Sundance Film Festival rivals Cannes as the most important film festival in the world and Park City, Utah in the winter is an unlikely but wonderful host.
Sundance Film Festival turns Park City into the most important town in the movie world for ten days in January. Movie stars, musicians, and fans from around the world mingle at premiers and parties where the next bright stars of Hollywood are discovered.
To enjoy it the most a local Park City guide can be very helpful, let me shed a little light on the inner workings of the Sundance Film Festival.
I encourage friends to come to Park City during the festival, it's the best time of year to ski the resorts because most of the visitors are watching movies, partying or sleeping, but the restaurants are tough to get into and the traffic can be challenging. Be sure to know if your restaurant of choice is serving 'prix fixe' meals and what their reservation policies are. Many restaurants and bars are closed for private parties on some evenings, though access is not always very restricted and the bold may enjoy a truly sublime Sundance experience.
Park City is inundated with ‘people in black' (PIB's) during this time and the ski town mentality and some of the over the top Hollywood stuff makes for truly entertaining situations.
Though the locals appreciate the economics of the festival and therefore like these visitors, it is hard not to smile seeing the PIB's trying to navigate slushy winter streets in completely inappropriate footwear. Everyone prays extra hard for snow during Sundance!
A caveat, if you come to Park City or Deer Valley during the Sundance film festival you will definitely be entertained, but these ten days are not representative of the town the rest of the year. It is a tremendously fun atmosphere, but you have to take it all with a grain of salt.
If you want to see a screening of one of these important films and you do not have a Hollywood connection do what the informed locals do, go to the box office at the Gateway Center and see what tickets get are released or returned for that day. Hang around for a while you may have the opportunity to buy tickets from people who can't use them. Another sure fire tactic is to go to the Eccles Theatre at Park City High school 45 minutes before one of the screenings and get in the stand by line. This almost guarantees you a seat. Try to get in on the first floor to get views of the actors and the players andenjoy the show!