Sundance 2014: City Hall rules don’t allow a free-for-all in town |

Sundance 2014: City Hall rules don’t allow a free-for-all in town


It might seem that there are no rules sometimes during the Sundance Film Festival.

City Hall, though, tightly regulates the goings-on during the annual run of top domestic marketplace of independent films. There are numerous municipal laws and regulations that restrict what someone is able to do while conducting business during Sundance, ranging from how a building can be used to the way someone is able to generate buzz for a film.

The film festival, scheduled from Jan. 16 until Jan. 26, is the busiest stretch on Park City’s calendar. Preparations in the city began before New Year’s. Some signs have been posted and a festival installation is under construction along Swede Alley.

City Hall, meanwhile, has posted on its website an extensive rundown outlining some of the rules and regulations that must be followed as people planning to conduct business in Park City during Sundance prepare for the opening.

Dubbed "Rules of the Road — Sundance 2014," the seven-page document serves as a guide through City Hall processes related to the festival. Some of the information covers licensing for businesses while another section outlines the rules that regulate serving alcohol. The document is not meant for someone who is heading to Park City as a fan of independent films or to try to catch a glimpse of a celebrity.

Kayla Sintz, the planning manager at City Hall and the official who serves as the municipal government’s contact for festival week, noted the municipal government’s rules that regulate signs that are posted temporarily during Sundance. There are typically numerous temporary signs along Main Street as corporate interests rent storefronts for gifting suites and reception areas.

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Sintz said City Hall allows a company renting a building to replace the existing signs with their own if they receive the proper permit. The companies, though, must put up temporary signs that meet the city’s requirements. They must comply with the same restrictions regulating size, color and materials that permanent signs need to meet.

"We want to make sure we have a cohesive look to the city," Sintz said. "We don’t want to look like we’re a carnival."

She acknowledged that City Hall normally encounters a few sign-related problems during the festival.

Park City officials require that someone obtain a business license or what is known as a convention sales license if they intend to conduct business during the festival. A business license is required even if something is not being sold, such as is the case in the gifting suites.

City Hall, meanwhile, also regulates the number of people who are allowed into a building at any one time. The Park City Building Department is heavily involved in those discussions. The city’s fire marshal verifies the so-called occupancy load of a building.

Sintz said the number of temporary setups during Sundance, such as gifting suites and dinner parties, is anticipated to drop slightly in 2014. She said the lower number could be a result of a series of buildings along Main Street being under construction. The gifting suites and events like dinner parties are heavily concentrated on Main Street.

Some of the other topics covered in the Rules of the Road document include:

  • the prohibition on gifting suites in residential areas of Park City.
  • the rule outlining that individual licenses are required of each entity operating in a gifting suite
  • the information needed by City Hall before a business license or a convention sales license is issued, such as the activity type and a list with contact information for the responsible parties
  • the calculations used to determine the price of a business license and a convention sales license

    The Rules of the Road also covers topics like restrictions on marketing films. The rules are regularly broken during the film festival even as City Hall over the years has attempted curb the problem. The document says movie fliers may be posted on kiosks along Main Street that City Hall puts up during the festival.

    "Posting flyers, stickers and posters on the exterior of public or private buildings, street poles/signs, pay parking stations, bus stops news racks, public phones, or any other public property anywhere in Park City is a criminal misdemeanor. Violators will be prosecuted," the Rules of the Road says.

    Other activities mentioned in the document include sidewalk musicians, who require a license, the illegality of using a megaphone or speakers to attract a crowd and the unlawfulness of distributing promotional materials like stickers and fliers from a vehicle. It also says that parking spots along Main Street cannot be reserved.

    For more information about the regulations, contact Sintz. Her phone number is 615-5062 and her e-mail address is The Rules of the Road document is available on City Hall’s website, Select ‘Doing Business’ at the top of the front page and then ‘Sundance Film Festival’ in the dropdown menu. The direct link is: