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BEHIND THE SCENES BRENDA SEXTON

BEHIND THE SCENES BRENDA SEXTON

Many times, the people that work behind the scenes making the scene rarely get recognized for their work. SociaLifeChicago will spotlight the amazing people that make you and your event look great.

For the past six years, the Chicago contingency making their way to the Sundance Film  Festival at Park City, Utah have found a place to connect with other Chicagoans. The main force behind this events continued growth is Brenda Sexton. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Ms. Sexton about the upcoming Windy City West party also known as the Chicago at Sundance party. Ms. Sexton shared what inspired her to begin hosting this event and what to expect this year.

How did the event come about?
When I was at the Illinois Film office, I went to Sundace Film Festival several times. There are a lot of people and even for parties where you have VIP access there is still a good amount of wating and that’s before you actually get into the party. The scene felt unconnected for me so I decided to do something to make a Chicago presence. I wanted to establish a presence for Chicago and a launch pad for people in the film industry to connect. It’s a good way for them to network.

I decided to purchase a 3 bedroom condo close to the theatre, the first year we had about 80-100 people but now in its 6th year it has since grown.

What can guests expect at this years event?
This year we have a larger venue. I think after the third year of having the party at my condo, we outgrew the space and I’ve been lucky enough to have someone open their home to host the party. The home the party was hosted in last year was sold by the owner so we have a new venue. This year the party will be at a deluxe home in Deeer Valley and we will have Chicagoans from L.A, New York and of course Chicago. Fortunately we have a lot of people on the guest list, unfortunately we can’t accomodate more on the guest list.
The Peninsula Hotel was very disappointed they were unable to partner with the event this year but we were lucky enough to have The Radission Blu Aqua Hotel to be a part of the event. They are very excited with the partnership and this will coincide with their upcoming grand opening  partyJanuary 26. Stella Artios will be back again this year and I am using the same caterer I’ve used.

What is the proces of planning the event?
Not much has changed since we began but it wa tricky getting the venue this year. We fortunately secured that in August so everything else from there came together.

Who are some of the Chicagoans that will be there this year?
Linda Yu, Diann Burns, Les Coney, Dr. Warwick Carter, I have a guest who will be bringing a financier from China so thats really exciting.

Columbia College has really embraced the idea of having a Chicago presence at Sundance so they will be back this year. I am really excited about their continued involvement and what it means not only for Chicago in the film industry but the students as well. In addition to my event Saturday, the Midwest Independent Film Festival will host a brunch-Monday on Main St.

Name 3 guests you would love to have at your event?
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Jennifer Hudson and Oprah!

The Chicago at Sundance party will be held Saturday January 21, 2012 at a private residence. It is invite only.

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