It’s no secret that the Sundance Film Festival has become a bit more mainstream over the past few years. When it comes to the defining moment when celebrities seemed to realize that the festival was more about promotion than it was filmmaking seems to universally be the year that one company was handing out free washing machines. It seems as though celebrities and filmmakers are flocking to South by Southwest in Austin so much because it is a less commercialized alternative to Sundance.
IFC caught up with “See Girl Run” actress Robin Tunney during SXSW, and she admitted that she’s seen a definite change in Sundance over the many years she has attended it.
“I’ve been going to Sundance for so many years, like 15 years, and I think it’s more like what that was when it started before like Paris Hilton came down on it and started getting free washing machines,” she said, going back to the fan-favorite Sundance anecdote. “I was offered a free washing machine at Sundance! They’re like, ‘Will you sit on a washing machine to get a free washing machine?'”
And that’s not the only instance of weird freebies Tunney has had to deal with. “I think there was one time that someone asked me to pose with their cookie and they said they’d give me a cookie,” she said. “You end up with this enormous garbage bag filled with like underpants, like really bizarre promotional things, and there’s really horrible pictures of you on the internet wearing free sunglasses in 1996.”
Bottom line? Sundance has changed, while SXSW is still hitting its stride.
“[Sundance has] become about promotion, and here it just seems like it’s about the movies and it’s not so overrun,” Tunney admitted.