Among the many challenges and disappointments 2020 brought to our ski town, the adjustments to the much-anticipated Sundance Film Festival were, perhaps, among the most impactful to both local and visiting movie-goers, as well as to local businesses counting on the bump in revenue the Festival brings.
This year’s abbreviated Festival will be held Jan. 28 – Feb. 3, 2021, and one of the major shifts is having satellite screenings happen in cities across the U.S., not just in Utah at traditional venues in Park City, Ogden, Salt Lake City and the Sundance Resort. Instead, fans from Honolulu to San Juan, Puerto Rico – and at dozens of locations in-between – will have a chance to experience the magic of Sundance at local venues through partnerships with independent cinemas and cultural organizations.
The upshot? This provides an opportunity for friends from coast-to-coast to experience new films at the exact same time without being in the same city!
In Utah, there will no longer be an opportunity for in-person screenings at The Ray Theater (the former Sports Authority in Holiday Village next to Fresh Market), which was just announced by Sundance, citing COVID restrictions. However, one of the benefits of the new, mostly virtual structure for Sundance 2021, is the accessibility of screenings via streaming.
The Festival’s updated “How to Fest” guide begins with inviting patrons to set up an account, after which they can check out the Program Guide to help build a schedule. However, even virtual tickets are limited, so get ready to log on when passes and tickets go on sale online on Jan. 7. This year’s passes are much more affordable than in years past, with a full Festival Pass at just $350 and a Day Pass at $75 (though single film tickets are the same $15 each).
An exciting development for this year, the coveted Festival talks and events will be offered at no cost and in a creative manner befitting the Sundance, including Q&As, “Sundance Dailies,” and even a new take on the after party, “Sundance Speakeasy,” scheduled nightly at 10 p.m. on Jan. 29 – Feb. 1, and promising an opportunity to “rub elbows” with emerging artists.
You can still indulge in the famous Sundance swag by visiting their site here, and supporting the nonprofit in a year when all charities could use a little extra help. Order a mug or t-shirt and hunker down at home while you comfortably and conveniently consume indie cinema. It’s not business-as-usual, but – like all things Park City – it shows how our community can temporarily shift to accommodate the pandemic, while still remaining true to its roots.
World-class events like Sundance have long been a reason people Choose Park City real estate over similar resort towns across the U.S., even in a year when those events are paused or held virtually! If you’re interested in making Park City your home, please reach out to me at 435-640-4238, and we’ll work together to make the dream of living in the mountains a reality.