Sundance serves up the Racquet Club, er, The MARC
If you remember your last movie experience at the Park City Racquet Club, forget it.
The new Sundance Film Festival venue at the renovated Racquet Club now the Park City Municipal Athletic and Recreational Center, or The MARC is "going to be a much better experience," says festival director John Cooper.
If you envision the auditorium as a rectangle, think of the new screen on a long side of that rectangle (where the old theater put the screen on the short end). That means the screen and rows will be wider, which Cooper said would make for "a much more attractive experience" in the 550-seat theater.
It will be a warmer experience for folks in the wait-list lines, too. Those lines will be moved to a new indoor facility at The MARC, instead of tents outside the building.
Another venue joining the Sundance line-up: The Yard, at 1251 Kearns Blvd., which will be the new home for the New Frontier museum exhibits.
The Yard, which had housed "hospitality suites" for freebie-hunting celebrities, will offer more space for the technology-themed art installations, said Shari Frilot, senior programmer for Sundance and curator of New Frontier.
"Some of the stuff we had last year could have been shown in a larger space," Frilot said. "One of the things I'm hoping to gain back is the social element. People can come, see the work, and be welcome and stay there."
Salt Lake City audiences also will have another venue for Sundance: The City Library, at 210 E. 400 South, which will open up its 300-seat auditorium to Sundance screenings.
Here is a venue-by-venue breakdown of what's changed and what hasn't at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival:
Eccles Theatre (1,270 seats) • Park City's biggest venue, home of the celebrity-heavy Premieres program, won't see any big changes.
Holiday Village Cinemas (164 or 156 seats, depending on the room) • Park City's fourplex will be for press-and-industry screenings only through Wednesday, Jan. 25. One screen will open to the public on Thursday, Jan. 26; two screens on Friday, Jan. 27; three screens on Saturday, Jan. 28; and two screens on Sunday, Jan. 29.
Redstone Cinemas (175 and 193 seats) • Two screens at the Kimball Junction multiplex, starting at 12:30 or 1 p.m. most days. (One exception is Friday, Jan. 20, when only one screen will have Sundance films.) Shuttle buses will run between Kimball Junction and Park City's Old Main Transit Center.
Yarrow Hotel Theatre (295 seats) • Last year's experiment of midnight screenings won't continue this year. Apparently letting hotel guests sleep took precedence.
Temple Theatre (314 seats) • No changes. Remember that there's no 6 p.m. screening on Fridays, as the theater returns to its regular function as a synagogue.
Library Center Theatre (486 seats) • No changes.
Egyptian Theatre (290 seats) • No changes.
Prospector Square Theatre (336 seats) • No changes.
So, how do I get in?
If you don't already have tickets to the 2012 Sundance Film Festival (and you had plenty of chances to register for pre-festival sales, so don't come crying to me), there are still ways to work the system and see some movies.
Shop early • Every morning at 8 a.m., the festival releases limited numbers of tickets for that day's films (or, in the case of early-morning screenings, at 8 a.m. the day before). You have to be there in person; no online sales. Box office locations are at Gateway Center, 136 Heber Ave., Park City; Trolley Square, 700 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City; and 2145 Washington Blvd., Ogden.
Wait in line •The wait-list lines offer a second chance for festivalgoers who couldn't get tickets to their favorite films, but they do require some work. Here's how it works: Get to the theater two hours before the screening (one hour before showtime for the first show of the morning), get in line, receive a wait-list number, come back 30 minutes before showtime, line up according to your wait-list number, hope there are some empty seats (it varies from theater to theater), and pay your $15 (cash only).
Call in sick • Midweek matinees are usually easier to get into than opening-weekend evening shows. Take a day off from work or school, and make a day of it.
Take a chance • Go for the obscure movies that will never ever play in Utah again. You can always catch the star-studded movies when they come back through town later in the year.
Sean P. Means