Little Miss Sunshine, Clerks, Reservoir Dogs, The Blair Witch Project, Donnie Darko - what do these films have in common? Although these movies are as different from each other as day is from night, they are all entrees to the Sundance Film Festival that have gained critical acclaim, commercial success, cult status, and even Oscar nods.
Indeed, independent movies that will please both the discerning critic and the ordinary escapist moviegoer have become trademarks of the Sundance Film Festival. Many feature films that gained recognition at Sundance often go on to find mainstream box office success and accolades elsewhere. An annual event, the Sundance Film Festival will once again treat us to excellent and mind-blowing movies at Park City, Utah on January 16 to 26, 2014.
What is the Sundance Film Festival?
The Sundance Film Festival, simply put, is the largest independent film festival in the US. Held in Utah every year since 1981, it draws a large crowd of new and established names in the film industry as well as cinephiles from all over the country and abroad.
Sundance started out as the brainchild of Robert Redford, a respected actor and director known for his roles in now-classic movies such as The Candidate, The Sting, Three Days of the Condor, The Way We Were, and many others. In fact, the film festival took its name from Redford's character in the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
A Utah resident, Redford wanted to bring Utah to the attention of filmmakers across the country as well as to foster ideas that will challenge the country's filmmaking status quo. As Redford said on the official Sundance website: "Storytellers broaden our minds, engage, provoke, inspire, and ultimately connect us". Thus, the Sundance Film Festival was born in 1981. Through Redford's and the Sundance Institute's efforts, the film festival became the cineaste event it is known today.
The next Sundance Film Festival will be held at Park City on January 16 to 26, 2013. Official information about the festival events and lineup are usually made available two months before the event starts, but you can already start planning your trip to Park City using general information provided by the Sundance Institute. There you can get your tickets, learn which cinemas are participating, find out how you can get around Park City, look at the interactive map, and discover what your dining and lodging options at Park City are.
Speaking of lodging options, you can find out more about what accommodations and activities Park City offers on its official website. And if you want to take your RV with you, there are a bunch of campgrounds and RV parks near Park City that you can choose from.
One fact you should take note of when you visit Park City is it does not have a lot of parking facilities available. So, to get around the city during Sundance, you're better off leaving your car at your lodgings and move around the city using the city's shuttle service.
How to Enjoy Park City Outside the Cinema
Attending screenings at the Sundance Film Festival is not the only thing you can do at Park City in January. Park City is a haven for winter sports enthusiasts. In fact, Park City hosted the skiing and snowboarding events for the 2002 Winter Olympics. Where in Park City can you enjoy these winter sports? The city is home to three prime all-year resorts: Canyons Resort, Deer Valley Resort, and Park City Mountain Resort. You can also visit the Utah Olympic Park.
If winter sports is not your idea of relaxing, you can always hit Park City Main Street for some sightseeing. Park City was once a mining city that created millionaires, and you can see the old towers and buildings that were testament to the city's mining past while strolling on Main Street.
Main Street is also home to so many restaurants, cafes, boutiques and shopping outlets. If you're up for some retail therapy, Main Street is the place to go. If you want some more shopping options, though, Salt Lake City is only a half-hour drive away.
If your time allows for it, you can make your cineaste pilgrimage to Sundance include a trip to at least one of the many National Parks in Utah. Take your pick - Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, and Zion National Park are open all year.
The Sundance Film Festival is a must-go for the true American cinephile. The festival is a time when many great films are born. And if you get tired of watching movies all day, you can always see the sights and enjoy the many offerings of Utah's beautiful Park City.
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