Our guide to Park City's film festival.
That does it for our Sundance Film Festival coverage this year. We ate some good Mexican, we walked up and down Main Street God knows how many times, we toasted with the locals and we even got to chill with Cisco Adler. (Wait, is that a good thing?)
Hope you had a chance to follow our adventure on Twitter, in the Jaunted Flickr Pool and on our Sundance 2008 Map. And just 'cause we're done with the 'dance doesn't mean you shouldn't stick around: We've got lots more fun field trips planned this year.
Sadly, we've fled the icy streets of Park City, but that doesn't mean that Sundance isn't still chugging right along. Though folks are already filtering out of Utah, the fest continues until Sunday. If you're sticking it out, you can actually watch some movies now that there's a bit of breathing room in town.
Tickets are still available for "Black List"--which HBO already picked up--and for "Raisin in the Sun", starring Diddy and Sean Patrick Thomas. You can also get tix for "Sugar", a complex rags-to-riches sports drama from Sundance stars Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.
Saturday is Awards Night, followed by the Awards Night Party at the Park City Racquet Club. Besides the hobnobbing, you can also make plans there for films to see Sunday morning: All the winners will be screened the next day throughout town, and last-minute tickets will be available.
The road to our condo (for the night)
During Sundance, rooms at the Yarrow Hotel start at $400 a night. Given that the Yarrow is about as swank as some suburban Comfort Inns we've stayed at, that really sucks. So how did we beat the system? Couchsurfing Park City.
We'll admit, it wasn't easy to find a place to crash; lodging is tight when 50,000 people descend on a town of 8,000. But as the film fest continues this week, more and more people will be heading out, leaving floor space and couches--and maybe even some bedrooms--wide open. It's up to you to scam your way into those spots.
Our first few tries didn't pan out. One friend who was in town on business couldn't host us per company rules. Another pal was too busy working to even meet up for a drink, let alone put us up for the night. A few random emails to some random people we found on the Internet didn't even net replies.
Just when we were getting really nervous about finding a spot, a friend of a friend called up offering a couch at a condo on Deer Valley Drive. Perfect! The spot was on a few bus routes and provided some people to party with.
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The airline set up shop at the Village at the Yard, which is basically a star-friendly gifting lounge. While we were there, Jessica Alba, Method Man, Perez Hilton and Mischa Barton ex Cisco Adler all dropped by to look through the swag.
And while we had other things happening later that night, VA's Charles Ogilvie kept working the party circuit. Turns out Paris Hilton loves WiFi and wants to try out Virgin's new in-flight system when it debuts. She must not have heard that you can IM from one of JetBlue's planes!
Film is obviously the main event this week, but other video art is on show at the New Frontier on Main. Works ranging from Jennifer Steinkamp's Mike Kelley Trees, above, to interactive video sculpture from Daniel Rozin are free and open to everyone in an underground space in the Frontier on Main mall.
The most fascinating exhibit--to us anyway--was a video/photo montage by ©ause Collective. Created in Oakland, it stitches together YouTube-style self portraits of the community into a larger picture of the city. Along the Way had us mesmerized.
Also cool was an installation by Hasan Elahi. The artist who started lifecasting after he says he ended up on an FBI watchlist, has collected a bunch of photos of airports, bathrooms, planes and signage from around the globe. It's total travel porn, and we love it.
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In pricey Park City, the deal of deals is the $2 tall boy of PBR at Bistro 412. Now, normally the restaurant and bar is a perfectly refined American brasserie with stuff like steak frites, salads and cocktails like French 75s and Kir Royales.
But after a day on the slopes, all the snowboarders in town like to head to the upstairs bar for one of the town's biggest selections of liquor. Bistro 412 also has lots of local beer on tap, which is always a hit in a ski town.
The aforementioned beer bargain, though, is what really draws the trouble makers. (And creates just the scene you should be looking for.) During Sundance you'll have to get there early to carve out a spot at the bar, but somehow we don't think you'll mind starting happy hour a little early: We didn't!
If you've waited till now to find your Sundance tickets, you're sorta in trouble as availability is limited. But don't fear: You'll still be able to see lots of screenings. It'll just take a bit of patience and a willingness to give some underexposed films a chance. Good thing that's what Sundance is about.
The first stop you'll wanna make is the Gateway Center. The little mall near the transit center and Main Street is the main box office for the fest. A giant poster with all the films is set up, and those screenings with seats are clearly marked "available." You'll pay $15 for individual tickets, but you won't mind because you came to Park City to watch movies.
Your next option is day-of sales. Every morning at 8 am a few tickets for that day's shows are released to early birds. You have a good chance of scoring these because most people in town for the festival are too hungover at 8 in the morning to be out of bed.
If you want the true Sundance experience, you'll seek out a theater rather than a particular film and line up for wait-list tickets. Starting two hours before the show, you can pick up a number then go have lunch or whatever. Come back about 30 minutes before showtime to talk film with your fellow line-goers. Bonus: Wait-list tix are "only" $10.
