Robert Redford's Sundance Partners Sued for Breach of Contract

Sundance Park City Main St at Night - H 2013
Getty Images

Sundance Park City Main St at Night - H 2013

Those traveling to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, might want to stop off at the Zoom Restaurant -- the subject of a lawsuit that was filed on Monday.

The lawsuit comes from the Hype Creative Agency, which says it has been doing Sundance festival events for the past five years, has worked with such clients as Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Motorola, and AT&T, and takes credit for bringing Microsoft's Bill Gates to the festival in 2011.

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Hype says it had a deal with Sundance Partners, and that as part of the deal, it got to use Zoom as an event space and put in its marketing materials the phrase, "Zoom Restaurant, A Sundance Restaurant owned by Robert Redford."

But using a picture of Redford, who founded the Sundance Film Festival, has caused some troubles. Sundance Partners terminated its contract as a result, and now Hype is suing for significantly harming its marketing business.

Hype alleges in a complaint filed in Salt Lake County court that in September, 2011, it entered into an agreement to use the Zoom restaurant during the 2012 festival, with options to use the space again in 2013 and 2014.

As part of the agreement, Hype says it got "Redford's interest in Zoom as part of Hype Creative's promotional materials."

Gaining one of the choice party locations appeared to be a boom for the company. Hype says it had reservations for about a dozen clients and estimated that over the next three years, it would rake in $500,000 in profits.

But then it posted "a small image" of Redford in its promotional materials, supposedly "among two-dozen other celebrity images."

Hype says that Sundance used the appearance of the image "as a pretext to attempt to renegotiate the Agreement and impose significantly more unfavorable terms on Hype Creative," allegedly wanting to restrict use of Zoom only to 2012 and limit their signage and branding.

Hype was left out in the cold of Park City, Utah, saying there was no alternative space available and that Zoom was "unique and irreplaceable."

The loss of the party space is said to have caused Hype's clients to "look elsewhere for promotional services" and that as a result, the company "lost opportunities to present events at the Coachella Music Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Grammy Awards and other locations."

Hype is now suing for breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing and interference with contractual relations. The marketing company is now seeking $1.5 million in lost profits.

A representative of Sundance Partners couldn't immediately be reached.

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