Travel Diary: Skiing and a Private Director’s Brunch at Sundance

Blair Pfander
Travel Diary: Skiing and a Private Director’s Brunch at Sundance
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Anyone can buy Festival tickets and try to schmooze their way into the most exclusive parties, but for the real Sundance experience—complete with a private Director’s Brunch hosted by the Sundance Kid himself Robert Redford—you have to be a filmmaker.
Like Brooklyn-based director Michael Tyburski, whose latest film, “Palimpsest“—which tells the story of Peter, a house tuner who scrutinizes the minutiae of clients’ living spaces to reveal aspects of their personal lives—played as part of the Festival’s Shorts Program 5.
Here, Tyburski documents his Sundance debut, from screenings to Park City skiing, and gives us an insider’s view of the Festival.

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Last week, director Michael Tyburski left Brooklyn for the snowy streets of the Sundance Film Festival to show his latest film, "Palimpsest," which tells the story of Peter, a house tuner who scrutinizes the minutiae of clients' living spaces to reveal aspects of their personal lives.

"This cozy mountain town was
transformed from secluded ski getaway to Movie Land HQ by the time I
landed on January 17," says Tyburski, who was participating in the festival for the first time. "All the theaters—and makeshift theaters, this one is in a library—have giant heated tents setup where lines queue up to two hours before admittance. And that's if you have a ticket. I saw 'wait list lines' form even earlier before a premiere!"

Given the moderate weather last week, Tyburski found the easiest mode of festival transportation was often on foot. "Free shuttle transportation is available all day and evening for festival goers, but the routes can sometimes be convoluted and the drivers not always forthcoming with stop changes," he explains. "I ended up walking between most venues as the weather was beautiful all week."

For festival-goers, long lines at the tents provide ample people watching opportunities. "There's plenty of eavesdropping and great cinephile conversation to be had," says Tyburski.

"I was invited to the long standing tradition that is the Director's Brunch," says Tyburski. "After a scenic two-hour bus ride through the Utah wilderness we arrived at the secluded Sundance Resort—where we were graciously greeted by The Sundance Kid himself [Robert Redford]!" After all, no Sundance sojourn would be complete without a proper Redford sighting.

Tyburski's film, "Palimpsest," played as part of Shorts Program 5 "to audiences in both Park City and Salt Lake four times during the Festival," he explains. "Each screening was completely unique with a variety of theater settings and crowd response."

Happily, the festival provides plenty of opportunities to blow off steam after a day spent trudging between venues. "There's probably as many parties as films at Sundance," he explains. "The High West Distillery near Main Street offered a great event venue and served up plenty of its namesake homemade whiskey."

"The festival housed an array of video and art installations inside a venue called the New Frontier," says Tyburski. "By night, the exterior played host to probably the most impressive building projections I've seen on either side of the Rockies."

When he wasn't discussing his own film, Tyburski supported fellow filmmakers. "I was lucky to snag a ticket to an early screening of Sebastian Silva's 'Crystal Fairy'—part of the World Dramatic Competition—at the Eccles Theater," he says. "One of my favorites from the Fest."

Attending Sundance without taking a quick spin on the slopes is practically Park City sacrilege. "After nine straight days of movie going and shop talk, it was important to try and budget at least part of a day to some of the best skiing in the nation," says Tyburski. 

For more information on "Palimpsest" or to see more of Michael Tyburski's work, visit michaeltyburski.com.

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