Sundance could fade out on Park City in 2028 as contract expires

An expiring contract in 2027 could see the Sundance Film Festival leaving Park City, although there is support in keeping it there.

Last Updated on April 25, 2024

Sundance Film Festival

Perhaps no other film festival in North America is as synonymous with its locale as Sundance. Sure, there’s New York and Toronto and Telluride but when you picture Sundance, it’s also the mountains and the snow and the atmosphere of Park City, Utah. Now, considerations are being made that could uproot the Sundance Film Festival from its adopted home.

This all stems from the Sundance Film Festival having a contract with Park City, which is set to expire in 2027. This would then give the premiere indie fest the chance to relocate, leaving behind the Utah town it has called its primary hub for decades.

As per Eugene Hernandez, director of Sundance Film Festival and Public Programming (via Salt Lake City’s KUTV), “We are in a unique moment for our Festival and our global film community, and with the contract up for renewal, this exploration allows us to responsibly consider how we best continue sustainably serving our community while maintaining the essence of the Festival experience. We are looking forward to conversations that center supporting artists and serving audiences as part of our mission and work at Sundance Institute, and are motivated by our commitment to ensure that the Festival continues to thrive culturally, operationally, and financially as it has for four decades.” An official announcement is expected late this year or early next.

While the festival has its origins elsewhere – it launched as the Utah/US Film Festival in Salt Lake City in 1978 – it has been tied to Park City since the early ‘80s. So while this isn’t exactly like moving the New York Film Festival from Manhattan to East Fishkill, it’s difficult to imagine it being held anywhere else at this point.

Not surprisingly, there is an active push to ensure that the Sundance Film Festival stays within city limits, with Park City’s mayor, Nann Worel, stating, “We appreciate our partnership with Sundance, and we want the Festival to remain here for another 40 years. We will not be alone in the effort to ensure that Utah remains host to diverse new voices from around the globe.” Robert Redford – who was instrumental in Sundance’s success, with the fest even being named after his Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid character – is heavily involved in the ongoing process.

What would you think if the Sundance Film Festival left Park City? What would the fest lose?

Source: KUTV

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with JoBlo.com periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.