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PARK CITY — With the 2014 Sundance Film Festival opening Thursday, event planners say there are still plenty of ways local residents can take part in the events. But the process is a little different than in years past.
This close to Sundance's opening, you may think tickets to these movies are pretty much sold out. While the vast majority are, some tickets are still available.
"For those, you can just go online and buy a ticket like you're going to the Megaplex," said Ben Wood, who covers Sundance for the Deseret News.
Traditionally, he said, a lot of people wanting to get a glimpse of the most popular movies have put themselves on the waiting list for tickets. Locals have used the waiting lists more than anyone else. But getting on that list hasn't always been a pleasant experience.
"Last year, you had to go to the theater two hours early, stand in line, get a number, leave, come back, stand in line, get a ticket. It was this whole, cumbersome process," Wood explained.
It's not like that anymore.
"It's a new system this year," said Sundance Media Relations Manager Elizabeth Letenser. "It's all online."
Letenser said the eWaitlist lets people register online and put their names on the waiting list for each individual movie two hours before show time. People will be assigned a number, then show up 30 minutes before the movie starts to see if they'll get in.
"This year people can enjoy a little bit more of the festival, log in, see if their chances are likely to get into a screening and go from there," she said.
Plus, there are "day of show tickets" which are sold every morning at 8 a.m. at the main box offices in Park City and Salt Lake City. Those must be bought in person.
Of course, a lot of people come to Sundance for the star-gazing. While some people say it's not as good as it used to be, others say there are still plenty of chances to see celebrities.
"Know when their premiere is going to get out and that's probably the best time to see them," advised Patrick Rice, one of the managers of the No Name Saloon on Main Street.
He said the best place to see movie stars in Park City is between the Egyptian Theater and the Robert Kelly Gallery, where several celebrities will be making appearances to sponsored events.
In years past, stars like Adrian Brody and Sally Field have stopped by his business. But, if you see a movie star you'd like to approach, Rice said you need to read their body language. Some of them may want to be left alone. He said one year, he had to deal with a couple of patrons who kept getting in John Cusack's face.
If they want attention, they're going to be looking for it.
–Patrick Rice, No Name Saloon
"If they want attention, they're going to be looking for it. [There are] people that don't want attention, like John [Cusack] was that night," he said. "He was hanging out on the patio with his friends and he was off to one side and, kind of, in the corner and wanted to have a good time and wanted to be left alone."
Rice also said you need to pay close attention to the people walking along Main Street. He said you could pass by a major movie star and not realize it.