Sundance offers free film festival screenings to Utah July 17-21

Jun 13, 2024, 9:01 AM | Updated: Jul 17, 2024, 2:49 pm

A grid with still pictures from nine films...

The Sundance Institute is bringing Sundance Film Festival films back to Utah in July of 2024 as part of the free summer screening series called "Local Lens." Films screen in Park City, Salt Lake City and West Valley City. (Sundance Institute)

(Sundance Institute)

UPDATE: The free Sundance Film Festival screenings for Utah locals start Wednesday night with “Skywalkers: A Love Story” at Red Butte Garden Amphitheater. At press time, tickets still remain and can be reserved online at Sundance.org/local-lens.

Films that are part of the Sundance Local Lens initiative screen at indoor and outdoor locations in Salt Lake County and in Park City. Further details, including a full schedule are below.

SALT LAKE CITY — Many associate the Sundance Film Festival with snow-covered streets in the annual winter film festival, but Utahns will have a chance to see free film screenings — including outdoors — in July.

The Sundance Institute, the nonprofit organization that runs the festival, announced the dates and venues for 2024, which include traditional theaters and outdoor venues in Park City and Salt Lake County. The films are largely as yet unreleased, giving Utah audiences a chance to see something not available elsewhere.

The films are also acclaimed, including “Didi,” which won both the U.S. Dramatic Audience Award and the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Best Ensemble Cast at the 2024 festival.

a boy smiles big in a still from a film

Izaac Wang appears in Didi (弟弟) by Sean Wang, a 2024 Sundance Film Festival award winner. (Courtesy Sundance Institute)

“It’s a series we have been doing in one form or another for 20 years,” Sundance Film Festival Senior Programmer Basil Tsiokos said. “It’s an opportunity for us to really acknowledge how much we love our Utah audience.”

The films start screening July 17 at Red Butte Garden and conclude with a legacy screening, an audience choice from the past with “20 Feet From Stardom,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013 and later won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. It’s the story of brilliant backup singers who aren’t household names; It also features musicians famous enough to use just one name like String, Springsteen and Bowie.

While the screenings are free, it is ticketed, and seats are available to reserve at Sundance.org/local-lens. It’s part of the Sundance.org/sundancelocals/.

People sit on a hill watching a movie

FILE — Utah audiences watch a Sundance Film Festival screening as part of the Local Lens summer screening program. Films screen for free in indoor and outdoor locations in Park City and Salt Lake City. (Sundance Institute)

“The main goal that I have is that we really want to show the breadth and diversity of what kinds of films we show at the festival,” Tsiokos said. He said the festival tries to consider what films work best outdoors or which work better in more intimate settings.

“We have certain films that really lend themselves to that kind of grand presentation,” Tsiokos said. He mentioned “Skywalkers: A Love Story,” which kicks things off July 17 at the Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre. “That one is going to play pretty amazingly outdoors. It’s got spectacle … it’s got really beautiful visuals. I think audiences are really going to enjoy it.”

A still from “Skywalkers: A Love Story” by Jeff Zimbalist, an official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. (Courtesy of Sundance Institute)

While the full schedule is below, Tsiokos suggested legacy film “20 Feet from Stardom,” as a one that’s likely to be safe for children that has been released for a long time, allowing parents to make informed decisions about content.

A film about families,  “Daughters,” explores the relationships between men in the prison system and the connections they share outside, highlighted by a daddy-daughter dance in a fatherhood program.

“We are so excited to be able to return these films to Utah to take another look at them” Tsiokos said.

Sundance Film Festival names top 10 films from its 40-year Utah history

There is also an event for local filmmakers led by festival programmers, helping Utah film talent hone film pitching skills and approach. It features a panel that will feature Tsiokos, Sundance Film Festival Director Eugene Hernandez, writer-director Amrou Al-Kadhi, and industry producers to offer insights to Utah filmmakers in person.

The full schedule is below.

“Skywalkers: A Love Story”

Wednesday, July 17, 2024, at 9 p.m. at Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre – An outdoor screening at 2188 Red Butte Canyon Rd., Salt Lake City


Thursday, July 18, 2024, at 7 p.m. at The Ray Theatre located at 1768 Park Ave., Park City

A still from “Daughters” by Angela Patton and Natalie Rae, an official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. (Sundance Institute)

“My Old Ass”

Thursday, July 18, 2024, at 9 p.m. at Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre – An outdoor screening at 2188 Red Butte Canyon Rd., Salt Lake City

“Your Monster”

Friday, July 19, 2024, at 7 p.m. at The Ray Theatre located at 1768 Park Ave., Park City


Saturday, July 20, 2024, at 5:30 p.m., at Megaplex Theatres at Valley Fair Mall, located at 3620 S. 2400 West, West Valley City

“Dìdi (弟弟)”

Saturday, July 20, 2024, at 8:30 p.m. at Megaplex Theatres at Valley Fair Mall, 3620 S. 2400 W., West Valley City


Saturday, July 20, 2024, at 9 p.m. City Park – Outdoor Screening at 1400 Sullivan Rd., Park City


Saturday, July 20, 2024, at 11 p.m. at Broadway Centre Cinemas, 111 E. Broadway 300 S., Salt Lake City
*Writer-director Amrou Al-Kadhi will introduce the film and participate in a Q&A after the screening

Artist Event – Filmmaking Deep Dive: Honing Your Pitch With Industry Insights

Saturday, July 20, 2024, at 10 a.m. at Megaplex Theatres at Valley Fair Mall, 3620 S. 2400 W., West Valley City

“20 Feet from Stardom”

Sunday, July 21, 2024, at 9:15 p.m. at Gallivan Center – Outdoor Screening at 239 S. Main Street Salt Lake City


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Sundance offers free film festival screenings to Utah July 17-21