Sundance creates electronic waitlist for 2014 festival

Published: Thursday, Jan. 2 2014 3:05 p.m. MST

A festivalgoer looks at a billboard of movie posters during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City.

Peter Kramer, Associated Press

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PARK CITY — Movie fans hoping to squeeze into a screening at the Sundance Film Festival will be able to spend less time in cold lines this year.

During past festivals, so-called "waitlisters" — festivalgoers without previously purchased tickets — were required to arrive at a theater two hours prior to a screening to receive a waitlist number and again 30 minutes prior to a screening to purchase any available tickets.

But for the 2014 festival, organizers have created an electronic waitlist that will cut down on the need to stand in line and better inform festivalgoers of their chances at getting into a screening.

"It allows you to check in electronically to any waitlist from the comfort of your home or wherever you are," said David Sabour, Sundance's manager of ticketing systems.

To use the waitlist, individuals can create an account on ewaitlist.sundance.org and check in on any Internet device two hours before a particular screening during the festival, which runs Jan. 16-26 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and at the Sundance Resort.

The electronic waitlist also includes a feature allowing users to link to their friends' accounts and check in as a group, eliminating the need to meet up at a theater's physical location two hours before a film.

"This is just one of the ways we’re looking to improve the guest experience at the festival," Sabour said.

While the majority of festivalgoers purchase tickets and ticket packages weeks in advance of the films themselves, Jacqueline Landry, Sundance's senior manager of theater operations, said waitlisters generally make up 10 percent of the festival audience.

Landry said the electronic waitlist is intended to make attending screenings more convenient for those who choose to waitlist, as well as leave more time in a person's schedule to experience the other aspects of the festival.

The larger venues — the Eccles, Library and MARC theaters in Park City and the Rose Wagner Center in Salt Lake — typically have the largest number of waitlist tickets available, she said. The average number of available waitlist tickets is also posted during the festival to help inform potential waitlisters.

"No film is ever really sold out. I think with this new system it’s going to make the festival more accessible," Landry said. "It can be a last-minute decision. You can decide two hours before that you want to see a film."

More information on the waitlisting process can be found at the Sundance Film Festival website. Waitlist tickets cost $15 each and are cash only.

Other ticketing options are also available to locals wishing to attend the festival. Beginning Jan. 14, individual tickets will be available for purchase both online and at the main festival box offices. Each day during the festival, a limited number of day-of tickets will be released at 8 a.m. Day-of tickets must be purchased in person at the festival box offices.

The festival also hosts Best of Fest screenings in Salt Lake City, Park City, Ogden and at the Sundance Resort on Jan. 27. Tickets to the Best of Fest screenings are free and are made available at 10 a.m. Jan. 11.

Heidi Bruce, manager of ticketing operations, said the demand for Best of Fest tickets is high and individuals hoping to secure tickets should plan on arriving early.

"There are still options for seeing the films. You just have try," Bruce said. "If you’re willing to get there and make an effort to see a film, there’s usually a really good chance you’ll get in."

Email: benwood@deseretnews.com

Twitter: bjaminwood

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