Last month I danced my first dance at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT. Those that are aware Sundance was started by infamous Robert Redford back in 1969. It’s an event where indie film makers showcase their work. It first started with short films and has now grown into documentaries and full-fledged movies. Some of the films feature no-big time actors. This independent films are shown to big wig studios who can then bid on the film. HBO, Netflix and Amazon just to name a few.
Sundance has grown into a stylish event where you can mix and mingle with the elite and network with people across all different industries.
I decided to take my mom to Sundance as her Christmas present and because one of my girl friend’s that lives in Park City was very familiar with how it worked, I relied on her for all the details. You can buy Film Packages ranging from $600-$3,000. With those packages come a credential badge which will get you access to different venues with panels from different actors, food and drinks. Also with the pass, comes a bundle of movie tickets. Individual tickets can be bought at a steep price of $27 per movie ticket. If you are looking for something a little less expensive, then you can always volunteer. They accept applicants from all over. You can work several different jobs ranging from scanning tickets to escorting celebrities. As a volunteer, you can get movie tickets for free!
Where we stayed
As I mentioned earlier, one of my best friend’s lives in Park City, UT. About 10 minutes away from all the action. She was kind enough to let both my mom and me stay at her home. Her house is conveniently located near one the shuttle stops. I’ll talk about this more later on.
If you need to book a hotel room, I suggest you book it early as rooms can sell out fast. However, a lot of people that we met in PC rented a large house and split the cost between friends. So it’s nice to know that you have options!
This is where all of the action takes place. All of the little boutique shops, art galleries, and furniture stores are bought out by huge companies such as Amazon and are turned into lounges. Some of these lounges are open to the public, while others you need to be on a “list”. My favorite lounges were the Chase Sapphire Lounge and the Stella Artois Lounge. Chase had plenty of hot food, virtual reality games, happy hour and panel sessions. You will need a Chase Sapphire credit card to access the lounge. Stella Artois was fabulous, a DJ, a coffee stand, and a mini bakery shop. The famous Egyptian Theater can also be found on Main Street.
I am super fortunate that my girl friend and her husband live in Park City, not far off from Main Street
Where we ate:
Apex at the Montage: The Montage is the creme-de la creme of hotels in Park City. The drive-way into the property sparkles with glowing trees. Apex was not our first choice of all the restaurants at the Montage. However the food was good! We shared the roasted beet salad, the short rib and cheddar grits and mac & cheese. My filet mignon was cooked to perfection. While the food was great, I felt like we were constantly being harassed by the server and sommelier. Like for the 10th time, no I do not want to add truffle to my steak. No I do not want a $100 bottle of wine. The atmosphere was cozy and warm with vaulted ceilings and fireplaces. I would visit the Montage again for their spa and their daily s’mores. Cost: $$$
Chef’s Dance: A special event tailor-made for Sundance. Over the course of four days is a prixe-fixed menu created by different chefs each night. This overly priced ticket was a huge disappointment. The whole thing was very disorganized and the food was sub-par at best. There are too many great restaurants in Park City for anyone to waste $500 and four hours of their time.
Deer Valley Grocery Cafe: This is the perfect place to escape the craziness that is Sundance. Low-key and the food is straight to the point. The smoked salmon board is killer and fantastic in every way! Cost: $
Goldener Hirsch: Super cute restaurant that gives off a vibe of an old people’s home. But the staff is extremely friendly, the service was excellent and the food was tasty. Make sure to order the Croque Madame and the bloody mary. Cost: $
J & G Grill-St. Regis Park City: If you are looking for a spot near the slopes, this would be the place for you. You can sit outside near the fire pits and enjoy the PC mountain scenery. Cost: $$
Stein Eriksen: Views upon views. This old school lodge is exactly what you would find in the 80s. Weird colored carpets and cherry wood trim all over the place. But that is neither here nor there. The buffet is fucking amazing. The spread is endless and the omelet station is mouth-watering. Cost: $$
What we did
Outside of going to a few screenings, we enjoyed the lounges and went to some of the private venues our passes could get us into. One of them was the ASCAP Cafe, where they have daily live performance. One of them was Siedah Garrett, who wrote “Man in the Mirror” for Michael Jackson. She brought the mother-effing house down. I swear I thought I was in church sermon, with everyone singing out loud and waiving their hands in the air. Check her out!
Chase Sapphire also hosted a party at their lounge which had an open bar from 8pm – 11pm with live music. People from Salt Lake City drive into town just to attend this party.
We were fortunate enough to snag movie tickets to the premiere film, “Blindspotting”. A hard-hitting, yet comedic film about two best friends that are black and white and their lives growing up together. This film kicked off Sundance and was presented by the man himself, Robert Redford.
Eye spied with my little eye Paul Rudd, Debra Messing, John Legend, Issa Rae and Octavia Spencer. Just to name a few! Main Street was flooded with celebrities and what’s wild was that they didn’t have tons of security around them. They were there to promote their film and mingle. I don’t think I have ever been around so many celebrities that were actually so normal. So keep your eyes wide open.
Everyone at Sundance is incredibly stylish and comfortable. I stalked Pinterest for months try to put together a collage of different outfits. I finally settled on turtle necks, chic hats, and faux fur coats. Ladies- note to selves, DO NOT WEAR HEELS! You will be walking in tons of snow and ice, going up hill and down hill. You lose credibility as soon as you’re busted for falling. It’s not worth it.
Mom and I both had a blast and are planning attend next year. Even if you aren’t a huge movie buff there are still plenty of things to do during Sundance. Everyone is so friendly and nice, you’ll enjoy yourself no matter what