THE BLOG

Sundance: The Gifting That Keeps on Giving

03/27/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Gifting suites are nothing new at Sundance, but for a festival that promised a return to its roots, it sure seems like business as usual.

At six locations across Park City, the industry elite are being kitted out with some of the best swag Hollywood can offer.

While in town for a charity event, Andie MacDowell stopped by the Oakley Learn to Ride House where, in exchange for posing on a snowboard -- she's "a skier, not a snowboarder," she said -- the actress was outfitted with hundreds of dollars in brand new, limited-edition cold-weather gear.

And that's at the low end of the spectrum.

Perhaps sensing that no one would be in its L.A. stores, the boutique retailer Fred Segal Fun opened up a gifting lounge in Park City at Village at The Yard. (If you're a celebrity, why pay retail when your agent can just pay for a plane ticket?) And there's the other gifting lounge by The Lift where Ben Affleck dropped by Saturday afternoon to take his pick of swag from Diesel, Under Armour, and others.

Puma, which offers its guests limited-edition shoelaces, at least asks celebrities to give back to its charity program benefiting Africa.

Later on in the evening, as theaters empty out and Main Street's bars fill up, there are even more freebies on offer: How many bottles of Kenneth Cole cologne can you get at Sundance? Getting in the door of Saturday night's raucously fun Kenneth Cole Vintage Black party guaranteed you one on the way out, and -- as more than a few guests quickly learned -- there was plenty of free-standing product placed around the party to guarantee a few more. It kind of makes you wonder what the party's celeb guests -- including Juliette Lewis, Queen Latifah, Bryan Singer and Miss Universe Dayana Medoza -- got in their gift bags.

One celeb at least acknowledged a larger world outside of Park City full of swag-nots:

"It kind of makes you feel bad when you look at what's going on in Haiti," said Rachel Hunter, in her new Oakley snowgear. "But it's part of the festival. And it's free advertising."

Originally posted at The Hollywood Reporter