This year, we say goodbye to L’Oreal (and MorningStar Farms veggie burgers). but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a whole lot of other things to do and see in Park City during the Sundance Film Festival when you’re not skiing. Wait a minute. L’Oreal’s not coming back?! That was the latest news from Sundance and I gotta say it was more than a little disappointing. The pop-up shop on Park City’s Main Street offered quick hair and makeup makeovers for anyone who strolled in and the friendly girls handed you a nail polish, shampoo samples and a mascara on the way out. There was no better way to end a ski day than to pop off the mountain and have someone else make you look pretty again. My daughter loved the pampered afternoon. Not here this year? Say it isn’t so. Ah, but it is.
For six years the beauty industry giant partnered with the Sundance Institute but alas no more. L’Oreal apparently felt they couldn’t compete with the unofficial Sundance piggybackers like Dove and MAC who paid less to be up the street and featured products and makeovers in exclusive VIP lounges. What L’Oreal didn’t realize is that there was no competition. Those unofficial brands aren’t open to the public and they don’t see nearly the traffic. Sure, a few celebs posed for product placement pics with Dove Hair Therapy bottles and media made mentions but L’Oreal was getting the same plus they were like goodwill ambassadors. They offered a unique experience and gave the average Park City guest a spot inside instead of on the curb. They gave skiers, tourists and Utahns a reason to plan a day in PC in January.
Ok, L’Oreal may be missing but just look at everything else Sundance has to offer this week. Steel yourself against traffic and parking woes and then get out and enjoy the diversity, fashion, aura and activity that enshrouds this Utah mining town courtesy of brands that support independent filmmaking.
The Festival Co-op (201 Heber Ave.) will house a group of 2015 Festival sponsors who have all sorts of activations planned. Acura will host a race-themed augmented reality photo opp. Recharge and refuel over a free cup of Intelligentsia coffee, enjoy KCRW-hosted music, and grab a Stella Artois during those signature Acura Hours events from 3 p.m.–5 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the first weekend. You can even pose for your close-up with the all-new 2015 TLX.
Use Premiere Clip and share a video telling Adobe the moment you wanted to be a filmmaker. Use #SundanceMoments and Adobe will feature you in their Festival Co-op screens. Try on Blundstone boots, play some festival trivia and possibly win a free pair. In addition, snap a photo of Blundstones out and about at the Festival and upload it to Instagram with #blundstone and #sundance for another chance to win a pair.
Hungry? Do the Taste of Park City at the Chase Sapphire Lounge (573 Main St.) while you pose for costumed photos or have a Smart Chat with film talent. There will also be cooking demos from celebrity chefs. All
from 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Get some free coffee, Chobani yogurt and LUNA bars in the Chobani Café at SundanceTV HQ (268 Main St.), Friday, January 23–Saturday, January 31, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Sit in on lively panel discussions at the Filmmaker Lodge (Elks bldg, 550 Main St., 2nd Floor), daily, Friday, January 23 – Sunday, January 31.
The New Frontier exhibit has a new home at 573 Main Street where the general public can participate in a social and creative space that showcases media installations, multimedia performances, transmedia experiences, panel discussions, and more. you don’t even have to wait in line. Sign up and check-in for same-day only Virtual Reality (VR) experiences and the hosts will buzz you when it’s your time to come back.
Listen to talented live bands, sip hot cocoa and chill at the HP Live Lounge/Sundance house (tent) at the corner of Heber and Main. They’re planning interactive displays, thought-provoking panels and workshops, immersive experiences with HP products, film and technology discussions, as well as a spot to escape the cold.
(Filmmaker speaker series daily from 11 a.m.–noon)
SundanceTV HQ moves back into their location at the tippy top of Main (268 Main St.) where you can warm up, enjoy a snack, listen to afternoon panel conversations with writers, actors, directors, and industry experts, or just meet up before your next screening— the lounge is particularly friendly from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m with live music but you’ll have to watch their twitter feed @sundanceTV to get an invite.
The Utah Film Commission
is in the house with The Living Room (528 Main St.). The hub will have free WiFi, warm coffee, food, daily giveaways, and information about filming in Utah. Open till 4 p. Friday-Thursday.
Many of the public panel discussions are full by now but you never know. Either way, grab a free cup of coffee and warm up at the AirBnB Haus (591 Main St.) daily.
The Blue Jeans Network Lounge (580 Main St.) will also have free coffee, a charging station, and a game or two to fuel the fun.
Finally, there’s a slick new installation that’s not an official Sundance sponsor but it is open to the public. The Merrell TrailScape (625 Main Ave.) brings a 4D virtual reality experience through an interactive Oculus Rift project. It’s the first ever, commercial use of “walk around” VR designed by Oscar award-winning Framestore. Don the goggles and hike to a basecamp in the Dolomites, scramble along treacherous rock ledges and navigate a wood suspension bridge. “We chose Sundance to launch our new Capra hiking boot because the philosophy of the Fest is in line with Merrell’s brand philosophy- adventure, independent thinking and empowering to create your own journey. It’s about encouraging self discovery,” said Jamie Mandor, Merrell’s head of Global Marketing. “As a brand we chose a launch time and place where there was a large group of people from all crossroads of life.”
The adventure does require a little time so sign up on Merrell’s iPad app and they’ll text you when your turn is up.
Many people get the impression that showing up to Sundance without an invitation means you’ll be standing out in the cold. Obviously, that’s just not the case.
If your exclusive goal is to meet filmmakers it’s entirely possible even if you never see a film or get on a VIP party list. For example, you can stand in line for a movie and then hop out when they start entering the theater. You’ll be surprised at whom you get to chat with; ride the shuttle, get a drink at Butchers, Flanagans, O’Shucks, No Name, or Wasatch Brew Pub. I’ve been told that many filmmakers who come to Sundance can’t get into events themselves so they’re taking meetings in public places or hooking up to go skiing. Go ahead; get to know the town, get to know the people, walk Main Street, stop in to the venues and take advantage of the sponsor opportunities. You never know what stories you’ll wind up creating.