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Filmmaking (Actually) Ep. 7 "How Do You Actually Not Freeze at Sundance??"

Updated: Jan 16, 2023

Join Koura on Episode 7 of Filmmaking (Actually) to learn about a timely topic for those of you who are headed to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Located at 7,000 feet above sea level, the winter weather during Sundance can get very cold very quickly! So grab your headphones along with your earmuffs, scarf, windbreaker, and waterproof boots: it's going to get hot in here if you know what to wear!

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Below please find a transcript of this episode. Episodes are also available as audio-only podcasts here or with subtitles in this video:

How Do You Actually Not Freeze at Sundance??

Hello, my name is Koura Linda, and this is my podcast “Filmmaking, Actually”

So while I have a whole lineup of some really awesome podcasts coming your way, I wanted to take a quick minute to talk about something very important that is coming up very soon. Sundance! So the Sundance Film Festival, there is so much I could say about this festival. Apparently, though, there's one topic that isn't covered too often. And that's: What do you wear to Sundance? Now I don't mean like, how do you be "Mountain Chic" or whatever? I mean, literally, I mean, like, how do you not freeze your a** off? I hate being cold, like I grew up in New York. I had a lifetime of cold. I'm good. So I have to stay warm and I have staying warm down to an art. But you don't have to look like Frosty the Snowman to be warm. Like those little kids where they can't put their arms down because they're wearing so many layers. And you also don't have to bury a super cute outfit under a hundred layers just to be warm. And if you're a guy, you can still apply this because it's pretty basic.

First, there are a few spots that are really important to keep warm that help keep your whole body warm. This is just my own personal experience. (I'm not a scientist, obviously) but if you keep your feet and ankles warm, so like not those cute little ankle socks, but like actually socks that cover your ankles, your lower back, your neck, your wrists and the top of your head - if those are warm, it helps raise your entire body temperature. Also, it's really important to stay dry, wet feet = cold feet very, very quickly! And that said, all boots are not snow boots. So like you can get a really cool or really trendy pair of boots, but they aren't necessarily going to keep you warm and dry unless they're actually snow boots.

So snow boots. They usually have a special lining inside, like if you stick your hand in between the tongue and the laces, or like where the side of the shoe is… on actual snow boots, it'll be sealed. There'll be fabric or some sort of lining that connects it so there isn't any openings. Regular shoes or fashion shoes tend to just be made in pieces, and that is an opportune place for snow and wind and wet to get into your shoe. So a real snow boot will actually protect you from that. Snow boots are also often waterproofed. Sometimes, though, getting like, high end waterproof snow boots can be really expensive, so you can get a type of spray that is usually used for like, camping and weather protecting things like that. You can get a waterproof spray for your shoes, test them first, blah blah blah, blah all that stuff. Make sure you leave enough time for the spray to dry before you have to pack. But yeah, you can get non waterproof boots and then spend a couple of bucks for the spray to spray and make them waterproof.

Also, don't like, intentionally soak your boots even if they are waterproof or water resistant. And remember that water resistant only means it will resist water. It's not impervious to it. Also, no matter what, break in new shoes before going to the festival. I mean, you should always break in new shoes before you have to wear them for like 15 hours, but as much as you can. One tip to help break in shoes, put on extra socks and just walk around your house with them, and it'll help shape them to your foot and stretch them out where it needs to get stretched. If your shoes do get wet, you can always stick a hairdryer in them on low and stand there while you get them dry. If you have access to a dryer, some shoes can just get thrown in the dryer. Just remember that it can be really time consuming, and depending on your shoes, it can mess them up. Or it can also just smell really bad, I mean, let's be real feet smell. It happens. So in a perfect world, try and get your shoes water resistant. You can also spray that on regular sneakers just as a pro tip.

Another thing to keep in mind is Layers Are Your Friend, and you can layer under your clothes…you don't have to layer over your clothes. So like you can mix up layers and put things underneath. Like, let's say there's a T-shirt you really want the logo seen, or you got a really cute dress and you want to show it off or whatever. There's ways to layer your clothes so that you can not have to bury what you're wearing. For me, I usually wear a pair of ankle socks just for added warmth, and then I put on a pair of stockings and then I put on a pair of regular socks, and sometimes I put a pair of winter socks on top of that. Yeah, that's three pairs of socks plus stockings. But if I'm going to be outside a lot, you can end up waiting in line for a party for like an hour standing in the snow, and that really helps to have lots of socks on. I then usually put leggings on and then jeans on top. I usually have a tank top, then a T-shirt, a long sleeve shirt, a sweater, a scarf and sometimes a hoodie or flannel. And then a jacket, hat and gloves.

