Updated Apr 17, 2024 - News

Sundance exploring other U.S. cities to host film festival for 2027 and beyond

General view of the Egyptian Theatre sign during the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 23 in Park City, Utah. Photo: Mat Hayward/Getty Images

General view of the Egyptian Theatre sign during the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 23 in Park City, Utah. Photo: Mat Hayward/Getty Images

Sundance Institute is exploring other U.S. cities to host the iconic Sundance Film Festival that's called Utah home for the last four decades, the nonprofit announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: The event has spurred economic impact and tourism to the state and lured celebrities and filmmakers to Park City.

Driving the news: The announcement comes after rumors swirled about the festival's future in Park City.

  • The nonprofit's contract with the posh resort town is up for renewal after the 2026 festival.
  • Starting Wednesday, the institute is gathering bids from interested cities through May 1. It will then hear proposals from select cities in the next phase.
  • For now, Park City and Salt Lake City will serve as hosts through 2026.

Threat level: There's still a possibility the festival will stay in Utah.

The other side: Park City Mayor Nann Worel in a statement said the city planned to work with state and local leaders to keep the festival local.

  • "We want the festival to remain here for another 40 years," Worel said.
  • Wednesday's announcement will "kick off conversations and proposals" to maintain the festival in Utah, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said in a statement.

Yes, but: Sundance has faced growing pains in Park City over the years.

  • Festival goers have long complained about difficulties getting to venues due to stalled traffic and harsh weather and expensive and limited lodging options.

What they're saying: "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, the festival's director and head of public programming said in a statement.

What's next: The 2025 Sundance Film Festival is planned for Jan. 23 through Feb. 2.

  • A potential new site for future festivals could be announced as early as the end of the year.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with comments from Salt Lake City's mayor.

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