OGDEN -- Fans of the Sundance Film Festival in Ogden lined the south hallway of Peery's Egyptian Theater on Tuesday, all eager to secure tickets for the festival screenings that start here on Saturday.
"I thought they might sell out, and I was right," said Roxanne Taylor, of Huntsville, referring to the screening of "Mud," which "went wait list" Tuesday morning.
Festival organizers prefer the term "wait list" to sold out, because so many tickets usually open up just prior to screenings, and most patrons who get on the wait list two hours before curtain make it into the theater.
Ogden's screening of "Austenland" went wait list well before open ticket sales began Tuesday. Tickets remain available for 11 other Ogden Sundance screenings.
"We made a special trip down to get tickets today," Taylor said. "We registered to buy tickets online, but we couldn't make the system work. To see films, we only come to Ogden. We like to meet with friends and have dinner afterward."
"We are Ogden-centric," said husband Tom Taylor. "And we love seeing our Sundance films in this beautiful theater. It's fun when someone discovers a great film, like 'Little Miss Sunshine,' and we can say, 'Ah, yes. We saw it at Sundance.' "
The line was more than 40 people deep during the noon hour Tuesday, the first day the Ogden box office was open for general ticket sales.
Some patrons flipped through the film guides to narrow their wish lists. Others looked at a wall chart that illustrated festival offerings.
"This is the best place to see films," said Sally Coolley, a Clearfield resident who volunteers for Sundance at a Salt Lake City venue, the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center. "This theater is spacious, and everyone is friendly. Park City is a lot more hectic."
Bret Shimizu, Roy, agrees.
"The theater is beautiful and historic," he said. "It's not as crowded here as in Park City. I'm here for the movies, not for the film industry."
Shimizu bought tickets for "The History of the Eagles, Part One," as a gift for his parents, who deserve a date night, he said. For himself, he bought tickets to "Big Sur," about a turning point in the life of writer Jack Kerouac.
"Kerouac's writing inspires me, and Big Sur is beautiful," Shimizu said. "I think it's awesome Sundance has screenings in Ogden, and I hope they continue."
The Sundance Film Festival added its Ogden venue in 1997, when the restored Peery's Egyptian Theater reopened its doors.
Tom Taylor said his granddaughter especially loves visiting the ornate theater, which features colorful and gilded details and tastefully topless sculptures above the stage, which are inspired by the art of King Tut's Egypt.
"We brought her here once, and she looked at a statue and said, 'Grandpa, she's butt nekkid,' so that's a big reason I come here," Taylor joked.
With 800 seats, Peery's Egyptian has long been one of Sundance's largest venues.
"There's a certain majesty to the viewing experience here," said film fan Jason White, of West Haven. "Everything I have seen here is outstanding, and I like the talk with directors that follows some films.
"Between here and the Salt Lake venues, you can see a good representation of the festival without going to Park City."
Dianne Doherty, of Huntsville, chose Ogden for proximity.
"It's a 20-minute drive to come here and a 120-minute drive to Park City," she said. "I may go to Park City next week, just for the experience. I'm only living here for a year, and I'm very excited for the opportunity to experience Sundance."
Sundance tickets are $15. The Ogden box office is at the festival venue, Peery's Egyptian Theater, 2415 Washington Blvd. The Sundance box office is open daily, except Sunday, now through Jan. 26.
For full festival information and film descriptions, visit www.sundance.org/festival.
Here's a list of the titles coming to Ogden: "Crystal Fairy," 6:30 p.m. Saturday; "Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes," 9:30 p.m. Saturday; "Who is Dayani Cristal," 3:30 p.m. Sunday; "Mud," wait list, 6:30 p.m. Sunday; "Austenland," wait list, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday; "History of the Eagles, Part One," 6:30 p.m. Jan. 22; "Before Midnight," 6:30 p.m. Jan. 23; "The Way, Way Back," 6:30 p.m. Jan. 24; "The Crash Reel," 6:30 p.m. Jan. 25; "Big Sur," 9:30 p.m. Jan. 25; "The East," 3:30 p.m. Jan. 26; "Stoker," 6:30 p.m. Jan. 26; "Very Good Girls," 9:30 p.m. Jan. 26.
For a full preview of Sundance in Ogden, check out this Friday's Go! section.