The Sundance Film Festival 2023, in its heyday, was the place to see and be seen. Even Vinny from Entourage brought his gang to “little Hollywood” to connect with producers, managers, writers and other filmmakers during the celebration of independent filmmaking in Park City, Utah. The opening weekend of the 10-day event was a constant rager in the early 2000s; with gifting lounges, filmmaker brunches, red carpets, and film school mingles filling up venues on both sides of Main Street; of course there was the random movie screening thrown in for good measure. Even before Covid, city officials eager to curb the chaos within city limits created curfews, rental restrictions, federal laws prevented VIPs from taking expensive swag without declaring it on their taxes and Sundance organizers squashed outside “sponsors” from piggybacking on their turf. Anyone remember all of the fringe “dances”? Lapdance, Xdance, Tromadance, NoDance, Slumdance, and the sole survivor- Slamdance?
Then, the Covid pandemic did its thing and wiped out all standards in its wake. The Fest went virtual, sponsors dropped out, Park City in January went ghost town and celebs found different ways to attract attention.
This year, however, the in-person Sundance experience is back, the town is primed and onlookers wonder what this iteration will bring. Press releases are touting a list of attendees that include:
Anne Hathaway, Cynthia Erivo, Penelope Cruz, Emilia Clarke, Jason Momoa, Stephen Dorff, Daisy Ridley, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jonathan Majors, Jeremy Allen White, Dakota Johnson, Sarah Snook, Gael Garcia Bernal, Alexander Skarsgård, Teyana Taylor, Ben Platt, Jennifer Connolly, Eve Hewson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Phoebe Dynevor, Randall Park, Nicholas Braun, David Jonsson, Stephen Dorff, Jason Genao, Bella Thorne, Karrueche Tran, Michael J. Fox, Tracy Pollan Fox, Ryan Coogler, Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth Banks, Thembi Banks, Amandla Stenberg Marlee Matlin, Adam Lambert, Mike O’Hearn, Will Ferrell, Moby, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Radha Mitchell. Actors, directors, writers who have movies screening at Sundance and still others will come just to play in the snow and tease paparazzi.
Other Sundance Film Festival 2023 Shenanigans
Beyond a spot for actors to strut, Park City provides the ideal location for big brands to establish cozy havens where they can cater to VIPs with hot beverages and snacks, while getting their name networked. In the past, we’ve seen Lyft, Grey Goose, Google, Sony, ICM, IMDB, Fuji, Stella Artois, L’Oreal, Acura, Canada Goose, MoviePass, DirecTV, Southwest Airlines. Some of the spaces these brands establish welcome the general public. Others require a name on a list. These are what are known so far.
Address provided upon RSVP, daily from Jan. 20-22
The Shabbat Lounge returns to Sundance with a program of events that include Friday night Shabbat dinner, a Friday night Oneg Soirée, Saturday L’Chaim Cholent Chill, Saturday night Havdalah concert and a Sunday Jewish filmmakers and friends brunch. (RSVP required: shabbatlounge.org.)
Ericka Nicole Malone Entertainment’s Indie Director’s and Creator’s Spotlight
The Cabin, 427 Main St., Friday, Jan. 20, 10 a.m.-11 p.m.
The invite-only event is a day-to-night activation that celebrates diversity in filmmaking with a program that features conversations, networking, performances and entertainment. Confirmed panelists and performers include Ericka Nicole Malone, Tabitha Brown, Matty Rich, Craig Ross Jr., Wendy Raquel Robinson, Vanessa Estelle Williams, Sha’leah Nikole, Alfred Jackson, Keith Robinson, Angie Stone and more. The scene will feature light bites, warm beverages, cocktails, mocktails, gifting and sounds by DJ Q-Nice. From 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., the venue will transform into a “neo-soul lounge” with live performances by Robinson, Nikole, Jackson and Stone.
408 Main St., daily Jan. 20-22
During the fest’s first weekend, Sommsation will offer a limited number of curated sommelier-led wine tasting experiences for wine lovers and Sundance attendees to book from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily and can be booked via Concierge@Sommsation.com. In addition to the tastings, Sommsation will host private industry events, movie premieres, junkets and panels at the Sommsation Lounge and will be sponsoring several events throughout the fest.
