The Sundance Film Festival will have to move

The Sundance Film Festival will have to move

After more than forty years of cohabitation, filmmakers and festival-goers will soon say goodbye to the mountain valleys of Park City.

Based in Utah since 1981 (under the leadership of its president, a certain Robert Redford) and in the fold of big independent cinema successes like Whiplash, The Blair Witch Project or Little Miss Sunshine, the Sundance Film Festival could soon pack its bags and set up shop in another corner of the United States. The mountain state of Utah and its cities of Park City, Sundance, Salt Lake City and Ogden are only scheduled to host two more editions of the gathering, with a planned move between the 2026 and 2027 editions.

As much as the Croisette is inseparable from the identity of the Cannes Film Festival, one would have thought that the Sundance Festival would have been eternally linked to its mountains, where all the editions took place (except those, virtual, during the COVID years) . However, according to Eugene Hernandezthe director of the festival, its organization depends above all on contracts, kinds of leases which attach it to Utah – for the moment:

“We are experiencing a unique moment for our festival and our global film community, and as the contract is up for renewal, this research allows us to think responsibly about how best to continue to sustainably serve our community while preserving the essence of the festival experience,” reports Variety.

Beyond contractual deadlines, we have also heard complaints from mountain millionaires and extreme skiers, annoyed by the visual and noise pollution of the helicopters transporting festival-goers. In 2016, private helicopters were even banned from using them during the festival. Far from being anecdotal, this story raises the very important question of the infrastructure of the Sundance Festival: the mountains are very beautiful, but a place with easy access is still better. And more strategic, especially when we know that the traditional dates of the festival are that it takes place in January, one of the snowiest months of the year. The new venue for the event will also have to have or have built a myriad of state-of-the-art cinemas.

A call for tenders has been launched, which will apparently end before July. The decision of the organizing committee regarding the new venue for the Sundance Festival will be known at the end of 2024/beginning of 2025.

According to Ebs Burnoughpresident of the board of directors of the gathering:

“We look forward to reviewing each proposal and working with all of our potential collaborators to determine how we can collectively meet the needs of the independent film ecosystem and the broader creative community.”

So, reinvent the Sundance Festival? For Hernandez, these are secondary questions, which he does not even dwell on for the moment. Its priority is to ensure “may the festival continue to thrive culturally, operationally and financially as it has for four decades”. In theory, there is no need to find a new name for it, since Sundance was inspired not by a location but by the fill with Redford and Paul Newman Butch Cassidey and the Sundance Kid from 1969.

On social networks, this decision is in any case debated, even if most Internet users agree to admit that the success of the festival makes its current location too narrow. As usual, X (the old Twitter) also provides us with some crazy suggestions:

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