Watching Movies in the Mountains
I fell in love with Park City, Utah in 2010. But not because of its legendary status as a skiing destination (it consistently ranks as one of the Top 10 Ski Resorts in North America). I don’t even enjoy winter sports, especially in the cold. No, what brought me to Park City – and brings me back every January – is the Sundance Film Festival. Park City has hosted the celebrated film festival, founded by award-winning actor and director Robert Redford, since 1985. Redford established the Sundance Institute (which produces the festival) in 1981 to encourage independence, risk-taking, and new voices in film. As a not-for-profit organization, the Institute’s goal is to discover, support, and inspire independent film, media and theatre artists from around the globe, and to introduce audiences to their work. Redford first experienced Utah on a motorcycle trip in the late 1970s. Enchanted by the beauty he discovered, he purchased 5000 acres and named the land Sundance, after his role in the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. He then opened the Sundance Mountain Resort to the public and designated a vast majority of his land as a wilderness preserve.
For more than 35 years, the Sundance Film Festival has attracted writers, actors, producers, directors and movie enthusiasts from all over the world. Filmgoers are introduced to groundbreaking work, often from previously unknown artists. While helping to support independent film making, the festival has become the ultimate gathering of original storytellers and audiences seeking new voices and fresh perspectives. As a festival attendee, I typically watch three or four movies per day. I’ve seen world premieres of memorable narrative films and documentaries (one of my favorites last year was The Truffle Hunters), many of which go on to win international awards. And yes, in addition to some fantastic films, I’ve also seen movies that will never make my list of favorites. Besides films, there is a variety of educational events and fun parties to get tickets for, and I’ve had the opportunity to see stars like Taylor Swift, Timonthee Chalamet, Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin who have come to town to support their films. But while star gazing is an entertaining past time, what inspires me each year is that the Sundance Film Festival provides emerging artists with a venue for sharing their work with an audience they wouldn’t have reached otherwise.
Park City is located about 35 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport. Besides being home to one of the world’s most notable film festivals, it offers visitors small-town charm, world class skiing, a vibrant arts scene, and a historic Old Town filled with restaurants and boutiques. Whether you want to enjoy the slopes, take in the scenic beauty of the surrounding mountains, or lose yourself to the magic of cinema, Park City is like no other mountain town in the U.S.
Written By Melissa Dyrdahl