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Sundance Film Festival

  1. in other news
    Adrienne Shelly’s Killer Sentenced to 25 Years in PrisonDiego Pillco, the construction worker who killed actress-director Adrienne Shelly in November 2006, pleaded guilty to manslaughter earlier today. He confessed to strangling her while attempting to rob her (he later set up the crime scene to make it look like it was a suicide). Pillco will serve 25 years in prison. Adrienne is survived by her husband, Andrew, and their young daughter, Sophie. Not long after her death, Shelly’s award-winning film Waitress debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. Her next screenplay, Serious Moonlight, is soon to be produced. Related: Shelly Lives [NYM]
  2. gossipmonger
    Philippe Starck Pans the New Royalton LobbyPhilippe Starck doesn’t like the $17.5 million redesign to the Royalton Hotel, which he once designed. Heatherette isn’t having a show this Fashion Week, and Richie Rich may be out for good! Russian model Natalia Vodianova had what may be her last catwalk during the final Valentino show in Paris and plans to take the designer to Moscow for a week and then to Brazil for Carnivale. Contrary to rumors, Puff “Diddy” Daddy says he is not considering changing his name back to Sean Combs. Paris Hilton and Stavros Niarchos hung out at the Beatrice Inn. Michael Richards and a blonde girl ate at a vegan restaurant at Columbus Circle. Cindy Adams claims that the writers’ strike will be over in two weeks and that Mayor Bloomberg is 50-50 about whether to run for president. Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner and boyfriend Matt Nye just had twins via surrogate parent. New York Times writer Alex Kuczynski will have a baby via surrogate mother in April.
  3. intel
    Tom Arnold Doesn’t Have Sex for Money, His Producers Do It for HimTom Arnold can play the game — so well that it’s kind of scary. When we caught up with the former Best Damn Sports Show Period host in Sundance at the Greenhouse, he showed us a Machiavellian side we never knew he possessed. See, back in 2003, news reports wrongfully linked Arnold to a sexual-harassment suit filed by a hairstylist against his colleagues on Fox’s Best Damn Sports Show Period. According to the actor, he asked the network to pay his legal bills, and the female head of human resources told him no. This is where his tale of devious retribution begins. Arnold and his co-workers had a party a few days later and invited the fortysomething HR director. When she arrived, Arnold “sent her a couple drinks,” and then enlisted the help of a young producer on his show, nicknamed “Firepubes.” (“He has red hair,” explained Arnold. “He’s 24.”) “I say, ‘Come here, you gotta do something for me. Keep giving her drinks, and I want you to dance with her,’” the True Lies star explained. “So he goes in, and he’s dancing.” As the night progressed, Arnold told young Firepubes that he was worried for the HR director’s safety. “I need you to drive her home,” he commanded. “And I need you to have sex with her.”
  4. party lines
    Celebrities Skipping Out at SundanceHey, have you noticed how the celebrity supply in New York has been depleted these past few days? (Thankfully, we still have Tom Brady wearing a boot in the West Village.) It’s because all of the actors and directors are at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. But it seems like even in the celebrity fustercluck that is Park City right now, planners still can’t get enough star power to fuel their events. Apparently, Sundance schedules are so jam-packed with appointments, parties, and swag-suite visits that it’s no wonder they don’t make half the events they (well, their publicists) say they will. Of course, some no-shows you can see coming: Robert De Niro and Quentin Tarantino “expected” at a dinner for 50 Cent sponsored by VitaminWater? Um, sure. And we look forward to seeing Paris at the poetry reading.
  5. party lines
    Sundance Report: Paris Hilton Dodges Snowballs, Suffers Hookup AmnesiaParis Hilton is, of course, the living embodiment of everything cinephiles hate about Sundance. She doesn’t even have a movie in the festival, for one: She says she’s promoting her new flick, The Hottie and the Nottie, which one critic friend of ours described as “as close as you can get to straight-to-DVD without being straight-to-DVD.” More likely, though, she’s here to get paid (as the gossip columns claim) to show up at parties, including one thrown this weekend by the folks behind NYC club Stereo, which she fled from in tears before they could get their money’s worth. In a more private moment, she made out with also inexplicably famous Simon Rex at 5WPR’s Escape Mansion, deep in Deer Valley — apparently forgetting, according to a publicist we know, that she’d done the exact same thing at Sundance four years ago, at a Motorola party.