I also have this really cute scarf shawl thing that I absolutely love, (Thanks to my friend Rachel for pointing that out to me.) You can look them up online. They're like, these… It basically looks like a blanket that's like, has a slit in the front part, so you can just put it over your shoulders. And it's basically like wearing a blanket and it looks really cool and it keeps you so warm. I'm… I'm in love with these things. Anyway! So you can also reverse layer. So like I was saying, if there's a T-shirt you really want to show off, you can wear long sleeves and the tank top underneath it and then put the T-shirt on top of it. Then when you go inside you unzip your jacket and voila, you've got your logo being shown off to the world.

There's also these really cool little hand warmers and feet warmers you can get. I mean, you can get them online, you can get them at grocery stores, drugstores, whatever. But they're like little instant heat packs, like these little squares and you just open them up and they react with the air and start generating heat. You can put them in your pockets, you can put them in your shoes. And those also are great for keeping you warm. Another pro tip is to take one of those muscle heat packs (again that you can get at like grocery stores or drugstores or whatever) And if you put it across your lower back, there's a lot of blood flow back there, and having that area warm helps keep your entire body warm. And those packs usually last a good six to eight hours.

Remember that you're going to be inside and outside a lot, so you want to wear things that you can put on and take off. I'll often be all bundled up standing outside, and then you take off a couple of layers when you're inside. There's coat checks at almost every venue, but as long as you're able to carry whatever you're not wearing-- I will say leave the fancy dress shoes, high heels, miniskirts, fancy dress shoes for guys or high heels, if that's your thing. Park City literally can go into the negative degrees at night. That's over 30 degrees below freezing. It's really cold! You don't want to be wearing open toed stilettos. It may seem weird to say it, but I have seen people in miniskirts and open toed shoes and little high heels every single year for the last six festivals. Do yourself a favor. Don't even try to walk in the ice and snow with them. It's not fun for anyone. You can also totally layer up and bring a change of shoes for a party inside. But if you're trying to walk up a steep hill on Main Street in open toed stilettos and a mini skirt, forget just the ice that you can slip and fall on. Freezing to death is never fashionable. So that's just a word to the wise.

You can also do layers over something like put on leggings over stockings and put on a bunch of sweaters and stuff over a dress and then go into a party, jump in the bathroom, take off the extra layers, tuck it inside your jacket, put it at coat check, and then you can be in a cute dress for the party and then just change again before you go back out to the freezing cold weather. My husband and I also carry around a backpack with us because it helps to shove extra layers in. Also, the material that you wear-- you can get actual straight like long john material. You also can just get leggings or yoga pants. That stretchy material with the elastic tends to trap a lot of heat in, especially because it's right next to your skin. And then you can put jeans or pants over it. Remember, the wind can be super cold, but having lots of layers will help block some of the wind from just cutting straight through your clothes. Layers that are right against your body help to keep your body heat in, so like, a tight tank top next to your skin is better than wearing a really loose fitting shirt. If you want to wear a loose fitting shirt because that's your style, you can put a tighter shirt underneath that won't be seen, but will help keep you warm.

Some days are warmer than others. I've been outside in a T-shirt in the middle of the day some years, and I, you know, usually still have four pairs of socks on. But it just depends. Check the weather before you go. If you're wearing too many layers, you can take some off. If you are too cold though, you can't put clothes on in the middle of the day if you don't have them with you.

So there you go. Stay warm. Have an awesome festival. I mean, honestly, everybody there from what I have seen is, for the most part, so focused on the films and the art and everything that's going on in the events and the panels. So as far as the fashion part goes, you can research that on your own. I'm not a fashion expert at all! But these are some ways to not freeze your a** off before the end of the festival. All right. That's it. If you have any questions, you can email us at filmmakingactually(at) You can also like, subscribe, share. Tell your friends all that good stuff. Thanks for listening! Bye.

You've been listening to filmmaking actually with Koura Linda, Space Dream Productions podcast. Subscribe to us on any or all the podcast platforms, but we especially recommend our sponsor “Anchor”! If you like what you hear, leave us five star ratings and positive reviews on iTunes and Stitcher. It helps more listeners like you discover the show, but the best thing you can do if you really like the show is tell a friend. Want to leave a comment or ask a question? Email at filmmakingactually(at) This is Spacey speaking, and does anyone remember My Little Pony Sundance? Well, not MY Little Pony, but the pony from... Anyway, we'll see you next time.


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