Are you a movie lover? Do you make short films? If your answer is Yes, then the festival now I will talk about is the best choice for you. I am talking about the Sundance Film Festival, which is one of the biggest events for the film lovers of all over the world. It is attracting film buffs, adventure lover tourist and fashionistas with its celebrity studded movie shows, rollicking parties and many other events. This film festival is a must-experienced for travelers.

What is the Sundance Film Festival?

Sundance Film Festival is a US based film festival hosted by Sundance Institute. It is America’s the largest independent film festival, and it took places every year in January. This festival holds in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and the Sundance Resort, Utah. They embrace the festival with many competitive sections for both American and international filmmakers. This festival has dramatic and documentary films, both feature-length and short films, and a group of non-competitive showcase sections. For over 30 years, this festival is attracting many filmmakers, film lovers and also the tourists from all over the world.

Some Key Facts About the Sundance Film Festival:

  • Sundance film festival began in September 1978, under the name of the Utah/US Film Festival, to promote independent films.
  • To attract more people, the committee changed the venue to a Ski-resort nearby Park City.
  • This festival premiers about 200 films in its 10-days run and offers prizes in several categories of competitions.
  • The Sundance film festivals organize many panel discussions, workshops, musical events and parties for almost 50,000 attendees.
  • During this festival organized committee provides a free shuttle service ‘Sundance Shuttle’ for the attendees, which runs between the festival venues.
  • Sundance Film Festival is now taking place in Hong Kong, London and BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) too.  

United States Sundance Film Festival Overview:

Oscar Committee chose many films from Sundance Film Festival and selected for Oscar nominations. The festival has changed from a low-profile venue for small-budget, independent creators from outside the Hollywood system to a media extravaganza for Hollywood celebrity actors and many more. If you call yourself a film lover and you have enough resources to attend a global festival, then this festival is a bucket-list choice for you.

What is the History of the Sundance Film Festival?

Sundance Film Festival began in 1978 by Sterling Van Wagenen, head of Robert Redford’s company Wildwood, and John Earle of the Utah Film Commission. The purpose of the festival was to showcase American-made films, to enhance the power of independent film, and to increase the visibility of filmmaking in Utah. They screened over 60 films at the festival in 1979 and panels featured many well-known Hollywood filmmakers.

In 1981, organizers changed the festival venue to a ski-resort and the time from September to January. They took this decision to attract more people. In 1984, a well-established Sundance Institute, led by Sterling Van Wagenen, took over the US Film Festival. Gary Beer and Van Wagenen took the lead in producing the US Film Festival presented by the Sundance Institute.

In 2012, after the 34 years of this festival, organized committee took this festival outside the US. This festival traveled to London, Hong Kong and Brooklyn Academy of Music to attract the filmmaker and tourists of the entire world.

Many independent filmmakers get their big break at Sundance, including Kevin Smith, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, David O. Russell, Steve James, Steven Soderbergh, Darren Aronofsky, James Wan, Edward Burns and Jim. Jarmusch. The festival also looks to bring a lot of attention to films such as Saw, Garden State, Super Troopers, The Blair Witch Project, Spanking Monkey, Primer, Bedroom, Better Luck Tomorrow, Little Miss Sunlight, El Mariachi, Moon, Clerks , Thank You for Smoking, Brothers McMullen, (500) Summer Days, Napoleon Dynamite, Whiplash, and Get Out.

When Does the Sundance Film Festival Take Place? 

At the very beginning, they hosted this festival in September. But after 2 years of the beginning, they changed the time to Winter to attract more people. From 1981, this festival has been taking place in January.

Sundance Film Festival Event Schedule?

The Sundance Institute has not published the event schedule for Sundance Film Festival yet. But this festival will begin on Thursday, January 21, and ends on January 31 of 2021.

Best Places to Celebrate this Festival:

From the start, the Sundance Institute is arranging this festival in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and the Sundance Resort, Utah. But in 2012, they took this festival outside America and successfully organized it in London, Hong Kong and in BMA. As the world is now going on a pandemic situation, the institute announced that they are planning to host this festival around North America.

Sundance Film Festival, United States

To reach more people and to assure more racial and socioeconomic diversity, the Utah event might simultaneously take place in California, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky. Even New York, Michigan, Minnesota, Tennessee, Texas and Mexico City is also on their list. They announced Sundance’s “full curated program” would also be made available online.

Essential Tips to Help You Enjoy the Sundance Film Festival:

  • Before attending this festival, make some homework and research about the schedule and place.
  • Arrive the day before your first meeting or event to discover the new place. Book your accommodation early.
  • When you first arrive, go to Whole Foods shop and place in your hotel room. You’ll thank yourself later in the trip.
  • Try to attend in the first week as the first week is more networking focused while the 2nd week is more about screening movies. 
  • Check out the costs of the tickets and other passes, because it can be an expensive trip for you.
  • Don’t rent a taxi or Uber cab, you can use the excellent free Shuttle Bus service which runs between the venues.
  • The place is scenically beautiful, so walk around and don’t miss the chance to enjoy such a place.
  • Be selective and flexible while watching shows. Midnight screenings and shows are lots of fun, so don’t miss those.
Sundance Film Festival, United States

Safety Concerns During the Sundance Film Festival:

  • The weather might be freezing during the festival, so don’t forget to bring warm clothes.
  • As a backup use Uber car, the taxis can be very expensive for you.
  • Bring a battery pack, cable and plug for your phone and other devices. To test apps, interact with others and fill in times while fighting, you’ll need them.
  • Most of the food offered during this festival is unhealthy or in limited supply. So, bring your own snacks.
  • Be kind and polite to the locals. The volunteers working for the festival might get irritated sometimes, so be compassionate with them.
Sundance Film Festival, United States
Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, director of “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” accepts the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize for the film during the 2015 Sundance Film Festival Awards Ceremony on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

The Sundance Film Festival is one of the biggest festivals of the world. Here you will get chances to meet with the renowned moviemakers and stars. If you are planning to visit a festival like this, then this festival is a must-do for you. So, be steady and plan for this tour.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Sundance Film Festival:

  1. Is Sundance Film Festival costly?

Answer: Sundance Film Festival might be an expensive festival to attend to. The cost of per show is around 20 USD and you will have time to attend a Q/A session with the filmmaker and with the actors. So, this is worth watching.

  • How to buy tickets for Sundance Film Festival?

Answer: You can buy Sundance Film Festival’s tickets on their official website.

  • When will the Sundance Film Festival take place in 2021?

Answer: The Sundance Film Festival will begin on Thursday, January 21, and ends on January 31 of 2021.

  • Where to stay during the festival?

Answer: There are many hotels and resorts which can be a brilliant choice to stay during the Sundance film festival. The Caledonian, Washington School House, Treasure Mountain Inn are some popular hotels on the main street. Park City Peaks Hotel, Hotel Park City, Park City Marriott, Lodges at Deer Valley, Stein Eriksen Lodge etc. are some low-cost hotel in Park City.

  • I don’t love movies. Is the festival still worth visiting for me?

Answer: Our answer would be Yes. Park City is an exquisite place. During this festival, the city can be a lot of fun for you. You can enjoy many events other than the movie shows.

  • Can I book tickets in advance for the shows?

Answer: No, you can’t.  Buy tickets before the screenings of every show.