Unlike previous years at Sundance, when drug use has either been closeted or non-existent, this year's evening parties seem to be bringing out the Ecstasy in record amounts. While Dilated Peoples were one of the featured hip-hop acts in Doug Pray's terrific documentary Scratch, it's the dilated pupils that seem to be more prevalent at parties around the festival. In fact, the Mr. Showbiz team dispatched to the Ron Jeremy documentary premiere party Tuesday was handed a promotional pill for the No Dance feature One Big Trip. Although a man in a green tuxedo claimed that the pills were really just one-a-day vitamins, Salt Lake City's ABC affiliate reported Wednesday night that local law enforcement officers had received one of the pills from a concerned Sundancer. While it may have indeed been a vitamin, police testing revealed that it was coated with LSD. We thought it was candy. Good thing we weren't in the mood for sweets.
The Luck Has Turned Tom DiCillo's early festival premiere, Double Whammy, starring Denis Leary as a down-on-his-luck detective and Elizabeth Hurley as his fetching girlfriend, has gotten a North American distribution deal with Lions Gate Films. The deal, reported to be in the mid-seven figures by IndieWire, is a bit surprising, considering the lukewarm reception the film received last weekend.
After a quiet early week, Miramax finally came to the table Wednesday, plopping down somewhere north of $1 million for Todd Field's debut feature, In the Bedroom. Field — whom you may remember as Tom Cruise's piano-playing buddy in Eyes Wide Shut or as the Joan Osborne-hating fiancé of Anne Heche in Walking and Talking — has crafted an audience favorite with his drama about difficulties among the members of a New England family.
Still buzzing at press time: Waking Life, Business of Strangers, Enigma, L.I.E., and In the Deep. The makers of Raw Deal: A Question of Consent, which we've reported on over the past couple of days, were deep in negotiations with a distributor past midnight Wednesday evening. There's no word yet on the outcome.
Fashion Police We haven't yet figured out whether the female partygoers we're seeing dressed in short skirts and tube tops or in leather pants that ride low and sequined tank tops are from Los Angeles or the party mecca of Salt Lake City. But more than ever before, the party scene is becoming less geared toward sweaters, jeans, and celebrities and more geared toward a night at the Viper Room or the Sky Bar. The celebs who do appear at these parties seem to be dressing climate-appropriate. Not that we're complaining about the revelers, but, um, it's cold here. Damn cold!
Anders Returns to the Scene of the Crime Four-time Sundance vet Allison Anders won thunderous applause after her extremely personal film Things Behind the Sun premiered Wednesday. It starts as an Almost Famous-like tale of self-destructive musician Sherry (Kim Dickens) being profiled by rock journalist Owen (Gabriel Man). Any other similarities to Cameron Crowe's nostalgic rock flick, however, quickly disappear as the film flashes back to Sherry's harrowing rape — an experience that eventually shapes her as a musician but shatters her personal life. After the screening, Anders revealed just how personal the film was: Not only had she also been raped as a teen, but she had also returned to film in the same house (whose address was 7666, scarily enough) where the assault took place. The music-savvy Anders secured the services of Sonic Youth to create Sherry's songs in the film, and one of her band members is played by Dinosaur Jr.'s J. Mascis.
Party Patrol The schmoozing started early Wednesday, as we were beckoned up the mountain to Deer Valley's Stein Erikson Lodge, where Mac Cosmetics joined with Diesel clothing for a celebrity makeover session that turned into a feeding frenzy. While we appreciated the free application of eye cream and moisturizer, we witnessed numerous hangers-on and pseudo-celebrities going mad crazy over the racks and racks of free Diesel clothing. Diesel continued its mass giveaways at an evening soirée co-hosted with Movieline magazine and the William Morris Agency, where young Hollywood assistants and pre-execs mingled with the occasional celebrity. The Warner-Chappel party at Harry O's featured a performance by Semisonic but not the rumored appearance from Radiohead. As in other party situations, the fun was watching those on the outside try to get in; once you were in, you realized that there was no worthy reason to be there other than free alcohol. We ended our night at the 30 Years to Life party, where stars Kadeem Hardison, Allen Payne, Melissa DeSousa, and Erika Alexander danced to recorded hip-hop courtesy of music supervisor Timbaland. The Atom Films party was too crowded early, and by the time we returned at 1:30 a.m., the cops were there turning people back because of an unidentified "problem."