Local’s Guide to the Sundance Film Festival
Utah Film Commission gives tips for Utahns

Salt Lake City, UT – All eyes will be on Utah next month as the 36th annual Sundance Film Festival gets underway, and the Utah Film Commission doesn’t want Utahns left out of the experience.

“Some of the best artists in the world come to Utah every January,” said Virginia Pearce, director of the Utah Film Commission. “Sundance offers something for audiences of all ages, and plenty of opportunities for locals to take advantage of what is in our own backyard.”

Each year, the Sundance Film Festival gives five percent of its total seats to the local community. Here’s a local guide with tips on how to take advantage of all the festival has to offer.

Townie Tuesday offers those who live closest to the festival two exclusive free screenings on the Tuesday during the festival. Bring your ID as proof of Summit County residence to the Park City main box office beginning Saturday, January 14 to get your tickets.

Best of Fest gives locals the chance to see award-winning films after the festival ends. Free screenings are held on Monday, January 30 in Park City, Salt Lake City and Sundance Resort. Tickets are first-come, first-served with a valid Utah ID on Saturday, January 14 at any main box office.

Sundance Kids is a category programmed in partnership with the Utah Film Center for the youngest of independent film fans. This year’s films include the documentary The Mars Generation which gives a glimpse into the future of space exploration through the eyes of aspiring teenage astronauts. It also features the animated French import My Life as a Zucchini and the origins of a beloved Australian canine legend in RED DOG: True Blue.

Student Screenings give Utah high school and junior high students the opportunity to participate in a free interactive screening program to engage them in stories from around the globe. More than 68,000 Utah students and teachers have attended since 2000.

The films in this category are a mix of documentaries and narrative films that are carefully chosen based on content that is appropriate for a broad audience.

Chasing Coral (documentary)
Watch as a team of photographers and marine biologists try to document the impact of warming oceans on coral reefs.

Deidra & Laney Rob a Train (narrative)
Faced with tough times when their mother goes to jail, Deidra and Laney are on their own and turn to the tracks to make it through. (Filmed in Utah)

Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower (documentary)
Joshua Wong is a typical Hong Kong college student who rises to become the face of a movement against the Chinese regime.

Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman (documentary)
Unlikely conservationists commit to securing the future of their livelihoods while also preserving the nation’s natural resources.

STEP (documentary)
Three Baltimore seniors on the high school’s Step team push back against adversity in an attempt to be the first in their families to go to college.

Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities (documentary)
The 150-year history of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and their role in American history, culture and dismantling segregation.

Walking Out (narrative)
A father’s attempt to connect with his son on the boy’s first big game hunt in Montana turns into a tale of strength and survival.

The Workers Cup (documentary)
Inside Qatar’s labor camps, migrant workers building the stadiums of the 2022 World Cup compete in a soccer tournament of their own.

There are special ticket options and packages for Utah residents for sale now. Keep in mind that Salt Lake City screenings often fill up first. If you aren’t one to plan ahead, it is possible to get tickets closer to show time. While many films appear to be “sold out”, you can join the electronic eWaitlist two hours before a scheduled screening and track your likelihood of getting a ticket directly at the theatre.

Sundance offers a variety of panels, concerts, new media installations, and some great people watching on Park City’s Main Street. Some of the venues require festival credentials, but others welcome the general public.

Those who need a break can head to Utah Film Commission on Main, located in the center of the Sundance action at 625 Main Street. Stop by for free Internet access, snacks and a look at the iconic films shot in Utah.

For a more immersive exploration into the future of storytelling and technology, check out live performances and augmented reality experiences as part of the New Frontier program. A total of 20 virtual reality experiences and 11 installations will be showcased between three venues in Park City.

This year’s festival features four films that were made in Utah. The Sundance Film Festival runs from January 19 – 29.

About the Utah Film Commission
As a part of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the Utah Film Commission markets the entire state as a destination for film, television and commercial production by promoting the use of professional local crew & talent, support services, Utah locations and the Motion Picture Incentive Program. The office also serves as liaison to the film industry, facilitating production needs across the state.
Over 900 films have been produced in Utah, including 127 Hours, Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, Forrest Gump, Lone Ranger, High School Musical and the television series Blood & Oil.