Sundance Film Festival

In 1981 Robert Redford, one on Utah’s resident celebrities, helped form the Sundance Institute, an organization dedicated to enhancing the artistic quality of films. He has since been instrumental in one of Utah’s major tourist attractions, the Sundance Film Festival. This festival is held every January. The main stage is in Park City, but you can also see shows in Salt Lake City and online.

Each year the Festival programming team reviews thousands of independent films from all across the world. These films span nearly every language known to man, broach any and all topics one could imagine, and represent many different genres — from animation to indigenous works to cult films. The mission of the programming team is to find features and documentaries that “ inspire, challenge, delight, startle, move, and thrill” viewers. Each year, thousands of fans and artists alike eagerly greet a lineup of revolutionary and thought provoking productions. Many of these films eventually make their way into mainstream society, but their bragging rights stem from their claim of independence from big-budget studios.

The Sundance Film Festival is open to the public; passes and packages are typically available starting in October; single film tickets are sold during the event. If you miss out on advance tickets for popular shows, you can sign up for the Wait List.

Organizers encourage attendees to come prepared. The Festival is held in the rugged mountain climate of Utah, where the average daytime temperature in January is between 12 and 33 degrees Fahrenheit (-11 to .5 Celcius). The average snowfall in Park City and surrounding areas is approximately 30 inches (76 centimeters). Organizers suggest dressing in layers, along with a warm coat, hat and gloves.

Visitors should also be prepared for the high altitude that accompanies the beautiful scenery; Park City is 6,900 feet above sea level. Be sure to stay well hydrated and give yourself a couple of days to get acclimatized. Consider staying overnight in a lower elevation such as Salt Lake City, which could help, too.

The Sundance Film Festival is an ideal way to acquaint yourself with the world of independent film, whether you are an aspiring writer, actor, director or simply a fan of good cinema.

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