institute’s New Frontier virtual reality technology and art exhibits, Chase, an official festival sponsor, will use the ground floor socially.
Fresh off his Golden Globe win, Jeffrey Tambor and co-stars Jack Black and James Marsden will celebrate “D Train” there, while Adam Scott’s project with Taylor Schilling and wife Naomi (she produced) will party there as well. (It’s “The Overnight”, about two L.A. couples’ “bizarre “evening together).
The Scotts are keeping it local, with a second film, “Sleeping With Other People” from “Bachelorette” director Leslye Headland co-starring Jason Sudeikis that will spread out in one of the top event spaces on Main Street.
Free Stuff and Swag
Various Suites, Opening Weekend
Free trips to Aruba at Kari Feinstein’s Style Lounge, free skincare treatments by Caudalie (for men and women) at the Birchbox pop-up (427 Main St.), free trips to Cancun at the EcoLuxe Lounge (inside Cisero’s, 306 Main St.), free Stella Artois (that’s beer!) every single day from 3-5 p.m., and gasp, open to the public at the corner of Heber and Main (the Acura Studio), and finally, free fitness at Sundance (a huge gaping hole in the swag-a-teria lineup for years and years): Pure Barre is throwing 4 free classes a day at 427 Main St. on opening weekend.
Other notable swag: Amateur reality TV filmmaking equipment in the form of wireless home security systems (Arlo) and Innergie cell phone battery chargers (a festival necessity), both also at the longest running gifting suite in the game, Kari Feinstein’s.
All events are private and by invitation only.
For real time Sundance party coverage, follow @SundanceParties on both Instagram and Twitter.
TheWrap’s Party Report at Sundance is presented by the all-new Kia Sorento.