Sundance 2013 badge & tickets

Six days in Park City at Sun­dance 2013. Six days of watch­ing movies, attend­ing meet­ings, rid­ing bus­es, walk­ing on ice, eat­ing very ran­dom­ly, drink­ing at par­ties, avoid­ing celebrity-seekers, snow­board­ing, and a lit­tle sleep­ing are final­ly done and while the jour­ney is always tir­ing, it is invig­o­rat­ing and moti­vat­ing and I am already miss­ing it bad­ly just two days after return­ing. Being immersed in such a movie-loving-and-making envi­ron­ment induces hor­ri­ble with­draw­al, like you’ve been denied your cof­fee fix sud­den­ly and with­out warn­ing. But the peo­ple you meet! The movies you see! It’ll get you going for the com­ing year, no doubt.

The first thing to know: the Park City slopes are fair­ly emp­ty since every­body is watch­ing films from sun-up to mid­night so it is a great time to go ski­ing or snow­board­ing. The prob­lem is that after a cou­ple decades the locals know they can raise their lodg­ing rates through the roof and have full book­ings, so stay­ing in or near Park City is very expen­sive. But no lines!

Jeremy on the slopes at Park City Mountain

Sec­ond­ly: bring lip balm. Seri­ous­ly. The air is dry in the moun­tains. You’ll also need water to keep from dehy­drat­ing. Espe­cial­ly since you’ll be par­ty­ing at some point dur­ing your stay. Don’t be the per­son on the news who is caus­ing a scene and then requir­ing med­ical atten­tion due to dehy­drat­ed drunk­en­ness. Stay mois­tur­ized inside and out.

Third: bring appro­pri­ate cloth­ing. The celebri­ty hangers-on and thrill-seeking douchebags will do their part to ensure all your lay­ers and bun­dles and insu­lat­ed footwear will be oh-so-unfashionable, but when you see their span­dex ban­deau “dress­es” and strip­per shoes and lack of any use­ful out­er­wear what­so­ev­er over their $100 t-shirts, you can at least be con­fi­dent that any report­ed Sun­dance Flu will give up bat­tling you and take the easy tar­gets first. Seri­ous­ly, 14˚ F actu­al­ly does require a coat and mit­tens.

Fourth: pre­pare to stand on line. There are bus lines, tick­et lines, par­ty lines, food lines and some­times bath­room lines. Get over it. 40,000+ peo­ple descend­ing upon a small ski town means things get a bit over­run, but the bus­es are free and run very reg­u­lar­ly and the port-a-potties out­side the venues are the swanki­est I’ve ever seen (they even have music in them). You can vis­it the box office each morn­ing to try and buy tick­ets or you can wait-list movies at the venues. This requires stand­ing in line to get a num­ber a cou­ple hours before the screen­ing and then return­ing 30–60 min­utes before the movie to stand in line again to see if they can fit you in, based on your num­ber. It is a gam­ble, but there are always a cer­tain num­ber of no-shows and, thanks to them, you can see your desired films. Don’t spend all night stand­ing in line for just one par­ty, there are oth­er par­ties and hang­outs around.

the obligatory Sundance shot at The Egyptian Theater

Fifth: go with the flow. Chances are that your most-desired movie of the fes­ti­val (if not actu­al­ly all of them) will be sold-out. There are at least eight venues show­ing films all day long and there will be no way you can see every­thing. If you can catch 10–12 of the 120+ films play­ing, you are doing just fine. Seri­ous movie lovers with expen­sive pass­es or indus­try types or jour­nal­ists will see more than dou­ble that amount, but they may have access to P&I (press and indus­try) screen­ings that the pub­lic does not, so don’t even both­er mak­ing com­par­isons. If you can­not get a tick­et or you miss a bus, just pick the next film play­ing near­by. After all, you can hard­ly go wrong with a film select­ed for Sun­dance. Or walk up to the top of the moun­tain and take a peek at the mul­ti­tude of films play­ing at Slam­dance. Heck, you can eas­i­ly ignore Sun­dance (except for its prox­im­i­ty) and still see com­plete­ly awe­some films. Slam­dance is the more scrap­py, edgi­er, more punk ver­sion of Sun­dance and quite fun. I, for exam­ple, got to meet the fab­u­lous female team behind Best Friends For­ev­er, which I hap­pened to back on kick­starter.

with Brea Grant ('Heroes' and 'Best Friends Forever')

Sixth: talk to every­body. You’d be amazed at who you will meet and the great chats you will have. They are prob­a­bly there for the same rea­son you are and they’ll have rec­om­men­da­tions and tips ready to exchange until the bus ride is over or the venue starts seat­ing patrons. Plus, they might know where there is great free food or drinks, which pan­els are worth attend­ing, or which par­ty is the one of the night to attend (or crash). Stay in touch over the year and make your return vis­it even friend­lier. It pays in many ways to have a few con­nec­tions.

scilla and jeremy at sundance