Sundance Organizers Consider New Home for Film Festival After 2026

For the past 40 years, the Sundance Film Festival, the influential annual gathering focused on independent film, has been indelibly linked with the snowy mountain town of Park City, Utah.

That may change.

The Sundance Institute, the nonprofit organization that runs the festival, announced Wednesday that with its 13-year contract with the city set to expire in 2026, it would begin a review process to determine whether it should move.

It will now start seeking information from other U.S. cities interested in hosting the festival, which traditionally takes place in January. Beginning in May, the institute will request proposals from cities selected to move forward. The institute expects to announce its decision around the end of the year or the beginning of 2025.

The festival will remain in Park City for 2025 and 2026. Park City, an hour outside Salt Lake City, often becomes snarled with traffic during the 10-day festival. Rental prices explode during the event, and the snowy climate often complicates the process of attending the screenings for many patrons.

“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 of the Sundance Film Festival and Public Programming, said in a statement. “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 insure that the festival continues to thrive culturally, operationally and financially as it has for four decades.”

Sundance, which Robert Redford founded in 1981 and moved to Park City in 1985, continues to be the dominant festival for independent film. For the 2024 edition, the festival received a record number of submissions, over 17,000 from 153 countries. Mr. Redford remains on the institute’s board, which will be part of the review process. His daughter Amy is on the task force that will review proposals.

Park City officials said the city planned to issue a proposal to keep the festival.

“We appreciate our partnership with Sundance, and we want the festival to remain here for another 40 years,” Nann Worel, Park City’s mayor, said in a statement.

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