The Sundance Film Festival, the celebration of independent films that has unfolded each year in snowy Park City, Utah, since 1978, is basically a cinephile's dream come true.
This is what Park City looks like before the people arrive and make it impossible to walk down Main Street.
As member of the press, you're given a press pass, which gets you into the Press & Industry screenings, and 10 tickets for public screenings.
Even with the P&I and public screening tickets, you end up spending a huge chunk of each day waiting in line.
Much of the time, you're standing in heated tents.
You see a lot of movies. A LOT.
At the public screenings, there are Q&As with the creative team and talent behind the movie.
There are also all sorts of interesting panels going on throughout Park City at the same time.
There's also something called New Frontier, which is a series of interactive experiences.
Here are some members of the press using Oculus Rift wraparound headsets.
You will get lost. Often.
It's not Sundance until you've seen a Duplass brother, James Franco, or Ethan Hawke.
Check and check.
Food is a precious thing.
I was lucky to snag an invitation for two to the opening night ChefDance, a five-night dinner party series that is invite-only and which features a four-course meal, cocktails, and lots of wine. The chef was from the Church Key in Los Angeles and he prepared a fantastic menu that you can see above. It was a respite from the granola bars or concession stand offerings that most of your meals end up being as you rush from screening to screening. And I did manage to grab lunch at the fantastic Yuki Yama Sushi one day. (For the record, that's a Bruce Lee Roy roll: spicy albacore, avocado, shishitos, topped with lightly seared wagyu beef, crispy shallots, green onion, black sea salt, and truffle garlic ponzu.)
You meet all sorts of interesting people (and animals).
There's a whole side of Sundance that you likely won't even see while you're at the festival.
And then it's time to leave.
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