Sundance Film Festival: A Potential Shift in Location by 2027

Exploring Options for Other Host Cities: Sundance Film Festival’s Potential Move in 2027

The Sundance Film Festival, an iconic event in the film industry, may be embarking on a significant change by 2027, considering relocating its headquarters from Park City, Utah, where it has been based since 1985. This potential move has sparked curiosity and speculation among filmmakers, enthusiasts, and industry insiders alike.

The Search for New Host Cities

The Sundance Institute has initiated an open call inviting American cities to express interest in becoming the new home for the festival starting in 2027. This Request for Information (RFI) process, which commenced recently, extends the opportunity to various urban centers across the nation, including Utah, the festival’s current location. It’s important to note that while the RFI process is underway, no final decision has been made regarding the festival’s relocation.

The RFI period will continue until May 1, followed by a Request for Proposal (RFP) phase scheduled from May 7 to June 21. The Sundance Institute aims to announce its selection, whether it remains in Utah or moves elsewhere, during the final quarter of 2024 or the first quarter of 2025. Despite the exploration of alternative host cities, the festival’s traditional January dates for 2027 remain unchanged.

The Current and Future Landscape

For the upcoming editions of 2025 and 2026, the Sundance Film Festival will continue to take place in Park City. However, an extension beyond 2026 necessitates a decision by October 2024, marking a deadline extension from the previous March deadline. Apart from Park City, the festival also utilizes satellite venues in Salt Lake City to accommodate its diverse programming.

This decision to explore new host cities arrives amid ongoing changes within the Sundance Institute. Last month, CEO Joana Vicente stepped down from her position after joining the organization in 2021. As a result, Amanda Kelso, a board member, has assumed the role of acting CEO, overseeing the institute’s operations and strategic direction.

The festival faces additional challenges in Park City, exemplified by the recent Chapter 11 filing of the Metropolitan Theatres Corporation in March. Metropolitan operates several Sundance venues, including Redstone 8 and Holiday Village Cinemas 4. Furthermore, the traditional Sundance venue, The Yarrow, was utilized by the Slamdance Film Festival instead of Sundance during the 2024 edition.

Addressing Infrastructure and Accessibility

Sundance’s prominence and popularity have stretched the limits of Park City’s infrastructure, particularly during the festival’s ten-day duration. Challenges such as overcrowding and traffic congestion along Main Street have become recurrent issues. Additionally, the festival’s economic impact on the region, totaling $96 million from out-of-state visitors in 2023, underscores the significance of its operations.

In response to rising costs associated with the festival, Sundance implemented price adjustments for in-person tickets in 2024. The festival introduced a parallel online event in 2021 to reach a broader audience beyond Utah, offering online film tickets at a reduced price compared to in-person attendance.

Reflecting on Past Success and Future Prospects

The recent edition of Sundance in 2024, under the leadership of Eugene Hernandez, marked a significant milestone with a record number of submissions from 153 countries. Despite the increased submissions, the festival opted for a more curated program, showcasing 80 films to maintain quality and diversity.

As Sundance continues to navigate its future trajectory, Hernandez emphasized the importance of supporting artists and engaging audiences. The festival remains committed to its mission of fostering creativity and cultural exchange while ensuring sustainability and financial viability.

Looking ahead, Sundance Film Festival 2025 promises to uphold its legacy of showcasing groundbreaking independent cinema. Scheduled to take place from January 23 to February 2 in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah, the festival will offer a platform for emerging and established filmmakers to share their stories with the world.

The potential relocation of the Sundance Film Festival in 2027 represents a pivotal moment in its storied history. As the festival explores new horizons, it remains dedicated to its core values of artistic excellence, inclusivity, and innovation.

Who attends Sundance Film Festival?

Answer: Filmmakers, industry professionals, celebrities, film enthusiasts, and the general public attend the Sundance Film Festival.

The Sundance Film Festival attracts a diverse array of attendees from various backgrounds and industries. Filmmakers, both established and emerging, flock to the festival to showcase their work, network with industry professionals, and seek distribution deals for their films. The festival also draws a significant presence from industry insiders, including producers, distributors, agents, and film executives, who are eager to discover new talent and potential investment opportunities.

In addition to industry professionals, celebrities are a common sight at Sundance, attending film premieres, participating in panel discussions, and engaging with fans. Many A-list actors, directors, and other entertainment personalities use the festival as a platform to promote their latest projects and engage with the independent film community.

Film enthusiasts and cinephiles from around the world also make the pilgrimage to Park City, Utah, to experience the unique atmosphere of Sundance. Whether attending screenings, participating in Q&A sessions with filmmakers, or exploring the festival’s vibrant atmosphere, attendees immerse themselves in the celebration of independent cinema and artistic expression.

Where is Sundance Film Festival held?

Answer: Sundance Film Festival takes place primarily in Park City, Utah, with screenings also held in Salt Lake City and the Sundance Mountain Resort.

Park City, Utah, serves as the primary host city for the Sundance Film Festival, providing a picturesque backdrop for the celebration of independent cinema. The festival utilizes various venues throughout Park City, including theaters, screening rooms, and event spaces, to showcase a diverse selection of films from around the world.

In addition to Park City, screenings and events also take place in Salt Lake City, offering festival attendees the opportunity to experience the festival’s offerings in Utah’s capital city. The Sundance Mountain Resort, located approximately 45 minutes from Park City, hosts additional screenings and special events, providing a scenic retreat for festival attendees amidst the natural beauty of the Wasatch Mountains.

How prestigious is Sundance Film Festival?

Answer: Sundance Film Festival is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world, renowned for its focus on independent cinema and its history of launching careers and award-winning films.

Since its inception in 1985, the Sundance Film Festival has earned a reputation as a premier showcase for independent filmmaking, providing a platform for emerging filmmakers to debut their work and for established filmmakers to explore new creative avenues. The festival’s commitment to artistic innovation and storytelling excellence has solidified its status as a cultural landmark in the film industry.

One measure of Sundance’s prestige is its track record of launching the careers of numerous acclaimed filmmakers and actors. Many award-winning films, including “Reservoir Dogs,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” and “Whiplash,” premiered at Sundance before achieving critical and commercial success on a global scale. In addition to launching films, Sundance has played a pivotal role in discovering and nurturing emerging talent, with many filmmakers receiving their first major exposure at the festival.

Beyond its role as a launching pad for new talent, Sundance is also esteemed for its commitment to diversity and inclusion in filmmaking. The festival actively champions underrepresented voices and perspectives, showcasing a wide range of films that explore complex social issues and cultural experiences. This dedication to diversity has further enhanced Sundance’s reputation as a vital hub for artistic expression and cultural dialogue.


In conclusion, the Sundance Film Festival stands at a crossroads, contemplating a shift in its geographical footprint while reaffirming its commitment to the art of cinema. The decision to explore alternative host cities underscores the festival’s adaptability and willingness to embrace change. Regardless of its future location, the Sundance Film Festival will continue to serve as a beacon for independent filmmaking and storytelling, inspiring audiences worldwide.

Author Profile

Stevie Flavio
Film Writer


Leave a Reply