Experience Insider Access
An insider’s guide to the Sundance Film Festival: A filmmaker’s perspective
Chase Sapphire® is a presenting sponsor of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, an independent film exhibition in the United States. Launched in 1981, the Festival showcases new movies, music events, panel discussions and more each January in Park City, Utah.
Since its launch in 1981, the Sundance Film Festival has become a mecca for creatives of all types, as well as discerning travelers seeking the ultimate winter wonderland experience. American screenwriter and director Jacques Thelemaque is no stranger to this phenomenon. Over twenty years ago, he began attending the Festival as a film lover and has since seen two of his own films shown at the festival. "It's pretty exciting to have a film here. It's a great ego boost," says Thelemaque, "and feather in your cap."
Where creativity comes to play
Thelemaque says what originally drew him--and so many others--to the annual celebration in Park City is the incredibly eccentric, electric vibe that overtakes the town. "The films are the things that get me most excited, because they're the reason this all exists," he explains. "Everybody comes here to reconnect, to meet, to try and get projects started, to try and develop creative relationships. It's definitely my favorite festival."
There is no shortage of inspiration over the course of the ten-day event. "You're always making incredible discoveries. There are new companies emerging, new production companies, new distribution companies. It's as much a convention as it is a film festival, and you're sort of seeing what's on the cutting edge," says Thelemaque.
The unveiling of technological innovations is a key feature filmmakers look forward to. "You really start to think about how [the advances] apply to the type of work that you're doing," he says, "and how you could take your work to the next level."
Eye candy and crab fritters
As a filmmaker, Thelemaque also understands what draws in so many from outside the movie industry, too. "There's people everywhere, eye candy of all sorts," he says. One of his favorite spots to visit while he's in town is Chase Sapphire on Main, the site of some of the Festival's best parties and, according to Thelemaque, "a cool place to hang."
When Thelemaque wants to sit down to a great meal, he heads downtown to "the heartbeat of it all," Main Street, and his favorite spot, Tupelo Park City. Chef Matthew Harris' locally-sourced, global cuisine includes Maine Crab Fritters, one of the restaurant's staples.
Most of all, the filmmaker relishes how Park City, usually a sleepy ski town, goes to the "next level" in its own way every January during the Sundance Film Festival, with possibilities lurking around every snowy corner.
"There are a lot of pop-up lounges and little places to just hang and meet people," says Thelemaque. "Sometimes a party just rolls in while you're sitting there."
Read more about all that the Festival has to offer on Chase.com/SapphireOnLocation.
Photo courtesy: Visit Park City | Liz Kozak is a Chase.com contributing writer.