Sundance Film Festival January 24 – February 3, 2019
Each January the quaint mountain hamlet of Park City, Utah sees an explosion in their population with the start of the Sundance Film Festival. Filmmakers, critics, entertainment industry executives, celebrity seekers and movie fans descend upon the city to mingle, party and (fingers crossed) be discovered. What began as a modest festival intended to attract filmmakers to Utah and promote independent film-making, has morphed into a 10-day extravaganza of premieres, screenings, panels, lectures, parties and swag.
Come to Sundance well-rested. There is too much fun to be had during the festival to bother with sleep. As you walk along Park City’s Main Street, the festival’s sponsoring brands have showrooms, stages and pop-up cafés to entertain festival-goers. Take a coffee break and you just might rub elbows with your favorite actor – celebrities and the common folk co-mingle during the two-week long event. Parties are thrown for any and every reason: film premieres, studios, achievements, brands. Amid all the festivities there are, of course, the movies themselves.
- 4,018 feature-length film submissions
- 112 selected to screen at the Sundance Festival
- 33 countries represented by the selected films
- 45 films made by first-time filmmakers
- Less than 3% of films submitted selected
Independent films receive the spotlight during Sundance. The festival gives unknown directors, writers and actors the opportunity to showcase their talents in front of industry decision- makers. To make it into the festival is in itself an achievement. Of the 4,018 feature-length submissions for 2019, only 112 films were selected to screen – that’s less than 3%.
Attendance at the 2018 Sundance Festival reached a record 124,000 attendees, more than a 40% increase from the year before. If you are attending the festival this year plan ahead! How to Fest on the official Sundance website provides vital information for navigating the event. One great tip? Skip renting a car for the festival, as there is no public parking at the festival’s Park City locations. Hire a car service or use the free shuttle that hits every theater and venue for the duration of the festival.
Festival-goers headed to Sundance on private charters can use Salt Lake City International Airport (KSLC). Two full-service fixed base operators (FBOs) are available to serve private flights and make your trip effortless. From the airport, it is a one hour drive to the festival venues in Park City and Sundance Mountain Resort, and only minutes to the venues in Salt Lake City.
Whether it’s the crisp mountain air, the high altitude, the anticipation of discovery or a combination of all three, the excitement during Sundance is palpable. Talent can head to Park City in anonymity and return a star. The festival has helped launch the careers of countless independent filmmakers, such as Quentin Tarantino, Edward Burns and Steven Soderbergh. The films Garden State, Little Miss Sunshine and Napoleon Dynamite are among the break-out indies that grabbed the attention of a wider audience as a result of their success at Sundance. If you want to know which films are worth the trip to the theater, use Sundance as your guide.
So grab your puffy jacket and furry boots and get ready for a marathon of fun and mingling in the mountains!