Film Scouts Diaries

1998 Sundance Film Festival Diaries
A Mission to Utah #4 (January 17)

by Richard Schwartz

PARK CITY, Jan. 17 - At the sight of lightning around mid-afternoon, the Park City ski lifts shut down and the crowds descended onto historic Main Street. So did the celebrities.

Even with increased crowds (including an 8 percent rise this year) and a greater media presence, Sundance still affords an opportunity for a casual chat or friendly contact between the paying customers and the motion picture talent. Or at least some good people watching.

There's "Good Will Hunting" maven Ben Affleck confirming all the tabloid rumors as he nuzzles his new squeeze, Gwyneth Paltrow.

And over there, white-mopped talk show pioneer Phil Donahue, in town to support wife Marlo Thomas, appearing in "The Real Blonde."

Hey, it's "Misadventures of Margaret" co-star Brooke Shields - sans Andre - checking out a noontime screening.

Matthew Modine, a former high school pitcher, demonstrating his snowball-throwing prowess and then blaming his inaccuracy on a shoulder injury suffered on the set of "Cutthroat Island."

Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the prodigies behind "South Park" and "Orgazmo," hitting the town in style.

Even Robert Redford, the elusive Bob himself, catching a quick bite with some friends at his restaurant Zoom.

Pardon the gossip column mongering, but they're all here. All of them, that is, except the Hollywood execs, most of whom don't hit town until the latter half of the festivals when the distribution derby commences. This feeding frenzy has been dubbed "The Attack of the Killer 'B's" for all the studio bosses who purchase second-weekend "B" festival passes. For now, however, the only moguls that can be found in Park City are covered in thick powder on the slopes.

Let's just pray they reopen the lifts tomorrow morning.

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