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Sundance Film Festival screws over ticket buyers

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Sundance Film Festival screws over ticket buyers

Old 01-22-13, 10:57 AM
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Sundance Film Festival screws over ticket buyers

from Fox news:

Park City, Utah – The Sundance Film Festival is supposed to be an indie film orgy for the masses, where little known filmmakers can be seen and heard, and film lovers from all walks of life can descend on Park City for 10 days of intense movie -- and movie star -- watching.

But despite founder Robert Redford’s claims last year that Sundance is for the “99 percenters,” it turns out those with bulging bank accounts have priority. Because even if you have purchased a ticket for a particular screening at the festival, you can still get bumped from your seat for someone who purchased a pricey festival package.

One Sundance attendee learned this the hard way after turning up to Saturday’s late night screening of Daniel Radcliffe’s “Kill Your Darlings” with a $15 screening ticket purchased ahead of the festival in hand.

“I spent $60 on a cab fare, and a further $10 at the concession stand and arrived well in advance of the 15-minute requirement ahead of the film’s start time,” Elissa – a New Yorker who flew in for the festival and preferred to withhold her full name – told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “All that only to be turned away because pass holders hold priority at Sundance. At least 25 other ticket holders were also turned down at the door, which was very disappointing. I never expected Sundance to be like that.”

It turns out a top-tier All Access package can be purchased for a cool $3,000 and provides one, well, all access for the first five days of the festival. The same All Access pass can be purchased for the second, slightly less hectic half of the festival for another $2,500. According to the Sundance website, all such packages this year are sold out.

All Access passes don’t require the holder to buy individual tickets, or even reserve a space in advance – they are simply required to arrive at the theater at least 30 minutes before the start time to gain priority, and must be seated 15 minutes prior to guarantee their seats.

In Elissa’s case, she claims festival volunteers were apologetic, but instructed her to read the “fine print.” Yet there is no such disclaimer on the back of Sundance tickets, which state simply that the ticket holder “must be seated 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start time or seat may be forfeited.”

The Fine Print section on the Sundance website outlines more information, including that “quantities are limited” and that they “do not guarantee ticket availability for any participants.” However, it is not clear that even if you buy a ticket, your entry may be barred.

A worker in the theater’s box office said that with regards to this particular screening of “Kill Your Darlings,” way more pass holders showed up than were anticipated, so they offered a refund to those who were not able to be seated. It was also confirmed that festival pass holders do have priority because the passes are the “most expensive item you can hold.”

A rep for Sundance also addressed the issue, telling us that “an unprecedented number of Festival pass holders showed up for the screening” which required them to turn away some ticketholders and the wait list.

“Ticketholders were given options of receiving refunds or vouchers for other screenings, and we've added a screening of ‘Kill Your Darlings’ on Tuesday, for which (those) ticket holders are guaranteed admission,” continued the rep. “We do our very best to predict pass holder attendance across the 700 plus Festival screenings, based on historical and ticketing data, and incidences such as Saturday night's screening rarely occur."

But even the alleged rare occasion has some shaking their head at the protocol coming from the not-for-profit Sundance Institute, and the associated self-governing film festival.

“It is perhaps a reaction to the financial pressures, and the need to maintain sponsorship at a high level. But they should remember their independent spirit and balance the needs of individuals versus corporations,” noted independent movie producer Mark Joseph, adding that he was surprised to learn about the ticket protocol.

And Dan Gainor, VP of the Media Research Center, said he has attended the festival many times and experienced the “bumping” protocol first-hand when package holders show up in droves.

“There is no doubt that the big names of the cinema rule the show. Celebrity visits, movie sessions and star-watching dominate the program,” he said. “It is still indie, but it has become part of the Hollywood establishment.

However, others are less disturbed about All Access ticket holders getting priority and simply put it down to the nature of the beast.

“The fact that Sundance would cater to such influencers only seems to honor the work of the independent filmmaker,” said Utah media strategist Scott Lazerson. “After coming to Sundance for ten years in a row, I have never been denied entry to a film – other than times I stood in the waitlist line. But I would gladly give up my seat if it meant a potential distribution deal.”

And according to Glenn Selig of the Publicity Agency, the growing popularity of the Redford-founded festival – even to the point where not everyone’s tickets can be honored – is part of what has given rise to the whole indie film fest circuit.

