The Sundance Film Festival is the biggest event on the festival calendar, as well as the Holy Grail of any independent film looking to make its mark on the world. Founded in 1978 by Robert Redford, the Sundance Film Festival is held every year in the picturesque ski resort town of Park City, Utah, nestled in the mountains above Salt Lake City. It attracts a host of visitors and celebrities as it shows off the best in independent cinema from the U.S. and internationally, giving many new directors and actors their first shot at the big-time.
Visiting Park City during the festival season can be extremely thrilling; Park City only has one main street where most of the premieres take place, and a simple walk up and down can feel like strutting on Hollywood Boulevard when the festival is in full swing. If you’re big into cinema, an all-out trip to the Sundance Film Festival must be near the top of your bucket list.
Hop onto BUCKiTDREAM and check out other people’s adventures in Sundance, and then keep your BUCKiTDREAM planner handy as we roll the camera on how to do the world’s number one film festival in style!
Book a Cozy Condo Your first challenge will be finding somewhere to stay. Sundance is incredibly popular, and accommodation is not exactly prolific in the tiny mining town of Park City. As soon as you’ve got your flights booked, you should start hunting down accommodation. Your best bet is one of the many ski lodges situated a short ride out of town (luckily the buses are free); they’re cozy, spacious and provide a great base for your festival festivities. You won’t need to book a car either (and with the weather, we couldn’t recommend it anyway). Sundance runs a free shuttle between all its screening locations, so you’ll never be stuck for a set of wheels!
Make Sure to Plan Ahead Though planning is intrinsic to most trips, you’ll want to put extra effort into your jaunt to Sundance, as queues to nab tickets on the day can extend for hours upon hours – sometimes ending in nothing but bitter disappointment. The schedule for the festival comes out long before the show actually starts, so make sure you keep up-to-date by following Sundance on social media. You can pick out the flicks you most want to see, and secure tickets before the hordes descend. Also, if you can drag yourself out of bed after a hard night of partying, don’t forget about the early morning screenings, some of which commence as early as 8 a.m.; they’ll be far less busy than the later ones.
Keep the Weather in Mind Sure, with celebrities floating down every street, you’re going to want to stay fashionable, but don’t forget that Park City is 7,000 feet in the air, and traditionally a ski resort. The weather is likely to be snowy, and almost certain to be cold. Even if you’re lucky enough to catch a cloudless sky, there’s bound to be a sting in the wind, so do dress appropriately. You won’t need snow boots or ski parkas (unless the weather really gets rough), but just bear in mind what kind of climate you’re heading into.
Try to Talk Your Way Into Parties The Sundance nightlife is legendary, with the sheer amount of parties and events going on every night of the festival coming in at ‘pretty ridiculous’. A lot of these glamorous celebrity parties are guest-list only of course, but that doesn’t mean they’re off limits; half the fun of these things is trying to talk your way through the doormen. A great inside tip is to attach yourself to a celebrity entourage; if you catch one of them strolling down Main Street of an eve, just join their gang and chances are you’ll be ushered through wherever they’re going.
Don’t Forget About the Music Speaking of nightlife; while Sundance is obviously mostly film-orientated, there’s a lot of music and comedy going on in Park City too, with some top bands and acts gracing stages across the tiny town. Don’t get so wrapped up in the film side of things that you forget about the other cultural sidetracks going down during Sundance, all usually within walking distance of Park City’s main drag.
The Slamdance Film Festival, a highly-regarded, truly independent film festival, also takes place during the festivities, and it can be a great place to catch the up-and-coming directors of tomorrow take their first stab at the big time. Christopher Nolan got his first start in Slamdance, so if you’re a true cinephile, don’t forget to check out Slamdance’s roster!
Try to Fit in Some Skiing While You’re There You wouldn’t want to waste a trip to one of the world’s finest ski resorts, would you?
Sundance can be a thrilling experience for film buffs, striking a perfect balance between invigorating cinema, amazing scenery and raucous nightlife. Make sure to tick this one off your bucket list as soon as possible; but if you enjoy it (and you will most certainly enjoy it), no one’s saying you can’t make it a yearly pilgrimage! So what are you waiting for? Start sizing up Sundance right now!