Sundance Film Festival's Next Generation Filmmaker Series was definitely a highlight of the festival. Below are some highlights from these premieres.
The Next Generation Filmmaker Series premiered "The Sleepwalker." From the film: Christopher Abbott, Brady Corbet, Gitte Witt, Stephanie Ellis, director Mona Fastvold and composer Sondra Lerche were joined by additional celebrity guests Michael Pitt, Rose McGowan, Joshua Leonard, Nick Jarecki and Will Bates. Guests snacked on tempura shrimp and quesadillas and sipped on Patron cocktails and Chambulls. The party extended into the early morning with everyone still there, including Kurt Russell who decided to stay after his dinner and hang out. "The Sleepwalker" premiered in the US Dramatic Competition at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
The Next Generation Fimmaker Series presented "The Battered Bastards of Baseball." The film is said to be one of baseball’s last great, unheralded true stories. In 1973, Hollywood veteran Bing Russell created the only independent baseball team in America at the time, the legendary Portland Mavericks. Bing operated without a Major League affiliation while playing in a city that was considered a wasteland for professional baseball. Skeptics agreed it would never work. But Bing’s Mavericks generated unprecedented success. Directors Maclain Way and Chapman Way were in attendance with with Kurt Russell and Wyatt Russell. Guests were treated to a sit down dinner with pot roast and risotto. They were served Patron cocktails and wine. The Next Generation Fimmaker Series also premiered "Kumiko, The Treasure." Directors David Zellner and Nathan Zellner were in attendance with star Rinko Kikuchi.
"Happy Christmas" was another fun event. From the film: writer/director Joe Swanberg, Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Mark Webber, Kris Williams Swanberg, Jude Swanberg and producer Alicia Van Couvering all walked the red carpet. Additional celebrity guests in attendance included Christopher Abbott, Alex Ross Perry, Jason Ritter, Joshua Leonard, Alison Pill, Vinessa Shaw, and Billy Eichner. Guests sipped on Patron XO Café cocktails and Chambulls and Anna Kendrick and Joe Swanberg started a dance party and got the whole room going until the early morning
Writer/director Ira Sachs, screenwriter Mauricio Zacharias and cast: John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, Marisa Tomei, Darren Burrows, Cheyenne Jackson, Tank Burt and Eric Tabach all gathered to celebrate "Love Is Strange." Guests enjoyed Patron XO Café cocktails and Chambulls and snacked on vegan chicken nuggets and tempura shrimp.
Brooks Brothers sponsored the "The Double" premiere. Guests sipped on Patron XO Café cocktails and Chambulls (champagne and Red Bull), while they mingled with the film's star Jesse Eisenberg and director Richard Ayoade. Other celebs in attendance included Joshua Leonard, Alison Pill, Melanie Lynskey and Jay Duplass. Brooks Brothers and The Next Generation Filmmaker Series also presented "God's Pocket." From the film: writer/director John Slattery, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christina Hendricks, Glenn Fleshler, Eddie McGee, screenwriter Alex Metcalf, producers Sam Bisbee, Jackie Kelman Bisbee, Lance Acord and Mark Kamine were joined by additional celebrity guests Catherine Keener, Geoffrey Arend and filmmaker Isabella Wing-Davey.
On Saturday, January 18, The GREY GOOSE Blue Door lounge occupied its prime location in the center of Main Street for the third year in a row. The evening festivities began with a dinner for the cast of "The Skeleton Twins." Director Craig Johnson, writer Mark Heyman, executive producer Mark Duplass and producer Jacob Pechenik posed for photos and greeted well-wishers, along with the film’s stars Bill Hader, Luke Wilson and model, Boyd Holbrook. Actors Kevin Pollack and Bob Oldenkirk came out to support as did Holbrook’s girlfriend, actress Elizabeth Olsen.
The crowd shifted shortly afterward to welcome the cast of "Wish I Was Here." The Zach Braff directed film starring Kate Hudson has been receiving buzz ever since Braff famously raised more than $3 million dollars to make the film via a Kickstarter campaign. Co-stars Ashley Greene and Joey King made appearances, the latter dancing with friends to a selection of favorite songs hand-picked by Braff, which included Michael Jackson, Regina Spector and Little Dragon. Braff’s Scrubs co-star Donald Faison attended the party and was frequently seen enjoying the Le Melon Mule as was actor Josh Gad, who stars in the film. Actresses Anne Hathaway and Chloe Moretz made unexpected appearances, both chicly attired, yet Park City casual.
On Sunday, Jan. 19 the evening festivities during day 2 at the Grey Goose Blue Door began with the cast party for "Low Down." Director Jeff Preiss was in high spirits as he greeted guests, posed for photos and made his way around the room to chat with film stars Glenn Close, Tim Daly and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea. Regarded as one of the best rock bass players of all time, Flea is also the co-founder of a non-profit music organization for underprivileged children. Glenn Close, sipped on the Grey Goose L'Orange Park City Pianist throughout the evening. She was overheard saying that she was a big fan of the stirrers and even grabbed a few before heading out for the night.
At the second party for "The Voices," Star Ryan Reynolds was kept away with pneumonia, but director Marjane Satrapi and Anna Kendrick made appearances. Kendrick did a little solo dance after her turn on the red carpet before joining friends upstairs for passed hors d'oeuvres and specialty cocktails.
Not long after, the room was suddenly filled with well-wishers hoping to get time with the stars of "Life After Beth." John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Dane DeHaan and Anna Kendrick posed for their photos but soon ascended the stairs for the second floor which was already full of revelers dancing to DJ Spider's mix of new and retro hits. Nearly everyone had a Grey Goose cocktail on hand prompting toasts to celebrate the success of "Life After Beth." Reilly, Shannon and Kendrick were literally jumping up and down, hands in the air along with crowd until the lights flashed on.
On Monday, Jan. 20 the GREY GOOSE Blue Door concluded with what many deemed the best party to date at the Sundance Film Festival, a fitting end to a lineup that featured the most notable talent and talked about films. The evening began with a cast party to celebrate the world premiere for the highly anticipated film, "Song One." Anne Hathaway attended the party with husband/co-producer, Adam Shulman, along with Mary Steenburgen and Johnny Flynn, who has released several studio albums and plays folk-influenced songs of his own composition. Shulman, who stood back as wife Anne made her way through the room greeting guests, took short opportunities to embrace and kiss his wife between press interviews. Hathaway was extremely gracious and quick to smile, despite the many people who wanted a word with the celebrated actress.
The buzz around William H. Macy’s directorial debut in Rudderless had crowds of people standing outside the Blue Door straining to catch a glimpse of the film’s stars, which included Billy Crudup. The group that had seen the film was enthusiastic about the drama and gave high praise for its soundtrack. By the time the blue velvet ropes were parted for the assembled and they entered the lounge, it was already clear that the night’s party would defy expectations set for the standard film after parties that have become commonplace.
Nearly everyone made their way upstairs with "Grey Goose" Le Fizz cocktails in hand and began gathering by the impromptu stage that had been erected at the back of the room, creating a crowd that was several layers deep. William H. Macy took the mike after a brief, glowing introduction and hearty round of applause for the film followed by the introduction of the ‘Rudderless Band’ which was composed of musicians who actually wrote, appeared in the film and were part of the storyline. The opening song titled, “I’m an A*%hole” had the crowd laughing, but soon rocking to the beat. Seeing Macy perform on-stage with the band was an unexpected thrill and the crowd stuck around demanding a second set.