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Base Camp will take Sundance experience outdoors

Published January 18, 2016 11:29 am

New venue • Concerts, panel discussions, coffee, drinks — and poutine!
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Words of advice for anyone visiting the newest venue at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival: Be ready for the cold.

Festival Base Camp, a group of domes, tents and temporary structures, will be Sundance's first outdoor venue when it opens on Park City's Swede Alley, behind Main Street.

Shari Frilot, one of Sundance's senior programmers, compared the new venue to the community that forms at the foot of a mountain. "It's sort of like a winter basecamp," she said.

Festival Base Camp will include a main stage for nightly musical performances, including some surprise sets and one-off productions. One of the New Frontier events — "Nari," with a film and live performances — will happen there on Tuesday, Jan. 26. And the 14th annual BMI Snowball, a music showcase, will be staged there on Wednesday, Jan. 27.

In the daytime, panel discussions will be held in Base Camp. One is "A New Deal?" (on Friday, Jan. 22), in which producers Ted Hope (head of production at Amazon) and Christine Vachon (Killer Films), among others, discuss how filmmakers can sustain careers with new distribution models and technologies. Another will feature a live version of Hrishikesh Hirway's popular podcast "Song Exploder," in which musicians — in this case, Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall — take apart their songs to talk about how they were made.

And the Base Camp will feature daily live-streams of events from the Cinema Cafe, in the Filmmakers Lodge (which is famously small and nearly always fills up).

Adjoining the Base Camp is video artist Chris Milk's massive installation "The Treachery of Sanctuary," part of the 10th year of Sundance's New Frontier program. "It plays with your shadow, in ways you can interact with it," Frilot said.

Wifi and power-charging stations will be on hand. Coffee, from Salt Lake City's Blue Copper Roasters, will be served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and a "happy hour" is slated from 5 to 6 p.m. At various hours, a food truck will serve Canadian food — including poutine (French fries with gravy and cheese curds), maple bacon, beaver tails (a fried-dough thing) and tourtière (a Quebec meat pie).

Why Canadian food? The venue's sponsor, and one of the festival's presenting sponsors, is the outerwear maker Canada Goose. The company is also debuting its brand campaign, "Out There," with a short film by director Paul Haggis ("Crash"). Visitors will get a chance to try on items from the company's fall/winter collection — which, if it gets as cold as it usually gets in Park City, may become the most popular activity at Festival Base Camp.


Twitter: @moviecricket —

Tips and tricks

Advice on how to navigate the 2016 Sundance Film Festival:

Get up early • Every morning at 8, the festival's main box offices (Gateway Center, 136 Heber Ave., Park City; and Trolley Square, 600 East and 600 South, Salt Lake City) make available a limited number of tickets for that day's screenings (and the early-morning screenings for the next day). Tickets are $20 and must be bought in person.

Try the waitlist • Download the Sundance Film Festival's app on your smartphone or tablet and register for the e-waitlist (at ewaitlist.sundance.org). Check in via your device two hours before showtime. Get a waitlist number, arrive at the venue 30 minutes before the show (don't be late) and queue by number. Waitlist tickets are $15, cash only, and it helps the volunteers to have exact change.

Be from Utah • The festival offers plenty of added opportunities for Utah residents, including special passes and ticket packages. For Summit County residents, there's Townie Tuesday, screenings on Tuesday, Jan. 26, geared for the Park City locals.

Skip work or school • Weekday matinee screenings generally are easier to get into than the weekend evening shows. And the traffic is lighter.

Stay in Salt Lake City • Except for a few one-off events, every movie at Sundance will have one screening in a Salt Lake City venue. Filmmakers love the Salt Lake screenings because they can see how a movie plays with real people — not just the industry folks in Park City.

Embrace the strange • Movies with big stars are more likely to secure distribution deals, so you'll see them in theaters or on Netflix soon enough. Go for the stuff with no-name casts, especially the foreign films — things that may never pass this way again.

Talk to people • Look up from your phone and start conversations — in the ticket lines, at the concession stand, on the shuttle buses. That's how real "buzz" gets made at Sundance. It's also been known to lead to marriages.

Make a filmmaker's day • If you see a short film and like it, let the filmmaker know. They're easy to spot — they're usually the young people pacing nervously in the lobby. Tell that person you liked the film, and you will validate all the second-guessing, sleepless nights and maxed-out credit cards that went into making it.






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