Sundance Spy: Day 2

Mark Duplass, Lynn Shelton, and Emily Blunt of "Your Sister's Sister"

6:30 a.m. was way too early for our iPhone alarms to go off this morning.  But, catching the premiere of Your Sister’s Sister was well worth the lack of sleep.  The sold out film was at the top of our list and we were sadly sans tickets.  Luckily, there’s still a way to get a seat.  “The waitlist” (or “rushing”) is the best-kept secret of Sundance and the only way for ‘fest-goers without industry badges or advanced ticket registration to catch some films.

If Sundance is in your future travel plans, here are a few tips for festival newbies on how to beat the system.

Rush Rules:

1.    Rise and Shine

Your best bet to get in on the waitlist is heading to the first film of the day in the 8:30 a.m. time slot.  Chances are a few people were out too late the night before and will no show, opening up seats in addition to the reserved space held for badge holders.  And for any film you’re trying to rush, make sure to get to the theater at least an hour and a half before show time.

2.    Obscurity Wins

Avoid films with the A-list stars, which have heavy media attendance and longer lines.  Don’t sweat it though, because most of them end up at your local multiplex anyways.

 3.    Fight for Your Right

Jenny Bloom, festival pro and public relations manager for the Starz Denver Film Festival, keeps Sundance virgins in check while doling out advice to “line friends,” as she likes to call them.  “I’m all for cutting in line, but not at a festival,” she says.  “It’s every man for themselves and if you let someone ahead of you, that one body could take your own seat.  There’s an etiquette here to follow folks.”

4.    Cross Your Fingers

After waiting in line (often in a cold tent), you’re still not there.  About an hour before the film, festival staffers hand out numbers to everyone in line and tell you to return exactly 30 minutes prior to show time.  Once all of the ticket holders are seated, they find out how many seats are open and call out those numbers accordingly.  At this point, you just hold your breath and hope that the two hours you just waited weren’t an epic waste.

5.    Come With Cash

When you hear your number, you’re ushered through to the ticket window to make it official.  Each film is $15 and is cash only.

Today we made the cut, barely.  With #’s 18 and 19 in hand, we were happily seated in the Library Center Theatre.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for Lynn Shelton, Your Sister’s Sister writer and director, who was stuck in Seattle due to the “first ice storm in two decades” aka #Snowpocalypse.  She was able to partake in the Q&A with the help of the film’s producer, Steven Schardt and his iPhone.

Mark Duplass, who has three films at Sundance this year, was recently in Denver during the Starz Denver Film Festival for a special presentation of the Jeff Who Lives at Home.  He stepped in front of the camera this time, for a hilarious and heartfelt performance alongside Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt.  Don’t miss this film when it hits screens across the country this summer.

Post-film, we checked out CW3PR’s Re:treat at the swank Sky Lodge Hotel.  One of the many swag suites that has taken over venues on Main Street, fest-goers were grabbing goodies from Burt’s Bees, Paul Mitchell, and Remix Watches while sampling sips from Patrón XO Café, Stella Artois, and Vita Coco.

We took the afternoon off to regroup before the premiere of Celeste and Jesse Forever, which is already getting some serious buzz.  Andy Samberg has been spotted in town and we can’t wait to hear what he has to say after the film.  Check back tomorrow for more Sundance scoop and if you missed it, catch up on Day 1.


Katie Shapiro is one of Denver’s resident gals about town. A “Jill” of all trades, she is a freelance writer, blogger, and PR guru. She likes skiing, drinking Manhattans, scarves, recycling, to-do lists, Gittel, and putting pins in the map. Check back often for the latest in travel, music, fashion, culture, and happenings.

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