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Sundance 2013: Fashionistas, paparazzi clog Park City Main Street

January 18, 2013|By Chris Lee

Park City, Utah — As the second day of the Sundance Film Festival bloomed Friday across this former silver mining hamlet nestled into the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains, the annual culture clash that pits Hollywood against Park City’s inherent “Old West-iness” came into stark relief.

On the lower part of Main Street, the town’s commercial artery, “Harry Potter” star Daniel Radcliffe -- who is in Utah for the premiere of his Beat Poet murder whodunnit, “Kill Your Darlings” -- was being hustled through a crowd of onlookers by a team of bodyguards. They, in turn, were being pursued by a pack of ravenous paparazzi who seemed to have no issue with shoving aside onlookers (including women, children and your humble correspondent) in pursuit of their quarry.

As Radcliffe’s burly handlers barked out “Step aside!” to anyone within earshot, the diminutive British actor could be heard to meekly comment: “I wouldn’t want any of you guys to slip on the ice.”

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The ambush marketers, pop-up events, gifting lounges, fake tans and media-affiliated photo studios stood out like sore thumbs against Park City’s saloon door architecture, cowboy art galleries and twee Americana.

Over here could be seen a quartet of glamazons, resplendent in gold parkas, trudging up the street to a L’Oreal event. Over there, a trio of skinny fashionistas in gunmetal-blue skiing tights embroidered with hair care king Paul Mitchell’s branding signature. And over yon was a trio of snow bunnies in McDonald’s snuggies in front of the McCafe at the trendy venue Park City Live.

They all had to navigate Main Street’s crowded, narrow sidewalks, competing for purchase against skiers and snowboarders in full cold-weather regalia. These last were heading to the ski lift that chariots winter sports enthusiasts to the top of the slopes right from the base of town, and they seemed not all that concerned with the Hollywood Sturm und Drang.

And if you had been on hand at the intersection of Main Street and Heber Avenue just before noon, you might have observed “Entourage” star (and Sundance Film Fest veteran, courtesy of his directorial debut “Teenage Paparazzo”) Adrien Grenier, his gimlet eyes gazing out above the rolled-down tinted window of a Cadillac Escalade, heavily emblazoned with brand messaging.

One celebrity photographer making the scene (but who would not provide his name) claimed that Friday was the quiet before the perfect celebrity storm on Saturday and Sunday, when Paris Hilton and her electric dance music superstar boyfriend Afrojack are expected to make the scene.

“I’ve been to Sundance five times, and it never gets old,” said documentary director Lucy Walker as she breezed into the Los Angeles Times Photo & Video Studio. The British filmmaker was making her fifth festival appearance with the doc “The Crash Reel,” about pro snowboarder Kevin Pearce’s ascent to the pinnacle of the sport, horrific brain injury and surprise comeback.

Reminded that Parker Posey has premiered more films at Sundance than just about anyone, Walker put on a pouty scowl.

“She’s an actor!” the director exclaimed. “That’s easy. I’m a director. Five times -- you should get some sort of prize.”


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