Photo by Jill Orschel
Nate von Zumwalt
While the Sundance Film Festival is all for self-exploration, pushing boundaries, and taking the untrodden path, sometimes a little guidance can go a long way. From last minute ticket advice to must-see panels and musical performances, this Festival 101 crash course will guarantee you don’t miss a thing.
When you’ve made it to Park City, you’re ready to zip up your fleece, watch some films, sample some restaurants, and get the whole show going. What better way to find out what’s happening than from your phone? Back for 2011, and now available for Android phones in addition to the iPhone, get on-the-go Festival information with our Sundance Film Festival Mobile App featuring the complete 2011 film schedule, venue and transportation mapping, exclusive videos, and more.
New for this year’s Festival is Gowalla, a location-based service app for Apple iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, or Palm, that lets you share your Festival experience, discover new places, and uncover prizes. During the Festival, our @sundancefest Twitter feed carries tweets from specially invited Tweetniks. For diehard Festivalgoers, @sundancefestnow supplies everything 24/7 from TBA film alerts to Park City street buzz. And of course, check Sundance.org while on the ground for daily live streams and to catch all the stories going on around you.
The cheapest, greenest, and most convenient way to get around Park City is taking the FREE shuttle buses or walking, so please leave your cars at home! There is no free parking at any of the Festival venues and the traffic can be enough to ruin your festive mood.
Ditch the stress and use the shuttle, which operates daily from 6:10 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. The buses go everywhere from Deer Valley to Main Street to Kimball Junction and stop frequently at every Festival theatre and venue. If you like traveling on foot, use one of the lighted pedestrian paths throughout Park City to get to your destination. Check out our interactive Festival map on our website to plan your routes around town.
If you feel that you must drive, parking will cost between $10-20 per entry (cash only). The best park and ride options are The Yard Park and Ride, located on Kearns Blvd, and the China Bridge Parking Structure, located one block east of Main Street on Swede Alley. Both lots have nearby shuttle stops. Note that overnight parking is not permitted throughout Park City and parking illegally will result in towing.
If you like traveling east coast style, there are a good number of taxis waiting to take you to your next destination in Park City. Make sure you get a good cab driver’s number if you’re planning on staying out late because you’ll be battling other night owls for a ride. Keep it safe by ensuring that the cab you take has a Park City permit sticker on the left-hand corner of the rear window. Some taxis might try to charge you more than their standard rate, so be sure to ask for a schedule of fees before you accept a ride. All permitted taxis are required to have a rate sheet.
If you managed to get Advance Tickets, but did not request express delivery, you can pick up your tickets at any of the four Festival box offices during business hours. If you have questions about pre-purchased tickets, packages, or passes, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (435) 776-7878 Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (MT). You cannot pick up your tickets at theatres. See below for Box Office locations.
Couldn’t decide which movies you wanted to watch until now? It’s okay. Here are four ways you can get tickets.
1. Day-of-Show: Each day starting at 8 a.m., the Festival releases a limited number of tickets to that day’s screenings at the Park City and Salt Lake City box offices to you early birds. Tickets for the first screening of the day are released at 8 a.m. the day before the screening takes place. You must purchase Day-of-Show Tickets in person.
2. Waitlist It: Waitlist numbers are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis two hours before every screening begins. (You get one number per person). For the first screening of the day, things are a little different. Waitlist numbers will be distributed one hour before the scheduled screening time. After you have received a number, return no later than 30 minutes before the scheduled screening time. Line up according to your waitlist number and purchase cash-only tickets. You cannot save places in line. Having a waitlist number does not guarantee you tickets, but don’t worry. Thousands of Festivalgoers see films every year without Advance Tickets. If no spaces are available, ticketed Waitlist Festivalgoers will receive a full refund.
3. Go for the Big Ones: Your chances of getting into a film without advance tickets are best at the largest theaters: the Eccles and the Library. Also, check for additional screenings at the Redstone at Kimball Junction, just a short drive out of Park City.
4. Take a Road Trip: If there is a specific film that you just have to watch, you can try catching it at one of the Festivals’ non-Park City venues in Salt Lake City or the Sundance Resort.
Music and Panels
No disrespect to silent films, but often music plays a huge role in filmmaking. BMI will be hosting events at the Sundance House Presented by HP including a Roundtable Discussion and BMI Snowball concert. Whether you want an in-depth discussion on the technicalities of award-winning scores, or just want to enjoy some live music and cocktails, these events will add color to your evenings. All Festival Credential Holders are welcome and based on space availability.
A Celebration of Music in Film takes place Sunday, January 23 at 8:00 p.m.
- Roundtable Discussion: Meet the Documentary Funders takes place Tuesday, January 25 at 10:00 a.m.
- Roundtable Discussion: Music and Film, The Creative Process takes place Wednesday, January 26 at 11:00 a.m.
- Music Showcase: BMI Snowball takes place Wednesday, January 26 at 8:00 p.m.
Sundance ASCAP Music Café
The Sundance ASCAP Music Café is the spot to discover a wide range of bands and artists, both emerging and established. Live performances will take place at the café, which is located on Main Street at the Stanfield Gallery. With the diverse lineup, there will be something for all musical ears to enjoy.
- This year’s showcase will feature live performances from Guster, K’naan, Julia Fordham and Paul Reiser, and St. Vincent, to name a few.
