Sundance Film Festival's Celebs & Slopes with Kids
Moms, dads, grandparents, and godparents: Are you looking for a special occasion to dedicate to some one-on-one bonding time with your kid? Check out our series of hip happenings that will give the two of you secrets to share and a ritual to return to year after year.
With Christmas vacations becoming cliché and the inevitable overcrowding of spring break locales, perhaps you should take your mid-winter break in January instead. Save up those snow days and head to Park City, Utah, for the powdery hills and star-studded indie cinema scene at the Sundance Film Festival (January 19-29, 2017).
Miniature filmmakers will delight in the advance releases and new discoveries at Sundance; the early exposure to the industry will initiate them into the biz, if your kid decides to pursue the arts. Either way, attending a film festival together (leaving, of course, plenty of time to hit the slopes too) is a great way to explore what’s new, hip, and happening in the world of independent film.
Bulk Up on Tickets
Sundance releases its lineup in early December, which gives you about six weeks to sort through the schedules and find the movies that you want to see. Whether you’re dying to see the new Tarantino at its advance premiere or you’re following a first-time filmmaker from your town, it’s important to get your tickets in advance to make sure you see all the Sundance you’re looking for.
Buy a festival pass for priority admission to all films, a ticket package that’s good for some screenings, festival parties, and events (a youth pass for kids 18-24 is a pretty good deal in this category) or just sign up for individual tickets as soon as they become available. Check the website to find out what’s right for you.
Be sure to check out the Sundance Kids selection. These films are specifically geared toward a younger audience, yet maintain the quality and independent spirit of the rest of the festival. These films and the shorts programs might be just the ticket for your little ones.
No tickets available for your show? Sign up for the e-waitlist to get notified when more tickets become available.
Although Park City is the home of the festival, it spills over into nearby Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Sundance Mountain Resort. There are shuttles available, but it takes between 30 and 75 minutes for transport, so be sure to schedule your screenings allowing for travel time, too.
Find a Home Base
Once you determine the shows and events you’ll be seeing, find a hotel that’s central to all the action. Shuttles are generally available to the theatres, so as long as your hotel has ample parking, don’t worry about spanning distances across the city.
Sundance’s website offers direct booking at more than 50 hotels and condos. If you book early, you’ll be able to take advantage of great rates in Park City. Coming late to the party? Plan to stay outside of town, or in one of the other participating cities (Salt Lake, Ogden, or Sundance Mountain Resort).
Don’t forget to bring your ski or snowboarding gear. Even if you don’t head for the hills, you’ll want to keep snow pants, fluffy sweaters, and thick jackets on hand for the frigid temps outside and a potential snowball fight. Who can resist that?
Call in Sick
Nope, Sundance doesn’t take place during any major school holidays and the entire festival is 10 days long. Even if you only show up for half the fest, you’re going to need to escape a few days of school and work. So plan ahead, ask teachers about doing homework in advance, and make sure your kid stays responsible over this lengthy, school-free holiday.
On arrival, check in at the festival’s headquarters, the Park City Marriott. Check schedules, retrieve tickets and passes, and find out what’s happening in the city. Discussion panels, concerts, art installations, and fun activities happen all over the city during festival time, so be sure to check it out.
Need some more festival places to browse? The Sundance House at Kimball Arts Center is the place for innovative technology and interactive displays featuring new gadgets and gizmos. ASCAP Music Gallery in the Rich Haines Galleries is where you’ll find concerts and new music in Park City; Salt Lake’s music home is Sicilia Pizza Kitchen.
Take a stroll down Main Street to see the Festival Co-op, where sponsors set up shop with clever activities, fun events, and generous free food. Also on Main Street, step into New Frontier, the interactive visual arts space. Virtual reality, transmedia, and full-scale installations here are well worth the visit.
And when you’re sick of all the film and tech, just jump outside and take a little drive to Park City Mountain Resort or Sundance Mountain Resort to take a lesson and make your way down the bunny hill.
Hooray for Auteurs
Whether you’re a classic film buff, an indie cinema aficionado, or just a regular movie fan looking for a winter escape, attending the Sundance Film Festival is a great way to explore the arts with your child and discover if she dreams of being the next Sofia Coppola. The fresh snow and hot films might even inspire you to get to the movies more often back at home.
With a bit of talent and determination, some careful planning, and a good stock of sick days, this could become your favorite annual escape.
What are some special events your city has to offer? Share your favorite bonding moments with us!
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