Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher, photo courtesy of Glen Wilson
For those without much experience, here's a quick rundown of what you should know before you hit the Sundance Film Festival.
Find your films
All of the Sundance Film Festival movies are conveniently featured on the festival’s website. Click here to browse the film guide. Nearly every film has showings outside of Park City, so remember, you don’t have to brave Parley’s if you don’t want to. As for what to pick—you could check out IMDB’s list of what they expect to be the best bets of 2013 or base your decision on one of our reviews (we'll be posting them throughout the fest), but, while you should take the critics’ advise to a degree, it’s best to go with your gut.
It could end up being horrible, but it could also be an underrated gem.
How to get there/getting around
Most of the action of the is in Park City. From SLC, most people take I-80 East to the Kimball Junction exit, turn right and drive until they are in the heart of Park City. Another option, for those looking for a back way in, is to take I-80 E to the Heber/Vernal Exit 146 and then take Exit 4 toward Park City, turning right onto Kearns Blvd.
Once you’re in town, parking can get pretty pricey. But just because a $20 lot is really close to Main Street, it might be worth it to park in the $10 lot and catch the shuttle, which will take you anywhere you need to be… eventually.
Click here for more on the shuttle and getting around.
Where to get tickets
It’s too late to get a locals-only deal or ticket package, so we’ll just skip past those and mention the individual tickets you can purchase here. One movie ticket is $15. You can order your tickets online up until 36 hours before show time. But don’t make the mistake of thinking there’s a print out option for online tickets. You’ll have to pick up your ticket no more than two hours before screening at a box office. Early morning tickets can be picked up the day before.
Or you can just drop by a box office and buy your tickets there. If it’s the day of the show, you won’t have any other choice. All day-of-show tickets must be purchased in person.
Locations: 136 Heber Ave., Park City; Trolley Square, SLC; Sundance Resort, Provo Canyon; 2415 Washington Blvd., Ogden. Click here for box office hours and more info.
If you’re reading the online film guide and it says “waitlist” next to the screening you want to see, that means you should go directly to the theater in hopes of purchasing your tickets last minute. Make sure you arrive at least two hours ahead of time to be given a number. This will determine the place you’ll be in line 30 minutes before the screening. After that, the remaining tickets will be sold in sequential order.
How to dress
Go for a hooded coat, since it could snow. Tall waterproof walking boots, like Sorels, are a good investment as well. Bring fingerless gloves and have the notes app on your phone ready. You’ll need your fingers to take down directions to theaters or the show times for the movies you want to see.
Besides the movies
Sundance offers a ton more fun. For instance, you can drop by the ASCAP Music Café to see some live music or check out the New Frontier media installations in Park City. If you’re kicking it in SLC, make sure you drop by the Beehive Tea Room starting Friday, Jan. 18 for live music.
In Park City, explore Main Street and see what else is going on before or after your movie, because you never know what you’ll get to do or who you might see. In addition to exploring on foot, browse the festival’s website for activities.
Sure, Sundance draws the large crowds and the biggest celebs, but that also makes it easy to lose focus on what matters most—the films. So if you find yourself needing a break from the glam, don’t forget about Utah’s other film festivals with a little less mainstream attention.
Here are three other film fests to check out:
Slamdance, Jan. 18–24, Park City
A group of filmmakers not accepted into Sundance decided to take on Redford’s fest at its own game and created their own festival, which has been going strong for nearly two decades. Today, Slamdance is also a year-round organization dedicated to advancing emerging filmmakers.
Banff Film Festival World Tour, Utah showings in February and March
The Banff Centre, seated in the heart of Alberta’s Rockies, is on a mission to inspire creativity throughout the world through ideas and art, and the Banff Mountain Film Festival has helped achieve this goal for the past 36 years. For nearly to decades, the inspiration has hit a global scale with the festival’s world tour.
LDS Film Festival, Jan. 23–26, Orem
The LDS Film Festival doesn’t cater only to Mormon audiences. Instead, it features family-friendly entries by local filmmakers.
Best of luck
This year's festival runs Jan. 17 through 27.