The Sundance Film Festival is so much more than just a place one goes to see a few movies and hopefully spot a few celebrities [if that's your thing]. My few days in Park City, Utah first and foremost convinced me of the natural beauty present in Utah that I really had no pre-conceived notions of. Not only was my visit to Park City my first time at Sundance, it was my first time in Utah. I'd gladly return to both, and that's not something I often say about any United States locale since I am the type overly-preoccupied with international destinations. (Paris, you're still my first love.)

Sundance founder, Robert Redford - said, "How would it have been if I'd had a mentor when I started, someone within the industry to help me find my voice? This is what I am trying to do here, my way of giving back to an industry that's been really good to me".

That spirit is still found as a thread throughout all of Park City during Sundance even though the Sundance Film Festival itself has changed somewhat over the years. Corporate advertising is now as common as LA women in tottering 5 inch heels but the spirit of much of what corporate interests do, does seem to be that of helping people. Whether it is helping them by providing a place to escape the cold and warm up or providing information for making the most of the festival there's an air of helpfulness at Sundance I haven't experienced at other industry festivals (and I've been to my fair share). Locals give of their time freely to help visitors out. There are reporters helping other reporters, screenwriters and producers sitting at Java Cow mentoring other, younger screenwriters and producers and even celebrities with enough manners not to be a diva about basic social interaction [Seth Rogen, thank you, you know what you did].
Maybe I am over-romanticizing an industry event thats core goal is to sell. Movies. Talent. Commodities of the film industry. I guess that's my right as the person who reported about it in this instance. It is, honestly, the feeling I am left with now that my plane has left Utah and I am back in jaded New York City. 
Would I recommend Sundance to a traveler who has no tangible connection to the film industry? Yes! Really. Go for the movies, sure. Plan early and plan wisely and it might be the most fun you will ever have watching more than one movie in one week. However, don't go just for the movies. Don't believe that Sundance is only about movies. For instance, if you love to ski, snowboard or generally spend time on the slopes - this is the time to visit Park City. So many people make downtown their focus during Sundance that the slopes are less crowded than normal. If you're a music lover, the ASCAP Music Cafe really does make major artists more accessible than at other venues. I listened to A Fine Frenzy and was so close to Alison that I felt as if she might have been in my living room. If I owned a mansion that could accommodate three families, that is. Seriously, it was perhaps one of the best concert experiences I've had. It didn't last long enough but it was so memorable. (If I had stayed longer in Park City, I would have been able to have the same experience again with David Gray. That is, before I got kicked out for rushing the stage and trying to kiss him.) If you like food, the restaurants in Park City are worth the trip to Utah on their own. Why not come during Sundance when you might just find yourself sitting next to Malin Akerman [as I did] while enjoying that amazing meal! And as I've stated, Utah is simply so physically beautiful in the Park City area. Next time I return, I'll be renting a car so I can drive up into the mountains to capture landscape photographs. My only regret in this trip is that I wasn't driving myself and knew that every cab driver I had would have kicked out if I'd asked them to stop the vehicle every time I wanted to take another Ansel-Adams-esque wide shot. Sigh. Not every trip can be perfect. This, was as close as it gets."
Many thanks to Expedia for giving me the opportunity to attend Sundance Film Festival so I could share it with all of you. I hope you've enjoyed the journey!