Every January, the world hits Old Town, Park City for the Sundance Film Fest.

Sixty-five percent of last year’s filmgoers for the annual salute to independent film came from out of state. 

About 4,000 guests were visitors to America, too, many trying to catch a glimpse of a real cowboy during their stay Out West—or at least the Sundance Kid, festival founder Robert Redford

Last year, 1,974 international films were submitted, and the press represented 16 countries, including Australia, Egypt and Venezuela.

Despite the international flair, the festival, now in its 30th year, takes pride in catering to Utahns with locals-only tickets and, quite often, films by Utah filmmakers, like Jerusha Hess’ Austenland.

Locals, such as Co-Managing Directors Laurie Hopkins and Sarah Pearce, help run the show, most of the volunteers are local, and the festival turned Park City’s Egyptian Theatre into an icon by premiering indie hits like Reality Bites and The Blair Witch Project.  

So if it feels like an invasion, remember, at its heart, this is Utah’s fest.

The Sundance Film Festival runs Jan. 16–26. Visit sundance.org for tickets and info on films.