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Sundance: Inside Saturday's Parties With Steven Spielberg, Zoe Saldana, Harry Styles

Saturday, traditionally Sundance’s busiest day, brought out a diverse array of visitors to the fest, including Mitt Romney, Goldie Hawn and Emile Hirsch.
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The partying started early Saturday. Netflix got things going at 3 p.m. with a cocktail party for documentary Mitt at Robert Redford’s restaurant Zoom. Guests included festival heads John Cooper and Trevor Groth, as well as documentary filmmakers Marina Zenovich, Mark Monroe and Chris Paine. Romney didn’t make an entrance until about 4:30 p.m., just a half-hour before the party’s close. He and his family made a beeline for Zoom’s quiet top floor, where they remained until the bash was over.

An intimate cast-and-crew dinner for Jake Paltrow’s Young Ones was attended by the director’s godfather, Steven Spielberg, who came plus nine and chatted with actor Michael Shannon over dinner. Also at the dinner were castmembers Nicholas Hoult, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Elle Fanning. Later, Paltrow made a short speech thanking his producers, actors and his “hero” Spielberg.

At the Wish I Was Here party, director-actor Zach Braff and his film’s cast were joined by pal Harry Styles (who also walked the red carpet for the film’s Sundance premiere) and musician Alex Ebert (Golden Globe winner for his All Is Lost score). Among the crowd were the film’s Donald Faison and Josh Gad, while fellow castmember Mandy Patinkin had flown back to Los Angeles for the SAG Awards.

At The Skeleton Twins bash, the film’s Luke Wilson, Bill Hader, Boyd Holbrook and exec producer Mark Duplass sipped Grey Goose cocktails. Hader looked relieved to have his first major dramatic role behind him. “People seemed to like it,” the SNL alum said. “I'm glad it's over.” As producer Tom Rothman walked into the party and was queried about which festival films he favored, he shared, with a smile, "I like everything."

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Cold in July’s party at Cisero’s brought out stars Sam Shepard, Don Johnson, Michael C. Hall and Wyatt Russell. Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, who came out to support their son, enjoyed the almost balmy Park City weather, chatting with friends on the venue’s back porch.

At Creative Coalition’s gala, among the honorees was actor Emile Hirsch, who shared, “My mother is an artist, and ever since I was a kid, there was a focus on writing or drawing or sculpting — just being creative. You don’t get into this business to make money, let's just f--king face it.” Also present were fellow honorees Randall Emmett, Richard Kind, Lea Thompson, Cheryl Hines, Robert Kennedy, Rose McGowan, Tim Daly, Evan Handler, Richard Schiff, and Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk.

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Late night, CAA’s big bash at FedEx founder Fred Smith’s sprawling Deer Crest estate drew an industry-heavy crowd, including directors Doug Liman and Morgan Spurlock, Chris and Jamie McGurk, Endgame’s Jim Stern and Doug Hansen, attorneys Alan Wertheimer and Craig Emanuel, distribution honchos Sammy Hadida, Bob Berney and David Dinerstein, Sony’s Nicole Brown, and producers Dean Devlin, Lawrence Bender and Mark Amin. The guests toggled between two floors as SBE hors d’oeuvres were being passed non-stop. Taking in the house’s spectacular view over Deer Valley, revelers roasted marshmallows around a fire pit outside and dipped into a screening room to find an UGG-boot promo showing on a loop. Hostess Molly Smith, a partner-producer at Black Label Media, chatted with director Ondi Timoner and revealed that her family (she’s one of 10 siblings) bought the estate two years ago. “Every room gets used,” she assured. At about 2 a.m. guests started shuttling back down to Park City, though stragglers including festival darling Miles Teller (Whiplash) and Metallica’s Lars Ulrich remained deep in conversation — perhaps swapping drumming techniques. Next stop for many was Amy Sacco’s Bungalow 8 after-hours pop-up on Main Street.

WME, meanwhile, decided not to have an official bash this year, instead hosting an 24/7 lounge in a newly built residence just off Main Street. Clients William H. Macy, Dan Stevens and Whiplash director Damien Chazelle were among those who stopped by for sliders, mac-and-cheese and free-flowing drinks. After midnight, a spontaneous dance party erupted that went on well beyond 2 a.m.

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Among the other happenings around town was the Infinitely Polar Bear party at The Shop, with attendees including the film’s stars Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana, and director Maya Forbes. And just up the street, at a private residence, AFI held an intimate cocktail party for supporters and alumni, including directors Zal Batmanglij and Charlie McDowell, whose The One I Love shows at the fest this year. Batmanglij, who in previous years had his films The East and Sound of My Voice at Sundance, said he was enjoying being film-free this year. “Everyone says it’s better when you have a film in the festival, but I think it’s actually better to be here without.”

Matthew Belloni, Tatiana Siegel, Rebecca Ford and Stacey Wilson contributed to this report.

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