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by Tifanie Joudeh

Through gifting lounges and star-studded events, several charities were benefited at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

The Main Event Red Carpet Lounge showcased some new eco-friendly products, and offered the opportunity for celebrities to donate some of their precious time and money to Friends of Animals Friends of Animals is a non-profit rescue and rehabilitation organization, which provides care for animals in need throughout the state of Utah and, in emergency situations, other parts of the country.

For the second year, Project Greenhouse (once again sponsored by Lexus) presented the latest in good green living. The project exists to bring awareness to global environmental issues through a lifestyle event showcasing responsible eco-luxury living. Project Greenhouse also offered an exclusive John Legend concert in support of green living. Corrin Arasa, President of E2 Marketing, commented that filmmakers and celebrities at the Sundance Film Festival are socially and environmentally conscious and that it's her mission to influence and change people's lifestyles.

WE ADD UP was featured at the Alive! Expo Green Pavillion.  The mother-daughter team of Judy Pezdir and Jill Palermo said they found "a lot of support for the project and got a lot of stars counted in the global count."  WE ADD UP is a global campaign using organic cotton t-shirts that literally "counts you in" in the fight against global warming. Every shirt is printed by hand with a unique number. Your number represents your place in the sequential global count of all the people who are taking steps to help stop climate change. On the back of each shirt is a word or phrase that describes an action almost anyone can take to reduce their carbon footprint – the contribution their lifestyle makes to greenhouse gases – such as, Unplug, Lights Off, Carpool, Hybrid, Bike, Buy Local, and 18 others. One can choose which action to commit to doing and get "counted in." The slogan is "No one can do everything. Everyone can do something. And, WE ADD UP."

The House of Hype seeks to align itself with important charities and non-profit organizations, as it did at Sundance by working to benefit Amnesty International and Rock the Vote. Amnesty International and Rock the Vote were both on site filming PSAs with talent and filmmakers in an effort to get the word out about the causes that these two organizations represent. Amnesty International partnered with House of Hype to showcase "Protect The Human," its international photographic campaign featuring writers, actors, musicians, comedians, and other artists standing up in support of human rights in a book and photo exhibition commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Rock the Vote uses music, popular culture and new technologies to engage and incite young people to register and vote in every election. They offer young people the tools to identify, learn about, and take action on the issues that affect their lives, and leverage their power in the political process.

The creators of Chefdance call the ten-day event "a celebration of great films, spectacular food, fine wine and special friendships." The exclusive event was established to benefit worthwhile causes by creating the best gourmet restaurant during Sundance. It also serves as a place to relax, have a conversation and make a new friend during dinner. This year, Chefdance founders Kenny Griswold and Mimi Kim supported Keep a Child Alive and its ambassador Alicia Keyes. Keep a Child Alive is an urgent response to the AIDS pandemic ravaging Africa. With more than 28 million dead and 15 million orphaned, the disease continues, wiping out whole societies, threatening economic infrastructure and creating tragic family devastation. This charity provides life-saving medication, support, and orphan care, to keep these children and families alive. Griswold said, "Chefdance is an opportunity to bring people such as friends, celebrities and sponsors together in a social setting to donate their time and resources to help a great charity."

Because of Sundance's notoriety and influence, celebrities and press flock to Park City to attend events during the festival. Many companies come just to promote their products and give nothing back. The events and lounges mentioned above provide charities and worthwhile causes the opportunity to educate and bring awareness to their issues and to hopefully inspire, engage and mobilize people into action.

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