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The Most Epic Way to Experience Sundance Opening Night

Book your seat for "An Artist At The Table," an unforgettable evening of entertainment and fine dining in support of the arts.

By Michaela Wagner December 28, 2017

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Kick off your festival experience with An Artist At The Table 

Want to start your Sundance Film Festival experience out on a truly unforgettable note? Then you need to reserve a ticket to "An Artist At The Table." This event is an epic way to experience opening day at the famed festival because it offers a very exclusive combination of the best of the festival--entertainment, independent artists, dining, and the opportunity to be a part of something truly unique. Perhaps this is why so many guests return specifically for "An Artist At The Table" every year.

The event begins with a screening of the world premiere of the festival's opening night film, Blindspotting, directed by Carlos Lopez Estrada and co-written and co-starring Tony Award winner Daveed Diggs (from the original cast of the Broadway musical Hamilton) and Rafael Casal. After the screening and subsequent Q&A with the filmmakers, you'll then be whisked off to the DeJoria Center (via a shuttle or you can drive) to enjoy an evening of delicious cocktails, dinner, and a reception with a number of Sundance artists who, as the name implies, will be joining attendees at their table. (See below for confirmed artists).

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Opening night screening at the Eccles Center

One of the biggest highlights of this year's event will, undoubtedly, be a performance by String Theory, a genre-bending, hybrid performance ensemble. A truly one-of-a-kind group, the immersive experience combines signature architectural harp installations with original music, dance, and projections. "We're really excited about this addition to the program this year," says Josie McGuinn, associate director of events at the Sundance Institute. "We're rehearsing in the performance in the venue, have four different artists speaking, and a few surprises lined up."

"An Artist At The Table" began nine years ago as an effort to better connect supporters with the artists and their works. Originally attended by 175 guests, the event has grown quite a bit in size over the years -- 450 to 500 attendees are expected this year -- but it remains an intimate affair and 100 percent true to the mission of the Sundance Institute. Past attendees include numerous notable names, ranging from festival founder Robert Redford to Nancy Pelosi, Mary J. Blige, Joseph Gordan Levitt, Jane Fonda, Katie Couric, and Giada de Laurentiis, among others. But the affair is by no means restricted to big names and even locals can get in on the action. "There's sometimes a misconception that the festival is about these big stars who actually have no affiliation with Sundance," says McGuinn. "Every artist at this event has their own Sundance story, whether they were part of a lab, the theater program, or have a film in the festival. It all ties into our organization's commitment to both discovering independent voices and introducing audiences to their work."

Every year the work of the Sundance Institute seems to grow more relevant in this regard and that's why turning up for this event is a no brainer if you have the means. Yes, it's a night of amazing performance and genuine conversation with artists, but it's also provides critical funding. "This event is really about bringing more visibility and awareness to the non-profit work we do. Everything goes directly back into supporting original, authentic, and diverse artists through programming like the labs, mentorships, and grants," says McGuinn. "This is a way for us to expand our family and hopefully bring more people in and give them an awesome way to be a part of the opening night festivities."

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Tickets for "An Artists At The Table" are currently on sale via the Sundance website in a variety of options, ranging from single individual entry to entire tables. Make your reservation here. 

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