ANDREA SEABROOK, host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Andrea Seabrook.
The Sundance Film Festival is wrapping up today. As usual, it was a sprawling affair that brought what appeared to be several armies into the small town of Park City, Utah. There were the studios and filmmakers doing business, the film lovers sampling flicks, and then there were the people selling mountains of stuff that had nothing at all to do with movies.
NPR's Kim Masters had a look around.
KIM MASTERS: The consensus seems to be the movies with the biggest buzz were disappointments and film sales were slow. The trade paper Variety said there was even a bit of a swag backlash with celebrities seeming to avoid the many gifting suites.
(Soundbite of noise)
MASTERS: But that doesn't mean there weren't plenty of marketers vying for attention.
Unidentified Woman #1: Come on by, you get $500 off on Lasik surgery.
Unidentified Woman #2: And in about 4 to 6 weeks, you'll see results longer, thicker, fuller lashes.
Unidentified Woman #3: My invention called Song Pods(ph). Here's the one to hear.
MASTERS: The madness of the scene does not gratify John Cooper who's in charge of selecting the films that will show at Sundance.
Mr. JOHN COOPER (Director of Programming, Sundance Film Festival): It's part of it. Does it always feel good? No. You wish sometimes that you could keep it more pure, but, you know, that's the way the world is now.
(Soundbite of music and crowd noise)
MASTERS: All along the main streets, storefronts have been transformed into places where products are on display, and in many cases being given away.
Ms. KARYN RASA(ph) (Event Producer, Project Greenhouse): So this is Project Greenhouse, and we are all about showcasing the latest in eco design, everything from food to fashion, to travel, decor, transportation, you name it.
MASTERS: That's Karyn Rasa, the event producer for Project Greenhouse. Like many others at Sundance, her event emphasizes environmental correctness. Here, cocktails like pomegranate cosmopolitans and lavender lemon drops are flowing freely. There are swag bags full of eco-friendly bathrobes and candles.
Ms. RAVA: These are organic facials and massages. We have these awesome products that smell fantastic and feel great. Our guests are loving it, being pampered.
MASTERS: Andrew Ruff(ph) is an agent here to sell movies.
Mr. ANDREW RUFF: I never like stopping and getting these things done, but it smells so amazing.
(Soundbite of music)
MASTERS: Late Saturday night, Motorola throws a party in a warehouse a bit off the main drag. David Pinsky is director of entertainment marketing.
Mr. DAVID PINSKY (Director of Entertainment Marketing, Motorola): The relationships that we have with the celebrities in addition to the writers, producers, directors, they sort of act as ambassadors of our brand. When they walk around with our products, it's a way to market your product and brand your product without essentially doing traditional advertising.
MASTERS: The seemingly ubiquitous Paris Hilton drops by. Pinsky says Hilton isn't paid to show up but she doesn't need to be - she gets free merchandise.
Mr. PINSKY: You know, a couple of years ago, when we introduced the pink Razr, we gave it, you know, perfect example, like, Paris and Nicky. They walked around it everywhere with that product. They were photographed with it over and over and over.
(Soundbite of music)
MASTERS: At this point, Main Street is jammed with people. There are parties going on inside many of the shops and gatekeepers with lists are posted outside, trying to keep out the uninvited. The crowd does not include John Sloss(ph). He's one of the most active sellers of film at Sundance with 19 movies on the block. And he says the orgy of swag doesn't even impinge on his consciousness.
Mr. JOHN SLOSS: There are two festivals here. There is the sort of ambush marketing festival that exists on the periphery and then at its core there's the film festival. People who are at the core of this festival as a festival are largely oblivious to the hucksterism.
MASTERS: Apparently, having millions of dollars at stake goes a long way towards focusing the mind.
Kim Masters, NPR News.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.