The Sundance Film Festival circuit can chew you up and spit you out if you’ve been in deep: screenings, concerts, panel discussions, plus a rowdy evening here and there – with celebrity sightings sprinkled in between. There are just three days left of this freight train of a film fest, but the clever ones finish strong. What's left? So much. Just a few free, non-film examples:
1) New Frontier venue for an art-based and interactive experience in the Gateway building on the corner of Heber & Main in Park City.
2) Across the street from New Frontier on Swede Alley in Park City: The Source by Doug Aitkin: a standout architectural piece exploring the beginning of creativity.
3) Wander into the Sundance Co-op at 608 Main Street to get coiffed by L’Oreal Paris and sample wares from various festival backers.
4) The Airbnb Haus [sooo good, and styled by local gang, WOW atelier] is also up and running through Saturday where you can feel hip and at-home with free wifi and a complimentary pour-over brew from Four Barrel, plus a lineup of speakers and activities.
5) When night falls – the Egyptian theater transforms into an outdoor screen with 3-D mapping technology. Trippy!
The man in charge, Festival Director John Cooper, may be a bit punchy on day 7, but he had a few comments for those of us who are delirious, and even those who are well-rested latecomers to this international melting pot of creativity:
If people still want to see films – any strategies specific to the last 3 days? We seem to have more availability for the early morning and late night screenings – those are great to wait-list. Also, Sunday when we screen the winners of the jury awards and audience awards, we get more openings for wait-listers, because many people leave, or have already seen the films earlier in the week.
What about a freeform wandering plan? Yes! The weather is sunny and easy this time around – and you never know who you are going to meet and what you’ll talk about. The people here are open to conversation about the films they have seen – and just about anything else. You can really strike up interesting conversations in any restaurant, in line or on a bus.
You attend so many screenings and events during the 10 days – do you have moments that you look forward to more than others? We do a special dinner where all the filmmakers of the competition about 60 filmmakers attend – and we force (ok, ask) them to meet and interact with other people in the room. This type of an event really gets back to the essence of what Sundance is all about. I also love the award show. It’s a big party night – like an “after war” party. We’ve all survived the festival and there is a true community and festival alumni spirit. People are happy and relieved.
You tried something new this year with the Fail Safe workshops & discussions on Failure: We've never tried anything like that – and I liked the range of events from the Fail Safe workshops (high kicks with the Rockettes, to an Instagram workshop with the founder of Instagram), to a super smart panels talking about the greater notion of failing and how it applies to arts and science. These were available to anyone who signed up – and we’ve had positive feedback from people who were surprised by the new topic and format.
**Want to know what films win? Keep your eye online for the announcement Saturday evening, or watch the awards on the live stream starting at 7:30pm. Then plot out your action plan for seeing them on Sunday at venues in Salt Lake, Park City or Sundance Resort.