It used to be so nice and easy to see movies at Park City’s Eccles theatre during past Sundance Film Festivals. A volunteer would hand out 50 tickets to press, so all you had to do was show up a half-hour before and things would usually work out. The Eccles was a fairly easy groove in those days — the one place in Park City where you knew you’d probably get into a public screening without much hassle.
But last year (or was it the year before?) the Sundance press office junked the 50-ticket-handout deal in favor of a tiresome system in which journalists had to shlep over to festival headquarters at the Park City Marriott and request public screening ducats a day in advance. In writing yet. And then shlep back there the next morning to see if any had been made available. Thus forcing some of us (i.e., those who can’t spare the time to go through the ticket-request ritual) to become subservient beggars, cajolers, grovellers and suck-ups in the Eccles lobby. What a pleasant ritual to look forward to!
I can see most everything via press screenings at the Yarrow, but you know how it is — you try to see films whenever and however, depending on your always-tight schedule. On top of which it’s cooler to see Premiere selections at the Eccles — there’s a feeling of crackling excitement during some of those screenings that you just can’t get sitting with a bunch of critics.