Audiences Want Climate Stories
The Box at The Ray, 1768 Park Ave., 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Join the Redford Center for an interactive session that features filmmakers and industry experts discussing the role indie film plays in the climate movement. Speakers include Megha Agrawal Sood (Doc Society), Jeff Orlowski-Yang (Exposure Labs), Tracy Rector (Nia Tero), Anna Jane Joyner (Good Energy), Jill Tidman (Redford Center), and 2023 Sundance Film Festival featured filmmakers Matthieu Rytz (Deep Rising) and Sophie Barthes (The Pod Generation).
Creators Lounge by Stanley …PUBLIC WELCOME
The Cabin, 427 Main St., daily Jan. 20-22, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
A free activation mounted by the makers of the vacuum-insulated, stylish food/drinkware products to celebrate Sundance with fun activities and beverages in iconic Stanley drinkware. Programming will include a latte art class, build your own hot cocoa bar, aura readings, musical performances (by The National Parks, Bri Ray, DJ Joune, Drew Holcomb and others), poetry readings (in partnership with SLAM) and more.
White Claw Shore Club
608 Main St. in Park City, Jan. 19-22 (Jan. 19: 1-10 p.m.; Jan. 20-22: 11 a.m.–10 p.m.)
The exclusive hard seltzer of Sundance Film Festival 2023, the first White Claw Shore Club be bringing all the Apres Ski vibes to life in a premium lounge experience complete with live performances from emerging musicians, including Abraham Alexander, and immersive works from local artists. White Claw will also debut a new 30-second ad, directed by Laura M. Gonçalves, that will run in between every five films premiering at the fest. Attendees can visit a customizable beanie station, enter exclusive giveaways, or “grab a White Claw and chill.” The White Claw Shore Club will be open to registered attendees; festgoers can access the QR code invite on mini branded snowboards that will be located in several areas throughout Sundance. Must be 21+. More details here.
Access to this venue is by invitation only.
Acura Festival Village & Acura Energy Stage and Energy Lab PUBLIC WELCOME
Acura Festival Village is 480 Swede Alley, ; Acura Energy Lab is 364 Main St., daily programming, Jan. 20-23, 12p-6p. 21+
Fest sponsor Acura will have its largest presence ever as the official vehicle and presenting sponsor of the fest for the 13th consecutive year. New for 2023: Acura has expanded to include two venues supporting the indie creative community with a fleet of Acura MDX and MDX Type S performance SUVs (official vehicle of Sundance) traversing the streets of Park City, Utah, and Acura’s full lineup of performance vehicles on display. The Energy Lab will feature an energized experience with a photo booth and an interactive art installation, complimentary coffee bar, live DJ, phone charging stations. Energy Stage will also feature performances, parties, interactive experiences and interviews with talent.
Canada Goose Basecamp, 558 MAIN ST. , Jan. 20-29, 12-6p PUBLIC WELCOME
Canada Goose invites you to escape from the cold at Basecamp. Explore their retail pop-up, try on iconic styles, learn about their history with the film industry; from behind the lens to special on-camera moments, and why they’re a film set staple. Each day, fans can expect new and innovative programming, special events, and surprise guest appearances. Beverages & coffees served from 12-6 p.m. January 20-23 and 12-4 p.m. January 24-29
The Audible Listening Lodge, 675 MAIN ST, Jan. 19 – 22, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. PUBLIC WELCOME
There’s more to imagine at the Audible Listening Lodge! Enjoy beautiful views of Park City and let your imagination run wild listening to the curated catalog of premium content. Sit back and relax—everyone’s welcome to join in on the fun.
Chase Sapphire on Main
573 Main St., Jan. 20-24, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. daily
The lounge will play host to premiere parties, LA Times co-presented panel discussions and a special Chase Sound Check with Anderson .Paak at TAO Park City. Sapphire Preferred and Reserve cardmembers can also stop by daily for complimentary refreshments, live music and activations including an aura reader, customizable travel accessories, a live watercolor artist and more.
Chef Melissa King Menu Takeover, Chase Sapphire on Main, 573 Main St., 1-3 p.m.
