The Park City Sundance Transformation

Park City Sundance

It’s begun. The Park City Sundance storm nearly rivals the actual Snowmaggedon that this ski hamlet has felt for the past month and continues to experience. Park City is bracing themselves- $100 parking lots and all- for the flood of People in Black. We are a mere day away from the extravagant parties and film premieres, the branding and “activations”. Trends are made during Sundance. Two years ago Merrell Footwear sponsored a venue with Oculus Rift where VIPs and the public could test their Capra hiking boot while walking a precipice in the Dolomites.

Who knew that the next year (2016), we’d usher in an unprecedented number of virtual reality installations- most free and open to the public- to tout the future of filmmaking?

Sundance isn’t just about films. In fact, most of the movies that become Sundance darlings will make it to Netflix and Amazon within the year. For those not wanting to spend $20-25 a pop, then wait in line for 30 minutes in the cold before you’re seated in a makeshift movie theater, there is instead a themepark of filmmaking awaiting you around every corner. Some events are invite only; others are fair game-

Open to the Public

Festival HQ, Marriott Hotel- Unless you are picking up credentials or free tickets, there is NOTHING to see or do here. In fact, the volunteers will snub everyone and anyone without a credential so don’t bother.

FESTIVAL BASECAMP- Free waffles, Anyone? Last year, Saturday’s Waffle brought their trailer up and handed out the most delicious plates of sweetness you could imagine. The truck will be inside the Basecamp and between the New Frontier VR Palace and the Canada Goose Lounge where free panel discussions and music concerts are held throughout the Fest. Visitors get free wifi, charging stations, snacks and drinks from 11:00a – 4:00p., one block behind Main Street on Swede Alley.

FESTIVAL CO-OP at 608 Main-

Visit with some of the 2017 Festival sponsors and sign up to be on a plethora of mailing lists while entering to win prizes from sponsors like American Airlines. Coppola wines will feature two unique experiences for attendees this year: Drink in the Moment, projected at Miner’s Plaza, and The Big Picture, showcased at the Festival Co-op. Grab swag like a complimentary special edition Sundance Institute–branded S’well bottles. Jan. 20–27, 10:00 a.–6 p.

FILMMAKER LODGE- Credential holders get in and the public squeezes in on a space available list. Network with filmmakers, industry leaders, and the press, in between lively panel discussions. Elks Building, 550 Main St., Jan. 20 – 28, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

ACURA LOUNGE -Get your wristband and experience Mood Roads, a one-of-a-kind, immersive VR journey. Take a spin in the Acura NSX supercar VR Simulator. Check in with your wristband at Acura stations in Festival Village and at Acura displays on Main Street for daily chances to win Acura rewards. They’ll also have live entertainment and free snacks.
Jan. 20–28, 11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

UTAH FILM COMMISSION HUB- A community space where you can network with local Sundance Film Festival attendees and filmmakers, grabs snacks, coffee and charge up. Collect a limited edition Utah Film Commission pin and take advantage of the free wifi. This year, Utah respresents with four features: Brigsby Bear, Deidra & Laney Rob a Train, Snatchers, and Wind River.Jan. 20-26, 10-2p

JAUNT VR LOUNGE at 580 Main St.- Experience the next frontier of storytelling at this weeklong VR lounge. See more than 20 immersive VR experiences and learn more about VR filmmaking, from production to distribution. Thru Wed Jan. 25, 10:30a-5 p.

OCULUS HOUSE at 201 Heber Ave- The Oculus team from Facebook will showcase the latest VR films and share projects from the VR for Good program and offer demos of Oculus Rift and Touch, the Samsung Gear VR, and other events throughout the week.

UPLOAD VR LOUNGE at 306 Main- Upload will be hosting a delicious complimentary brunch prepared by Chef John Murcko 11a, Sunday Jan. 22. After the eats, they’ll host a series of panels and fireside chats, and VR demos. They continue into the night with the Upload Mixer from 9 p – 12 a.

THE NORTH FACE STORE- Drop in on Thursday Jan. 26 4p for a private screening of Meru and a chat with Utah director and athlete Renan Ozturk.

And a little tougher entrance-

WINTER WELLNESS COLLECTIVE LOUNGE- Healthy food, yoga and fitness classes, sound healing, meditation and even beauty touch-ups. The Wellness Collective Lounge is a pop-up at 136 Heber Ave, #304 to help you find your chill amid the chaos. There will also be evening panel discussions and events.

ZEN DEN WELLNESS SUITE – More escapism in the Gateway Center where celebrities and other Park City Sundance Festival attendees enjoy a peaceful respite. Presented by the Los Angeles-based non-profit Heal One World, an organization which provides free wellness to underserved communities, the Zen Den will host conscious happy hour events, evening parties, daytime classes in Yo-chi (Yoga with Tai Chi) and chocolate meditation. A Peaceful Women’s gathering with meditation is planned for Saturday afternoon.

ECOLUXE LOUNGE – A true survivor in the luxury category for Park City and Sundance. The all eco-friendly attitude and unique brands presented at the Blue Iguana space at the top of Main make this one of my favorite stops. Floral designer Betsy BordenDancing Daisies FloralBetsy Borden, Dancing Daisies Floral has created an organic, living eco – mountain forest.  Snake Creek Grill Snake Creek Grille Chef Dean Hottle will serve up tasty eats. CMFR Canada will be putting celebs in their extreme winter, high fashion coats while Barefoot ECO Outfitters will gift vintage-inspired, eco-friendly mountain apparel. There’s also a wellness spa from Utah’s WHOLE HEALTH MEDICAL GROUP and Titos Vodka if that doesn’t help.

LUXURY LOUNGE at the St Regis Deer Valley- Hands down the Rand agency through the best party at the Fest last year. Super low key but the invitation only soiree drew executive producers, directors, actors, editors, film investors, distributors, and exclusively invited VIP guests for hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and brand gifting.

SPG AMEX & LA TIMES HQ LOUNGE at 314 Main- American Express & Starwood Preferred Guest members can pop in thru Jan. 24, 9 a.-5p. for coffee, cocoa and things to “spike” them up. The NoMad Happy Hour from 3-5p will add food to your plate along with beer and wine.

THE HUB and SNOWFEST at Park City Live- It starts with The Hub- a one-stop shop for filmmakers and key influencers to promote their projects. There’s a 4K Ultra High-Definition (UHD) TV showcase with televisions from LG, Samsung and Sony, presented by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). Marie Claire and Who What Wear will be onsite to talk women in film, fashion trends and in the What’s Trending Studio and, celebrities will be chatting about their films and upcoming projects. Proceeds from the live stream will be donated to Operation Smile. There will be food from The Mellow Mushroom, a Tanqueray Gin & Juice Bar and Splenda coffee bar. Jan. 20-23, 11-5p.

At night, the place gets rocking with SNOWFEST- showcasing some of the world’s most relevant and famous live musical acts, celebrity hosts and world-renown DJs with Hollywood’s elite in attendance. Electro group, Major Lazer, tonight, followed by Tiesto on Sat. Enigmatic masked DJ and producer, Marshmello will rock the house Sunday. On Monday, January 23rd, “Back In The Day”, celebrates the golden age of hip hop with Doug E. Fresh and on Tuesday night, Michael Franti & Spearhead will take to the stage. RL Grime, Busta Rhymes, ZEDD, Lophiile German will close out the final Fest weekend. Tickets are available for purchase at


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