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Sundance parties — smaller is better
Every year, reporters get the same calls from the publicists handling all the big parties on Main Street in Park City at the Sundance Film Festival, and the calls go something like this: “Justin Timberlake showed up last night, and so did Christian Slater and Teri Hatcher (pictured right)…” and whoever else. But the fact is, if you ever plan on attending the festival, those guys either come in and leave fast for a private affair, or the head to a VIP lounge somewhere, and the regular festival goers are left to mingle with young adults who come up from Salt Lake City or wannabe stars and starlets from Hollywood.
The more interesting gatherings are the smaller dinners held before movie premieres, and they give reporters a great deal more insight into the human side of stars and films and directors. Here’s a sample of some of the early goings on.
At the dinner for 69 year-old Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins’ “Slipstream,” USA Today reporter Anthony Breznican, who has dark hair and is in his 30s, approached the door and the young woman checking names asked for his. The publicist at the door told her, “he’s Anthony,” and she looked down the list and said, “Anthony Hopkins?” You had to laugh, and we did. Inside, the real Hopkins (pictured left)told the crowd of some 40 people or so that he relied heavily on his friend, Tony Robbins, to help keep his self-confidence high if it was flagging. Interestingly human: an Oscar winner who struggles with his ownconfidence, like we all do.
Over at the dinner for “American Crime,” the film’s star Catherine Keener (pictured left; she’s on the far right) walked around introducing herself to people, holding out her hand and saying, “Hi, I’m Catherine.” You’re like, “yeah, I know,” but it’s nice to have a star introduce herself as if you don’t. Talking with “The Savages” star Laura Linney, the conversation turns from films to snow skiing, and when relaying a personal story about your family to veteran television actress Judith Light, who stars in Sundance film “Save Me,” she offers her help, completely out of the blue with nothing in it for her.
But here’s the good one, and it comes from one of those first-time Sundancers, director Patricia Riggen of “La Misma Luna,” which deals with Mexico-U.S. immigration. Riggen was at a small gathering — maybe 75 people — celebrating the premiere of her movie which received a long standing ovation. A mariachi band was playing in the background, and the diminutive Riggen was very happy. Asked how she felt — the positive reception, and all — and she looked up with a big smile and wide eyes and she said: “I feel like dancing.” And she did.