  6. gossipmonger
    George Clooney Thinks Cindy Adams Is Awkwardly NosyGeorge Clooney’s response to a question asking whether he planned on marrying Sarah Lawson: “What kind of question is that to ask in front of her? Let’s just say I’m fine the way I am right now, thank you.” Four Seasons owner Julian Niccolini is selling his own Sauvignon Blanc, available at Dean & DeLuca. After falling ill in Israel (perhaps with dysentery), Maureen Dowd got medical attention from White House doc Richard Tubb and hitched a ride home on Air Force One. Some pro-life bloggers are angry that Vogue did a fashion shoot with a woman who got an abortion 22 weeks into her pregnancy. Diddy is hiring both a personal and an executive assistant. (One responsibility: acting as a “liaison” between the chairman and his family.) Diane Keaton ate at Michael Jordan’s The Steak House in Grand Central Terminal.
  7. gossipmonger
    Underwear Model Hits the FloorA publicist for model Annabel Vartanian claims that the model fainted at a La Perla party because “she wore herself out,” not because she has an eating disorder. Kim Cattrall is donating all the furs she wore in the Sex and the City movie to PETA, which in turn will give them to charity. Cindy Adams is taking credit for breaking Enquirer’s John Edwards–is–having–an–affair story. East Village landmark dive bars Sophie’s and Mona’s are both going up for sale after the holidays. Police commish Ray Kelly says he won’t make a decision about running for mayor until after the presidential scrum plays out. Donald Trump will be David Letterman’s first guest back when he goes live on January 2. Model Selita Ebanks, who may have been dating James Blake, was at a Knicks game with Giants lineman Osi Umenyira.
  8. neighborhood watch
    iPods at Stoop Sale!Bedford-Stuyvesant: Get your cut-rate iPods at Saturday’s Quincy St. stoop sale! [Bed-Stuy Blog] Chelsea: What was that suspicious parcel outside the Hotel Chelsea that prompted cops to cordon off the street yesterday? Sid Vicious’s care package from the beyond? [Blog Chelsea] Little Italy: Judging from the look of this wiseguy as he’s caught cleaning up San Gennaro’s street filth with eco-hostile bleach, the photog may want to contact Witness Protection. [Curbed] Maspeth: New housing here is taking a curious (and, well, tacky) turn for the maritime. [Queens Crap] Midtown: In which two ever-metastasizing juggernauts converge: East 42nd St. will soon house the first bank-Starbucks combo. Talk about caffeine withdrawal. [NYP] West Village: Though a gaggle of protesters are no match for Trump’s ever-rising SoHo spire, they’re pissing all over plans for One Jackson Square at the corner of Eighth and Greenwich. Literally. [Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York] Williamsburg: Demolition has begun at a former cabbage processing plant on Roebling St. that smells notoriously farty. But with an oil field across the street, will workers strike the oozy stuff when they start to dig? [Gowanus Lounge]
  9. the sports section
    As the Mets Swoon, Should Randolph Blame Minaya? As the Mets have staggered toward the regular-season finish line, manager Willie Randolph’s stoic demeanor has been taking a beating: He needs to scream at his players. He needs to kick over the post-game buffet. He needs to get thrown out of a game to incite a rally. He needs to do something, anything, to kick-start some action. But Randolph played for legendarily feisty manager Billy Martin, and he knows better than anyone that those days are long gone. All he (or fans) can do now is try to figure out what’s wrong.
  10. company town
    Bong Hits 4 EveryoneFINANCE • Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein got a nice little birthday present this morning: The firm reported earnings and somehow managed to increase profit, despite the credit crunch, once again blowing analysts’ expectations out of the water. [DealBreaker] • The recent influx of women in private equity has led to a new problem at this week’s big conference at the Waldorf. Suddenly, ladies have to wait in line for the bathroom. [Deal Journal/WSJ] • Fed Chief Ben Bernanke looks more and more like he’s following in Alan Greenspan’s footsteps, but changing economic circumstances may make that not such a great idea. [NYT]
  11. party lines
    Sundance Parties for the Environment, Loudly Mother Earth apparently loves $600 throw pillows. How else to explain the Sundance Channel’s decision to host the after-party for the premiere of the Green, its enviro-friendly programming block, at ABC Carpet & Home, the pricey boho-chic home-furnishing-and- tchotchke emporium? The store proudly touts its recycled, sustainable, and rainforest-friendly headboards, couches, and candles, but, still, the feng shui of the event, held on a second floor already crammed with Nakashima coffee tables and Eames chairs, felt toxic.
