Alixel Cabrera

(Utah News Dispatch) The Sundance Institute is still considering a future in Utah past 2027, when its contract with Park City is scheduled to expire.

The Utah Film Commission announced on Thursday its bid to host the Sundance Film Festival would proceed to the next step on its request for proposal process “for the 2027 film festival and beyond.”

In a statement Virginia Pearce, director at the Utah Film Commission, said the Utah Sundance Film Festival Host Committee — which includes state leaders such as Gov. Spencer Cox, Speaker of the House Mike Schultz and Senate President Stuart Adams — is committed to re-imagining future festivals and “preserving the festival’s connection to its home state.”

“Our shared 40-year growth and success have greatly contributed to Utah’s culture and economy and have fostered a proven partnership in the film industry,” Pearce said. “Most importantly, we believe that continuing in Utah will best assure the Sundance Film Festival’s continued growth and long-term success.”

According to the Sundance Film Festival’s 2023 Economic Impact report, almost 87,000 people attended the event and over 138,000 tickets were sold. About 21,400 people traveled from out of state to attend the festival and spent about $97 million in Utah between Jan. 19 and Jan 29 that year.

Overall, in 2023 the festival generated $118.3 million in the state’s gross domestic product, 1,608 jobs for locals, $63 million in wages and almost $13 million in state and local tax revenue, the report reads.

However, the logistics of hosting the renowned film festival in Park City has worried festival officials, who noted the municipality’s challenges with affordability and accessibility.

The 2025 and 2026 festivals will be in Park City and Salt Lake City, but Sundance’s future home is still uncertain. Other cities such as Atlanta, Georgia; Minneapolis, Minnesota; San Francisco, California; and Savannah, Georgia have expressed interest in hosting the festival.

“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,” Eugene Hernandez, Director at the Sundance Film Festival and Public Programming, said in an April news release.