5 Top Tips for Sundance
Posted: Sun, 21 Aug 2016 17:33
Melissa Gueneau, Press and Marketing Coordinator at Broadway Cinema
Planning a trip to Sundance? Whether you are a volunteer or just attending the festival, here are five tips to help you have a great first Sundance experience.
1) KNOW YOUR VENUES. Although Sundance and Park City has an excellent free bus network that covers all venues, some theatres are further away than you may think – sometimes, much, much further away. The majority of the festival takes place in Park City itself, but screenings do take place in Salt Lake City and Ogden too, to give the local population a chance to enjoy the festival without having to travel miles in the snow. Watch out in particular for:
Sundance Mountain Resort Screening Room – a luxurious ski resort and spa that sounds like it's nearby but is a good 45 minutes to an hour out of Park City. Although if you find yourself with a bit of spare time, Sundance Resort is a great place to have a nice dinner and a little break from the slight madness of the festival.
Peery's Egyptian Theater – not to be confused with the Egyptian Theatre. Whilst the Egyptian Theatre is at the top of Park City's Main Street and an absolute must visit for a midnight screening, the Peery's Egyptian Theater is all the way in Ogden which is over an hour's drive away from the main festival.
Salt Lake City Library Theatre – which, like the entry above, is not to be confused with the similarly named Library Center Theatre in Park City. Both will be shortened to "The Library" at one point or another but you may want to double check if you're not keen on the 30+ miles that will lead you to Salt Lake City.
2) LAYER UP. Pictures from recent editions of the festival may have looked sunshiny, but do not be fooled: Park City is a mountain town and in the middle of January it will snow. And I don't mean British snow. I mean real mountain snow. The kind that drops 3ft whilst you were watching a two-hour film. The kind that wakes you up with a snow cannon in the morning. And because Park City doesn't just have real snow, but real winter, it also gets cold. And I don't mean British cold. I mean actual mountain cold. Temperatures can drop all the way to -15C overnight and whilst it will somewhat warm up in the day, it will get cold again pretty quickly as soon as the sun goes down. Having said that, all the venues are extremely well heated. So you don't want to end up overdressing and then barely being able to breathe as soon as you walk indoors. The best way to handle this is to layer up – enough so you don't get cold if you have to queue two hours in the snow, but easy to peel off once you get inside where it's nice and cosy. Oh, and from the weather conditions described above, it goes without saying that you need gloves, a hat and some good snow boots. Sundance is the most laid-back film festival there is when it comes to the dress code. They want you to be safe, warm and comfortable.
3) TALK TO EVERYONE. Sundance is an extremely friendly festival and because the town is so small, almost everyone takes the bus or walks. You may end up in a queue in the snow for an hour, sharing a table at El Chubasco with a bunch of people, or wondering if you'll ever make it out of that ride to Temple on a bus sliding on snow and ice – chatting to the person next to you will immeasurably improve your experience. You'll meet great people – perhaps even a festival guest – and you'll exchange super helpful tips on what films to catch next. The Sundance programme is huge and might be a bit overwhelming but word of mouth travels fast. If you hear three different people recommend a same film you hadn't really planned on seeing originally – sign up to that waitlist immediately.
4) DON'T MISS NEW FRONTIER. We all know Sundance as the snowy capital of indie film. The film programme is so dense and so exciting that you will want to watch (almost) everything; all the while knowing that task is pretty much impossible. But since you're not going to be able to watch everything, you might as well allocate some time in your trip to go check out some of the New Frontier programme. New Frontier is a strand that focuses on the nature of storytelling and how technology impacts on the way we tell and experience stories. The strand celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016. The programme is extremely rich and offers a variety of experiences including film, art, live performance, virtual reality, and much, much more. It is an absolute must.
5) HYDRATE. This tip comes last but it is actually the most important one. If I had to only give one tip, that's the one I'd give. Park City is a mountain town. You are at high altitude and air is thin and dry. You will be tired, not running on much sleep or a healthy diet, and you really don't want to get altitude sickness (imagine having the worst hangover possible) to get a hold of you whilst your body is already trying to pretend it's doing okay. Sundance has water fountains in all venues and all over Park City. They are even marked on the festival maps. So grab a reusable bottle – you can get some free ones from Main Street – and drink up.