- The Music Café is open January 21 to 28 from 1:30 – 6:00 p.m.
- Open to all Festival Credential Holders and the general public, attendees must be 21 and over. Be sure to get there on time because of limited capacity.
Here’s your chance to interact with some of the most brilliant minds of the Festival. Special Panels offer you the opportunity to engage in debate, critical insight, and in-depth conversation about the always-evolving art world.
Panel: Power of Story: Making Art Matter, Presented by Time Warner and Sundance Institute
If we are facing a crisis of creativity, what investment should we be making in arts education for children? We’ve asked a diverse group of advocates to share their vision for energizing the arts and humanities in America.
Panel: Power of Story: The Big Idea, Presented by Time Warner and Sundance Institute
In gathering a writer, editor, director, and composer together, we hope to peer behind the curtain of creativity and see the way to get from good idea to great film.
- Panelists include Sam Shepard, Jill Bilcock, and Thomas Newman.
- January 28, 3:00 p.m.
- Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main Street
- Purchase ticket
Panel: Reckoning With Torture
A dozen internationally acclaimed writers and artists, military leaders, and former interrogators will take part in this special event organized by the ACLU and International PEN, with original artwork by Jenny Holzer.
The New York Times interview series arrives at the Sundance Film Festival for the first time this year. Join us for a conversation with filmmakers about their journey to this year’s Festival and the role Sundance Institute plays in today’s film world.
- Panelists include Vera Farmiga, Greg Kinnear, and Melena Ryzik.
- January 26, 3:00 p.m.
- Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main Street
- Purchase ticket
New Frontier, New Location
Explore the fusion of art, film, technology, and dialogue in an immersive media lounge environment at New Frontier. New for 2011, New Frontier is no longer on Main Street and has moved to the Miners Hospital across from Library Centre Theatre. New Frontier will also co-exhibit at Salt Lake Art Center, bringing the program to Salt Lake City for the first time ever. Learn more about visiting New Frontier venues here. Click here for more information about this year’s artists and events.
Start your mornings at 10:00 a.m. at Cinema Café located at the Filmmaker Lodge. You are invited to FREE open discussions with the Festival filmmakers and guests as they talk about their work. Also, for the first time this year Cinema Café will be offering free coffee and morning treats to get your day going. Check the online film guide for the full schedule.
At the Lodge
FREE daily panels are hosted at the Filmmaker Lodge, which provides a spot for you to meet filmmakers. The Lodge is complete with a café and comfortable lounge. Panels include:
- Film | Movement held Friday, January 21 at 1:00 p.m.
- The “Where Is It Written?” Sessions: Marketing in the New Indie Universe held Saturday, January 22 at 1:00 p.m.
- Your Brain on 2011: Technology and Human Evolution held Tuesday, January 25 at 1:00 p.m.
- The Aha! Moment: Making Change Stick(y) held Thursday, January 27 at 1:00 p.m.
- I’ll Be Your Mirror: The Science of Ourselves held Friday, January 28 at 1:00 p.m.
- Crime and Punishment held Saturday, January 29 at 2:00 p.m.
- Film Church held Sunday, January 30 at 10:00 a.m.
Food and Drink
What better pair is there than dinner and a movie? Park City has many different dining scenes to offer from fancy restaurants to cafes to Park City’s two grocery stores Fresh Market (formerly Albertson’s) and City Market right across the street. Whether you’re in the mood for steak, Japanese, or Italian you’ll be able to find something you like in Park City. Or stop by New Frontier at the Miners Hospital to pick up a snack at a food truck as you enjoy the story-revolutionizing media installations.
Staying hydrated is uber important in high altitude. For the third year in a row, Brita will help eliminate disposable plastic bottles at the Festival by providing Brita-filtered water and FilterForGood Nalgene bottles. Pick up a limited-edition FilterForGood reusable bottle and carry it with you to refill at Brita Hydration Hubs around the Festival.
You can order mixed drinks, wine, beer, and shots without any problems while dining at a Park City restaurant or bar. The old laws about purchasing a membership to drink in a bar have been lifted.
To stock your condo bar, you can purchase 3.2% beer in grocery and convenience stores. Hard liquor and wine purchases require a sojourn to one of the three State Liquor Stores in Park City: 333 Main Street, 1550 Snowcreek Drive at Snow Creek Plaza, or Kimball Plaza at Kimball Junction. Note: The State Liquor Store on Sidewinder Drive sells only to owners of clubs and not to the general public.
You might need a caffeine boost to get you started for another big day. There are coffee shops and snack bars available to recharge your batteries. Most theatres serve snacks and coffee in the lobby or in tents directly outside, giving you a nice warm-up station. Make sure to check to check theatres for any signs prohibiting food and drink. And of course, there is always Alpine Internet Café at the Sundance House open daily at 6:30 am.
Carve It Up
Since you’re visiting Park City for the Festival, you should take advantage of other activities it has to offer. Park City has some of the best ski resorts in the U.S., such as Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley, and The Canyons. Ski runs are fairly empty during this time since most people are out watching movies. Why not hit the slopes?
Want a Festival souvenir to commemorate 2011? Be sure to visit one of the Festival stores to get a cute T-shirt, beanie, or poster. Products are repurposed, recycled, or reusable. Proceeds benefit the nonprofit Sundance Institute. You can shop online anytime or if you feel like browsing you can click here to find a store nearest you.