My First Sundance Experience

  • Published in Film


  • Early birds: parking galore in Park City before 9am
  • Wi-Fi is hit-or-miss outside lounges and libraries, which are sure things
  • Political groups and activists counter some of the celebrity gossip
  • Bistro 412’s upstairs bar and Java Cow’s back room offer escapes from the crowd
  • Everyone’s shooting video; only a select few beam it up to YouTube on location (like your’s truly)
  • Buy tickets in advance or risk waiting in the cold for hours for a few spare tickets
  • Staying in Salt Lake City and trucking it to Park City is rare; look for rooms at the small cities along the main highway instead
  • People come for to sell-out their movies, to cheerlead their friends’ movies, to hawk their next movie, to report back to everyone else, or to ski and be about their own business
  • Most if not all parties are exclusive, rarely dealing with tickets and almost always dealing with influence
  • Enjoy the historical downtown: walk instead of taking the crowded bus every time
  • Sundance volunteers are amazing: informed, friendly, and dedicated
  • If you’re not at Sundance on business, prepare to find like-minds within the first couple days, follow them around with leads on this party or that screening, and consider shacking up or sleeping in the tub
  • Flyers that are passed out, involve condoms, or are well-designed get word-of-mouth attention, but might not translate into warm seats
  • Celebrity sightings are daily, if not hourly
  • There’s not quite any experience like Sundance: the sidewalks overflow, the films you pick are instead of five others that might be the next big thing, and you’re often in the wrong place at the wrong time
  • As a filmmaker, you’re going to leave inspired, discouraged, and/or exhausted


Aaron Proctor
Founder, FWD:labs
Director of Photography site

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