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Friday, January 21, 2005

Sundance Film Festival overrun by unofficial sponsors

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With enough coke to go around for this weekend’s Sundance Film Festival, event organizers are complaining over the commercialization of the event. While they’re okay with taking dollars from Entertainment Weekly, Volkswagen and Hewlett-Packard, it’s the unofficial sponsors who are really responsible for turning the whole thing into one big marketing deal.

Heineken, Yahoo! and Mercedes-Benz haven’t signed with Sundance, but they’re still renting storefronts and throwing parties to get in on the action. All the third-party influence, says Sundance strategic development director Elizabeth Daly, “creates a very chaotic atmosphere where sometimes the filmmakers and the films — the core of the Sundance Festival — get sidelined because there are so many celebrity-driven parties and there’s so much noise and confusion.” Who you kidding girl, would you rather go to a HP party or one thrown by Heineken? Exactly.

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