Sundance Film Festival
"Trouble the Water" will debut at Sundance.

Sundance, the star-studded annual film fest. For independent cinema, it's one of the best.

Throughout the years it has grown and may overwhelm the new. Here are some hints — hopefully helpful and amusing — for you:

A IS FOR ABSTRACT. Bizarre, weird, odd or just plain off-beat. Some Sundance movies can be challenging, to say the least.

B IS FOR BUSES. Park City shuttles are a godsend for a festivalgoer, because parking during Sundance is certainly a chore.

C IS FOR CELEBRITY COUPLES. Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker. Matthew Perry and Meg Ryan. They all surely rate. But perhaps "August" heartthrob Josh Hartnett still needs a date.

D IS FOR DANCES. There are quite a few. Sundance, Slamdance, TromaDance, X Dance and more. Whew!

E IS FOR EDUCATIONAL. Sundance's documentaries are a widely varied lot. If you check them out, you'll find much food for thought.

F IS FOR FILM GUIDE, another thing you'll need. You can find them online, at box offices or at screening sites, guaranteed.

G IS FOR GOSSIP, about celebrities and such. And at Sundance there's always quite a bunch. Especially about starlets and debutantes who are out to lunch.

H IS FOR HANKS. Actors Tom and Colin are related, they're father and son. "The Great Buck Howard" has both of them, not just one.

I IS FOR IRAQ. "An American Soldier" and "American Son" are two films that might change your mind about our men who fight.

J IS FOR JAPAN and Jordan and other countries with work in Sundance's World Cinema categories. Their filmmakers often tell the very best stories.

K IS FOR KILLERS and hitmen, characters that are featured in as many festival films as more sympathetic creatures.

L IS FOR LOCALS, you'll know who they are. Just look for the person in Park City during Sundance who isn't a star.

M IS FOR MUSICIANS. CSNY, Patti Smith, Method Man and U2. All are in Sundance movies, and may be in Park City performing for you.

N IS FOR NOVELS adapted for the big screen. Writers Michael Chabon and Chuck Palahniuk are hoping that "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh" and "Choke" turn out keen.

O IS FOR OFFICIAL, Sundance's Web site. Go to www.sundance.org/festival day or night.

P IS FOR PING PONG. The "King of Ping Pong" is a Swede whose life is a battle. But he's a good-hearted teen who's quick with a paddle.

Q IS FOR QUENTIN. Tarantino, a filmmaker being honored, though characters in his movies are usually goners.

R IS FOR REDFORDS. Robert is the father and Amy the daughter. She directed "The Guitar," and he's Sundance's star.

S IS FOR STALKERS ... er, stargazers. Call them celebrity hounds, autograph seekers or fans, if they get too close to the stars, they'll find they've been banned.

T IS FOR TICKETS. You'll definitely need them to get in to see the most hotly anticipated festival movies.

U IS FOR UMBRELLA. It may sound pretty silly, but you never know when it will rain in Park City, not to mention snow.

V IS FOR VARIETY. Horror films and thrillers, comedies and dramas. Sundance even has movies for kids and their mamas.

W IS FOR WATER. "Flow: For Love of Water" and "Trouble the Water" are set to make Sundance audiences all wet.

X IS FOR EXHIBITS. OK, that was a bit of a cheat, but the art and music performances at Sundance really are quite neat.

Y IS FOR THE YARROW, a hotel that hosts lots of screenings and events, and that's not a boast.

Z IS FOR ZOMBIES. "George A. Romero's Diary of the Dead" is a Sundance midnight movie to fill you with dread.

Anyway, here's hoping you keep these suggestions in mind so at Sundance this year you'll have a great time.


E-mail: [email protected]