“If Sundance attracts a ‘who’s who’ type of audience, it aids the filmmakers and their films. The primary purpose of Sundance is to give exposure to indie filmmakers,” he said. “The upside is the popularity of Sundance and the frustration some feel about being unable to attend has paved the way for more film festivals around the country.”


~~~

for an elitist festival, news like this does not surprise me in the least... pathetic
Old 01-22-13, 11:05 AM
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Re: Sundance Film Festival screws over ticket buyers

They have had these "all access" passes for as long as remember, but this is the first time I've seen where ticket holders for the screener have been bumped. So it seems that their algorithm is pretty good. Sucks for the people that got turned away, but it looks like they did get a refund.
Old 01-22-13, 01:02 PM
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Re: Sundance Film Festival screws over ticket buyers

Yeah, that's how a film festival works.

How the fuck is this news?
Old 01-22-13, 01:14 PM
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Re: Sundance Film Festival screws over ticket buyers

It's business. Indy or not, their business model is of tending to the needs of those that spent $2,500 & $3,000 per special package. That trumps someone who spent $15 for one screening.

They have to keep the big spenders happy. Business 101.

Last edited by Why So Blu?; 01-22-13 at 02:50 PM.
Old 01-22-13, 01:54 PM
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Re: Sundance Film Festival screws over ticket buyers

“I spent $60 on a cab fare, and a further
$10 at the concession stand and arrived
well in advance of the 15-minute
requirement ahead of the film’s start
time,”
I wonder how far in advance she got there. If she's talking 30 mins then she's a dumbass. If it was me, I would arrived at least 2 hours in advance.

But I've never been to Sundance so have nothing to base it on
Old 01-22-13, 01:55 PM
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Re: Sundance Film Festival screws over ticket buyers

This is TOTALLY news.
Old 01-22-13, 02:33 PM
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Re: Sundance Film Festival screws over ticket buyers

Originally Posted by Giles View Post
from Fox news:
No political agenda here
Old 01-22-13, 03:36 PM
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Re: Sundance Film Festival screws over ticket buyers

Robert Redford founded the Sundance festival
Robert Redford supports Obama

hence why it's news
Old 01-22-13, 03:50 PM
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Re: Sundance Film Festival screws over ticket buyers

I have absolutely ZERO problem with the seating policy as described above. Show up earlier next time, Ms. 99%.
Old 01-22-13, 03:53 PM
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Re: Sundance Film Festival screws over ticket buyers

It's a well-known fact that films that feature hot stars are big ticket items because people hope to bump into those stars. For those, get your ticket early, and show up early to get your seat.
Old 01-22-13, 05:29 PM
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Re: Sundance Film Festival screws over ticket buyers

Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
It's a well-known fact that films that feature hot stars are big ticket items because people hope to bump into those stars. For those, get your ticket early, and show up early to get your seat.
she had bought the tix early, it was her downfall on not getting to the show early - apparently securing a tix, is no guarantee that you have a seat though.
Old 01-22-13, 05:32 PM
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Re: Sundance Film Festival screws over ticket buyers

I sympathize, and it sucks for those who didn't get in...but if you're going to travel 2000 miles for an event like this, it's your responsibility to research how these things work. This is all documented on the web site.

For me, the real news story is that somebody took a cab up to Park City.
Old 01-22-13, 05:33 PM
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Re: Sundance Film Festival screws over ticket buyers

My local film festival runs things in a way that might meet the approval of the 99% but I think it's bullshit. They give priority to individually ticketed people over people with the all access pass (basicly the opposite of Sundance). It totally sucks. I've had an all access pass and been turned away or forced to sit in the isle because they sold a lot of individual tickets.

It may sound ellitest but the people who pay $700 in my case or $3,000 in the case of Sundance have every right to never be turned away. That pass around your neck should mean, "Right this way sir. Best seat in the house sir. Just for you sir."
Old 01-22-13, 05:37 PM
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Re: Sundance Film Festival screws over ticket buyers

Bear in mind that most of the people who have the $3000 tickets are either a) there to purchase films for distribution or b) critics. As a filmmaker, you want them to see your film over somebody who's hoping to get their photo with Harry Potter.
Old 01-22-13, 07:20 PM
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Re: Sundance Film Festival screws over ticket buyers

My film festival has the all access passess too, but they require the pass holders to obtain tickets in advance (for free, of course) for the screening they want to attend, so that they can sell the correct number of tickets.

I think that would be a good solution for Sundance. Require pass holders to get tickets. You can still show up without a ticket, but you only get a seat if there are extra seats after all ticketed attendees are seated (15 minutes before screening time).
Old 01-22-13, 09:33 PM
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Re: Sundance Film Festival screws over ticket buyers

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
My local film festival runs things in a way that might meet the approval of the 99% but I think it's bullshit. They give priority to individually ticketed people over people with the all access pass (basicly the opposite of Sundance). It totally sucks. I've had an all access pass and been turned away or forced to sit in the isle because they sold a lot of individual tickets.

It may sound ellitest but the people who pay $700 in my case or $3,000 in the case of Sundance have every right to never be turned away. That pass around your neck should mean, "Right this way sir. Best seat in the house sir. Just for you sir."
"The blowjobs are this way, sir."

For all that money they better have fluffers.
Old 01-22-13, 10:07 PM
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Re: Sundance Film Festival screws over ticket buyers

I wonder if you get free admission to the CAA dildo party with the $3000 pass.
Old 01-22-13, 11:54 PM
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Re: Sundance Film Festival screws over ticket buyers

I love the tone of outrage in that article. I thought it was known that CAA was filled with complete scumbags.
Old 01-23-13, 12:02 AM
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Re: Sundance Film Festival screws over ticket buyers

I always sorta imagined that the post-award show parties ended up as huge orgies.
Old 01-23-13, 12:23 AM
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Re: Sundance Film Festival screws over ticket buyers

That was pretty tame. I'd rather be at an actual orgy. Hell, even a bottomless party like in Harold and Kumar 2 would have been awesome.

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