The Sundance Film Festival is a branch of the Sundance Institute. It is the largest independent film festival in the U.S. with roughly 125,000 people attending in 2018, nearly tripling the attendance only two years prior. Getting a film into Sundance is a great way to make a splash in the independent film world. So, where is the Sundance Film Festival? When does the submission window open and close? And, perhaps most importantly, how do I get tickets? Your path to Park City starts here.
Sundance Film Festival Location
Where is the Sundance Film Festival?
The Sundance Film Festival is actually spread across three different locations in Utah. Events and screenings are held in Park City, Salt Lake City, as well as the Sundance Resort — a ski resort about 13 miles northeast of Provo, Utah.
It's a significant distance away from Los Angeles and the Hollywood machine — and that's exactly the point. Robert Redford, founder the festival, explains his original goals for the festival and why the mountains of Utah became the ideal setting.
In the past few years, the Sundance Film Festival has branched off into separate festivals held internationally. The Sundance Film Festival in London began in 2012, followed by a festival in Hong Kong that's been running since 2014.
When is Sundance?
The festival is held every January and is open to the public. And you can attend screenings, Q&A's, workshops, parties and networking events, even if you don't have a film in the festival.
Attending the Sundance Film Festival is a must for anyone who loves film. Festival passes and ticket packages typically go on sale in October. And tickets for individual screenings go on sale in January, after the official program is released (usually in December). You can find more details, including prices and how their waitlist system works here.
SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL SUBMISSIONS
The Sundance submission deadline
Even though the actual festival is held near the end of January, you need to start planning much earlier. The submission window opens in July and ends in September.
The main categories include domestic and international feature, short films, and documentaries. Films longer than 50 minutes are considered features — shorts constitute everything less than that. And, recently, Sundance has included specialty categories for emerging technologies like VR and other cutting edge storytelling mediums.
Getting your film into Sundance is no easy task. But a successful showing at the festival will skyrocket your project's visibility. Here are some of the best films that emerged from Sundance, many of which went on to land Oscar nominations and wins.
What are the Sundance Labs?
The Sundance Institute is an incredible resource for filmmakers, providing workshops to hone your craft. These labs and workshops are held throughout the year, focusing on topics like screenwriting, directing, producing, music and more.
Darren Aronofsky, Paul Thomas Anderson, Ryan Coogler, and Cary Fukunaga are some notable alumni of the Sundance Labs.
Also, there are programs designed specifically for promoting inclusion and diversity in the arts for women and indigenous filmmakers. You can find more information at Sundance.org.
Top festivals worth the entry fee
Sundance might be the largest and most prestigious film festival in the country but it's certainly not the only game in town. Get to know the full range of festivals out there and find the best fit for your film. And, guaranteed, there is a film festival dedicated to the kind of projects you're making. That means there are hundreds of festivals to choose from, but where do you start? We've curated a list of the best festivals worth your time and money.