Every year in mid-January, a mass migration to Utah happens: Critics, filmmakers, industry people, and celebrity hunters head to the mountainous ski resort town of Park City, about 30 miles from Salt Lake City, where the Sundance Film Festival — a 10-day marathon of screenings, panels, talks, events, parties, and more — takes place.
Sundance is a lot of things: It’s an exhibition for the most exciting independently produced films from the US and around the world; an early predictor of the year’s movie trends; a networking hub for filmmakers and other talent looking to break into the movie business; a forum for discussing issues and groundbreaking technologies that affect film and media; a place to spot celebrities in puffy jackets and furry boots; and a palate cleanser after the hectic fall movie season.
The festival straddles two worlds: the big-name, award-winning movie world and the scrappy indie film world. So paying attention to it is a good way to catch the first inklings of Oscar buzz and to get a sense of the issues and topics that are motivating filmmakers and audiences.
Put simply, for people who love movies, Sundance is one of the most exciting events of the year. There’s the feeling in the air that any movie could be a breakout hit, any talent could become the next star. Anything can happen in Park City.