  12. cultural capital
    Sundance Report: Mark David Chapman Pic Doesn’t Endear Filmmaker to Beatle-Loving ThrongsWhen filmmaker Jarrett Schaefer took the stage at Park City’s Prospector Theater this morning for a question-and-answer session after a screening of his debut film, Chapter 27, a glimpse into the deranged mind of Mark David Chapman — played by a plumped-up Jared Leto — during his days in New York prior to the murder of John Lennon, there was an obvious thing to ask. Where were you when John Lennon was shot? “I was 1,” he said. “My dad said I was watching football.” The audience laughed. It was the first laughter heard in the last 90 minutes.
  13. gossipmonger
    Norm!Norman Mailer still hates Michiko Kakutani, dislikes Janet Maslin, too, and did an interview with Martha Stewart for her TV show. CNN execs went on a corporate retreat to the Bahamas, and “Page Six,” presumably on behalf of Fox News, mocks them for it. If you complain at Nobu, Drew Nieporent might blacklist you. Peter Cook, Christie Brinkley’s soon-to-be ex-husband, went grocery shopping. (Cindy Adams, meantime, dubs Brinkley Professor Emeritus in How to Handle El Piggo, which she actually means as a compliment.) Retired Ford Models vet Neil Hamil to run Elite Models. There’s a reality show being shopped in which ten virgin men compete to lose it to “a celeb.”
  14. cultural capital
    Sundance Report: Justin Theroux’s Hat Trick Yields Big Weinstein Sale Justin Theroux is running a filmic trifecta at Sundance this year. He steals Zoe Cassavetes’s Broken English out from under Parkey Posey with a dazzling performance as a self-loving L.A. actor (is there another kind?); in David Wain’s Biblical takeoff The Ten, he plays what he calls “Jesus Christ, or something”; and then there’s Dedication, his first directorial effort, a New York–set dark-toned romantic comedy starring Billy Crudup and Mandy Moore, which the Weinstein Co. snapped up for a cool $4 million. We spoke to Theroux the day after Dedication’s premiere and found him sporting a hand-drawn “Brad Pitt 2006” T-shirt and a necklace made of human teeth.
  15. cultural capital
    Sundance Report: ‘Angel-A’ Actress Goes to Park City, Turns on New York Rie Rasmussen, the 31-year-old Danish model, artist, filmmaker, and actress, calls New York home these days, but she’s in Park City this week with Angel-A, the Luc Besson film in which she stars. The story of a Parisian lowlife whose attempted suicide is thwarted by mysterious blonde, played by Rasmussen, Angel-A drew a young and enthusiastic crowd — mostly twentysomething guys — to the Library Center Theatre Tuesday night. After the screening, Besson, creator of fan favorites Nikita and The Professional, entered to cheers; the cheers turned to hoots and whistles when Rasmussen sprinted down the aisle to join him onstage. But the next day, just before last night’s screening, Rasmussen wasn’t exactly returning the love.
  16. cultural capital
    Sundance Report: Columbia Profs Can Be Good-Luck Charms, TooWriter-director Christopher Zalla prepared for a Sundance screening of his New York immigrant drama Padre Nuestro Tuesday afternoon with a lobby pep talk from his Columbia professor. Park City’s Eccles Center, where his Spanish-language film screened, holds more than a thousand people, and the young filmmaker was well aware of the many empty seats and dearth of press photographers. And he had even more reason to be worried: A projection error at a prior screening turned the film’s rich blacks into blurry darkness. Key scenes were hard to see.
  17. cultural capital
    Sundance Report: Bronx ‘Internets Celebrities’ Go to Park City, Discover Swag Think it’s only the rich and beautiful at the Sundance Film Festival? Not entirely. The Bronx-based video artists Dallas Penn and Rafi Kam are there, too, and they’re exploring Park City in a daily series of funny shorts called “Internets Celebrities.” In today’s installment, they discover swag, and the copious amount of it waiting for celebs at the film festival. “Sienna Miller is everywhere,” Penn notes. “She’s a swag hag.” So, too, it seems, are our hosts. Internets Celebrities: Swag [The Daily Reel] Related: Video Reveals Bodega Food Pyramid [Grub Street]
  18. cultural capital
    Sundance Report: An Artist or a Fraud? Either Way, the Movie Sold Binghamton, New York, toddler Marla Olmstead was hailed as an abstract-painting prodigy, then attacked as a fraud, all within six heady months in 2004–2005 — she’d gone from art-world darling to media scandal before her sixth birthday. Within days of Marla’s appearance in the Times, filmmaker Ami Bar-Lev dove into the scrum of TV cameras and gained the family’s trust. But after 60 Minutes’ hidden cameras captured Marla’s father instructing her how to paint, he too began to have doubts about their authenticity and about his own role in the publicity process. His skeptical documentary about Marla and how her story unfolded — My Kid Could Paint That — generated almost as much hype in Park City as its subject did two years ago. It sold in the wee hours of Sunday morning for a reported $1.85 million. We spoke to Bar-Lev in Park City.
