Though the cheer of the holiday season may be over, there’s still plenty of glitz and glamour ahead as the iconic Sundance Film Festival heads to Park City from January 23 through February 2, 2020.
What is the Sundance Film Festival?
Founded by acclaimed actor Robert Redford, the Sundance Film Festival is a multi-day celebration of independent cinema. It showcases new work from independent filmmakers from the US and internationally and hosts various daily discussions, workshops and live music events. Hundreds of films have found their footing at Sundance and went on to enjoy critical acclaim and widespread recognition. As the largest festival of its kind in the US, Sundance attracts more than 125,000 people annually and is open to the public.
If you’d like to attend for the sheer star power, you’ll be in good company. Though the list of A-list stars who attended in 2019 is long and varied, a few include Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Viola Davis, Zac Efron and of course, Robert Redford.
Interestingly, the Sundance Film Festival began simply. In the early 1960s, Robert Redford was taking a cross-country motorcycle trip when discovered the remote and rugged beauty of Provo Canyon and Mt. Timpanogos. By the late 1960s, he had purchased 5,000 acres and named it after his seminal role in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Later that year, he opened the Sundance Mountain Resort.
In the early 1980s, the Sundance Institute was launched, as a means of giving a voice to the unheard stories of independent filmmakers.
The first Sundance Film Festival was held in 1985. In the 35 years since it has offered a platform from which the careers of leading filmmakers have been launched. Some of these now-household names include Steven Soderberg, Quentin Tarantino and the Coen Brothers.
The Movies of Sundance
You may be surprised to know that, through the decades, some of the most celebrated films in terms of box office appeal and Academy Awards nominations and wins got their start at the Sundance Film Festival.
Films such as “Napoleon Dynamite”, “Four Weddings and a Funeral”, “Little Miss Sunshine”, “The Usual Suspects” and “Reservoir Dogs” all got their start at Sundance.
Sundance Film Festival 2020
Tips and Tricks
To survive Sundance 2020, please follow these simple tips:
Don’t forget that Park City is COLD. Daytime highs average between 12 and 33 degrees. Remember, layers are your friend, always have extra socks and gloves and most of all, wear appropriate shoes.
Do HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE. Park City is at an elevation of 7,000’. It’s very dry and you’re likely not used to that altitude.
Speaking of altitude, don’t drink alcohol and be prepared to take it easy for the first 24 hours. Allow your body to adjust so you don’t develop altitude sickness. Oh, and did we mention HYDRATE? Drink another glass of water.
Plan your schedule in advance, without being too rigid and don’t forget to factor in commuting time.
Make sure you have healthy snacks on you at all times. And water.
There is no “right” way to do Sundance. Don’t feel compelled to follow the crowd. Find the films and programs that speak to you and participate in those.
Most of all, enjoy the excitement and anticipation in the air. You may well be the first to discover the next great film and/or filmmaker of our time. How’s that for bragging rights??