Karyn and I added an extra day to our Alt Summit experience and planned a day in Park City, UT to attend the Sundance Film Festival. A few weeks before our trip, I bought tickets to a remake of Wuthering Heights in the ticket lottery, so we were all set to enjoy the festival experience.
On Sunday morning, we hopped into the rented Subaru and headed north. It snowed the night before, so the scenery was beautiful.
Snow-covered mountains, dry roads, and hardly any traffic. It was enough to make me giddy with excitement.
As we were parking just off of Main Street, we spotted Paul Giamatti walking along the road. First celebrity sighting and we weren’t even out of the car yet? This was gonna be good.
We decided to find the main box office to pick up our tickets first. Our film was set to start at 3pm and it was getting close to noon. The line at the box office moved pretty quickly, but I was disappointed when I discovered that our film was moved from a Park City theater to one in Ogden, about 2 hours away from Park City. There was no way we’d make it AND we had just arrived to Park City.
The friendly ticket agent happily exchanged my tickets for a film showing later in the evening back in Salt Lake City (literally around the corner from our hotel) called Hello I Must Be Going. With that sorted, we had the whole day in front of us. It was actually way better that we didn’t have a movie right in the middle of the day. We decided to do some exploring and have some lunch.
On our way to lunch, we popped into a bookstore so that Karyn could pick up a book to read on her flight home. I was up front checking out the journals (Hello, I have a paper addiction!) and behind me I could hear her hissing my name. I walked back to see what the commotion was and, hey look! It’s Paul Giamatti!
As we made our way to a little French bistro for lunch, we spotted Jon Heder from Napoleon Dynamite chatting with a friend, John Krasinski being interviewed on a balcony above Main Street, and Olympian Shaun White taking pictures with fans.
The energy and excitement was palpable and you never knew who you might run into.
After lunch we walked down Main Street doing a little window shopping and browsing the boutiques. Karyn was keen on making some contacts to see if anyone wanted to carry her jewelry and I was keen on more celebrity sightings.
We found the Sundance Channel Headquarters and were presented with a pass to get in.
They had a bar and a coffee shop with a lounge where you could sit and watch the live interviews happening in the studio right next door.
Or you could be lucky like us and have Univision conduct an interview right next to you on the sofa. Fun!
Not long after, I heard a very familiar voice say, “What’s Up!” As I turned towards the entrance, Ice-T was being whisked to the studio to be interviewed about his directorial debut at Sundance.
We watched some of his interview before it was time to make our way back to SLC for our film.
We made it to the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, tickets in hand, and waited in line to enter the theater.
The holding area was packed with people, but we only had to wait about fifteen minutes before the doors were opened and we were allowed into the theater.
Once everyone was seated and right before the lights went down, the theater director announced that the film director and screenwriter would hold a Q&A session. I was super-psyched!
The film was adorable and quirky. Set in Connecticut, the story follows a happily married thirtysomething woman who is dumped by her husband. She moves home to sort out her life while dodging the advice of her family. At a dinner her parents host for her father’s client, she meets the client’s son and they strike up an unlikely retationship. Hilarity ensues. The audience really loved it. There was a lot of laughter at all the right moments.
After the credits rolled, the director, screenwriters, producer and two of the main actors came on stage and answered questions asked by the audience. It was a cool experience to hear why the writer added a specific scene or why the director chose the music for the soundtrack. It was really fascinating!
As we exited, we were encouraged to cast our ballot for the Audience Award. We voted by tearing the corner that best represented our opinion. Though the film didn’t win any festival awards, I hope it gets picked up by a distributor so more people can enjoy it.
The festival was a great experience and something that I would like to do again. In Park City, there were events happening all day and well into the evening. Talks, screenings, seminars and parties, there was always something happening. I would love to go back and spend a few days in Park City really soaking in the whole festival experience… maybe if I go to Alt Summit again next year I can add a few extra days to the trip now that I know what to expect.