Park City Braces for Women's March During Sundance
"These crybabies need to chill out," says a gallery owner of the Chelsea Handler-led event, as other owners welcome the politics and the customers. Says one retailer, "No one is going to complain if there are thousands of people in front of our stores."
With Hollywood heading to Utah for the Sundance Film Festival beginning Jan. 19, thousands are expected to take to the snowy streets of Park City on Jan. 21 for the Women's March on Main, a sister march to the rally taking place in Washington the day after Donald Trump is inaugurated. (Utah went to Trump, but Hillary Clinton won Park City's county.)
A slew of agents, publicists, managers and other organizers (all volunteers) spearheaded the march, which will be led by Chelsea Handler. "The town is embracing this," says Park City activist Cindy Levine, who is handling logistics for the event. "When word got out that I was organizing, a woman immediately offered up her location to help gather people. People are excited for this."
The march will kick off at 9 a.m. at the top of Main St. at the parking lot outside Wasatch Brew Pub at 220 Main. Marchers are encouraged to wear purple, pink or white beanies/hats. After the march down Main St., a rally will be held at the Flagpole Lot at 626 Swede Alley.
The scheduled speakers joining Handler include Aisha Tyler, Connie Britton, Mary McCormack, Dolores Huerta, Peter Bratt, Benjamin Bratt, Laurie David, Jessica Williams, Maria Bello, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, Park Record columnist Teri Orr, Park City Youth Mayor Maya Levine and Muslim Public Affairs Council’s Sue Obeidi.
Zoe Lister-Jones, Sony Pictures Classics' Tom Bernard and An Inconvenient Sequel directors Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk are among those set to march, along with Sundance director John Cooper (the festival has no association with the march).
Sponsors of the march include Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, Justice Party, Summit County Democrats, Equality Now, Alliance For A Better Utah, EMILY’S List, Sentry Financial and Impact Partners Film.
“I feel it is more important now than ever to commit a little personal time even in our busiest moments to be the change we want to see in the world," says WME partner Liesl Copland, who has been very active in organizing the march. “So many amazing women are involved — [Miramax's] Rosanne Korenberg, [producer] Geralyn Dreyfous, [CAA's] Laura Lewis, [Untitled Entertainment manager] Jennifer Levine, [PMK*BNC's] Marian Koltai-Levine to name a few — and on behalf of everyone, we want to make sure our voices could be heard in Washington from Park City. And with the stories at the nexus of Sundance, we also think our community has a lot to offer the world so we hope the proximity to some of the films we will be sharing with the world from Sundance can also shine a light to keep the public on alert to what's important in these politically charged times."
ICM Partners' Jessica Lacy also says she'll be marching, together with her producer-director mother, Susan Lacy, a 2017 Sundance juror. “I made sure none of my films conflicted with the march," Jessica says. “My mom was a big activist in the '70s and really wanted to be in Washington for that march, but she had already committed to Sundance. But there's a way to participate and express one's distaste in our new president by having this march in Sundance. And we'll be there." Adds UTA's Rena Ronson, who will march in Park City: "I don't care if I have to close a deal on the phone while I'm marching. I'll be there."
Not every festival attendee will join the fray. Silence producer Matthew Malek will be at Sundance with competition entry To the Bone, the first film out from his new company, Foxtail Entertainment (co-founded in the fall with Anita Gou), but doesn't plan to join the march. "I don't think we'll be looking to be particularly political there," he says.
Most businesses on Main Street are on board. "This is what America is all about, which is diversity and inclusiveness," says Meagan Nash, a partner and owner of the restaurant Handle (1). “We want to take the opportunity with this platform — with all the press coming from across the country and the world — to make sure we are there supporting this movement."
Adds Maren Mullin, owner of Gallery Mar (3): "Park City is an interesting progressive island in the middle of a somewhat conservative state. I think the march is a wonderful opportunity for people here in Park City to make a statement about their political beliefs."
"From a business perspective, we love it when it is busy. No one is going to complain if there are thousands of people in the street in front of our stores," says Lori Harris, owner of the shoe store Mary Jane's (4).
Colby Larsen, owner of several galleries including Old Towne Gallery (2) on Main Street, was one of the few dissenters: "All this bullshit is a joke," he tells THR. "I'm a big supporter of America and Trump. We are all capitalists; Park City and the film festival wouldn't exist without capitalism. All these crybabies need to chill out and move on."
Jan. 18, 2017, 5:35 p.m.: Updated to include list of scheduled speakers and sponsors.
A version of this story first appeared in the Jan. 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.