As festival favorites like “Manchester by the Sea” and “Tallulah” emerge, the first weekend shifts into gear, and Utah gets a fraction of the storm that hit the East Coast, here’s the latest from Park City, Utah.
It’s Snowing on
It doesn’t compare to the socked-in East Coast #Blizzard2016, but the falling flakes on Saturday cast an idyllic cover over the ski town-turned-cinema-hub. Morgan Spurlock was the most prepared.
He grew plants from feces on Mars and brought fresh water to the red planet in the Oscar-nominated “The Martian.” But on Saturday, Matt Damon was focused on water on Earth. A co-founder of Water.org with Gary White, Damon made a hush-hush appearance at the event at the Stella Lounge at the Village at the Lift while in town for the film he produced, “Manchester By the Sea,” starring his “Good Will Hunting” buddy Casey Affleck. USA Today noted that this springs a “new Damon-Affleck friendship record.”
“‘Hard Candy’ (a 2005 Sundance thriller) was here when I was 17,” Ellen Page told TheWrap at a reception for “Tallulah” on Saturday afternoon. “(Sundance) is part of the reason why I’m fortunate enough to have a career and get to do this thing that I love.”
Ready for an Awards Podium Near You: “Emerging Triple Threat” Nate Parker
Nate Parker stole the show at the Creative Coalitions Spotlight Initiative Dinner on Saturday night with an extemporaneous speech that would infuse any awards show producer in a control room with an allergy to the playoff music button.
When Gabrielle Union took the podium to introduce “The Birth of a Nation” writer-director-star on Saturday night, she rebranded him “an emerging triple threat.” She also gave him a more personal title – “my friend and employer.”
In accepting the award from co-star Union, Parker gave an impassioned speech that silenced the clanking of dishes inside the Kia Supper Suite and hushed the low rumble coming from a standing room only crowd that included Justin Long, Michael Jackson attorney and manager John Branca, Kevin Smith, Natasha Lyonne, Harry Hamlin, Annalynne McCord, Alysia Reiner, IMDb founder Col Needham, and Spike Lee, who was Parker’s own guest of honor.
“I’m dedicating half of this award to you,” Parker said to Lee. “But I’m keeping it at my house.”
Parker recounted how he sought out Lee’s cell phone number, texted him, and got a call back within five minutes. When Lee told him to get in a cab and meet him in DUMBO immediately, Parker did not know the Brooklyn neighborhood from the Disney elephant.
Minutes later, Parker was sitting next to Lee during a “Do the Right Thing” book signing while discussing his upcoming slave revolt project. The day continued with dinner and then a mentorship.
“(Lee) is like my father, my mentor, my uncle,” Parker said. Lee himself was among the winners that included “Orange is the New Black’s” Alysia Reiner for her film “Equity,” the “first female-driven Wall Street movie.”
Was she checking Twitter for reaction? “No.”
Who Is Minding the Shop Back on Melrose?
Meanwhile in other Craig news…
Drew Brees Is Still a Teammate to ALS Warrior Steve Gleason
While Sunday is one of the NFL’s biggest days of the year with the slate for Super Bowl 50 to be decided, New Orleans Saint Drew Brees was here in Park City supporting former teammate Steve Gleason. Gleason’s physical deterioration is reportedly presented in graphic, unsanitized detail in the documentary about the father, husband, former NFL player, and ALS battler who began making videos for his child before he lost the ability to speak.
Warning: “If You Don’t Dance…I’m Going Home”
At Nylon magazine and the Dream Hotels’ Apres Ski cocktails on the choice sky deck real estate at Heber and Main, the crafty DJ Mel Debarge had a warning for the fashionable crowd that had made it through the tight-door and long line downstairs: “If you don’t dance, I’m going to turn off and go home. I’ve done it before.”
After filling the fully daytime dance floor with Justin Bieber‘s “Sorry,” he returned to the mic a bit sorry himself: “OK, I won’t go home.”
Debarge later rebooted the energy at Tao late on Saturday night after a technically bland and ho-hum set from Brody Jenner. After Diplo’s spin though Sundance and nationally touring DJ’s Ruckus, Spyder, Politik, Devin Lucien, and Michelle Pesce’s Nona Entertainment management team placing multiple female talents spinning across Park City, Utah is starting to sound a lot more like another festival that begins with “S” – SXSW.
The Dream Hotel arrives as part of Hollywood’s building boom, aiming for a summer opening.
“I want to thank President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the Board of Governors, for doing the right thing (in making swift changes to Academy membership and voting policies). I’m still going to the (NBA) game (that night). I’m not showing up. My wife and I, we made the decision, we’re not going to change our decision. And we’ll be at Madison Square Garden, Sunday night, February 28th, New York Knickerbockers against the Miami Heat.”
Lee made the comments at the IMDb studio earlier on Sunday.
Send invitations, bookings, and tips to Mikey@thechimp.net.
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) .