Lastly, if you're with the accredited press--there's about a thousand of you--check out the listing of press and industry screenings. (You can find a guide to those shows at press HQ at the Park City Marriott.) Press people are also entitled to one public screening ticket per day; request it a day in advance of the show you're interested in.
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Between Thursday morning and Thursday night, roughly four bazillion people packed into Park City. Our plan to ride out the crush for dinner tables was to snag a seat at a bar somewhere and quickly make friends with the bartender by talking about snowboarding. Too bad you could hardly get into a restaurant on Main Street let alone cozy up to the staff.
Maybe it was naive of us to think that we'd be able to walk right in to some hot spot after all the LA wannabes got to town. (Sample overheard phone call: "NO! You need to get Spielberg on the phone and talk to HIM.") But we didn't think we'd be hiking all over the place just to grab some grub.
Fortunately, we stumbled across Taste of Saigon in a little shopping mall on lower Main. The place was pretty dead, but we love Vietnamese food, so we thought, Why not? By the time we were finishing up our Bun Thit Bo (it's number 9 on the dinner menu), group after group of famished Sundance types were pouring in.
Now, Taste of Saigon isn't Buddakan and the mini mall atmosphere leaves a bit to be desired. But the food was really good. And, hey, you can actually walk in and get dinner: Imagine that!
With so many people trying to see so many films (207!), Park City's tapped about just about every venue in town that can seat more than a few dozen people. While that's good for film buffs, it also makes it confusing to figure out where you're supposed to see what. Here's a handy guide to the biggest theaters, all of which are mapped out on our Sundance 2008 Map.
Eccles Center is the city's biggest venue, with 1,270 seats. It was built 10 years ago, and frequently hosts cultural events, so Sundance screenings are old hat for the staff. You'll find it within walking distance of festival HQ at the Park City Marriott. You can also get there via the Park City Transit 1 and 5 buses. 1750 Kearns Blvd.
The iconic Egyptian Theatre sits right on Main Street, and you shouldn't have any trouble finding it. (Look for the flash bulbs.) Robert Redford kicked off the festival today with a press conference at this 1926 landmark. Your best bet for getting there is via foot from the Old Town Transit Center, which is served by all bus routes. 328 Main St.
The Yarrow Hotel Theatre is really just a converted conference/ball room at the hotel. That said, crews have tricked out the space with stadium seating and a legit projection booth. The press screening of In Bruges will play tonight, with other industry-only showings continuing through Sundance. Take the 1 or 2 bus. 1800 Park Ave.
Holiday Village Cinemas has three screens of programming to offer, making it a likely stop for most festival-goers. During the year, this is a normal multi-plex, so you know what to expect. It's right down the block from the Yarrow. 1776 Park Ave.
[Photo: Atelier Teee]
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We had a chance today to get out to the slopes before the Sundance insanity begins in earnest. And though it was pretty damn cold out there, it was an awesome day for riding. With everyone flitting around town making final preps for the film festival, we were still carving corduroy at 11:30.
PCMR started a new thing this year: The resort's divided its massive amount of terrain into "MountainZones," which are manageable chunks that each give a nice mix of beginner to expert slopes. When you've only got a few hours to spend, this is really helpful; you don't get overwhelmed by the size of the place and can focus on enjoying yourself.
We spent most of our day rocking the Bonanza zone, where the lift lines were non-existent and the terrain didn't kill us. We also ducked into the Summit House restaurant (elevation 9,250 feet!) and had a chance to warm up by the roaring fireplace.
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The Spur may have an address on Main Street, but the door is down this sinister alleyway, which we'd like to think keeps yuppies away. (As this is Park City, it probably doesn't work too well.) Still, this live music-and-cowboy cookin' bar is a nice place to warm up after walking up and down the main drag.
At the bar, a couple of TVs had college basketball on, though one was tuned to a Fuel TV show about skateboarding in Israel. When we stopped in, the music act hadn't yet taken the (small) stage, but judging by the number of banjos, fiddles and guitars, it promised to be a wild night.
We weren't feeling too famished, so we opted for a peppered beef quesadilla off the small plates menu. Not much later, an itsy plate appeared. Maybe we shouldn't have been surprised--they did say "small"--but most Tex Mex/cowboy places we've ever been to serve up enough food to feed a family. Portion disappointment aside, it was a really good quesadilla.
The Spur has live music on the schedule for every night of Sundance, so if you're looking for more cowbell, this is the place.
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We went for a little walk down Main Street yesterday, scouting out the big locations for upcoming Sundance action. By the late afternoon, the sidewalks were already packed with film fest staff and other industry types drastically underdressed for the single digit temperatures. But, hey, they looked like they were having fun!
Along the way, we scoped the WireImage studio, where all the stars are set to get their official Sundance snaps taken. (It'll also be a Delta lounge.) And after a long walk, there's nothing better than a beer. We stopped in the Wasatch Brew Pub, where they serve up Polygamy Porter; we opted for the seasonal Superior Ale instead.