Sundance gets personal

Seymour Hoffman sums up the mood of snowy Utah fest

Philip Seymour Hoffman was visibly moved when he was honored Jan. 24 with the Acura Indie Impact Award at Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch party. While accepting the kudo from his longtime collaborator-friend John Ortiz, he also summed up the entire mood of Sundance when he noted the importance of relationships saying, “If it’s personal, it’s independent.”

The films on display were fiercely independent, and the mood was clearly personal — at the screenings, at the press conferences and even at the parties.

Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton, flew in to support his old friend and college roommate Rodrigo Garcia, who helmed “Mother and Child.” At a casual dinner Jan. 25 for the Sony Classics film, Garcia was also greeted by cast members, including Naomi Watts and Samuel L. Jackson.

And on the fest’s Jan. 21 opening night, Catherine Keener showed up to view her pal Spike Jonze’s short film “I’m Here.”

So the fest reunited old friends, and cemented new relationships. A Who’s Who of the indie scene naturally showed up, but so did some newbies to the scene.

Bill Gates showed up at a dinner Jan. 22 for education docu “Waiting for Superman,” in which he’s featured.

Joan Jett played Jan. 23 and again on the premiere night of biopic “The Runaways.”

Environmental visionary Lester Brown flew in to support docu “Climate Refugees,” which preemed at the fest Jan. 23. In a telling twist, the film’s post-party had to be moved because the original venue was snow-blocked.

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