When people talk about the Sundance Film Festival, the annual showcase for independent movies, they first discuss the prize-winners and which films will break out to reach a wide audience. After that, they get to the swag: discussing the products given to attending celebrities in the hopes they will be smitten by their gift (and be photographed with it by the media).
The days when starlets took home thousands of dollars of freebies are gone but the reality of doing business in a celebrity-obsessed culture still attracted lots of brands to the festival in Park City, Utah, which finishes on Sunday.
The luxury lounges are set up by companies not affiliated with the festival and are used by the brands as showrooms of sorts. The numerous gifting suites, along with a seemingly endless parade of marquee names packed into a small mountain town, create a kind of kids-in-a-sweetshop atmosphere. “I cannot believe how much product is thrown at you here,” says actress Sonja Kinski, daughter of Nastassja Kinski.
Michael Hejtmanek, president of camera maker Hasselblad, says: “Sundance brings together a broad spectrum of artists, influencers and people who appreciate the arts.” His company took part in Resort West’s House of Luxury event in the Ski Dream Home, a mansion on sale for $22m. The event was probably the most over-the-top of all the luxury lounges, with products from Sony, Rolls-Royce, and haircare brand Tigi, not to mention a luxury handbag from Porsche worth $1,800 (pictured).
In other lounges, Italian shoe brand Carlo Pazolini was giving away ballerina shoes, and hippie chic label Johnny Was handed out bracelets and clothes. Rudsak, the Canadian outdoor designers, secured actress Jessica Biel as a client. “It is worth the trek here to gauge the trends and tastes and meet people face to face,” says Rudsak founder Evik Asatoorian, who is conducting a Facebook campaign to see how fans respond to actors wearing their designs.
Brands pay anything from $1,500 to $40,000 to take part in a lounge but Kari Feinstein, organiser of the Sundance Style Lounge, which attracted Emma Stone, William H Macy and Mary J Blige among others, says: “For the amount it would cost to pay one celebrity to advertise, brands can come and connect to a much wider audience.”
List of Select Sundance Brands
Eco Hideaway Lounge
At this gifting lounge, the brands listed below (and more) were giving away everything from goodie bags filled with skincare product, in the case of Phytomer and Moroccanoil; to discount certificates and lamps from David Trubridge; blankets and scarves at Minky Couture; boot wraps at Hugrz; and scarves at Michael Foster etc. The spa at the Stein Erikson lodge was giving beauty treatments on site, including oxygen facials and foot and hand massages.
Spa Treatments: Stein Eriksen Lodge
Skincare line: Phytomer
Cork couture accessories collection: BX of Napa
Lamps: David Trubridge Lighting
Pop Up Fashion: Farasha Luxury Pop Up Store
Bedding: Minky Couture
Beauty Products: Moroccanoil
Boot Wraps: Hugrz Boot Wraps
Kari Feinstein Style Lounge
At this gifting lounge, celebs and visitors walked away with everything from new iPads and iPhones to trips to the Caribbean, and a selection of product from the brands listed below. More brands were on offer than listed here.
Bikes: Polaris Electric Bicycles
Apps: iFanCam Network
Skicare: Neydharting Moor Skin & Body Care
IPad Cases: BuiltNY
Make Up: Amazing Cosmetics
Fortress of Inca Gifting Suite
At this gifting lounge, guests walked away with a selection of boots, T-shorts, watches, hats and more from the labels listed below. Several more were on offer.
Shoes: Fortress of Inca
T-Shirts: Monkey Biznuts
Make Up: Mosha Katani
Miami Sundance Lounge
At the Miami Lounge with its party-like atmosphere located off of the main drag on Main Street brands gifted items from their line up. Udis hand delivered boxes of goodies to condos around Park City; Rudsak gifted celebs winter coats; Carlo Pazolini gifted ballerina shoes and took orders for its latest collections and Johnny was handed clothing from its latest collections and bracelets.
Clothing: Johnny Was
Food: Udi’s Gluten Free
Shoes: Carlo Pazolini
Resorts West House of Luxury
More of a showcase than a gifting lounge, here Korean food was served by Kristabelli New York and Tigi threw its hair care line at visitors, but for the most part, the new Lunar camera from Hasselblad and other products on display were being previewed rather than gifted.
Restaurant: Kristalbelli New York
Private Planes: Magellan Jets
Ski Goggles: Zeal Optics
Home Electronics: Sony
Innovation Gallery – Offical Festival Showcase of Outdoor Products:
Outdoor Wear: Adidas Outdoor