IMAGINE THROWING A DINNER party for 10 people and 100 show up. That is essentially what has happened to the Sundance Film Festival. Sundance would be a great scene for, say, 10,000 avid filmgoers, but 45,000 now show up, according to official data (I suspect the real numbers are even higher).

To be sure, Sundance is not alone in this problem. All “hot” events seem to get out of control once word slips out. The Golden Globes after-parties have become a mob scene — the only people who get off on them are the fire marshals. All of us have been to excellent little restaurants that have been all but destroyed by one positive review from a food critic (they’re surely the most destructive people in journalism).

At Sundance this year, there were near fistfights over seating at screenings. People were so desperate to get into hot parties that they lined up just to get in line. The narrow streets of Park City resembled the New York subway system at rush hour.

It’s delicious to discover so much interest in indie film, but at what point does it become counterproductive? Even the militantly diffident Robert Redford, who started the whole damn thing, was mulling a possible change of venue. Prowling Sundance, friends told him, was akin to dodging snowboarders on the slopes.

It’s fun to party — providing you didn’t get mauled in the process.

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Way to ‘Hustle,’ John

Filmmakers hog the spotlight at Sundance, but there really should be an annual trophy to the agent or sales rep who executes the shrewdest “sell.” Paradoxically, this year’s award would go not to a sales rep but to a filmmaker. John Singleton is a very savvy guy who “gets” the system. He has directed some cool films, like “Boyz N the Hood,” mentored young actors (Ice Cube) and, at this point in his career, yearns to nurture (that means co-finance) a slate of pictures. That’s because he feels like he has true insight into the mercurial tastes of our pop culture even as Hollywood’s hierarchs are sealed off in their studio cocoons.

When I ran into him at Sundance, the multilingual Singleton (he is fluent in dealspeak as well as urbanspeak) was orchestrating screenings of a new film, “Hustle & Flow,” which he co-financed but did not direct.

The scheme had been expertly choreographed. Every studio chief seemed positioned so that they urgently wanted to see Singleton’s film. Amy Pascal was demanding a print in Los Angeles. Tom Freston was flying in with an entourage to see it in Sundance. Singleton’s soldiers from UTA were at full alert, deal memos at the ready.

The trap was set and the rewards were abundant. The total deal for “Hustle & Flow” totaled $16 million, of which $9 million represented the acquisition price of the picture.

So John Singleton is a happy man. And he herewith gets the First Annual Dauntless Dealmaker Award for Sundance.

I think he’ll be back for more.

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Turner’s always cookin’

The favorite speaker at every media convention is always Ted Turner. That’s because, while most CEOs deliver essentially the same speech wherever they surface, the 66-year-old Turner is, to put it politely, unpredictable.

Though still very rich at 66, the only subject on which the feisty Turner displays equanimity is bison burgers. He owns a chain and likes the way it runs. He doesn’t like much else. He hates giant media companies, even though, by selling CNN to Time Warner, he created one. He compares Fox News to a Nazi propaganda machine.

I once invited Turner to speak at a Variety conference and he devoted most of his speech to describing a recurring dream that he was having. In the dream, he was downing a Big Mac when an assassin suddenly appeared and started firing at him. It was shortly thereafter that he began his bison burger grills.

They’re clearly making Turner happy, even though I worry about those bison.