Sundance shops offer film festival keepsakes
Manager says product line has been reinvented from previous years
Each March, before the electricity of the recent Sundance Film Festival has entirely faded, Tracie Murphy and her team begin preparing for the next one.
Murphy is the merchandise manager for the Sundance Institute, the organization that puts on the festival, and her job is to create the lines of products that fill the shops around town that festival-goers flock to each January to purchase lasting memories of their experiences in Park City. With the 2017 festival underway, Murphy is delighted to see how customers are reacting to the latest range of clothing and gear, which she said is the result of months of hard work from her and her staff.
“I’ve been working on these products since last year, and it’s so exciting to see them on the walls,” she said. “We’ve gone through a variety of iterations and tweaking and changing and bringing samples in to say, ‘Oh, I really like that and that.’”
The process of stocking this year’s festival stores was more intense than ever, Murphy said. Rather than altering or modifying the product lines from the previous year like usual, Murphy and her team took them in an entirely new direction.
“We really reinvented the wheel,” she said. “… This year, everything is different.”
Among the most notable of the new creations is the heritage line, which aims to connect the festival’s roots to its present, Murphy said. The line features items that evoke the year 1981, Sundance’s first in Park City, such as a corduroy baseball cap, an aviator hat, a blue and gray flannel shirt and a long-sleeve T-shirt that aims to tell the story of the festival: The right sleeve features the Sundance Institute emblem, the left is printed with the festival’s mission — supporting independent artists since 1981 — and the back is emblazoned with the original logo, a sun on the horizon.
Coming up with the heritage line was both challenging and creatively stimulating, Murphy said.
“We dug through some archives to get some ideas, we sat around and did a think tank, like, ‘What would you wear and what were your favorite things back then, whether you worked at the Institute or not?’” she said.
Other items Murphy expects to sell fast include a line of bags made from vinyl banners that hung throughout town during Sundance last year. Customers can pick from a regular tote bag featuring the festival’s light swirl logo, a lunch tote with gusseted sides for easy folding or a laptop bag. Murphy warned customers to snag the bags early because there’s a limited supply.
“You’re really taking home a piece of the Sundance Film Festival, as well as the Institute,” she said.
While festival-goers will find plenty of original items to commemorate Sundance 2017, the product lines aren’t the only things that are new. For the first time ever, the Sundance Institute opened a festival shop in Salt Lake City, at Trolley Square. For years, customers have pleaded with the Institute to open a location in the Valley, and Murphy is excited to at last fulfill that request.
“I’ve been telling folks, ‘We’re going to do this, so you have to support it. If you don’t support this store, it’s really hard for my team to (do it),’” she said. “But we opened the store and it’s doing phenomenally. People are supporting it. It’s really exciting.”
Sundance Institute shops will be open throughout the festival at the following locations: 523 Main St., 751 Main St., 1895 Sidewinder Dr. in the Park City Marriott, 1750 Kearns Blvd. in the Eccles Center, 1200 Little Kate Road in the MARC, 602 S. 700 E. in Salt Lake City at Trolley Square.
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