What to See and Where to Be: Sundance Film Fest 2018
Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute
Every January, the beautiful and powerful descend on the chilly Salt Lake and Park City, turning these small southwest towns into the hottest places on earth.
The Sundance Film Fest got its start in 1978 as a small showcase where indie filmmakers could show off their startup projects.
Now, nearly 40 years later, Sundance is one of the most influential film festivals in the world.
Every year, Hollywood marquee productions and indie Oscar hopefuls alike jockey for attention and accolades amongst the sea of celebrities and critics.
Sundance 2018 takes place from January 18-28. Beyond being the first to watch the world’s most anticipated movies of the year, attendees enjoy panel discussions, live music, and parties galore.
If you’re planning on attending this world-class film fest, here’s your guide for where to be and what to see at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.
How to Get There
What could be a more fitting way to arrive at the most talked-about movie festival in the world than in the luxury and style of a private jet?
Forget the chaos and crowds of a commercial flight this January. Flying private means beating the crowd at Salt Lake International Airport, which will be packed during the festival.
Sip champagne and chat about your most anticipated screenings with your party, all in the privacy and comfort of a private jet.
Arrive at the smaller and more centrally-located private airstrip in Salt Lake, and arrange to have your transportation pick you up jet-side so you can grab the best seats in the theater.
There are a few different types of tickets available for Sundance 2018.
To get the full experience you will need to book an ‘Express Pass’, which gives you full access to the festival with priority entrance, essential if you don’t want to spend your festival standing in line.
If you’re looking for glitz, glamour, and Hollywood celebrities, then you’ll want to get the first half ‘Express Pass’ ticket, as the first week is when the celebrities come out to play. This ticket is only available through Sundance Circle.
But if you’re a film aficionado where the movies take priority, get the second half Express Pass, which is less crowded. The Second half Express Pass also comes with a ticket to the awards ceremony.
However, many suggest getting the first half ticket as the start of the festivals is when the stars come out to play. You can purchase a second half Express Pass here.
Where to Stay
Once you arrive in Utah, there are a number of options of choice accommodations where you can enjoy the weekend.
Some of the most desired every year are the amazing architectural condos on Main Street. These include The Penthouse at 614 Main, located right next to the Egyptian Theatre. And staying on Main Street will put you right in the heart of the action for the whole festival.
There are also numerous hotel accommodations to fulfill your luxury desires, such as a beautiful hotel inside the old schoolhouse in Park City. Washington Schoolhouse Hotel only has twelve rooms, so only a select few will be able to experience the stunning historic rooms and the charming daily fireside tea service. You’ll need to book early, as the best properties fill up fast.
Park City is a choice destination for any ski or snowboard enthusiast. If you plan to hit the slopes after the screenings, one of the best places to stay is ‘Stein Eriksen Lodge’ in nearby Deer Valley.
Often called the “world’s best ski resort”, this luxury five-star lodge is a world away from the hustle and bustle of the festival, despite being only 30 minutes down the road by car.
Guests at the resort can bask in luxury, while enjoying their own private deck with a hot tub and fireplaces in the living room and master bedroom, both of which are available in selected suites.
Where to Eat
This unique fine-dining experience takes place on opening night. Film stars “host” a table to give guests the inside scoop on the most anticipated films of the year.
This event is an exclusive chance to have facetime with some of the most notable artists at Sundance. This year’s cast includes Octavia Spencer, Christopher Abbott, Chloe Sevigny, and more.
Where’s the Party?
Maybe better than the movies, the real thing to do at Sundance is hobnob at the best parties that the Rockies have to offer.
Stars abound, along with up-and-coming actors and their hangers-on, as well as the power players who orchestrate the industry.
In this microcosm of celebrity decadence, the marquee parties aren’t the only places to be.
Stepping out of the glamour and into the lesser-known house parties where actors, producers and movie executives hang out offer a variety of unforgettable experiences beyond the opulence of the main events.
Maximize Your Movie Experience
Even if you’ve got your favorite screening choices picked out, you’ll want to take a look at the more obscure offerings all over the city to catch the hidden gems.
Listen in to underground chatter at the festival to hunt out the sleeper hit that everyone will be talking about next fall — you’ll be able to tell your friends you saw it when it premiered!
It worth trying to squeeze in as many screenings as possible, if only for the chance to experience the eponymous “Sundance moment.”
This is moment when an audience loves the film, and their enthusiastic and emotional response make you feel part of something really special.
Sundance 2018 promises to be the biggest event yet.
This year, festival organizers have introduced a new “Festival Favorite” award, which will be voted on by attendees to determine the best feature film shown during the ten-day event. So remember to cast your vote after all the screenings.
The exponential growth of the festival has created one big problem: getting there can be a hassle.
Sundance 2018’s popularity has made the busy festival even more difficult to get to. Navigating through throngs of people stuffing themselves onto commercial airlines is a far cry from the best way to begin your experience.