The glitz of the Sundance Film Festival may be glitzier in Park City, the screenings more tense, and the vibe more concentrated.
All true, but Salt Lake City Sundance aficionados take heart. “We strive to have our presentation as high quality as possible across all venues,” said Sarah Pearce, director of festival operations. “And every year we look to see how we can improve our audience experience.”
All the usual suspects among Salt Lake City venues make repeat performances this year: Tower Theatre and Broadway Centre Cinemas, Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, as well as the newly christened Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (formerly Salt Lake Art Center) for New Frontier art installations, and Beehive Tea Room, which offers live music nightly.
Every year brings new twists, however, and this year’s arrangements are expected to make it easier for festivalgoers to find a seat — and even a glass of bubbly.
The festival will offer add more elbow room outside screening rooms by adding a screen at the Salt Lake Main Library auditorium, while subtracting one from the traditional three screens at Broadway Centre Cinemas.
Those changes should result in fewer lines, shorter waits, and alleviate pressure on the lobby at the Broadway, Pearce said. Using the cinema’s two largest screens in conjuction with the addition of the library auditorium as a screening venue adds overall seating. Also, more filmgoers will be able to wait in the heated comfort of the library’s ground-floor lobby, with food retailers available, including the Salt Lake Roasting Co.
“This airs it out,” she said. “One thing we’ve found in booking theater multiplexes in the past is that we have more challenges with multiple screens all loading from the same lobby or outdoor space.”
The library will maintain normal operating hours throughout the festival, when 24 films willwere be screened there, but will leave the ground-floor lobby, which officials term the building’s “Urban Room” open for as long as films run each night. The lobby’s spare retail outlet will be used as an information booth to promote the library during the festival.
“It’s a natural fit given our role in the community,” Hancock said. “Our retail outlets are looking forward to the exposure as well.”
Pearce said the festival will bring higher-quality audio and visual equipment to the library auditorium, and also install a new screen.
As in past years, the Beehive Tea Room will host the Sundance Film Festival Café, offering live music nightly from Jan. 20 to Jan. 26, on the nowsaltlake.com stage.
“The tea is just a bonus,” said Beehive Tea Room owner Lisa Brady, who notes the cafe’s expanded beverage menu. “We’re located right between the Broadway and Rose Wagner, and now you can have a glass of wine, or celebrate your favorite film with a bottle of champagne.”
The music lineup at the Sundance Film Festival Café
Situated between two of the main Salt Lake Sundance screening venues — Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center and Broadway Centre Cinemas — the Sundance Film Festival Café will offer live music from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. on the nowsaltlake.com Festival Stage from Jan. 20-28.
There’s no admission fee, and no need for tickets. Food and drinks are available for sale, including scones, sweets, sandwiches, salads and soups, and French-press coffee, Chai, hot chocolate, wine and beer.
Where • The Beehive Tea Room, 12 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City; 801-328-4700
Friday, Jan. 20 • Hot Club of Zion, French jazz-swing and gypsy jazz
Saturday, Jan. 21 • Otter Creek, original and traditional Utah folk and bluegrass
Sunday, Jan. 22 • Singer-songwriters Doug Wintch and Anke Summerhill
Monday, Jan. 23 • Clarksdale Ghosts, Austin, Texas-style country and blues
Tuesday, Jan. 24 • Mark Dago, video-game hip-hop
Wednesday, Jan. 25 • B.D. Howes Band, vintage blues-based, ‘60s classic rock
Thursday, Jan. 26 • 16 Pandora, rock, blues, pop