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Experience Sundance in Salt Lake

January 15, 2019. Salt Lake City – Utah’s capital city is known for its lively brewpubs, its astonishing variety of restaurants, vibrant nightlife and immediate access to endless outdoor recreation. It also happens to be one of the three venues for the annual Sundance Film Festival—along with Park City and Sundance Mountain Resort—and actually hosts nearly half of the films screened during Sundance.

The 10-day festival, running January 24 to February 3, 2019, will welcome more than 124,000 attendees this year and is arguably one of the most important festivals in the world for independent films. John Cooper, the festival’s director, has described this year’s festival as “layered, intense and authentic.” Over the course of the Festival, Sundance’s program includes dramatic and documentary features and short films; series and episodic content; and New Frontier, showcasing emerging media in the form of multimedia installations, performances, and films. The 112 films being featured during the Festival were selected from an astonishing 14,259 submissions.

Salt Lake not only offers six theaters dedicated to the Sundance Film Festival during its run, including the Rose Wagner Center and the 1,000-plus seat Grand Theatre. Salt Lake is the only venue that offers a big city dynamic with countless bars, brewpubs, and restaurants along with hundreds of hotel choices. Pre- and/or post-screenings, visitors can head to performing arts venues, Utah Jazz games, museums, numerous restaurants, and nightclubs, or enjoy a live performance at one of the Sundance Lounges (Lounge at Copper Common or East Liberty Tap House).

A full lineup of art and dance at the Lounge at the Rose adds to filmgoers’ opportunities to become fully immersed in the Sundance Film Festival experience. The Rose Wagner on 300 South offers Tolerance Poster Art Installations; THE BLOCKS Truck, a pop-up screenprinting experience; Sundance Institute’s Creative Tensions on Tolerance conversations on Jan. 31 and Cabaret Shows by SB Dance including Drag Plus on Feb. 1 and Kinky Beasts on Feb. 2.

Utah’s capital city is also Utah’s base camp for the outdoors, just a 40-minute drive from Alta, Brighton, Snowbird and Solitude, four of the greatest winter resorts in the country, each one averaging more than 500 inches of snow each year. One Sundance secret well worth noting is that during the Festival’s run, when industry types are hunkered down in the rituals of Hollywood deal-making, avid skiers and riders have the slopes to themselves.

Started in Salt Lake City in 1978 as the Utah/US Film Festival and rebranded the Sundance Film Festival by Robert Redford in 1991 after moving to Park City a decade earlier, Sundance offers world premieres of dramatic and documentary features as well as short films. This year’s highlights include Viola Davis and Allison Janney in “Troupe Zero,” a comedy about a misfit girl in rural 1977 Georgia; “Velvet Buzzsaw,” an art world thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal; “Late Night,” with Emma Thompson as a late-night talk-show host; and Ashton Sanders in “Native Son,” based on the Richard Wright novel. For the first time in the history of Sundance’s U.S. dramatic competition, more than half of the films in the category will have a female director. For more info, visit the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.  

Visit Salt Lake is a private, non-profit corporation responsible for the promotion of Salt Lake as a vibrant, modern destination brimming with unexpected dining, lodging, nightlife and entertainment options, a destination well suited for convention and leisure travel alike. In partnership with Salt Lake County, Visit Salt Lake’s mission is to improve the area economy by attracting and providing support to conventions, leisure travelers and visitors while being a leader in environmental responsibility.