Sundance Resort Rehearsal Hall, photo courtesy of Sundance Resort.

It’s easy to pin Park City as the birthplace of the Sundance Film Festival, as the ski town has shared the stage with Hollywood icons since 1985. But it wouldn’t be accurate to say Park City was the actual source of inspiration for this independent film showcase. It just happened to be a more viable and accessible location to host a growing festival than the small alcove of Sundance, Utah. 

It all started in 1969, when Robert Redford acquired a small ski area and surrounding land in the shadows of Provo Canyon’s Mount Timpanogos. Rather than taking advice from financial investors to transform the scenic parcel with luxurious hotels and homes, Redford envisioned a more rustic retreat, focused on environmental conservation and artistic experimentation. Thus with a creative haven to call his own, Sundance Resort was born, and the refuge soon became the pillar for additional artistic innovations and ventures within the Sundance collective.

Of Redford’s family of creative endeavors, perhaps most recognizable is the Sundance Institute, a non-profit “dedicated to the discovery and development of independent artists and audiences.” It’s the organization responsible for the rise of filmmakers during the marquee festival every January, but its more humble—perhaps more authentic—roots will always be at Sundance Resort.

While the bulk of films will be premiering in Park City during the Film Festival, Sundance Resort will serve as an intimate venue for the seriously creative minded. A total of 38 films will premier at the on-site Sundance Screening Room—a 150-person venue built in 1987 to showcase the latest work of the Sundance Institute Lab students, and once hosted people like Quentin Tarantino and Wes Anderson early on in their directing careers. (The cozy venue continues to function as a screening room for aspiring directors who participate in the “artist-in-residency” film programs.)


Sundance Screening Room, photo courtesy of Sundance Resort.

But this enticing resort is more than just a “venue.” One visit to this secluded canyon, roughly an hours’ drive from Park City, and it’s hard to resist the lure of landscape—and the creative community it cultivates. You’ll see it appear in the stark rock face of Mount Timpanogos, you’ll find it in the soft snow on a set of skis, or perhaps you’ll find it at one of the art studios, which offer year-round pottery and glass workshops to the public.

It’s true that inspiration comes in many forms, but for Robert Redford and his following of filmmakers and fans, the inspiration will perpetually flow at Sundance Resort.

Visit the Sundance Resort website for additional information, Sundance Film Festival screening times or details on event and lodging packages.