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Sundance Film Festival fallout, off the screen

Published May 11, 2012 12:42 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Not everything that happens at the Sundance Film Festival stays at the Sundance Film Festival.

For example:

• Gossip sites (here's The New York Post, and here's Monsters & Critics) are reporting that the rapper Drake and the actress Rashida Jones are now "quietly dating" after meeting in Park City during the festival.

Drake hosted a party during the festival, and Jones was promoting "Celeste & Jesse Forever" (pictured above), which she starred in and co-wrote.

• The state of Florida's film commissioner, Shari Kerrigan, is under fire for traveling to the Sundance Film Festival at taxpayer's expense.

According to The Miami Herald, Kerrigan's boss, Doug Darling, the head of the state's Department of Economic Opportunity (don't you just love these bureaucratic names?) turned her down, and "her reaction was unprofessional and abusive to staff,'' Darling wrote in a Jan. 24 memo to Steve MacNamara, chief of staff to Gov. Rick Scott. (After the memo, MacNamara asked Darling to step down from his post that week — ahead of a planned mass resignation of several agency heads at MacNamara's request.)

Kerrigan went anyway, staying three nights at the Zermatt Resort in Midway and running up a bill of $2,713.

Now MacNamara, who was a friend of Kerrigan before she got the job as film commissioner last December, says he OK'd the trip over Darling's objections - and apparently in violation of Gov. Scott's policy that all taxpayer-funded travel be "cost effective" and "have a direct and measurable benefit to getting Floridians back to work."

The Herald reported that agency bosses must report monthly to the governor's office detailing "all completed travel and its benefit to the taxpayers of Florida" — but that no monthly report mentions the Sundance trip.

Kerrigan told the Herald that it is "important for Florida to have representation at prestigious entertainment festivals held around the country."