Park City Stories and Tips

Sundance Film Festival

Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, Sundance Film Festival is the premiere national and international exhibition of new, independent dramatic and documentary films. Sundance is also known as one of the top spots, outside of Hollywood, to lay eyes on a prestigious contingent of mega-stars. This year, Sundance ran from January 15-25. This was my first trip to the Film Festival, and I made the rookie mistake of being there on the last weekend of the event. By then, the superstars are reading about themselves "looking fabulous at Sundance" while in line at the grocery store! Headline: If you’re into Star-Gazing, show up the first weekend.

Here’s the skinny on seeing films: Be prepared to stand in line for a very long time. Ticket packages are sold in advance; however, they are costly, and almost impossible to see enough films to make the package valuable. Single tickets are $10. By the time I arrived, every film was sold out. So, in order to see a film, I "Wait Listed." This is a phenomenon exclusive to Sundance, I’m sure. Lines start forming hours prior to show times. Sundance has overcomplicated the queue. Moviegoers quickly become conversant in a foreign language tailor made for the Wait List process. Persons with "Hard Tickets" enter the theater first. If there are seats available, the Wait List ticket holders follow. Due to over-capacity, many times I waited 2 hours just to have my money refunded at the door. This Wait List experience can become cumbersome, frustrating and cold. The crowd; however, is jubilant and interesting at the very least. These people are crazy about films…filmmaking, film marketing, film watching, film editing…you get the picture. This is certainly no place to hold a Republican Party pep rally, but you can learn a lot about the minutiae of film.

Because you seem to be outside, standing idle in line quite a bit, cold weather clothing is a must. The fashionistas of the world might try to look hip and snowbunny-esque. However, for those of us who don’t enjoy being completely uncomfortable, layered clothes, hats, gloves, and snow boots are essentials. The average temperatures are between 12-33 degrees Fahrenheit. Park City’s average snowfall in January is 30.8 inches. On a sunny day, the afternoon weather is quite pleasant; however, at night, the temperature drops as dramatically as the indie film festival drops from Newsweek’s headlines.

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