The friendly folks over at Craveonline.com is on-site at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. We found this really awesome guide to assist festival goers to plan their trip. Sundance is a festival favorite for many movie buffs, check it out and make use of this nifty survival guide to help you navigate the wonders of Park City, UT.
Also see: Video: Sundance Film Festival 2014 Event Update
Check out Sundance’s official website if you want to by tickets!
The Ultimate 2014 Sundance Film Festival Survival Guide
1. Make Your Schedule
The schedule of films is now available on Sundance’s website so you can plan on which films you intend to see at Sundance. Tickets go on sale Jan 14 so you’ll want to be online early to get into those big premieres. However, don’t fret if your first choices are sold out. See #2.
2. Be Flexible
Your first choice of movies may not be available, but the movie you see instead could turn out to be the big discovery of Sundance. You’ll hear buzz throughout the week of the festival, so some as yet unheard of movies may quickly move to the top of your list. If you’re still trying to get into that sold out premiere, there are still other options. You can try wait listing, although this year Sundance is implementing an online wait list system so we’ll see how that goes.
3. Never Leave Park City
Sundance has two other locations where they screen films, Salt Lake City and the Sundance Resort. Leaving Park City for those screenings is just unfeasible, and if it snows, imagine getting stuck away from your hotel. I think the Salt Lake and Sundance Resort options are mainly for locals who live there to get a sampling of the festival films. If you miss all the Park City showings of your movie, let it go.
4. Know Your Theaters
The Sundance Film Festival takes place between eight main theaters around Park City. The Eccles is the largest theater where the biggest premieres happen. The Library is a rowdy house for midnight movies but shows a full schedule throughout the day. Seats are a bit cramped, but it’s a rite of passage. The Yarrow hotel has a theater, same with Prospector Square and the MARC tennis club too. Redstone Cinemas and the Holiday Village are regular multi-plexes, and the Egyptian is a classic single house theater on Main Street.
5. Know Your Shuttle Routes
Sundance has an excellent shuttle system for getting between theaters. It was a little scary my first year, but once you get your bearings you’ll hop shuttles like a pro. Theater Loop is the most important one. It will get you to every theater in Park City, hence its name. There are, however, sometimes quicker routes between certain theaters. Ask a volunteer to make sure you’re getting on the right bus. When in doubt, Theater Loop.
6. Don’t Take an Unknown Shuttle/Beware of Cabs
While Theater Loop, Eccles Loop and Main St. Loop are common, the occasional fringe shuttle will drive by. They may promise you they’re going to the Holiday Village Theaters, but they didn’t tell you that it’s the last stop after a 45-minute roundabout through the back roads of Park City. It’s not worth the risk. There will be another Theater Loop shuttle soon enough. Taxis also circulate Park City and as long as you confirm they’re going where you want, hop in. I had one attempt to take me along while she picked up another fare before my stop. I said, “That’s okay. You go pick up the fair that called you and please don’t stop for any other passengers along the way.”
7. Trust Your Volunteers
The Sundance volunteers are there to help you. As large bodies of unpaid staff go, they are among the most uniformly informed and helpful group I have met. There should be a festival volunteer at most shuttle stops to tell you which bus to take to get where you’re going. At theaters too, ask a volunteer anything and they’ll steer you right.
8. Make Line Friends
This is my most important advice for Sundance. Remember the “festival” part of film festival. People are there from around the world to celebrate movies. You’ll be standing in line a good hour before most shows, so start talking to the people in front or behind you. You may never see them again, or you may end up spending the week together and make lifelong friends.
No two ways about it, you will end up seeing midnight movies and 9AM encore screenings of the big premieres. If you can find some dead spots in your schedule midday or early evening, go back to your room and nap. I might not have gotten through Hobo with a Shotgun without a power nap, and what a tragedy it would have been had I slept through the part where he tells the natal ward not to grow up like him, a hobo with a shotgun. Well, let’s face it, there’s no real danger of sleeping through a rowdy midnight screening. You just want to be well rested when the big movies play in the morning.
10. Leave the Swag Alone
This may not apply to you. Most of the swag bars are appointment only, which means they only invite celebrities to collect swag and wear it around to Sundance photo ops. You will find some tchotchkes for riff raff, but I have yet to see one that’s worth schlepping around all day, let alone carting back home with me. Some of it is useful cold weather attire, but you should have come prepared already. Maybe if you lose a hat or gloves (it happens), you can pick up a swag replacement.
11. Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner Screenings at Library, Prospector or Eccles
This is important, you’ll need to eat. If you can schedule your morning, lunchtime and evening screenings at one of these three theaters, they have my favorite snack bars. Especially Prospector, there’s a whole sit down cafe. All theaters have food of some sort, with Egyptian being limited to snacks and drinks (but damn fine cider) and Holiday Village serving standard movie theater food, with a few additional pastry and fruit options. The Yarrow has a restaurant but as far as food you can bring into the theater, it’s just a snack bar. But Main Street is full of restaurants, both fancy and affordable comfort food with wifi.
12. Hats, Gloves, Scarves, Boots
This should be a no brainer since you’re going to snowy Park City, but just in case it needs to be said, dress for winter. You don’t have to go overboard. I’ve heard people recommend long underwear and that’s overdoing it a bit. Most of the line queues are under warm tents and you’ll be indoors most of the time, but for walking outside, cover your extremities. Boots are the only shoes you should bring with you. You will be walking around on icy sidewalks a lot, and even in boots take it slow so you don’t slip. Oh, and keep your jacket on in the Library theater until the movie starts. They have some venting issue that lets all the cold air from outside in, but warms up once the movie plays.
You will get sick at Sundance. You just will. We all do. We’re not sleeping enough, we’re standing outside in the cold, we’re drinking. We all get sick at some point and it’s totally worth it. Last year I came down with a sinus infection and cough. Except for Quentin Dupieux thinking I was high, I got through all my interviews, screenings and socializing with Dayquil and didn’t have to crash until I got home.
This is probably medically the most important piece of advice. Even though it’s cold, you still need refreshment. As much as in a hot climate, you need water to keep your body pumping. Luckily, Sundance gives you a water bottle to carry with you, and refill stations at every theater. Drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration and hypothermia are not a good combo.
15. Wash Your Water Bottle
You’re putting your mouth on that thing every day. By day 3-4 it starts to get a little nasty. Rinse your water bottle with soap every night to keep it clean, and you may still want to just get a new one by the halfway point.
Craveonline sponsored content: Feel free to check out all the Sundance Film Festival Coverage at Craveonline.com
- REVIEW: Blind
- VIDEO: Park City Parties with The Crystal Method
- VIDEO: Rose McGowan on Dawn
- REVIEW: The Double
- REVIEW: The Guest
- REVIEW : Camp X-Ray
- VIDEO: Benjamin Renner on Ernest & Celestine
- REVIEW: Whiplash
- REVIEW: Whiplash (Second Opinion)
- VIDEO: Miles Teller & Paul Reiser on Whiplash
- VIDEO: Damien Chazelle & Austin Stowell on Whiplash
- SURVIVAL GUIDE: Fred Topel’s Tips for Enjoying the 2014 Sundance Film Festival
- VIDEO: 2014 First Look Event Update