Sundance Film Festival welcomes locals

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Once a year in Park City, A-list celebrities visit, independent movies premiere and amidst all the excitement, locals are not forgotten.

The Sundance Film Festival began in Utah in 1978, and has been an important part of the movie industry ever since. Even though it is a large-scale event, the festival organizers have always treated Utahns well. That tradition will continue this winter, when locals are offered free movie screenings, priority registration for the festival and an opportunity to volunteer.

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Park City is open for business.

Priority registration is happening now through Oct. 12. This registration gives locals a time slot to purchase a variety of different ticket packages at an assigned time between Oct. 18 and 21 — days before tickets go on sale to the general public.

Along with priority registration, locals are also given the opportunity to attend free screenings of a film selection months before the festival begins. On Tuesday, Oct. 4, at the Salt Lake City Public Library, and Thursday, Oct. 6, at the Park City Library, the selection, which has not been revealed yet, will be shown. A presentation before the movie begins at 6 p.m., and the movie will begin at 6:30 p.m.

This is the first time the Salt Lake City Public Library has been used for the Sundance Film Festival. Julianne Hancock, the spokesperson for the library, said the library is glad to participate in such an important event. The library is not yet aware of how many or which movies it will show, but she said information should be available in the next few weeks.

“We at the library are really excited to be the newest venue for the Sundance Film Festival,” Hancock said.

Utahns are encouraged to volunteer for the festival, which has come to rely heavily on local participation in every area from parking lot attendants to movie ticket collectors. Last year, there were more than 1,600 volunteers from Utah.

Jacqueline Miller is the associate manager for the Sundance press office. She said the local involvement is an important part of the festival, and the free movie screenings are their way to give back to those affected by the influx of tourists.

“The Sundance Institute feels very lucky and privileged to be able to host their festival in Park City,” Miller said. “They know it’s a huge event and there’s a lot of outside travel, which can sometimes be a little stressful for locals, so that’s their way to give back.”

Even with all the tourists, many BYU students enjoy spending time and seeing movies at the festival. Vashti Musig, a freshman from Sandy studying biology, has gone to the festival for the past six years. The tradition began in middle school when she and her friends decided they should experience it because the festival was so close.  She said she loves the movies, as well as the possibility of seeing celebrities.

“Going to Sundance is one of the highlights of my year,” she said.

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