The snow is falling in Park City just in time for Utah's own annual celeb fest, and while the white stuff is grand news for skiers and makes our most famous mountain town look all shimmery and pretty, it might make things a little tough for those of us making the commute up Parleys. Lucky for us, the stars and their entourages just love getting decked out ski town style in puffy North Face jackets and faux fur embellished Sorel boots, which makes trekking up and down Main Street in all this white stuff considerably easier during the festival.
Of course, Sundance isn't really about the stars and the parties. It's about the art, the films and the power of storytelling. And because we love all of that, the editors of Salt Lake magazine will be trolling the streets of Park City to bring you all the inside scoop from the fest. We'll have film reviews, reports from some of the hottest parties, Main Street fashion, behind-the-scenes looks at what it takes to make Sundance happen, and of course, the star report. (In other words, we'll keep our eyes and ears open to the celebrity thing, too.)
Outside the Eccles Theatre (photo by Brandon Joseph Baker).
Here's our (very) quick Sundance primer:
The Sundance Kid himself, Robert Redford, kicks of his regular opening day press conference Thursday (today) at 3 p.m. It's not open to the general public, but we'll have a reporter on hand to cover all the highlights. But, if you want to see the whole thing in all its glory, Sundance will host live streaming video. Live videos through the festival will be shown here, so check back daily for conversations with Redford, Spike Lee, Ice-T, Parker Posey, Julie Deply and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, among others.
Screening kick off on Friday, Jan. 20 in both Park City and in Salt Lake, so check out the Sundance Film Festival website for all the details on what's showing when and where. Tickets will be extremely hard to come by for premieres and initial screenings in Park City, particularly during the opening weekend, so check in with the box office at Trolley Square for details on films showing in SLC. (We'll hit several screenings early on, so check back often for our take on select films.)
If you haven't already plotted out a plan for making the most of Sundance, the festival website provides a ton of info on where to see films, how to buy tickets, parking and shuttle info, plus details on all the films, panels and all the other official details.
Once you're in Park City, Sundance has hundreds of volunteers (just look for the bright orange Kenneth Cole puffer jackets and the "Ask Me" buttoms) out and about to help you navigate the festival. These fest insiders can answer questions about buying tickets, direct you to a restroom or a place to grab a hot cup of coffee and when the next shuttle is set to arrive. Festival planners have also scheduled daily "How to Fest" tours on Main Street. The free, one-hour tours leave each day from the patio of the Sundance House (the Kimball Art Center, 638 Park Ave.) at 10 a.m. from Jan. 20-28 and no registration is required.
The extra bonus: There's an app. A free Sundance Film Festival application, offered on iPhone, iPad and Andriod features the complete film schedule, push notifications with your best bet for getting last-minute tickets, schedule changes, venue and transportation maps and then some.
The scene on Main Street (photo by Fred Hayes).
While many of the A-listers will be tucked away into screening rooms and private parties, there's still going to be a lot of hubbub and excitement on Main Street. Many of the events happening the first weekend are sadly closed to the public (really one of the ONLY times that Utah has a list, as in "you're not on the list"), but if you want to get into the mix--and aren't as concerned about seeing films--wander past the Bing Bar, a three-story party pad housed in the historic former Claim Jumper Hotel. Film premiere parties, press junkets, music performances and speaker series will all be going down there, and an impressive roster or stars like Aziz Ansari, Catherine Zeta Jones, Bruce Willis, Neil Young, Paul Simon, William H. Macy, Kristen Bell and a slew of others are expected to spend some time hanging there.
Other good hangouts include outside the ASCAP Music Cafe on 751 Main St, where the likes of David Gray, Josh Kelley, Ingrid Michaelson, Josh Forte and Natasha Bedingfield will be rocking out daily. Red carpet events, too, are a great place to get in on the action. Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt ("Your Sister's Sister") will do the red carpet business Friday, Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Library Center Theater; while the "Robot and Frank" premiere (starring Frank Langella, James Marsden, Liv Tyler, Peter Sarsgaard and Jeremy Sisto) will be Saturday, Jan. 21 at 3p.m. at the Eccles theatre. NPR's Ira Glas (you know him from "This American Life") and Mike Birbiglia will take their turn on the crimson carpet at Monday's (Jan. 23) "Sleepwalk With Me" premiere, also at Library Center.