PARK CITY This is Park City, but there were the red carpet, the lights and lots of expected celebs Saturday night at a party celebrating producer Michael London's three entries in this year's Sundance Film Festival.
Maria Bello, who is not in one of London's productions, arrived to flashbulbs, a microphone pointed at her by "Entertainment Tonight" and a reporter from Glamour magazine wanting to know, for example, who designed the clothes she was wearing.
"Hey, what are my jeans?" Bello asked her perplexed publicist. Incidentally, her film in the festival is called "Yellow Handkerchief." She's also known for her role in "History of Violence."
The bash inside Barclay Butera, where one of the hostesses was wearing a $100,000-plus Parmigiani Swiss watch, had the look and feel of a Hollywood premiere, with the likes of Bello's co-star William Hurt as well as Sienna Miller, Nick Nolte, Sarah Jessica Parker and Dennis Quaid as expected attendees.
But London said he's trying to strike some kind of balance at Sundance that still includes the innocence and blue-collar feel of an independent production.
"It all goes up and it all goes down," London said just before his party.
One of his films, "Smart People," starred a relative unknown named Ellen Page, who London said is now a rising star, acting alongside Parker in the film. The big names in his movies, London said, can help shed light on those working their way into or further up the industry ladder.
"There's certainly enough room for both," he said about the caliber of actors in his movies.
Bello agreed, adding that the flashy parties and premieres are "what we do" to promote movies.
The freebies given to celebs, on the other hand, have a different feel when some of the supposed generous gift givers tell the stars, "No picture, no product," she said. "It feels like you're selling your soul to the devil." For her part, she gives all the swag away to relatives.
While Bello believes Sundance is a lot different from her last appearance in a festival entry five years ago, London noted how the balance may need to swing a little more toward the purity of putting on a festival for independent films.
Then again, the who's who among celebrities are already in his movies, and they're in Park City for the festival so, it's London's approach to say, why not throw a party for them?"It's part of the experience," he said.