Celebs and swag:
Most of the screenings include Q&As with the writers, directors, and/or stars, so there will be A LOT of industry people around, in addition to big names who come to support the festival and independent film. Jason Reitman and America Ferrara are among the Jurors, so will be keeping an eye out for them.
The "Day One" party is tonight at the Legacy Lounge, from 10p.m. to 1 a.m. This is one of the biggest parties, because it's on opening day and gives all the celebs and filmmakers a chance to meet up at the start of the festival. That party is officially hosted by Sundance.
Throughout the festival there are COUNTLESS parties, usually put on by production companies. I'm hitting up as many as possible. Saturday night I'm going to a party with Part 2 Pictures, the New York company that produced the documentary "The Redemption of General Butt Naked". The title sounds toungue-in-cheek, but it's actually rumored to be very powerful and at times horrific. It explores the "rebirth" of a man formerly known as "General Butt Naked", who trained and exploited children in Liberia, leading them to commit terrible acts. In some industry screenings, viewers had to leave the room because it was too disturbing. It should be a really powerful and controversial film.
For the third year in a row, Timberland is the official footwear and outerwear sponsor of the festival, with Superdy, Burton, and Samsung among other sponsors, so there should be a lot of great swag from them. The "Bing" search engine is hosting a hotspot for celeb meetups and press events—with Oprah rumored to be attending.
Two "buzz" films":
One in particular is a lot lighter fare — A new Miguel Arteta comedy called Cedar Rapids, staring Ed Helms from The Hangover and John C. Reilly. They play insurance salesmen who meet at an annual convention in cedar rapids. You may have already seen previews for it, as trailers have been playing at indie theaters around the country.
There's also a Kevin Smith horror film, which is a new genre for him. The movie is called "Red State", and its villain is a Christian fundamentalist. He's gotten attention for it by refusing to do any press interviews or discussions about it. He's also creating a buzz because he has claimed he is going to auction off the distribution rights at its Sunday night premier.