ENTERTAINMENT

With an opening weekend loaded with celebrities, Utah’s Sundance fest moves toward second half

Jan 22, 2024, 2:01 PM | Updated: 5:28 pm

Pedro Pascal at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. (Sundance Institute)...

Pedro Pascal at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. (Sundance Institute)

(Sundance Institute)

SALT LAKE CITY — The first weekend of the Sundance Film Festival traditionally brings the stars, cameras and plenty of international media attention.

What remains on Monday is a festival that continues to screen films in Park City and Salt Lake City through the weekend and tends to take on a bit more local feeling, with awards, sales and headlines still to come.

One thing that’s clear is “Freaky Tales,” a feature film with a supernatural flavor set in 1980s Oakland with four interconnected tales, is a red-hot ticket. After it premiered, a Saturday night screening in Salt Lake City was overwhelmed by pass holders showing up to watch, leaving scores — maybe hundreds — of ticket holders unable to get in the screening.

It features the Pedro Pascal — whom director co-Ryan Fleck told KSL TV is “having a moment” — and features a lot of other notable faces including Jay Ellis and Ben Mendelsohn, as well as a big-time cameo of a video-store worker named Hank. Buzz at Sundance never hurts, neither does Fleck and co-director Anna Boden showing up in Salt Lake to talk to audiences. It also has a Karl “The Mailman” Malone mention with a focus on Golden State Warriors players of the era.

There were reports of other films that attracted pass holders, leaving other ticket holders frustrated. The fest provides additional viewing opportunities for ticket holders who miss a screening, although perhaps not the same film, which can screen only a handful of times.

The fest’s opening weekend brought a host of familiar faces to Utah while also celebrating a pretty incredible list of past attendees who have gone on to theatrical success, both critical and commercial. It also brings panels, discussions and for those who can get it, big-time nightlife.

Salt Lake City held an opening night event too and premiere of documentary “Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story” that featured the late actor’s three children who are featured in the film. They also provided much of the home-video photos and video for directors Ian Bonhote and Peter Ettedgui to craft the definitive story of the actor and father who in many ways ushered in the superhero-era of modern cinema.

Matthew Reeve, Alexandra Reeve and William Reeve attended, along with city dignitaries, including former Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and local business leaders.

But Park City hosted the most recognizable starts including “Oppenheimer” director Christopher Nolan, who broke out at Sundance with his film “Memento” in 2004. There were two films for Kristen Stewart who was present to support both, including a hard-to-get ticket for “Love Me” that she stars in with Steven Yeun, also in Utah. That film is also generating considerable buzz.

The list of attending stars is impressive with the likes of Jodie Foster, Robert Downey Jr., Kerry Washington, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sebastian Stan, Alicia Silverstone, Saoirse Ronan, Kathryn Newton, Zach Galifianakis, Riley Keough, Lucy Liu, Kieran Culkin, Lionel Richie, Chrissy Teigen, the WNBA legend Sue Bird, NBA vet Eric “Sleepy” Floyd, Giancarlo Esposito, Glen Powell, Chris Sullivan, Greg Clark, Jena Malone, Justice Smith and David Alan Grier to name just some of the actors in town.

Kristen Stewart and Steven Yeun at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival to promote their film "Love Me." (Sundance Institute) Justice Smith and David Alan Grier at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. (Sundance Institute) Robert Downy Jr. and Christopher Nolan at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. (Sundance Institute) Saoirse Ronan at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival featured in the Sundance film "The Outrun." (Sundance Institute) Kieran Culkin in Park City, Utah at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival to promote his film "A Real Pain." (Sundance Institute) William Reeve, Alexandra Reeve and William Reeve, the children of late actor Christopher Reeve, subject of a 2024 Sundance Film Festival documentary. (Sundance Institute) The '80s band DEVO (Sundance Institute) PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 20: Alicia Silverstone attends the "Krazy House" Premiere during the 2024 Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Center Theatre on January 20, 2024 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images) Lionel Richie (Sundance Institute) PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 21: Laura Linney attends the "Suncoast" Premiere during the 2024 Sundance Film Festival at Library Center Theatre on January 21, 2024 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images) Pedro Pascal at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. (Sundance Institute) This image released by Sundance Institute shows actor-director Chiwetel Ejiofor, left, on the set of "Rob Peace", an official selection of the Premieres Program at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. (Gwen Capistran/Sundance Institute via AP) Kristen Stewart and Steven Yeun at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival to promote their film "Love Me." (Sundance Institute) An audience gathers to watch the documentary based on "DEVO" playing at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. (Sundance Institute) Sebastian Stan and Adam Pearson from the Sundance Film Festival movie "A Different Man." (Sundance Institute) Kristen Stewart (Sundance Institute) PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 22: Director Chiwetel Ejiofor attends the "Rob Peace" Premiere during the 2024 Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Center Theatre on January 22, 2024 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images) PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 21: Jena Malone attends the 27th annual SAGindie Actors Only Brunch at Sundance at Cafe Terigo on January 21, 2024 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Fred Hayes/Getty Images for SAGindie) PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 21: Kathryn Newton visits the IMDb Portrait Studio at Acura House of Energy on Location at Sundance 2024 on January 21, 2024 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images for IMDb) PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 21: Giancarlo Esposito visits the IMDb Portrait Studio at Acura House of Energy on Location at Sundance 2024 on January 21, 2024 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images for IMDb) PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 21: Adam Pearson attends the "A Different Man" Premiere during the 2024 Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Center Theatre on January 21, 2024 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images) PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 21: Sebastian Stan attends the "A Different Man" Premiere during the 2024 Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Center Theatre on January 21, 2024 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images) PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 21: Chrissy Teigen visits the IMDb Portrait Studio at Acura House of Energy on Location at Sundance 2024 on January 21, 2024 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images for IMDb) PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 21: Justice Smith visits the IMDb Portrait Studio at Acura House of Energy on Location at Sundance 2024 on January 21, 2024 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images for IMDb) PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 21: Richard Linklater visits the IMDb Portrait Studio at Acura House of Energy on Location at Sundance 2024 on January 21, 2024 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images for IMDb) PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 21: David Alan Grier visits the IMDb Portrait Studio at Acura House of Energy on Location at Sundance 2024 on January 21, 2024 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images for IMDb) PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 21: Chiwetel Ejiofor and Jessie Eisenberg speak onstage at Cinema Cafe during the 2024 Sundance Film Festival at Egyptian Theatre on January 21, 2024 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images) Matthew Reeve in support of the documentary about his father Christopher Reeve. PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 20: William Reeve attends the "Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story" Premiere during the 2024 Sundance Film Festival at The Ray Theatre on January 21, 2024 in Park City, Utah (Sundance Institute) PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 21: Zahn McClarnon visits the IMDb Portrait Studio at Acura House of Energy on Location at Sundance 2024 on January 21, 2024 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images for IMDb)

The fest screens films in Park City and Salt Lake this week with showings of the award-winning films on Saturday and Sunday. Press, industry and talent remain in Utah, though star power may be reduced. The market for films is expected to be healthy with vacancies in the film release calendar, both in theaters and streaming, resulting from the strikes in Hollywood stopped film production last year.

Tickets are still available for individual screenings and online ticketed screenings are available Jan. 25 – 28.

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With an opening weekend loaded with celebrities, Utah’s Sundance fest moves toward second half