May 16, 2012

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2012 Sundance Film Festival Pumps Life in to Utah

Sarah Cutler

May 16, 2012

Sundance Institute brought more than the arts to Utah this last January during the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, with an economic impact of $80 million for the state, according to the independent annual economic and demographic study conducted by the University of Utah’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the David Eccles School of Business (BEBR).

“First and foremost, our mission is really about making sure that this is a really vital platform for our independent film makers to have their work seen. Our goal is to get the work out in to the world, and if we do a good job with that what we’ve seen is that we have strong economic numbers,” said Jill Miller, managing director of Sundance Institute.

“It is really important as an arts organization that we recognize the power of the arts. Not just in terms of insuring we have a very rich culture, but also in terms of providing very vital economic life to the state. Here we have this arts event that brings the best in independent film to all of our backyard, and in addition to that we are feeding $80 million into the economy,” she said.

According to the report, the 2012 festival supported approximately 1,731 jobs, generated more than $69 million in media exposure, provided nearly $6.9 million in tax revenue and was attended by more than 46,000 people. The festival saw increased spending by attendees in lodging, food and beverage, auto rental and retail over the 2011 festival.

More than 66 percent of festival attendees traveled from outside of Utah, approximately 5,795 visitors were from international locations, and nonresidents spent a total of $67.1 million during the festival.

Sundance Institute Media Relations Manager Elizabeth Latenser noted that almost half of festival volunteers were Utah locals. As well, more than one-third of attendees were Utah residents. “We are lucky to have such generous and skilled volunteers in the area,” said Latenser.

“We definitely couldn’t do the festival with out the volunteers. Not only do they provide an amazing resource of filling all these slots for us and making sure that the festival functions, but they have an amazing energy to them and some of the volunteers have been coming for 20 years,” said Miller. “The volunteer program is a huge asset to our festival.”

To view the entire economic report visit

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