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The Independent Film Channel transformed the function rooms of a beachy Santa Monica hotel into a color-splashed, high-tech playground meant to be as edgy as the cable channel for its after-party celebrating Film Independent’s nearby Spirit Awards ceremony on Saturday.
Lauren Burack, IFC’s vice president of promotions and events, teamed up with longstanding collaborator David Stark Design and Production to create IFC’s biggest event all year. (This year’s bash drew nearly 1,000 denizens of the independent film world.) The party’s prominence makes it an important branding opportunity for the channel, which aired the Spirit Awards ceremony live. So the IFC logo was an intricate element in the design of the three downstairs function rooms of Shutters Hotel on the Beach.
Walls lined with colorful illuminated tubing and LED and plasma screens projected visual riffs on the IFC logo and digital images of posters promoting the channel’s original series. Those images combined with an ambient rainbow of constantly changing colors from lighting throughout the space and the illuminated bars and DJ stand, creating a kinetic atmosphere that displayed IFC’s self-referential theme of television in the digital age. Lime green, purple, magenta, and yellow gels highlighted the space, which had been darkened to showcase the blue LED lights.
The channel always likes to include an interactive element in the party, and this year’s entry was an LED screen projecting revelers’ text messages greeting each other and declaring other guests’ hotness. The texting telephone number was announced on cards topping cocktail tables, which also held containers of glow sticks.
IFC stocked bars with such signature drinks as “Indie Ginspiration” (gin, pureed ginger, mint, honey, lime, and soda water), “Red Carpet Special” (whiskey, dry vermouth, bitters, and a cherry garnish), and “Spirit Award” (vodka, lemon juice, mint, simple syrup, and a cucumber-slice garnish). And guests nibbled hors d’oeuvres reminiscent of another, famous electric circus—Times Square. Waitstaff circulated with trays of mini hot dogs, cheeseburgers, pizzas, and lamb gyros, as well as roasted nuts and truffle-flavored popcorn. The grueling economy didn’t slice into the variety of snacks, but the trays were sparser this year.
Still, IFC didn’t scrimp on hiring a celebrity DJ, going with Momjeans, a.k.a. Danny Masterson. A couple of hours and cocktails into the late-afternoon/early-evening party, Momjeans’ tunes had the crowd up and dancing, and they continued until bars shut down promptly at 8 p.m. in another cost-conscious move.