The Women’s March on Main hit Park City on a snowy Saturday morning, turning the first weekend of Sundance into a very different kind of must-attend event. Despite the frigid cold weather, turnout was high and the crowd remained energized during the march and hour-long parking lot rally, which spilled out around the surrounding hills and streets.
Despite the slow traffic — packed shuttles and lines of cars stretched down the ski town’s main thoroughfares and out of town as women and men flocked in from Salt Lake City and local environs — the mood was jovial, and at least one shuttle broke out into a chat of “this is what democracy looks like!” before even arriving at the rally.
Marchers included such Sundance Film Festival attendees as Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart, carrying a Planned Parenthood sign and wearing “I’m with Meryl” stickers on her parka, John Legend, and Sundance filmmakers Rory Kennedy (“Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton”), Marianna Palka (“Bitch”), Zoe Lister-Jones (“Band Aid”) and Sundance veteran Laura Dern (“Wilson”).
“As a daughter, as a granddaughter, as a mother, as a citizen, and as an artist,” Dern told IndieWire,” I am thrilled to have the opportunity to stand with these amazing people to say, ‘love not hate will make America great,’ to protect my daughter’s and my family’s rights, and my mom and grandma who fought for those rights. I was sad to not to be in DC, but equally happy to be with this tribe of family members who can all try to say something about humanity for years.”
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“We need to be thinking harder about stories that need to be told and quickly,” Lister-Jones told IndieWire, “in order to reach a larger audience so we can create a dialogue in this country about what’s wrong.”
Thousands of protesters marched down Main Street, including celebrities like organizer-host Chelsea Handler, who led the march and introduced the rally with pal Mary McCormack. Although the event was not sponsored or affiliated with the Sundance Film Festival, executives John Cooper and Keri Putnam also attended. “This isn’t 1917, this is 2017!” said Handler, promoting beleaguered Planned Parenthood, “which is for men as well as women and does more than abortions.”
“It’s a safe place, added McCormack, who quoted Eleanor Roosevelt: “A woman is like a tea bag: you never know how strong it is until you put it in hot water. Who knew we were the new tea party?”
Stomping their feet in the snow, the ralliers cheered a diverse roster of passionate speakers including Maria Bello, who greeted the crowd with a jovial “Hello, all you pussies!” The crowd cheered her mention of Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes speech. “I stand with Meryl and the great Dolores Huerta and anyone brave enough to speak up at this time,” she said. “If someone punches you in the face, punch back harder, with your sense of compassion, and justice, and your words. Punch them back by speaking truth to power. Punch them back harder with your pussy power. Light a match, witches!”
Other speakers included “An Inconvenient Sequel” producer Laurie David, Sundance filmmaker Janicza Bravo (“Lemon”) who movingly begged filmmakers to “be more inclusive,” to make sure that their movies include, invite and reflect the world around them, and filmmaker Kimberly Peirce, who told IndieWire that she wrote her speech in the 10 minutes after she was alerted that she was stepping in for the mayor of Park City.
She thanked Sundance for helping people like her to make films like transgender drama “Boys Don’t Cry,” 17 years ago. “We are still now fighting for those same rights,” she said. “We’ve got to all support each other and speak out when bad things happen. We’ve got to protect all bodies.”
A powerful and sober Jessica Williams (Sundance premiere “The Incredible Jessica James”) roused the crowd with a story about her mother who refused to allow her to settle for being average. “I am my ancestors’ dream,” she said. “They fought for me to stand here in the cold-ass snow in front of a bunch of white people wearing Uggs… We cannot slack. I march for you and I hope and I pray you march for me. We are here on this chilly-ass morning supporting each other.”
The rally ended as the wide-eyed young stars of Amanda Lipitz’ doc Sundance step-dancing documentary “Step” performed to big cheers. The doc will premiere later today at the festival.
Pink and purple “pussyhats” were plentiful, as were signs declaring “Not My President,” “Pussy Power,” “Stop Republicans’ War on Women” and plenty of variations on Hillary Clinton’s former slogan, “I’m With Her.” More charged signs were also in effect, including one that read “It’s Lady Liberty, You Dick” and “Keep Your Tiny Orange Hands Off My Pussy.”
The Park City event rolled on the same day as the long-planned Women’s March on Washington, D.C., which kicked off on Saturday morning at the nation’s capitol. That event’s own Facebook page has over 204,000 users noting their attendance, with an estimated 100,000 locked to attend.
The Women’s March on Main in Park City is one of over 350 sister marches in all 50 states and in 20 countries around the world. Soon after its conclusion hackers hit the Sundance box office, shutting it down temporarily.