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Eventually I learned that getting in depends on who you know. And figuring out who to know and how to know them took six years and a lot of work - or maybe I should call it professional schmoozing. Now I can divulge the five levels of Sundance parties, what goes on behind those people with the clipboards and your chances - or not - of getting in.

The official Sundance party

Sponsored by the festival itself.

Examples: Music on Main on Thursday and the Awards Night Party on Saturday.

Who goes: Anyone with a Sundance pass, and sometimes the public - up to hundreds of people.

What's there: Hors d'ouvres, documentary filmmakers, Sundance honchos and live music.

Your chances: Pretty good, especially if you shelled out for a pass or made a Sundance short.

Big industry parties

Usually invitation-only events hosted by well-known organizations.

Examples: The PBS party Friday at the Kimball Art Center, nightly "pool parties" at the Queer Lounge, Washington state film incentives party on Saturday.

Who goes: People who work in the industry, usually looking to network.

What's there: A DJ, free-flowing beer and vodka, people standing outside on Main Street waiting to get checked off the invite list.

Your chances: Not bad - if you work in the industry or know someone who does.

Corporate parties

Smaller affairs, usually 200-300 people, in restaurants and private houses and sponsored by the same companies schmoozing with celebrities by day.

Examples: The Motorola Late-Night Lounge on Saturday, the Welcome to Sundance party at the 5W Sundance Escape Mansion on Thursday.

Who goes: Celebrities, "Entertainment Tonight," execs.

What's there: DJs or bands, lots of liquor but no food (these people don't eat).

Your chances: Unless you are a VIP by the party-thrower's definition, forget it.

Cast parties and dinner parties

The smallest of the parties, often with fewer than 50 people.

Examples: A director, producer and actors fresh from a premiere heading for a hotel suite or private chateau in Deer Valley.

Who goes: People associated with a film, their good friends, celebrities without makeup.

What's there: Quiet dinners, sometimes prepared by private chefs.

Your chances: Close to zero. You won't even hear about them.

Other festivals' parties

Less heavy on celebrities but probably higher on charm.

Examples: Slamdance's Happy Hours throughout the festival, the TromaDance closing party next Saturday.

Who goes: People who disdain the mainstream.

What's there: Music, food, an odd assortment of fans and string-budget filmmakers.

Your chances: Excellent, especially if you have $20 to donate.

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