I’ve been on thirty-six Southwest flights in the last two years, but last Friday was the first time my luggage has shared overhead bin space with a Louis Vuitton carry-on. It’s just one of the many memorable moments that were part of our trip to Sundance 2010, along with chic outfits, SUVs with tinted windows, flashing paparazzi bulbs, luxury lounges, film premiers, fabulous gifts, delicious food and good friends. And, of course… snow, snow, snow.

We arrived on Friday and after a quick trip by our host’s house, headed out into snow flurries and ankle-deep slush in search of Festival fun. Our first stop was The Village at The Yard (the official Sundance hospitality suite) which was fun though a tiny bit disappointing. Check-in was friendly and there were several interesting sponsors present, but overall the space was cold, damp and a bit dull (despite the free booze and the A-listers flitting in and out). Unless you had an appointment with one of the sponsors or were planning to eat at the T-Mobile cafe, there really wasn’t a reason to linger longer than 10-15 minutes… especially since there was no coat check and a single stall in the ladies bathroom.

We had managed to score an appointment at the legendary Fred Segal Fun gifting boutique, so after some Tastykakes and a beer at the Philly Film Commission Lounge (the coziest spot in the whole Yard) we headed into the inner sanctum. Inside, we had an especially great time with Dillon Rogers and Dockers and also got a warm welcome from Poken, an adorable new ”social business card” that allows you to share networking information with by exchanging a quick ”high four.” I also got a cute new bag from George, Gina and Lucy (which I was pretty excited about, even if they did dig around on the floor to find it for me). Several of the other vendors were a little too Hollywood for our taste, which was good since many seemed to be ”saving” their stuff for major A-listers. The most hilarious snubs were the jacket provider that tried to ”gift” us a lighter with their logo on it and the I Heart Ronson girls that physically blocked me from getting to their clothes. Ah, well. It wouldn’t be a proper gifting suite without the occasional smackdown.

Moving on to the other sponsors, the Nintendo Wii Fit workout studio was pretty quiet, as was the Trident newsstand and Fruit2Day (a new fruit smoothie that was tasty, but hard to know if you should drink or chew). Sephora wasn’t particularly interested in talking to me, but I did have a great visit with Victoria in the Aveeno salon who gave me a giant bag of goodies to review, along with an eco-friendly zip-drive press kit. I also loved the reusable water bottles provided through the Filter For Good partnership between Nalgene and Brita, an attempt to reduce the number of plastic ones usually thrown away at the Festival.

After our adventures at The Yard we headed next door to catch Secrets of the Tribe, a documentary by Jose Padilha investigating ethically questionable studies of the Yanomami Indians in the sixties and seventies. The film was a touch too long, but captivating overall. Interviews with anthropologists and Yanomami were woven together to create a disturbing patchwork of defenses and accusations related to alleged sexual and medical exploitation. For me, it was dark and thought-provoking. My husband was more into the popcorn and fountain Cherry Coke.

After the movie we sloshed home along the snowy sidewalk, with big plans to head back out after dinner for the Gen Art 7 Fresh Faces Party, sponsored by 7 For All Mankind. Instead, we opted for drinks, friends and a cozy fireplace. A few folks in the group went out to the event and said it was a fine time, but that we didn’t miss much other than a long line out in the snow. Up next: Gifting Suite Saturday!

About the Author

Sarah Gupta

Sarah Gupta is a recent medical school graduate and the inventor of the Buff Cuff.

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