Melissa King will present two items, mushroom congee with sous vide quail egg in the morning, five spice pork belly bao in the afternoon. Cardmembers will have the opportunity to meet her; hear more about her inspiration behind the dishes; and receive recipe cards for each item.
Macro Lodge, 201 HEBER AVENUE, Jan. 20-22: 10 a.m.-2 a.m., Monday, January 23, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
The 6th Annual MACRO Lodge at the Sundance Film Festival offers talent, filmmakers, and changemakers a place to connect and convene at the Festival for a mix of conversation, community, and culture, to elevating the voices and stories of Black people and people of color.
Access to this venue is by invitation only.
Sundance ASCAP Music Café
The Park, 950 Iron Horse Drive, 2-5 p.m.
Paring down to just one day this Fest, the Sundance ASCAP Music Café will host an afternoon of exclusive acoustic sets from songwriters plus an insightful conversation between the composer and filmmaker of a Sundance title, courtesy of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.
SCREEN TIME CONVERSATIONS
2:20 PM: ROGER SUEN (composer) + JUSTIN CHON (director) discuss JAMOJAYA
2:50 PM: NAINITA DESAI (composer) + LAURA McGANN (director) discuss THE DEEPEST BREATH
3:15 PM: AMIGO THE DEVIL
3:50 PM: SHA’LEAH NIKOLE
4:30 PM: SLAM POETS ft. SAUL WILLIAMS, MOMOLU S K STEWART + JOSÉ SOTO (celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Sundance Grand Jury Prize-Winning film SLAM)
Riverhorse on Main, 540 Main St., daily from Jan. 20-22, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Daniel Dae Kim’s 3AD teams with Gold House and the Asian American Foundation (TAAF) to mount the Sunrise House, the official pan-AAPI house of the Sundance Film Festival. The Sunrise Collective will feature interactive daytime programming and host two dinner and celebration events. More here.
Star Bar, 227 Main St., Jan. 21-22, daily programming
IllumiNative, the Native woman-led social justice organization, launches the Indigenous House at this year’s fest. The space will serve as a gathering spot for storytellers and audiences seeking new voices and fresh perspectives, and a space to recognize and celebrate Native creatives, artists and industry leaders who are advancing Native representation and inclusivity in TV and film. Programming will feature events, dinners, panels, integrated in music, fashion and food to immerse attendees in Native culture and celebrate its impact on society and pop culture. Sponsors include Open Society Foundations, the Pechanga Band of Indians, Pop Culture Collaborative, Decolonizing Wealth Project, The Christensen Fund, Culture Change Fund, MacArthur Foundation and Nielsen.
ECOLUXE Park City ABC4TV Media Lounge
255 Main St., 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Veteran producer Debbie Durkin, a 30-year Sundance vet, returns to produce a 15th annual ECOLUXE Media Lounge in partnership with ABC4TV. Positioned on a purposeful, sustainable platform of wellness, Durkin launches HYDRO Infused Sodas and Brava Home’s newest Smart Oven. Brava Chef Travis and Amanda Gyuran of Elevated Eats will fuel guests with curated and performance-based foods, Amare Global’s The Mental Wellness Company’s GBX pep beverages hydrate, The Vitamin Bar IV Park City nurses energize with B12 shots, IV Therapy and oxygen machines, and exhausted stars have the option of picking up trips to Dominican Republic’s Casa de Campo Resort & Villas for post-fest recovery. Streetwear brand Voice of the Vanishing Earth will be featured, a company that donates 51 percent of profits to protect animal species. Luxury wellness company Hemped Park City will introduce Bees Knees products. Chickadee Gear premieres children’s snowsuits, and more surprises to come.
Sundance Film Festival Opening Weekend Art Lounge….PUBLIC WELCOME
Kimball Art Center’s Art Lounge, 1251 Kearns Blvd., Jan. 20-22, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily
Kimball Art Center hosts attendees in their quest for culture at this space located between the Eccles Theatre, fest headquarters, Holiday Village and The Ray. The current exhibition features Between Life and Land: Material, part of a three-part exhibition series focused on telling stories of artist’s relationship with the lens. It includes three films by Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt.