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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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How to Sundance: A guide to the ins and outs of Utah?s film festival

By Devin Richey

The Sundance Film Festival 2010

Where: Multiple Utah locations including Salt Lake City, Park City and Sundance Ski Resort
When: Jan. 21 to Jan. 31
Visit or the main ticket office in Trolley Square

Every year since 1978, Utah has hosted the Sundance Film Festival. Since its origin, the festival has become a staple of both independent filmmaking and Utah culture. With film showings throughout the Wasatch Front, university students have many opportunities to experience the festival with little to no travel required.

Because of the festival’s popularity, there are a few essential things to know for the aspiring moviegoer. For many last-minute attendees, there are still ways to get tickets, though they’re sometimes risky. The website warns that “getting tickets to the Sundance Film Festival takes getting your hands dirty. So roll up your sleeves and take some time to research all the options and decide which one is right for you.”

Choosing the film

At this stage, ticket hunters should know exactly which films and screenings they are vying to attend. The official Sundance website provides a useful film guide, movie notes and a list of screening locations and times for each showing. People who enjoy seeing or meeting celebrities will have the most luck by attending the first screening of the movie, arriving early to stand in line for extra tickets while scoping out the audiences for familiar faces. Some confirmed guests for this year include Tommy Lee Jones and Ben Affleck, but there are rumors that other celebrities such as Katie Holmes and Bill Murray could attend as well.

Getting the ticket

Once you know what you intend to see at the festival, you have a few options for obtaining tickets to one or more of this year’s showings. For less-hyped films that lack big-name celebrities and aren’t expected to sell out, the best option is to wait until the open ticket sales begin Jan. 18 and purchase them online, at the theater’s box office or Trolley Square.

The difficulty of obtaining tickets increases tremendously for more popular movies, controversial films and screenings that celebrities are known to be attending. The most legitimate option for seeing these films is through the wait-list system. To make it onto the wait list, potential customers must arrive at the screening early8212;two hours before the scheduled showtime8212;to be given a number. Half an hour before the movie, people with the earliest numbers on hand will be able to pay8212;cash only8212;for seats until the event is sold out. The cost is $15 per ticket, but competition is high for certain films. Although it is a risk, lining up for the extra tickets is as much a popular part of the Sundance tradition as the films themselves.

Risky business

As with all major events, ticket scalpers and people stuck with unwanted nonrefundable tickets are eager to sell to last-minute patrons. This is the least-recommended method of getting a ticket, as the sources are not reputable and could provide a fraudulent product. They are to be purchased at the buyer’s own risk. These tickets can be found on popular classifieds lists such as’s and the Salt Lake City Craigslist website. People can also be found selling tickets in front of the show’s venue, but they often sell tickets at prices that are multiples of the original value.

However attendees get their Sundance tickets, it is sure to be an enthralling experience for Utahns.

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