by Eric Anderson
PARK CITY, Utah (January 22, 2007) — While many Hollywood award shows are now going sans-SWAG (stars can thank the IRS for that one), it’s nice to see the folks at Sundance are still offering up the freebies - and plenty of them.
And while the focus of Sundance is film? the subhead on the marquee is FREE!
Not only will Hollywood’s biggest movie stars be in town to tout their new projects, but hordes of not-as-big celebs are also expected to take part in Sundance’s notorious swag, which is available at various gifting suites around town.
Among the goodies being gobbled up by A-through-D-listers at this year’s winter wonderland were Ugg boots (always a fave!), Dermablend makeup, Netflix packages, spa packages, clothes, jewelry, watches and iPod speaker systems - just to name a few, of course.
Despite IRS intervention (the IRS announced that the expensive gift bags and freebies given to awards presenters, among others, must be reported as income), the Sundance SWAG sensation had gotten so bad that festival founder Robert Redford asked Sundance to take a stance as well.
In hopes of reversing the trend of Park City’s quiet Main Street being transformed into one giant corporate logo each year (companies rent out storefronts to turn them into SWAG suites), the Sundance Institute produced 25,000 buttons for this year’s event, with one simple three-word slogan: Focus On Film.
The buttons are being handed out at the festival, along with cards containing the message “Visibly wearing this button during the 2007 Sundance Film Festival means that:
-?I want to see films that I know I?ll never get to see anywhere else.
-?My idea of ‘celebrity? is the filmmaker who directed my favorite film at the festival.
-?I?m willing to wait in the cold for two hours to see a hot documentary??
But while some are happy to abide by the button, other stars are sworn to the SWAG, especially celebs like Paris Hilton and Tara Reid, who despite not having a film to promote in the last several years have become Sundance regulars.
Then again, some of the best things in life are free.