Film industry spotlight focuses on Park City | ParkRecord.com

Film industry spotlight focuses on Park City

COURTESY OF THE SUNDANCE INSTITUTE // PHOTO BY JONATHON HICKERSON

The Sundance Institute has evolved from a scrappy rebel fighting the established movie studio hierarchy into a well-respected leader in the film industry. Today, its annual film festival in Park City is ranked as one of the top 10 in the world, among Cannes, Berlin, Venice and Tribeca, and is considered a bellwether for the future. The films, panel discussions and special events reverberate throughout the industry — unveiling new artists, cultural shifts and innovative tools.

In addition to its influence around the globe, the Sundance Film Festival has had a profound impact on its host city and state. According to an independent economic impact study conducted by Y2 Analytics, last year the event drew 71,600 attendees and pumped $151.5 million into the state and local economy.

The festival has also enriched Utah's cultural landscape. Thanks, in part, to support from the Sundance Institute, the state is home to a burgeoning year-round film community. With a growing number of local art-house theaters, sophisticated production studios and crews, as well as university-level film programs, Utah has become an attractive destination for up-and-coming filmmakers and film lovers.

That cinephile fever grows to epidemic proportions in late January, when Salt Lake and Park City residents get an extraordinary sneak peek at the latest the film world has to offer. Many begin anticipating the festival weeks in advance, securing passes and ticket packages online before the titles are even announced.

2018 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL FACTS

  • Sundance Institute has been presenting the festival since 1981
  • 121 feature-length films were selected for the 2018 festival
  • The films come from 29 countries
  • 53 are from first-time filmmakers
  • Sundance received 13,468 submissions for this year’s festival

Admittedly some residents prefer to take to the slopes until the movie-making hubbub subsides, but most still take great pride in noting that their hometown has a special place in the constellation of film festival stardom.

As Parkites prepare to be in the spotlight, we offer this overarching advice: make the effort to participate — whether by jumping all-in or just taking a peek under the tent. The work that is being done, much of it behind the scenes, is important stuff. After 25 years the Sundance Film Festival has come to both reflect and predict some of the most important issues and media technology of our time.