Toasting the Filmmakers

The Sundance Film Festival knows how to throw a party.

Yes, the place is silly with parties—but there’s a certain vibe to the official SFF parties. For one thing, they keep the films—and filmmakers—center stage.

To wit: The Salute to the Filmmakers party was held at the swankiest slopeside venue at Deer Valley Resort—the St. Regis Deer Crest Resort, on the Astor Terrace. You have to ride a funicular to get to the hotel from the entrance drive. It’s elegant, understated, unmistakeable luxury. There’s no better way to send the message that the filmmakers make the festival what it is. Also, they custom-ordered the weather.  It wasn’t a typical January day, no sideways wind, no swirling snow (though we locals would like that), still cold, yet the outdoor venue was nothing short of festive. This was helped along by a welcoming open bar and a buffet of perfectly cooked lamb chops, seared beef with sea salt, and nitrogen-frozen raspberry Grand Marnier ice cream cones.

I ate. I smiled broadly. And then we ran into our friend Shannon Bahrke, an Olympic medalist in freestyle skiing (I’ll tell you the story of the first time I met her another day), founder of Silver Bean Coffee in Salt Lake City, and Ambassador of Skiing at the St. Regis. She was fresh from a trip to Europe, where she cheered on teenaged freestyle skier at the Junior Olympics. And I do mean fresh. “I don’t have jet lag!” she boasted, as we posed for a photo op. “I’m working! I’m skiing! I’m going to the gym! There’s no time, really.”

Shannon Barkhe, Bari Nan Cohen

Maybe the party should have been called Shivering with Filmmakers?

I had every intention of shooting the breeze with filmmakers—but, I have to say, I felt funny interrupting them, as they shared the moment with their families and friends. It’s a special thing to make a film—even more special to have it screened at the Sundance Film Festival. And, really, it felt good just to bask in their glow.

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