It’s Sundance Quiz Time … True or False?

By Kimberly Gadette (doddleNEWS)

Sure, the Sundance Film Festival is located in Utah and yes, it’s considered the largest annual celebration of independent film in the U.S. But there may be a few facts that might surprise you. Or maybe not. To quote Joshua the computer in 1983’s War Games: “Shall we play a game?

Hanging around during the festival is a sure-fire way to get a few minutes with Mr. Redford, to pitch your brilliant story idea for your screenplay. True or false?

False. After the opening day ceremony, Redford takes off. He’s like a friendly ghost; we feel his presence, we sometimes even hear him. (At Sundance 2011, his voiceover ran under an introductory opening at every screening, speaking to the power of stories.) But don’t plan on bumping into Robert “Casper” Redford during the Festival.

The Sundance Film Festival is obviously in Sundance. C’mon, that’s it name! True or false?

False. It takes place in Park City, approximately 33 miles southeast of Salt Lake City.

So then the city of Sundance, like Oz, doesn’t actually exist. True or false?

False. It’s 56 miles south of Park City, the home of Redford’s 5,500 acre ranch and the Sundance Institute.

The usual Main Street traffic during the Sundance FF

Utahns have a famous expression: “How can they call it Park City when there’s nowhere to park?” True or false?

True. Painfully so.

Robert Redford founded the festival in 1981. True or false?

False. BYU film graduate Sterling Van Wagenen and Utah Film Commissioner John Earle created what was initially called “the Utah/US Film Festival” in 1978. But Utah resident Redford, then married to Van Wagenen’s cousin Lola, became involved as its inaugural board chairman. He subsequently founded the rechristened Sundance Film Festival in 1981.

A well-known movie director suggested that the festival should move to Park City during the winter. It would be “the only film festival in the world held in a ski resort during ski season, and Hollywood would beat down the door to attend.” True or false?

True. Extra credit to those who knew that the movie director was Sydney Pollack.

Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me, grossing $11.6M domestic + $9M foreign, totaling $20.6M, is the biggest moneymaker to ever debut at Sundance. True or false?

False. That honor belongs to the horror mockumentary Blair Witch Project, grossing $140.5M domestic + $108M foreign, totaling $248.5M. Supersize this.

Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton can come to the Sundance Film Festival any time she pleases. Redford has put out a permanent welcome mat for her. True or false?

False. During his opening remarks at Sundance 2010, he disparaged the celebrity circus, stating, “Suddenly, you end up with parties and celebrities and Paris Hilton … and that’s not us. Sundance has nothing to do with any of that. Now with the economy, these people can’t come back or I hope they don’t come.”

Hilton either didn’t hear him, or chose to disregard the slam. She attended anyway. True or false?

True. Three days after his rant, Ms. Hilton was spotted in Park City, picking out some nice swag: free snow gear.

He won the very first Sundance Audience Award for sex, lives, and videotape in 1989. But a year earlier, Steven Soderbergh attended the event as a volunteer bus driver, shuttling festival-goers all over town. True or false?

True. Which goes to prove a point … always treat the Sundance bus drivers well. You never know when some of them might cast you in their award-winning films.


Thanks for playing. Stay tuned for doddle‘s up-to-the minute news, reviews and more from, um, what’s that town called again? Sundance? Nope … Park City!

About Kimberly Gadette

Film critic Kimberly Gadette, born and raised in movie-centric L.A., believes celluloid may very well be a part of her DNA. Having received her BA and MFA from UCLA's School of Theater, Film & Television, she spent many of her formative years as an actress (film, tv, commercials, stage) before she literally changed perspective, finding a whole new POV from the other side of the camera. You can find her last 500+ reviews on Rotten Tomatoes ( Other than taking the occasional side trip to Cannes or Sundance, you can find her at the movies ... sitting in the dark as usual.

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