It's Sundance Time

Posted by Linda on January 21, 2011

Sundance (sundance_film_festival_2008_logo_image)It’s Sundance time here in Park City. Thousands of celebrities, filmmakers and fans descend on our small ski town for one of the world’s most prestigious film festivals. For the next ten days - January 20-30 - winding your way through town will be almost as challenging as navigating through the snow in a pair of stilettos ... a common, and comical, site during the Festival.

If you love film just as much as you love skiing, this is your week to visit Park City. While the streets and theaters are usually packed and buzzing, the slopes are a great and uncrowded escape.

There are lots of ways to enjoy Sundance and skiing like a local. As an 11-year festivalgoer, here are a few insider tips to help you enjoy your visit ....

The Tickets

Sadly, most advance tickets are sold out, but getting into the screening of your choice is not impossible. Every morning beginning at 8am, a limited number of same day screening tickets ($15/ea) are available at the Park City box office located at 136 Heber Avenue in Old Town. Grab a latte and get there early. Fans line up for tickets before the box office opens.

The wait-list line is another option and great for the spontaneous filmgoer, or lazy local like me who didn’t plan ahead or score a coveted local’s pass. Two hours before the screening of your choice, head to the venue and grab a wait-list number, which are handed out on a first-come, first-served basis. Once you have a number, you can leave and explore Main Street, grab another latte, or stay and socialize with the other wait-listers. Thirty minutes before showtime, fans line up in order and tickets are distributed on a space available basis. Tickets are $15 (cash only.) (Tip: the bigger the venue, the better your chances of getting in with wait-list tickets).

The Buzz

Sundance is the launching pad for some of the finest in independent film. What makes Sundance special is seeing a film here months before it makes its way to the local megaplex. This year, try to catch some of the most buzzed about screenings including The Future from writer and performance artist Miranda July (also known for her 2005 Me and You and Everyone We Know); the documentary Being Elmo about the man behind Sesame Street mainstay; Becoming Chaz, a documentary following the metamorphosis of Chastity to Chaz Bono (child of Sonny & Cher); and Homework, a romantic feature about the friendship between a high school slacker (Freddie Highmore - 2005‘s Charlie & the Chocolate Factory) and the popular girl (Emma Roberts - 2010’s Valentine’s Day).

The Stars

Celebrity Spotting at Sundance (picturewithconversions)Clear the photo file on your iPhone. There will be plenty of opportunities to snap photos of your favorite celebrities. Some of the best stargazing spots include anywhere on Main Street - just look for the tell-tale sign of a small crowd gathered along the sidewalk and a celebrity can usually be spotted as the center of attention.Waiting for a star’s arrival outside the venue at their screening is another option, but you’ll have to elbow the other patiently waiting paparazzi to get your Facebook post worthy photo.

(Speaking of photos, check out the great shot fellow Snowmama Katja Presnal snapped of Adrian Grenier last year when she joined me for the screening of his documentary Teenage Paparazzo) This year, be on the lookout again for Adrain, along with James Franco, Rob Lowe, Tobey Maguire, Demi Moore, and festival founder Robert Redford.

The Nightlife

Planning to grab a quick bite at your favorite Park City restaurant? Think again. Most of the Main Street mainstays are booked solid with reservations and private parties. Your best option is to head off the beaten path to some casual local favorites like Windy Ridge Cafe, El Chubasco and Good Karma.

When the sun goes down, Sundance continues to shine with concerts and parties (mostly private) throughout the ten day Festival. HarryO’s, The Spur, Downstairs, and the Star Bar will host a variety of musicians. Check out for a concert line up and available tickets.

The Resources

New this year, the Festival has created a handy mobile app that will tell you everything from what’s screening where to when the next free shuttle arrives. And the Festival’s website is always a reliable and informative go-to for the latest festival updates

Park City’s local media outlets are also a great source for catching up on film buzz, newly added screenings, interviews with filmmakers and celebrities, and much more. Tune in to KPCW-FM 91.9, log on or pick up a copy of the Park Record, and check out the daily live Sundance programming on Park City Television.

I’ll be seeing you in the wait-list line and on the chairlift at Park City Mountain Resort.

Happy Festival!


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