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How Does One Space Serve Three Formal Sundance Cast Dinners in One Night? Very Carefully.

How Does One Space Serve Three Formal Sundance Cast Dinners in One Night? Very Carefully.

Despite the overwhelming scale of the Sundance Film Festival, its lifeblood remains much the same as any indie film production: the fuel of barely contained chaos. And within that chaos lies opportunity — in this case, the creation of supper clubs that offer select guests the chance to escape from the frat-boy wilds that can be Park City’s Main Street.

And on one level, it works brilliantly. There’s the Supper Suite, which tonight closes out its two-day food-and-drink program — STK restaurant, Dobel Tequila, Johndrow Vineyards and Flips Audio for the all-important swag element. 

The events themselves are certainly exclusive, and appreciated by the filmmakers; not only do they get a chance to sit down for a couple of hours, they also have a well-heeled dinner that doesn’t hit their marketing budget. Supper Suite’s hosting included Elijah Wood’s “Cooties,” “The One I Love” with Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss, Alex Ross Perry’s “Listen Up Philip” and Ana Lily’s Amirpour’s “A Girl Walks Home Alone” as well as the Creative Coalition’s annual 2014 Spotlight Initiative Awards. 

Then there’s the elder statesman that is Chefdance, which started the fancy-food-at-Sundance trend 11 years ago. They come with their own set of sponsors, of course – El Tesoro Tequila, Suja Juice and United Airlines, along with the Top Chef participants who prepare the meals. 

And with that many moving parts, that’s where the chaos starts all over again.

For Chefdance the roster included 12 films over 5 days, among them “The Guest,” “Happy Christmas,” “Dear White People” and “Jamie Marks is Dead.” 

However, do the math: For both outfits, that’s an average of more than two fancy dinners each night. 

Added to that is at Sundance, there is almost no such thing as an exclusive space. Every storefront on Main Street is in a constant state of recycling: What’s a photo studio by day (say, Canon Craft Services, which also houses Indiewire’s photo studio as well as Indiegogo) becomes a party space by night. 

And with that, I’m wrapping this story: in about an hour, Canon and Indiewire will host a cocktail party that includes Indiewire shooting cinematographer portraits in the Chefdance space next door. The same space, one hour after the party’s over, will host a formal dinner for 250 people comprised of three films’ casts. 

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