  19. gossipmonger
    Obama Dunning Hill’s Dem Donors?Big Dem donors Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and George Soros have all pledged their support to Barack Obama, though Sant Chatwal and Ed Koch — who we’re shocked to learn is still considered a Democrat — are on Hillary’s side. Bill Clinton avoided a flirty blonde at a book party; Hillary called Obama to chat about her White House run. Michael Bloomberg doesn’t think taxpayers should have to pay for the mayor’s living expenses at Gracie Mansion. Shock jocks Opie and Anthony asked Donald Trump to come on their show and discuss the Rosie feud but afterward claimed that he had asked them. Derek Jeter went from Jessica Biel to Gabrielle Union.
  20. cultural capital
    Sundance Report: Superflack Dan Klores Is the Talk of Park City, on the Cheap Dan Klores’s new documentary, Crazy Love, was picked up for distribution little more than an hour after its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival Friday night. It was the festival’s first sale — and the talk of its opening weekend. The fourth docu by the Brooklyn-born PR maven turned filmmaker, Crazy Love revives the 1962 scandal of Burton Pugach, a wealthy Queens attorney who served fourteen years for hiring a man to throw lye in the face of his estranged mistress, Linda Riss, and their marriage after his release from prison. The unlikely love story’s shocks drew audible gasps from the audience, but Klores treats his subjects with empathy and even humor, scoring the movie with stalkerish pop songs like Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’s “I Put a Spell on You.” On the day the sale to Magnolia Pictures was announced, we talked to Klores in the lobby of Park City’s Yarrow Hotel.
  21. cultural capital
    Sundance Report: ‘Waitress’ Has Successful Debut, SadlyAnticipated screenings at the Sundance Film Festival are always special, but Sunday afternoon’s premiere of Waitress was more special than usual. It was the directorial debut of Adrienne Shelly, the veteran indie-film actress who was murdered in November in her Greenwich Village apartment. “This is not a wake,” festival director Geoffrey Gilmore told the capacity crowd at the Eccles Center, more than 1,000 people. “We picked the film before her death, although she did not know it. Needless to say, Adrienne Shelly is not here in person, but she is here in spirit.”
  22. cultural capital
    Sundance Report: The Worst Horror Is When a Thriller Brings LaughsGeorge Ratliff’s Joshua, a thriller about a disintegrating family set amid New York icons from the Dakota to the Brooklyn Museum, came into the Sundance Film Festival as a highly anticipated entry: It’s competing for the Dramatic Competition Jury Prize, and it boasts an impressive pair of leads, Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga, as affluent Central Park West parents dealing with a newborn baby and their son Joshua — newcomer Jacob Kogan — a young prodigy with a sinister streak. But instead things started seeming sinister for the film leading up to its 11:30 p.m. screening at the Park City Library Theater last night.
  23. cultural capital
    How to Check Out Sundance Without Leaving Your Chair Well before the Sundance Film Festival started this year, august critics began bemoaning the lame state of indie film and griping about how Sundance markets movies alongside cell phones, in high-minded essays published on pages (like New York’s) alongside ads for cell phones. But New Yorkers have never been averse to making a buck — which is perhaps why the first three high-profile sales in Park City, where the festival started Thursday, have all been New York films: Grace Is Gone to the Weinsteins, Crazy in Love to Magnolia, and Joshua, reportedly, to Fox Searchlight. (And other local productions like Teeth, Waitress, and Snow Angels are rumored to be close to their own deals.) Of course, you won’t see those films in theaters for months or even years, but you can check out about half of the shorts screening at this year’s festival without having to crinkle your nose at all those evil corporate sponsors on Main Street. They’re being posted online, and today the first batch goes on sale at iTunes for $1.99 each. You’ll be able to download more films every day at the Sundance Website. But are the shorts worth watching?
  24. gossipmonger
    If Wolcott Did It…The owner of former meatpacking S&M club–cum–celeb hangout the Vault is shopping a dishy tell-all. James Wolcott got his hands on the O.J. Simpson book, wrote about it in Vanity Fair. Naomi Campbell is leaving her agency to join IMG. (She was also named ambassador to Rio by the Brazilian city’s mayor.) Being Anna Wintour’s assistant really is as difficult as Emily Blunt made it seem in The Devil Wears Prada.