Sundance 2016: 17 Things that happened behind the scenes of the film festival

Jan 29, 2016 at 11:29 p.m. ET
Image: Sundance.org

Sundance has achieved a reputation as the most elite film festival in the United States, but we have 17 secret activities you probably won't read about in entertainment news headlines.

1. People walked out of Daniel Radcliffe's film, Swiss Army Man

Swiss Army Man
Image: Blackbird Films

Described as one long fart joke, Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano's new film, Swiss Army Man, reached a new scatological low that many audience members couldn't handle.

More: The genius behind Daniel Radcliffe's 'immature,' fart-filled Swiss Army Man

2. Riley Keogh, granddaughter of Elvis, traveled with her dog

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Another legacy, Riley Keogh, snapped tons of photos with her pup this festival where she appeared in two Sundance projects, the film, Lovesong, and the TV show, The Girlfriend Experience.

3. Birth of a Nation sold for a record price

Birth of a Nation
Image: Fox Searchlight

Amidst the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, this was a smart acquisition for Fox Searchlight to make, though it did cost them a whopping $17 million.

4. Bryce Dallas Howard became an early adopter of virtual reality

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Yes, that's Bryce Dallas Howard behind those massive goggles, and she seems to really be digging her virtual experience.

5. Love & Friendship was the funniest movie at Sundance

Love & Friendship
Image: Amazon Studios

Director Whit Stillman combines his acidic wit to one of Jane Austin's highly under appreciated novellas to make the Sundance audience one happy, chuckling bunch. Love & Friendship stars Kate Beckensale and Chloe Sevigny.

6. Kevin Smith cried during Robert Redford's speech

Yoga Hosers
Image: SModcast Films

On opening day, Sundance creator Robert Redford spoke about his mission to create a community for people who love quirky little films, causing Yoga Hosers director Smith to get all emotional. At the premiere of his film that stars his own daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, and Lily-Rose Depp, Smith said, "All my fortunes, everything that's happened to me in my career are predicated on Robert Redford going, 'I think it would be nice to put something back, to create this type of community.' He went out the door and I was just a mess. In every culture there's a wise man on a mountain and it's [Redford]."

7. Harley Quinn Smith wants to follow in the footsteps of Amy Schumer (and her dad, Kevin Smith)

There were several filmmaker legacies at Sundance this year and Harley Quinn Smith, daughter of Kevin Smith, was one of them. Funny and bright, she admitted to wanted to write and direct as well as act, "I saw Amy Schumer's Trainwreck. That's what I want to do."

8. Lily-Rose Depp clarified that she didn't "come out"

Yoga Hosers
Image: SModcast Films

Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradise's daughter, Lily-Rose, recently said on Instagram that she was "sexually fluid" and apparently, people took that to mean she was a lesbian. She's not, at least for now, but somewhere on the "spectrum."

9. Getting into parties became an art form

Samsung Party
Image: Samsung

For many festival goers, getting a confirmation email that a person was "on the list" for a party didn't mean it was so. Those folks quickly learned to have the confirmation email pulled up on their phone when the overwhelmed person with the list couldn't find their name. There were also reports of people sneaking in through the unlocked side door at the William Morris Endeavor Entertainment party. Some people were even sneaky enough to subtly take a photo of a party's guest list as the door host went through it. After that, they found a name that was on the list and used that name to get into the party.

10. Snowshoeing, not snowboarding, became all the rage

Snowshoes
Image: Raven Garcie/Moose Knuckles

Thanks to stylish winter wear companies like the awesome Moose Knuckles, festival goers took a brief break from sitting in a dark theater to experience some snow and sunshine.

11. iPhone Weather App is trickier than it looks

iPhone weather app
Image: Shanee Edwards

There are five Park Cities listed in the app and everyone we met had downloaded a different one. So the temperatures ranged from 12 degrees to 45 degrees when we all compared phones. Make sure you click on the "Park City Utah" listing to get the right temperature.

12. The right shoes

Snow Shoes
Image: Shanee Edwards

Proper snow boots were in high demand, particularly during the day when the sun came out and the snow melted into a dirty, brown slush. I got the snuggly boots in the above photo at Bahnhof Sports on Main St. Many people, myself included, had to check an extra bag on their flight home to include the extra snow gear.

13. Best coffee at Sundance was at the Airbnb suite

Airbnb
Image: Airbnb

Delicious (and strong) espresso drinks were necessary and luckily free thanks to Airbnb. Though I'm not sure putting a camera on the ceiling for this promo will encourage people to use Airbnb.

14. The festival ran on phone apps

Though there were several apps created specifically for the festival, like the $99 Film Fest Party List, the free Sundance app proved most helpful for navigating the films and getting on the coveted wait lists.

15. Film school parties were the bomb

UCLA Party
Image: Shanee Edwards

UCLA, Tisch School of the Arts and USC all had awesome parties that weren't limited to alums. This was some of the best networking at the festival (Go Bruins!).

16. Most people carried two water bottles

Everyone and their cinematographer were giving away water bottles. Most people got two: one to fill with water and the other to fill with hard liquor for those cold walks between events.

More: Dakota Fanning opens up about attitudes toward women in Hollywood

17. 7-11 was surprisingly good for networking

We're certain that Park City has a grocery store, but it isn't on Main St. where all the activity is taking place. For snacks, everyone relied on the 7-11 at 1500 Park Ave., making for unexpected run-ins.

The Sundance Film Festival 2016 concludes Jan. 31.

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