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Sundance Film Festival, Park City's insider take:

There are many experiences to be had at Sundance: fabulous Miramax parties, seeing the next Golden Globe–winner before anyone else, gawking at the attending celebs. The Festival takes place each January, and the downside of being in Park City at this time can be the long lines for movie tickets and events, the overcrowded everything, and the affectations of wannabe stars. The upside includes sitting next to starlets on the free city bus and having unscreened DVDs shoved into your hands.

Some survival tips: Book your flight, hotel, or condo through the all-in-one Sundance travel service (877-733-7829). Also consider buying the $2,500 Express Pass, which gets you into every screening. (Due to limited quantity, passes are sold via online lottery. Log on to the website in September or October to sign up—if you're one of the lucky ones selected at random, you will be assigned a specific time to call and make your purchase.) Otherwise your best bet is to buy your tickets on-site. Individual tickets go on sale in January, but screenings are often canceled or rescheduled, so it's easier to make your picks at the last minute, after hearing the latest buzz. Although this means standing in line, you'll find the scene social, chatty, and fun.

Once you're inside the theater, don't be afraid to walk out on a picture that's not grabbing your attention—there are far too many great films to be wasting your time. Also worthwhile: the indie sideshow festivals such as Slamdance, which show more avant-garde fare (323-466-1786;

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