SUNDANCE - A FESTIVAL VIRGIN'S GUIDE

Attending the Sundance Film Festival

One of the beauties of the Sundance Film Festival is that it's open to everyone. It doesn't matter whether you are a studio boss or a film fan; you pretty much have the same chance of seeing films as anyone else. And compared to the reasonably complex logistics involved in getting yourself to Park City (and more importantly, finding somewhere to stay), attending the festival is refreshingly simple. No compulsory registration or accreditation is required; if you want to see any films, access official venues, or attend festival events, all you have to do is purchase either a ticket (individual or package) or a festival pass.

Individual Screening Tickets
Getting hold of a ticket for a specific screening or panel discussion is pretty straight forward. Once the box-office opens (usually the first week of January), you purchase tickets, either by calling the festival ticket line, visiting the official festival web site (www.sundance.org) and buying online, or simply showing up in person at one of the official festival box-offices.

Ticket Packages
If you are planning to attend more than a handful of screenings, you should consider purchasing one of the festival's multi-ticket packages. This will make your festival visit simpler and will also save you some money at the same time. There are a range of packages available, each of which provide access to a fixed number of screenings for a specified date range during the event.

Festival Passes
For those who want more streamlined access to the event, or just simply want to put off choosing which films to see until later on, the Festival offers a range of passes. Festival passes allow you to casually stride into a screening or panel discussion while the masses huddle out in the cold, waiting to see if they can get a ticket. Well, it's almost that easy. In reality, to guarantee entry to a screening, you must be at the venue at least 15 minutes before the scheduled start time, probably earlier for highly-anticipated screenings.

Film Industry Professionals
Sundance is an important event on the industry calendar, not only for sales agents and acquisitions executives, but also for a host of other people in the industry. Approximately 30% of attendees classify themselves as having some form of industry affiliation. Access to Sundance for industry professionals is available via an industry pass or ticket package. Numbers are limited and attendees must be able to prove their industry affiliation in order to qualify.

Press Accreditation
Sundance is a major media event on the film calendar and each year, the festival welcomes over 800 members of the national and international press corps. Press accreditation is managed by the Festival Press Office and is available to approved members of the print, audio-visual, and online press.

Volunteering
Can't afford a festival package or pass? Not interested in messing around with single tickets? Don't qualify as a member of the press? Never fear, you still have a chance of being able to attend the festival... by volunteering to help out. An event on the scale of the Sundance Film Festival as it is today requires the co-ordinated efforts of a huge number of people, far more than the festival budget could realistically cover. Sundance gets around this labour problem by offering eager beavers (you need to be fairly eager as some of the jobs involve standing outside in the cold and being nice to people for long periods of time) the chance to volunteer to help out.

For the full run-down on attending the Sundance Film Festival, make sure you pick up a copy of Sundance - A Festival Virgin's Guide.