ENTERTAINMENT

Utah’s plan to retain Sundance Film Festival would split it between 2 cities

Jul 4, 2024, 5:28 PM | Updated: 5:31 pm

Sundance signs in Park City...

Signs are posted for the 2024 Sundance Film Festival on Main Street in Park City on Jan. 18. Utah's bid to retain the event beyond 2026 is still in play with Park City and Salt Lake City officials working together with the Utah Film Commission. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — It appears that Utah’s bid to retain the Sundance Film Festival beyond 2026 will focus on splitting it between its current home and its first one.

Few details about Utah’s bid have been made available since the Utah Film Commission announced Utah had filed a request for proposal response to the Sundance Institute in May. The commission confirmed that it submitted a request-for-proposals response — to Sundance’s questions about the bid — on June 20, but it declined to offer many details about what’s in the request.

“We deeply appreciate the opportunity to continue through this process,” said Utah Film Commission Director Virginia Pearce in a statement on behalf of the Utah Host Committee. “As the proud home of the Sundance Film Festival, our commitment to its success is deep-rooted. This process has inspired us to reimagine the festival, renew our passion for preserving its connection to its home, and envision a future that brings shared growth and sustainable success for years to come.”

However, a few more nuggets about the process were unveiled during the Salt Lake City Council meeting on Tuesday. Salt Lake City staffers informed the City Council that the Utah Film Commission, Salt Lake City, Visit Salt Lake, Salt Lake County, Park City, Park City Chamber and Visitors Bureau and Summit County filed a joint bid to host the event.

The annual winter event would be hosted in both Park City and Salt Lake City, according to Lindsey Nikola, deputy chief of staff for the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office.

It wasn’t immediately clear how the events would be split up between the two cities. Park City has been the primary host since 1981, but several Sundance film screenings have trickled into Salt Lake City in recent years, utilizing venues like the Rose Wagner Center and Megaplex Theatres at The Gateway.

Sundance originated as the Utah/United States Film Festival in 1978, which was held at Trolley Square in Salt Lake City. It remained in Utah’s capital for a few more years before organizers moved it to Park City and the Sundance Institute took over the event.

Spokespeople for Salt Lake City and Park City declined to comment, directing KSL.com to the Utah Film Commission. Commission officials also declined to comment any further, saying they will allow the Sundance Institute “to confirm further details.”

Sundance Institute officials have also been tight-lipped about the process since announcing in April that it was accepting bids to host the major film event beginning in 2027, after its current contract in Park City wraps up. The June 20 RFP response means that Utah is still in the running to retain what is now a global event.

Nikola said there’s no timetable for when the half-dozen entities will “hear back” from Sundance on this submission, but she described what would happen next if Utah advances.

“We anticipate that phase three of this process will include site visits and work groups,” she said, adding that the city is expecting that the decision will be made by late 2024 or early 2025.

But Utah does have competition as other cities are trying to swoop in and land the event that drew in 17,000 film submissions this past year. Atlanta’s bid includes $2 million in support, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on June 24. Colorado officials also approved a $1.5 million incentive to woo the event across Utah’s eastern border to Boulder, Colorado.

Other cities still in the running include Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Nashville, Tennessee, according to news outlets in those states.

KSL 5 TV Live

Entertainment

FILE - President Joe Biden attends Working Session III of the NATO Summit in Washington, July 11, 2...

Associated Press

Hollywood reacts to Joe Biden exiting the presidential race

Hollywood was quick to react to the news that President Joe Biden was ending his bid for reelection and endorsing Vice President Kamala Harris.

2 days ago

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Glen Powell, right, and Daisy Edgar-Jones in a scen...

Lindsy Bahr, The Associated Press

‘Twisters’ whips up $80.5 million at box office, while ‘Deadpool & Wolverine’ looms

Moviegoers ran toward the tornadoes this weekend, propelling “ Twisters ” to a blockbuster opening. The standalone sequel to the 1996 hit made $80.5 million in ticket sales from 4,151 theaters in North America, according to studio estimates Sunday.

3 days ago

FILE - Fox Business News host Lou Dobbs speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPA...

Associated Press

Lou Dobbs, conservative pundit and longtime cable TV host for Fox Business and CNN, dies at 78

Lou Dobbs, the conservative political pundit and veteran cable TV host who was a founding anchor for CNN and later was a nightly presence on Fox Business Network for more than a decade, has died. He was 78.

6 days ago

BURBANK, CA - AUGUST 15:  Actor Bob Newhart appears on the set of "The Big Bang Theory" for a dialo...

Associated Press

Comedian Bob Newhart, deadpan master of sitcoms and telephone monologues, dies at 94

Bob Newhart, the deadpan accountant-turned-comedian who became one of the most popular TV stars of his time after striking gold with a classic comedy album, has died at 94.

6 days ago

This image released by FX shows Eita Okuno as Saeki Nobutatsu, from left, Anna Sawai as Toda Mariko...

Andrew Dalton, AP Entertainment Writer

‘Shogun’ leads all Emmy nominees with 25 and ‘The Bear’ sets comedy series record with 23

“The Bear” has gone on a tear at Wednesday morning’s Emmy nominations with a comedy-series record 23, and “Shogun” led all nominees with 25.

7 days ago

Jack Black’s comedy rock band Tenacious D, seen here in September 2023 sparks outrage and had a s...

Jack Guy, CNN

Jack Black’s band cancels tour after backlash to bandmate’s comment on Trump assassination attempt

Jack Black’s comedy rock band Tenacious D has canceled its remaining tour dates after band member Kyle Gass sparked a backlash with an apparent joke about Saturday’s assassination attempt on former US President Donald Trump.

8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

young male technician is repairing a printer at office...

Les Olson

Unraveling the dilemma between leasing and buying office technology

Carefully weigh these pros and cons to make an informed decision that best suits your business growth and day-to-day operation. 

A kitchen in a modern farmhouse....

Lighting Design

A room-by-room lighting guide for your home

Bookmark this room-by-room lighting guide whenever you decide to upgrade your lighting or style a new home.

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Utah’s plan to retain Sundance Film Festival would split it between 2 cities