PARK CITY 2001: Swagdance 2001
by Peter Byck
(indieWIRE/01.28.01) -- "It's the year of swag. It's really come into it's own. The films are secondary." -- Slamdance programmer Alex Nohe.
Swag: the film festival gifts that turn the receiver into a year-round billboard
for the giver, and the enviable focus of festival-goers who missed out. There are two types of swag: items that promote a film [masturbation flick "The Trouble With Lou" is doling out hand cream for the lonely or impatient] and the gifts that promote a company [Sobe beverage company giving out its new Red Bull competitor, Adrenaline Rush].
The first item thrust upon me: a gray acrylic ski hat and a pen light from The Screen Actors Guild -- given at Gate 53, LAX.
Past Sundance swag highlights have included a cap from producer Gill Holland's "The Hurricane," M.A.C. make-up from "The Eyes of Tammy Faye," and stacks of CD's from countless Zomba music parties. The Sundance Swag award for last year went to Microcast for providing a retro style clock, small, solid and green. This year, Microcast is gone, the clock remains.
Here in Park City, swag abounds. "Schwag" as well. Schwag is stolen
swag. "I thought schwag was Jewish swag," said Mark Rabinowitz, indieWIRE co-founder and festival bon vivant. Wrong. "Schwag" occurs when regular swag rises to the level of an irresistible must-have item. The Holy Grail this year is the $1,300 Hugo Boss full-length, puffy, glow-in-the-dark winter coat. For those not lucky enough to make it to the Hugo Boss party, definitely a "schwag" item.
The early offerings this year included a chocolate cell phone from P.R. masters Dominion 3 and a chocolate thumb from Slamdance entry "Black Days." "Waking Life" [it's like "The Matrix" without the kung-fu or the robots] had a swell coloring book, replete with the Crayola primary colors, plus green. "Roof to Roof" gave out Nazook Armenian cookies (?) --they look tasty. Awesome doc "Chain Camera" donated disposable cameras (15 exposures). And the Sci-Fi Channel series "Exposure" had the best tripped-out, space-inducing flipbooks I've ever seen. I also got a Coach CD case from '80's teeny bopper Tiffany and her Happy Place pals (she's back and looking a lot like Barbra Streisand). Dog tags were offered from inspiring short "Offside," there were Zomba Music long-sleeved T-shirts and CD's from "Morning" and "Sangue Vivo," and sequined bandanas from China Moon rags, endorsed by Vivica, y'all. Condoms came from "Jack the Dog," with explicit directions for the uninitiated. And just in case you thought Sundance was a warm weather haunt, Skyy Cinema (Vodka) passed out 100 acrylic scarves and coats. Keep those lighters away.
Now here is where it gets really crazy. Diesel and M.A.C. put together a house to give their wares to celebs, VIP's and wayward journalists. This type of "give-away" attracts the highly impressionable Sundance herd; the mob that forms outside hard-to-get-into parties and oversold screenings. This herd gives no warning, there is no dust cloud on the horizon, no thundering stampede felt underfoot. But by the time I got to the Diesel/M.A.C. house, full boxes of clothing had been stolen, samples were cleared off of racks, make-up artists' personal supplies were pillaged. Not to worry, at the Diesel/William Morris Agency party that night I was able to secure a great swag bag containing an insanely warm Diesel down vest, Diesel shoulder bag, a M.A.C. make-up bag with powder and lip stuff, Diesel Sightline shades and a Diesel mobile phone shoulder strap.
Another amazing locus of swag was the Motorola House, with corporate guests Reebok, Ray Ban and Ben & Jerry's. I got swagged in a major way and I'm not quite sure why. I'm certainly thankful, but confused all the same. Here goes: 1) Motorola TalkAbout walkie-talkies - T6310 - 2 mile range/FM radio/Weather Channel (yes, I got two of them). 2) Reebok Trailzilla 2 DMX shoes, in a Sundance-only Silver -- I felt like I was walking on airbubbles. 3) Ray Bans: good to get a new pair. 4) Reebok Sundance-only orange turtleneck (moisture wicking, hydro-remove technology). 5) Ben and Jerry's Concession Obsession -- lots of bits of movie candy in vanilla ice cream. 6) Reebok ski cap and 7) a TV Guide mini t-shirt.
My Wish List: from exuberant flick "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," I would like a wig, a real wig, not the festive styrofoam one they gave out at their concert (but thanks for the 3 song CD). From the sharp, well-crafted "Go Tigers!," tickets to Homecoming, although their mini-footballs were cool.
Best Film Swag: "Dogtown and Z-Boys" [a great sixty minute film in a ninety minute body]. I couldn't actually get into their party (an all-to-typical Sundance occurence, you have to get there early) but I was able to secure a wicked pocket and zipper-laden Vans back pack, a baseball cap and a pair of Columbia Records mittens. What I couldn't get my hands on were the Vans sneakers and the Dogtown pull-over.
And the winner of the "They Really Make That?" award, for the gingivitis
crowd, "Some Body" offers the Tongue Cleaner