Merchandise stores prove to be one of Sundance’s biggest hits |

Merchandise stores prove to be one of Sundance’s biggest hits

Tracie Murphy, merchandise manager for the Sundance Institute, says film festival products available this year includes a cardboard smartphone projector, tote bags made with the festival s banners and a stuffed animal moose. She says attendees of the festival always look forward to loading up on Sundance gear. (Bubba Brown/Park Record)

Thousands of people make the trek to Park City each January looking to soak up their own Sundance Film Festival experience.

But for many, the journey is incomplete until they snag some merchandise to commemorate their time in Park City. That’s where Sundance’s five Festival stores come in. The stores — which were all set to open on Thursday or Friday and are located at 523 Main St., 608 Main St., 1895 Sidewinder Drive, 1750 Kearns Blvd. and 1200 Little Kate Road — allow festival-goers to load up on Sundance-branded gear.

Tracie Murphy, merchandise manager for the Sundance Institute, said checking out the stores’ offerings is a tradition for many people who attend the festival. Some of her staff have even developed friendships with people who return year after year.

"People love to support the product, bring merchandise home and tell the world that they were here," she said. "And then, when they’re out in the wild wherever they may live, someone is going to approach them and say, ‘Oh, the Sundance Film Festival!’ Everybody brings their memories home with them."

Murphy had her eye on a number of products she expected to be hits this festival. First and foremost was a cardboard projector designed to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the festival’s New Frontier program, which fosters multi-platform storytelling. Users simply insert their smartphones into the projector and press play.

"You take it home and you’ve got a great memory of your time here at the festival," Murphy said. "The projectors really surprised me and wowed me. They are so amazing, a new technology and fun and different for a great price point. Who’s not going to want one of these?"

Other items Murphy thought would fly off the shelves include a new teal women’s hoodie, a black scarf embroidered with the festival’s logo, and a stuffed animal moose — also named Murphy — that wears a removable t-shirt.

"The idea is that every year, Murphy will get a new t-shirt, and people can buy the whole herd of them or just change out his shirt," said Murphy, joking that the she is not related to the moose. "It makes a great gift to bring home to your child or your friends."

Tote bags made out of banners that were displayed throughout Park City during the previous year’s festival are also always popular, Murphy said. She added that she always looks forward to the day each year when the banners are unfurled for the first time.

"When I saw them go up last week, my first thought was, ‘They’re going to make great bags!’" she said. "It’s completely unique, and we only have a limited edition. So when they’re gone, they’re gone. And they’re also only available in the stores, instead of online, because we only make a limited amount."

For Murphy, the opening of the Festival stores is the culmination of several months of hard work and collaboration. She was eager for attendees to get their first glimpses of this year’s products, knowing they will take the Sundance brand back home with them when they leave.

"Branding is paramount for marketing and for the Institute in general," she said. "Everybody recognizes the name, and you’ve got to have the name to grow the business. I mean, I have a friend who took last year’s tote bag to Europe with him on vacation, and people were like, ‘Oh, the film festival.’ So a lot of people recognize the name all over the world."

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