Lights, camera, action – with the golden globes firmly behind us, it’s time for all eyes to turn to the Sundance Film Festival. Every year, directors, stars and movie buffs make their way to Park City in Utah and the Sundance Resort to celebrate the very best unbridled talent in the independent film business.
Since 1978, chairman Robert Redford and founder Sterling Van Wagenen have been championing American made films. From Quentin Tarantino to Jim Jarmusch, so many sterling directors achieved their big break at Sundance. What started as a low-key indie festival in the middle of Utah, has grown into a sophisticated media buzz. Luxury lounges, lavish A list parties, and the snapping bulbs of paparazzi are all part of the Sundance experience. Here’s how to get the very best out of visiting the Sundance Film Festival…
Get ready to dry clean your best gala dress, send your skis and luggage ahead with Luggage Forward, and prepare to rub shoulders with the red-carpet crowd at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
Access: Get the Right Film Pass
A great insider tip for garnering better access to the Sundance program is to donate money to the Sundance Institute. There are different tiered memberships; Indie Enthusiast membership will grant you 8 hours pre-sale of individual film tickets whereas Storyteller will gift access to purchase a 20-ticket package for the first or second half of the festival.
Morning premiers are also key to gaining access to those hard to book showings. While the party team are sleeping off their champagne hangover, you can enjoy the 8am show without the waitlist.
Another tip is to stick around after each film for the Q&A session, it’s a unique and rare opportunity to get an inside look at the film and something you can only do at Sundance. Browse the ticket section on the Sundance website in advance and pick the ticket style that works for you.
Eat: Book These Restaurants in Advance
Smoothly navigating the Sundance Film Festival takes a little sass and pre-planning. Expect endless lines, traffic queues, and battling to get dinner reservations at the best spots in town. We suggest booking dinner reservations before you touch down and looking a little further away from Main Street for better luck.
Be sure to book at the High West Distillery for ski in / ski out vibes, an impeccable whiskey menu, and dishes with a twist of the Old West. But make sure you book early our you’ll be hard pressed to get a table.
For other options on Main Street, its worth ringing ahead to try and bag a table at Riverhorse on Main, considered one of the best standout restaurants in town. Last year Tupelo Park City was the golden girl of the dining scene and is worth visiting this year too for a taste of their Ahi tuna steak.
Celebrity spotting is best done at Handle, where rattlesnake cocktails and locally sourced dishes like blue cheese cauliflower and fried chicken blend beautifully in a first-rate lively atmosphere.
Stay: The Best Accommodations
Celebrities and the Hollywood elite will all book up the accommodation in the center of town, but few will head for the powder fresh pistes. The Sundance Festival is a great chance to blend films with fun on the slopes and some resorts even offer ski discounts this time of year.
The Colony 26 boasts spacious bedrooms and room for 14 with its beamed ceilings, hardwood floors, and romantic stone fireplaces. Park City is just 6 miles away and mountain access is right on your doorstep. Main and Mountain is a little closer to town, inviting skiing in the morning and easy access to the films at night. The hot tub with a view of the main drag is also a welcome feature for celeb spotting from the bubbles.
P.S. – Leave the Car at Home
Unless you want to sit in a sea of honking horns for the Sundance Festival, leave the car at home. Call on Uber or make full use of the park and ride facilities. Expect Uber to boost their prices during the festival. The free Sundance Shuttle is an easy, breezy way of flying around town and they make sure to stop at all the important venues.