Sundance: last-minute tips for festival attendeesJan 20, 2023 11:23AM ● By Jenniffer Wardell
A little pre-planning can help everything go smoother.
That’s definitely the case with the Sundance Film Festival, which officially kicks off this weekend. Whether you’re planning to watch the festival offerings in-person at a Salt Lake venue or have some online options scheduled, here are a few notes to help make the process as smooth and interesting as possible.
If you’re going in person
All of this year’s tickets are on the Sundance app, so make sure you have the 2023 app download and test it to make sure you’re comfortable using the various features. If your data coverage is spotty, or if you just have a phobia of awkwardly holding up lines, take a screenshot of the ticket’s QR code before you get to the theater. It will scan just as easily as the QR code and isn’t dependent on Wi-Fi or data.
Arriving at the theater
Festival rules state that you have to be in line at least 15 minutes before the movie starts, but since seating is first-come, first-served you’re going to want to be there a lot faster. If you have a ticket you won’t miss the screening, but there’s a chance you’ll end up sitting in the very back corner of the theater. If you care about where you sit for the movie, earlier is better than later.
This is especially true at Gateway, where one screening will actually be held in multiple theaters. This won’t affect your viewing of the movie itself, but if you’ve paid for a live Q&A you’re going to want to get there early enough to get a seat in the designated primary theater. Those in the alternate theaters will get the Q&A simulcast to them as it happens.
If you’re watching online
Watching Sundance from the comfort of your own home has its advantages, but there are also some drawbacks. Though the short films and indie episodic lineup will be available from the start of the festival, the feature films won’t be available until Jan. 24. When they do become available you have until Jan. 29 to watch them, but once you hit play you only have five hours before you lose access for good. For the indie episodic lineup you have 12 hours, and for the short films there isn’t any limit.
Check your requirements
While you can access your online selections from either their program page or your festival schedule, you also need a TV or computer that won’t glitch up on you. Your PCs need at least Windows 10, and tablets need either Chrome or Safari depending on the brand. Smart TVs can handle it if they have the Sundance Film Festival Player TV app, but screen mirroring won’t be an option no matter what you use. For more specific details, visit https://festival.sundance.org/how-to-fest/how-to-watch/online-screening-window-rules.
Between the weather, the roads, and the crowds, it’s hard for even in-person festival goers to make it all the way up to Park City. Thankfully, Sundance is filming several of this year’s Beyond Film talks and putting them online starting Jan. 24 at 8 a.m. (the Collab Spotlight Event will go online Jan. 26 at 5:30 p.m.). Most of the talks will be available until Jan. 29, and you can watch them either by going to their Beyond Film page or signing in to festival.sundance.org and adding them to your favorites list. It’s a great way to experience the heart of the festival without having to drive all the way to Park City.
Cutline: Seating at Sundance Film Festival venues is first-come, first-serve. Arrive early if you want the best seat. Photo Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival.