By Anna Sekula Posted October 28, 2008, 4:28 PM EDT
NEW YORK A slate of Hollywood stars came out for the Sundance Institute's 27th annual gala last night. As in years past, the nonprofit brought artists and alumni like Jane Fonda, Alec Baldwin, Christine Lahti, and Chevy Chase to a fund-raiser hosted by president and founder Robert Redford. This year, the institute's director of development, Emily Laskin, enlisted Overland Entertainment to mix rustic elements of Park City with some urban components of New York and create an intimate setting for the 400-person dinner at the Roseland Ballroom.
Designing a warm and cozy environment reminiscent of the resort town inside the expansive concert and event venue was a logistical challenge that Overland sought to overcome by separating the cocktail and auction area from the dinner space. Using wooden flats to enclose the dinner tables and stage, the production and design crew placed vignettes of items up for bid and a lounge around the perimeter. To evoke familiar scenes from Utah, the venue was furnished with props such as library shelves, leather couches, neon signs, director's chairs, weathered wooden cabinets, and pots of succulents.
The event's production, which Overland creative director Paula Longendyke described as involving “a lot of forklifts, genies, and late nights,” featured landscape photos of Utah, printed onto large pieces of canvas and placed on the temporary walls surrounding the dining room. The team also recreated the institute's porch and a Park City ski shop to give the auction vignettes more of an experiential feel. The Owl Bar—a popular filmmaker hangout inside the Sundance Resort—served as the inspiration for the cocktail lounge, which was filled with Navajo rugs, comfy leather furniture, and wooden book shelves.
In addition to a guest list of actors and entertainment luminaries from Norman Lear to Ira Glass, the Sundance Institute also reached out to chef Tom Colicchio to create the menu and celebrities like Hope Davis, Judah Friedlander, and Michael Imperioli to act as waiters for the night. Following dinner, the nonprofit hosted an after-party with alum John Cameron Mitchell serving as DJ.
The funds raised from the event will support the organization and its development programs for independent film and theater artists.