Film makers have been coming to Utah for over 30 years to showcase their work, but not all locals appreciate the attention.
“I think half the people just kind of love it and eat it up, and half the people don’t like the spotlight,” said former Park City resident Peter Densborn. “[They] kind of enjoy being anonymous up here in the mountains.”
Festival directors said they try to make sure Utahns are involved in the festival and make screenings available to locals.
“We do quite a few down in Salt Lake and also in Ogden, and at the Sundance Resort,” said Sarah Pearce, Sundance Film Institute Co-Managing Director. “Locals are obviously welcome to come to Park City as well.”
The festival features one of a kind world premieres, opportunities to meet with film makers, and chance encounters with celebrities. Organizers reserve a percentage of tickets for Utah residents and encourage their involvement.
“Over half of our volunteers are local, actually,” Pearce said. “And we obviously couldn’t do it without them.”
But some Park City residents would rather they didn’t do it. Karleen Reilly owns Uptown Fare. For five years the Main Street restaurant has become an exclusive, locals only dining spot during the Sundance Festival.
“I have a bouncer,” Reilly said. “And they ask if they know the password, but we know our locals, and we let them in.”
Reilly said it’s not anything against the movies, it’s about the customers. She wants to give her regulars a fighting chance against the crowds and traffic that come with the worldwide festival, and the locals appreciate it.
”It’s tough to even get up here during Sundance to eat just because of the traffic and parking situation,” Park City resident Kyle Harris said. “I think that’s part of the charm of Uptown Fare. It’s kind of a locals only spot.”
Locals only advance ticket sales are already over. Individual show tickets went on sale Jan. 15. For information on how to get tickets, go to www.sundance.org/festival/tickets.