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Planning your trip to the Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival is among the largest independent movie fests in the country. It attracts some 50,000 guests each year, gathering in Salt Lake City as well as surrounding Park City and Ogden, Utah, for two weeks every January. You can explore the film showings, events and activities taking place all throughout these locales with the help of a Utah car rental. Before embarking on your trip to "The Crossroads of the West," review this helpful guide and plan out your excursion:

About the Sundance Film Festival

Presented by the Sundance Institute, this annual cinema celebration was established in 1981 by famed actor Robert Redford and a group of his friends to support the art of independent filmmaking as well as new faces in the industry. That first year, only 10 filmmakers participated in the event, collaborating with directors and writers to take risks and break barriers in the film field. Within a few years, the festival grew to national acclaim, expanding to include theater programs, musical selections, roundtable discussions, screenwriter Q&A sessions and other intriguing features.

The movies

Every year, the Sundance Institute receives some 12,000 film submissions, which they review and whittle down to a list of about 200 to feature at the festival. These are divided into two divisions (competition and non-competing), and they come from a wide variety of genres, including animated shorts, documentaries, comedies and dramas. The films chosen for competition are separated into six categories, such as "U.S. Documentary Competition" and "World Cinema Dramatic Competition," with winners taking home a coveted award in their category. Those in the out-of-competition division may not win awards, but they're rewarded with the honor of being featured in "From the Collection," "Next" and other prestigious categories.

The showings are located at venues all throughout the tri-city area, so you'll need your Salt Lake City car rental to get the Sundance experience. Also keep in mind that each work is generally screened two times - once in the first five days of the event and then again in the last five days. In effect, ticket packages tend to span only half of the fest, with the first part being the most crowded due to film fans' desires to be the first to see a movie. However, the latter half of the fest is ideal for those who want to attend the awards ceremony, exclusive galas and closing celebrations.

Other features

You can use your Sundance Film Festival car rental to discover the many other features that make up this world-renowned cinema event. The opening day includes a massive party to kicks things off right, filmmakers and stars spend time meeting and greeting fans. Another popular activity during Sundance is the annual Salt Lake City Gala and Screening, which involves a reception party and two special screenings at the Rose Wagner Theatre. The event also hosts "An Artist at the Table," a fundraiser that lets you enjoy delicious food and drink with the actors.


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