“Have you ever had caviar on a pizza?”

The man, a fellow painfully unfamous guest to this private Park City house party, was rightfully proud of his concoction as he displayed it to a loose circle of us that had formed directly in a perma-busy walkway. We talked too loud, often to the point of distortion, to hear ourselves over A-Trak DJing in the corner next to a man in all black pouring tall glasses of a sediment-boasting red wine I could otherwise not even dream of affording.

But back to the free pizza and caviar, and our purpose for being here. It was a send-off, an expectedly (for me) emotional goodbye to Park City and in-person 2023 Sundance Film Festival proceedings at large. Back in December, I was invited to be a guest of Chase Sapphire at this year’s festival, which marked a return to the full-scale immersions of years past after back-to-back virtual gatherings due to the pandemic.

As I am in possession of a very particular kind of heart, I accepted the invitation with a detectable abundance of earnestness, which I somewhat recently learned to stop apologizing for. In short, gosh I love movies and I love them probably more than I love people.

Saying yes to this adventure resulted in four stacked-to-the-ceiling days of premieres, panels, parties, and passion. The latter, expectedly, was very much the contagious kind and gave me a high I’m still riding as I write this.

Sundance is a lot of things. It’s overwhelming, the good kind. It’s skin-chappingly cold but you don’t care because you’re about to walk into a screening of what may very well become a new favorite. It’s strangers made friends, at least for a few hours, as they all cry or laugh (or both) together at a blurry-eyed midnight screening. It’s caviar on pizza.

Below, get an insider’s look at this year’s festival through the eyes of a first-time (in-person, at least) attendee.