January 14, 2014

Cover Story

Sundance Film Festival 30 Years in the Making

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Sundance Film Festival 30 Years in the Making

By Rachel Madison | Photos courtesy of Sundance Institute

January 14, 2014

Future Impact

Over the last year and a half, the Sundance Institute has been working on research, through a partnership with the University of Southern California, to better understand how female filmmakers are represented in the film industry.

“We have some research that we’ll unveil at the festival regarding this study,” Hopkins says. “This is work that’s ongoing for us and we intend it to be multiyear. What we’re focusing on is mentoring female filmmakers to overcome barriers in entering the whole landscape. The work is in the early stages, but we’re definitely realizing there can be ways to help impact.”

In addition to this research, the institute has added a new section to the Sundance Film Festival this year called SundanceKids. This program will showcase two films in the festival that are geared toward children. Pearce isn’t sure if this program will continue in future years, but she hopes it does so that it can give kids a chance to become interested in independent films.

Because new programs and initiatives are constantly being added to the Sundance Institute’s offerings, some people—both Utah residents and those from outside the state and country—believe the Sundance Film Festival should be moved to a larger venue, possibly outside of Utah. “Some people we survey feel like the festival has outgrown the venue in Park City, but it would be a shame if it was moved someplace else,” Stambro says. “One of the most important things about the festival is that it lets people know about Utah. It’s something that’s held every year, it attracts a lot of people, and it just sends a good message about the state.”

The film festival’s contract with Park City was recently extended through 2026, and Moore says he doesn’t see the festival going anywhere, even after then. “I see the festival staying here in Utah and I see more filmmakers getting their start at the festival,” he says.

This belief hinges on the history behind Sundance—the fact that the festival had modest beginnings, but now has widespread impact.

“The way that the festival started in its humble beginnings with one theater on Main Street in Park City to basically busting at the seams just goes to show that Sundance has a successful business model,” Moore says. “The festival is attracting the type of films and filmmakers that are going on to do great things in the future.” 



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