Welcome to one of the most successful global events the in the Wasatch Mountains — the Sundance Film Festival.
More than 60,000 guests swarmed Park City for 10 consecutive days of film screening, panel attending, networking, transporting, parking, dining, lodging and celebrating.
Salt Lake Community College was included in the festivities for the second year, as approximately 20,000 visitors swooped in for two full weekends of dining, snacking, parking, ticket-line waiting and screening of 20 film premieres.
The 2016 edition of Utah’s own Sundance Film Festival hit high marks with global attendees for one of the best film festival experiences in the world.
Along with the consistent and exceptional efforts from local volunteers and staff, even mother nature contributed winter snow perfect for skiing.
However, a common complaint from patrons is actually a byproduct of the festival’s growing pains of success.
The increasingly popular event brings exponential attendance and thus, limited parking. Yet, thanks to forward-thinking community, government and festival planners, the free festival bus ran nearly 24 hours to offer quick and convenient travel to venue thresholds.
Sundance’s revolutionary electronic waiting list, accessible through any digital internet device, also cut down significantly on unnecessary travel.
Limited parking was a non-issue at the Grand Theatre, which just completed its second successful season as a Sundance venue.
Like a “festival within the festival”, the Grand Theatre offers the best of both worlds — the ambiance of the big screen experience in a breathtakingly classical theater.
With around 1,100 seats, the theater housed in South City Campus — which has ample parking when students are not attending school on weekends — has become a hidden jewel of the festival for many.
Patrons appreciate the flexibility of remaining warm and dry while mingling inside at the art exhibit, snacking from vendors while in waiting line, or dining in the Student Forum next to the Food Court.
The staff and volunteers also do their part to make the venue top-notch as The Grand experience.
Dallas, Texas native Ron Klausner decided to bring his family along to enjoy the festival through the entire week at the Grand while he is working in town.
“My wife and two daughters came along and this [was] our first experience [at the Grand],” Klausner says. “They really enjoyed it and ‘Goat’ was really good.”
He also mentioned that his family enjoyed all the amenities the Grand had to offer, including hot and fresh food.
One suggestion for future festivals came from a motion picture sound designer from Mexico City.
Leonardo Heiblum, who co-founded Audioflot Studios with his partner Jacobo Lieberman, composes sound for motion pictures, including the recently acclaimed film “Maria Full of Grace.”
Heiblum, who was at Sundance to promote his film score for “Plaza de la Soledad,” gently posed the question, “Why is there no songwriting award at any of these festivals? They have awards for editing and lighting. Why not composing songs for films?”
Lieberman said he will watch and wait in the hopes of competing for such an award in the near future — maybe even next year, at Sundance Film Festival 2017.