May 2, 2024 - News

Denver misses bidding deadline to host Sundance Film Festival

Photo: Mat Hayward/Getty Images

The curtains have closed on Denver's chance to host the Sundance Film Festival — one of the movie industry's most prominent annual events.

Why it matters: Wednesday marked the deadline for cities to submit a request to host the iconic event beginning in 2027, after Sundance announced last month that it would consider other U.S. cities to house the festival.

The intrigue: Despite Denver leaders believing the city would make a "fantastic location" for the festival in the future, they weren't made aware of the hosting opportunity, Office of Special Events executive director Katy Strascina tells us.

  • "Sometimes with these large bids, the event has a list of desirable cities they want to submit a bid. Perhaps they only sent it to their top candidates?" she surmises.

What they're saying: Denver Film CEO Kevin Smith tells us his priorities center around bolstering what's already been built in Denver.

  • "Our primary goal is to continue elevating the Denver Film Festival," which Smith says is the Rocky Mountain region's largest and longest-running celebration of cinema.

Zoom in: DFF, now in its 47th year, draws roughly 20,000 people over 10 days to the Sie FilmCenter and other local venues, including the Buell Theatre and Ellie Caulkins Opera House.

What's next: Mayor Mike Johnston's office says the city remains eager to host more events.

  • "If there's a process and opportunity in the future based on timing and budget, we are open to the Sundance Festival coming to Denver," his spokesperson Jose Salas tells us.

What we're watching: Numerous cities, including Atlanta, Minneapolis, San Francisco and Santa Fe, New Mexico, have expressed interest in becoming Sundance's new home, Axios Salt Lake City's Kim Bojórquez reports.


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