For 33 years, independent film enthusiasts have been traveling to Park City for the Sundance Film Festival. Every year brings new films and experiences for festival-goers. It is no wonder so many people come back each year! However, it can be a daunting task for a Sundance newbie to make decisions about what to bring and how to plan for such an exciting and adventure full week. It can be so confusing to figure out how to navigate in a world full of surprises and wonder. By following a few guidelines, though, the process becomes so much easier. Consider these next ten steps to be your map to the world of Sundance.
1. Consider staying in a condo or renting a home. Hotel rooms sell out exceptionally fast and are known to be costly. Check out Airbnb.com for more information on renting. This option will not only save you a crazy room fee but can save you money by allowing you to cook your own meals! (see tip 3)
Sundance Film Festival Dates: January 19th, 2017 – January 29th, 2017.
2. Use the shuttle buses! Park City has several buses that have special loops to and from movie locations. They are extremely efficient and will save you a lot of time and money. Trying to travel by car in Park City during the festival will cause a lot of frustration due to waiting in traffic. Cab fare will rack up very quickly, costing more than a pretty penny.
3. Pack snacks and plan to make a meal or two. You are bound to get hungry in between hours of movie watching, so pack snacks full of protein. It will keep your energy levels up and curb any hunger so you can enjoy a fantastic film without feeling exhausted or annoyed. You will also want to consider making meals in your condo. Eating out is extremely expensive and is liable to take up time you will want to spend around the town. That being said, if you do choose to eat out, use Yelp to scout out places you might enjoy.
4. Be prepared for any weather. Look at the weather forecast for the dates you plan to be at Sundance. At Sundance 2015, visitors were able to enjoy flip-flops and capris. However, it is extremely likely that it may snow during your stay, as the weather in Park City is typically quite chilly. If the forecast is predicting snowfall, be sure to bring hats, scarves, and gloves to bundle up in so you don’t freeze when waiting to enter a film.
5. Be sure to plan for travel time. This may mean to get to the movies you want to see; you’ll have to get up early in order to arrive on time. When choosing what films to buy tickets for, consider the travel time between destinations. You do not want to be rushing to and from movies or racing against the clock to arrive to a film on time after dinner.
6. Make sure you know how to waitlist for films. You can do this online at http://www.sundance.org/festivals/sundance-film- festival/get-tickets by scrolling down and selecting wait list tickets. You must register your account and select the movie you wish to see. You will then get a wait list number. The waitlist number is not your ticket. You must get to the theatre at least thirty minutes before the showing time in order to try and secure a ticket. Wait list ticket prices are $20 for adults and $10 for children and you must pay with cash.
7. Enjoy the city! Of course, go and see the films, but don’t miss out on all Park City has to offer! During the time you aren’t in line for one of the movies or watching them, walk around and visit the pop-up venues. There are also lots of musical performances and comedy sets to be enjoyed, as well.
8. When you are enjoying the city, make sure you are drinking plenty of water. More precisely, make sure you are drinking more water than you are alcoholic beverages. Due to high altitudes and the natural dryness of Park City, your body is not going to handle alcohol the way that it normally does. Park City is 7,000 feet above sea level, and oxygen is less prevalent at such heights. Since alcohol affects the oxygen content in your blood, the effects of drinking are magnified- even if you are drinking the same amount you are used to consuming. Enjoy the night, enjoy all there is to be had, but be cautious, do not overestimate yourself, and stay hydrated with good ‘ole H2O.
9. Mix up your movie choices. Don’t just go with films in genres that you typically view. Use Sundance as an opportunity to expose yourself to art forms you do not normally have the chance to see. It is easy to play it safe and only see what is familiar, but what fun is that? Explore. Choose at least one movie in a genre that you have not heard of or seen a film in before. If you’re feeling daring, you could even choose a movie from each genre of films being shown.
10. Don’t get upset when things don’t quite go as planned. Embrace the wait lines by making new friends. Chat with the volunteers. Be friendly to the locals. Break out of your shell and try new things. To quote Queen Susan from C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, “Let us go on and take the adventure that shall fall to us.” Take Sundance Film Festival 2017 by the hand and enjoy every moment- even if the moment is not exactly what you were planning on. By doing this, you will make Sundance an experience you will remember and cherish forever.
Written by: Ginny Blake