Sundance Kids: Festival 'Play Space' Gives Hollywood Parents a Break

Moms-in-Film is setting up a playhouse for the little ones complete with a book nook, nap spaces, wellness room, costume wardrobe and, yes, a miniature red carpet area so tykes can practice their step-and-repeat.
Denise Truscello/WireImage; Courtesy of MOMS-IN-FILM; ISTOCK

Last year, Moms-in-Film railed against the lack of childcare at the Cannes Film Festival. This year, the industry parenting support group is taking matters into its own hands, literally rolling out the red carpet for kids at the Sundance Film Festival.

While Mom and Dad screen their movies, the little ones can congregate at the Park City Community Church, which Moms-in-Film (with a little help from Amazon Studios and Collab&Play, a L.A.-based workspace that offers childcare) is temporarily turning into the coolest playhouse with free childcare services for the duration of the festival, Jan. 18-28, from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Along with a book nook, nap spaces, a wellness room and a wardrobe of costumes, there will be a miniature red carpet area so tykes can practice their step-and-repeat.

"You're torn between wanting to see films and network and find a distributor and staying home with your kids," says Moms-in-Film co-founder Mathilde Dratwa. (Moms-in-Film is an In-Kind Supporter of the 2018 festival.) "Not everyone can afford to fly in a nanny to Park City."

A roster of five childcare providers will rotate in with at least two on the clock at all times — and they will be paid. "It matters to us that these are not volunteers," Dratwa said. "We value care work and we don't ask people to volunteer their time to watch children."

Added co-founder Christy Lamb: "Sundance is the birthplace of so many filmmakers, a place where they can launch an incredible journey. But not having access to childcare while you do that can put a damper on a career."

The organization may have "Moms" in the name, but Dratwa is quick to point out that they support "parents of all gender identities and caregivers." Fathers, like longtime supporter Ted Hope of Amazon, are "coming on board and supporting these parent-friendly practices."

Lamb said that the Sundance outing could be the first of many to come. "We hope to have services at other festivals and even on set during production at some point," she explained. "We're looking to build those relationships, and we're hopeful for how this can continue to evolve."  

A version of this story first appeared in the Jan. 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.