Official Presenting Sponsor of the
2018 Sundance Film Festival

Drink Too Much, No Gifts, Kill Yourself

Each year, the film world looks to the Sundance Film Festival selection to reveal the tone of American film for the next year. Why were there so many dark comedies this year? And why so many films with the word American in it? But it is not only the films that are scrutinized – so are the filmgoers. Two reports look to the behaviors of the Sundance film viewer. The local paper Park Record recently measured the drinking habits of Sundance festival goers in “This crowd drinks – a lot”. A local store owner remarks, “It’s that big of a bump-up for Sundance,” he says, calling Sundance the biggest beer-selling week of the year. “There’s a lot of parties, a lot of drinking.” And along with that a rise in alcohol-related arrests. Park Record reports, “A Justice Court clerk says the court usually sees an increase in most alcohol-related offenses during Sundance, including intoxication charges and counts against people accused of refusing to leave a bar when asked.”

But while Sundance visitors are staggering through the streets in an alcoholic daze, they are not wandering into any of the swag boutiques on Main Street. Variety‘s “Sundance Swag Gets Cold Shoulder” reports on the low star wattage in the various gifting outlets that take over during the festival. Variety suggests, “The long writers strike, with many thousands unemployed and suffering back home in Hollywood, may have a lot to do with why celebrities don’t want to be seen partaking in an orgy of luxury freebies this year.”

Lonely security guard for empty gifting boutiques

So what is the result of all this drinking and no free goodies? According to The Hollywod Reporter, “Park City has suicidal tendencies []. Gregg Goldstein reports that “More than 15 entries at this year’s festival have characters contemplating, attempting or actually killing themselves.” Indeed the trend is even more specific. “Comedies with suicide are just a phenomenon this year,” director of programming John Cooper said.” One is left wondering what a drunken, gift-less, suicidal festival says about the times we live in?


Peter Bowen