For one week out of the year, Utah experiences a Hollywood-induced culture shock. For 10 days, Park City is flooded with actors, directors and hundreds of movies. Many people go to catch a glimpse of someone famous and skiers love this time of year because the slopes are empty.
Each year the Sundance Film Festival selects 200 documentary, dramatic and short films. The town is filled with live music, discussion panels and celebrity parties.
Many people know about the Sundance Film Festival but have never attended and would not know where to begin if they did. Luckily there are some simple steps to make the trip a success.
How to buy tickets
Tickets may be purchased online at sundance.org/festival. There are three options: festival passes, ticket package and individual tickets. The festival pass gives you options to see all screenings — just show up 30 minutes before the show and be in your seats 15 minutes before — and available passes range from $2,000 to $2,500. Ticket packages come with a set number of tickets and two festival credentials, and all ticket packages for this year’s festival are sold out. Individual tickets are the leftovers from the packages and can be purchased for $15, and these have not yet sold out. For these options you must register between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and you will be randomly assigned a time slot to purchase tickets.
Hundreds of people fly into the Salt Lake airport at this time and there are shuttles set up from the airport and Salt Lake to Park City, but for locals it is simpler. Driving from Provo to Park City takes about 50 minutes. There are also several parking lots around the theatres where a $15 fee is charged to park. These parking areas are within walking distance of the theatres. A map with specific instructions of shuttled parking lots can be found at sundance.org/festival/map.
What to wear
Although Utah has hit a dry spell it is important to remember it is cold, and even colder in Park City. Plan on wearing warm clothes: boots, coats, gloves and sweaters. There will be movie stars, directors and screenwriters walking around so it is a good idea to bring a couple of nice outfits for gala events or for attending the clubs.
Celebrities will be all about the town — going from premieres to interviews and parties all day long. The best place to spot them is on Main Street, so hanging out there is popular; also follow the paparazzi — they don’t usually spend time taking pictures of non-celebrities. You could also hit the slopes; Utah is known for its skiing and celebrities like to take part in that too. The final thing you can do is attend panel meetings, even if it is just to see them enter the movie and leave.
There are many places to eat and drink in Park City. Main Street is filled with all sorts of different cuisines. Don’t be afraid to try new options and branch out. Although food is important, there are several fast food restaurants and markets around if you are trying to eat cheaply. Restaurant guides are available online for all price ranges by googling “Park City restaurant guide.”
Follow these suggestions and your Sundance Film Festival will be more than a success and definitely turn into a journal-worthy experience. Remember to just have fun and soak in the atmosphere.