Updated: Jan 17
I'm from Utah, I love Utah, and Sundance is my favorite festival! I know my way around the mountains and love film. It's an incredible reason to bring people together and the storytelling/humanity spirit is strong. There's an eclectic mix of premieres, drama, documentary, shorts, horror, experimental and something for everyone. Here's How To experience the Sundance Film Festival in the changing landscape of COVID and 2021.
This year, the biggest Sundance Film Festival changes are that it's shorter, virtual screenings are available, and satellite screenings will also take place at over 20 theaters and drive-thrus throughout the USA. This year's festival will take place January 28th – February 3rd, 2021. Tickets and passes go on sale January 7th.
I like to get a nice palette of tickets. One premiere at the Egyptian. One screening at Sundance resort. One or two documentaries, and all the shorts I can stand. I love the shorts program because you get to see 3-6 films in one sitting. Short form storytelling is about all my 2021 adhd brain can handle.
What I love most about Sundance is the vision. The imagination. The creativity and being able to hear firsthand from the director and key creators about the process. I love the Q&A panels after the movies, and I love the after parties. My favorite after party takes place Friday night inside the New Frontier. If you're lucky, you'll have an invite to the Variety, Hollywood Reporter, or any movie premiere party.
Tickets can be purchased here.
All the celebrity sitings happen on Main St. or at the Q&A Panel after their movie premiere. For more high profile stars, they're typically at the first premiere and that's it. If anything is going down, it will be on Main St. Park City with a mask on. A nice, alt. way to enjoy Sundance is from the comfort of your own home. You can get tickets and livestream it from where-ever and whatever screen you want!
The New Frontier is my favorite exhibit at Sundance. It's new, interactive, technology, art. Creative storytelling pushing boundaries. Projects exhibited here include the Oculus Rift, 1979 by Ink Stories and an immerse virutal reality experience of a refugee camp by Unicef.
The Co-Op is a fun place to warm up and engage in unique brand experiences. There’s a station where you can get a free Sundance water bottle and fill up (they do a good job of reducing one-time waste here). There’s always a fun photo opportunity, and brands giving practical things in exchange for an e-mail or fun shoutout on social media.
The filmmakers lodge is a nice place to warm up, listen to panels (if you have credentials or if they're open to the public) and spend time in the same room with inspirational storytellers. Jackie framing Chan is here!! Take a look at the panel schedule here.
For the underground film lovers, you'll love the Slamdance film festival.
Slamdance sprang like a knee-jerk reaction to Sundance's (humble independent beginnings turned) star studded premieres. Slamdance claims they are what Sundance was: Pure storytelling untainted by the drive of profit. They maintain a strong independent spirit giving more daring, diverse, and experimental storytellers a spotlight. Slamdance Film Festival has traditionally been hosted in the Treasure Mountain Inn on Main St. in Park City, but is moving to a virtual festival this year. Passes are only $10. Acquire a Slamdance Festival Pass HERE.
Main St. Park City is the heart of the action. Every major screening, celebrity, and studio presence in walking Main St. Otherwise, Park City is a medium-sized America City with $1,000,000+ condos and homes in a ski town. There are hotels, airbnb, and Vrbo. If you plan to book, book early, or call a friend. On average, hotels off Main St. cost $300-600/night during Sundance. Sometimes, $1-2K.
Driving is the safest, warmest, and best way to get to Park City. The closest parking lost is off Main St. or along the road leading up to it. Be conscious of neighborhood signs. Parking lots near Main St. cost $40. There's free street parking way far away.
It's kinda pointless I said anything, but you'll find it if it's meant to be.
When you're in Park City, there are free shuttles busses that shuttle people from venue to venue. There's also a free trolley that loops Main St. Utah's public transportation UTA Route 902 has a bus from SLC - PC on the hour between 5am-8am and night buses one the hour from PC - SLC 2:40pm - 7pm. $5-10.
There's no greater feeling than riding down a mountain. It's heaven. Utah is known for "the greatest snow on earth" and if you come here, you ought to take life to the highest heights! I know people who can guide you. You can buy a pass through Ski Utah. Park City has a lift right off Main St. that will take you straight to the slopes!
I think for now that's all you need to know about Sundance. If you plan on going, holla at your girl. I'll be up there double masked and down to ski. If you found this article helpful, like/share it, and follow @ValDouroux on Instagram and YouTube.