Sunrise, Sundance: 5 things you need to know about the reigning king of indie film festivals kicking off 2013 with snow and superstardom galore

Posted on January 17, 2013


582710_10152462838505565_1647600484_nGetting to Sundance is simple enough. Head there by plane, train, bus or automobile. You will find yourself in the middle of indie madness before you can imagine it. Strategizing where to stay, party, eat and sleep is completely more complicated.

Here are the basics though:

1) It is cold here. Wear layers:

With highs in the upper 20s this week and lows in the teens I’d advise you consider layers. Snow has blanketed the mountains & streets. It is beautiful out here, actually. But if you are not VIP, industry or have not maneuvered a complicated & difficult ticketing system you may be utilizing the ‘wait in line 2 hours before the film you want to see’ method of watching films. Many even after jumping through the hoops of pre-registering for a “time slot” to purchase tickets have come up empty-handed with films they really want to see. There are lots of goodies, though, so it is worth it.

Here is a list of what is playing

2) It’s expensive here. Bring lots of cash:

From lodging in Park City even into Salt Lake you are gonna drop some dollars. You can find accommodations if you look, though. Just not inexpensive accommodations. Stay in Park City if you want to be in the middle of it all. Good luck finding a spot though. Many places have been sold out for months. If you want to attend the parties, afterparties and special screenings you will be dropping thousands. Beware—even one ticket will set you back $15. Forget about buying tickets online at this point, though. That expired last December. Look on Craigslist or try just going to the theater and ask if anyone has an extra. At a restaurant, just now, I overheard fresh staff being told “We have no specials at ALL during Sundance.” So much for discounts. Raking in the dough is just simply the way they roll here.

Ticket information is at

3) Prepare to see good films. Prepare to see some stars.

13028-1Sure I want to see Don Jon’s Addiction starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, and Julianne Moore. “Jon Martello objectifies everything in his life: his apartment, his car, his family, his church, and, of course, women. His buddies even call him Don Jon because of his ability to pull ’10s’ every weekend without fail. Yet even the finest flings don’t compare to the transcendent bliss he achieves alone in front of the computer watching pornography.” Premiering at the Eccles Theatre in Park city Jan. 18 at 6:30 p.m.. For ticket information go to

But I also want to see Ashton Kutcher in jOBS, a story about Steve Jobs; Amanda Seyfried, in Lovelace, as story about before Deep Throat became a cultural phenomenon that took a multitude of risks, one with a porn star named Linda Lovelace; Nicole Kidman in Stoker, Naomi Watts and Robin Wright in Two Mothers; Dakota Fanning in Very Good Girls, a story about ‘best friends—introspective Lilly and free-spirited Gerry—spend their last summer at home in New York City before parting ways for college. The girls meet Brooklyn boy David, whom they both fall for, and Lilly soon begins a secret relationship with him.’

I can’t wait to see the sweeping story of the birth of a movement — 99%—The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film,; also Citizen Koch—”The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010 lifted a century-long ban on restricted corporate election spending, unleashing a new era of unbridled special-interest campaign finance. Citizen Koch examines the mushrooming struggle between money and democracy through the dramatic lens of the 2011 standoff in Wisconsin.”

I also will be looking to enjoy God Loves Uganda, Life According to Sam, Manhunt, Twenty Feet to Stardom, Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes, Touchy Feely, Upstream Color, Google and the World Brain, Pussy Riot—A Punk Prayer, The Gatekeepers, It Felt Like Love, The World According to Dick Cheney, Ass Backwards, We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, Social Butterfly, Outlawed in Pakistan and When I Walk.

Of course, you will not be able to see everything as many of the shows overlap in numerous theaters. So choose carefully.

4) If you can’t stand the sight of stars, wear blinders. They are everywhere.

Trot past the snowboarding hippies, film nerds and rich partiers and there will be a ton of recognizable faces from the silver screen here. Below is just a sampling of stars expected to attend. So if celebrity-gazing isn’t your thing, be sure to watch out for the following culprits; Scarlett Johansson, Felicity Jones, Mariel Hemingway, Morgan Spurloc, Alfred Molina, Ellen Page, James Franco, Amy Ryan, Amanda Seyfried, Forest Whitaker, Kate Bosworth, Ethan Hawke, Amy Poehler, Sarah Silverman, Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman, Juno Temple, Bill Pullman, Radha Mitchell, Casey Wilson, Alicia Keys, Shia LaBeouf, Steve Carell, Jason Isaacs, Michael C. Hall, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Paul Rudd, Naomi Watts, Isaiah Washington, Danai Gurira, Mia Wasikowska, Ellen Page, David Sedaris, Henry Thomas, Guy Pearce, Tim Blake Nelson, Rutger Hauer, Maya Rudolph, Matthew Goode, Kathryn Hahn, Alison Brie, Ed Harris, Mamie Gummer,  Lake Bell, Anthony Edwards, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Brit Marling, Ben Foster, Ron Livingston, Stephenie Meyer, January Jones, Kristen Bell, Dave Grohl, Daniel Radcliffe, Shailene Woodley, Julia Ormond, Octavia Spencer, Evan Rachel Wood, Sharon Stone, Dermot Mulroney, Demetri Martin, Jennifer Hudson, Jordin Sparks and Holly Hunter are all expected to be in town. Oh, and Robert Redford.

546889_10152361569060565_1658711212_n5) Be sure to check out films at Fort Myers Film Festival this year.

The weather is way better and the films are just as good—and, better at times. One local here said “before Sundance got big we actually used to go down there. But it is nuts now.” Another on a trolly who has been here since the beginning sighed and said “here we go again.” At least Fort Myers is fresh and exciting for the locals. And they support their local filmmaker. Be sure to checkout a younger festival for the warmth of open doors, little hassle and great films. For more information go to Tickets are only $5 for films there and the opening night gala tickets are only $19. Don’t pass it up.

Eric Raddatz is the Presentation Editor for Florida Weekly, the founder of the Fort Myers and Naples film festivals in Florida and a first-time attendee at Sundance—which while he is very excited about, will still swear is still not as good at the Fort Myers Film Festival in many ways.

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