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Utah Film Commission’s 100-Year Anniversary Celebration continues with Kevin Bacon returning to Payson High School, the filming location of “Footloose”

Salt Lake City—As part of the 100-year anniversary of Utah film and television, the Utah Film Commission is celebrating the 40th anniversary of “Footloose” and its impact on the state with a special appearance by the movie’s star, Kevin Bacon.

For over a year,  the Utah Film Commission has been working with the students at Payson High School on a campaign to bring Kevin Bacon back to Utah. In November of 2023, Gov. Spencer J. Cox joined the efforts on social media inviting Bacon to return to Payson.

On Friday, Bacon announced on NBC’s TODAY show that he will return to the school on April 20, 2024 where many scenes from the iconic movie were filmed 40 years ago. 

“Throughout the 100th anniversary, we are celebrating not only film and television moments that were made in Utah, but the people and places behind those moments,” said Virginia Pearce, Director of the Utah Film Commission. “‘Footloose’ is one of those iconic moments in Utah’s film history that made both an impact on Utah and the world. I am so proud of the Payson High School students and hope this celebration will remind everyone of Utah’s rich film history.”

The Hollywood star is visiting as part of his work with his foundation, SixDegrees.org, which supports impactful initiatives to sustain and enrich local communities. The foundation is aiming to create 40,000 essential resource kits for communities and organizations in need. Payson High School has pledged to create 5,000 kits for the local area on the same day as its prom, in collaboration with SixDegrees.org and the Utah Film Commission.

“We’ve worked so hard this year and done our absolute best to make this crazy dream a reality,” said Payson High School Student Body President Rubie Raff. “I can’t believe that it’s finally happening and that we can say we did it! It was all worth it—we got Kevin back to Payson!”

Released in 1984, “Footloose” was filmed primarily in the Utah County area at locations such as Payson High School and the Lehi Roller Mills. A box office hit, the movie grossed $80 million domestically and created many lasting memories for the community where it was made.

Not only is 2024 the 40th anniversary of the release of “Footloose” but the year also marks 100 years of film and television in Utah. The Utah Film Commission’s year-long celebration includes a large-scale exhibit at the Utah State Capitol building and a calendar of celebratory events across the state.

Film and film-related tourism are key drivers of Utah’s economy, especially in rural areas like Payson where the state’s diverse landscapes have served as the backdrop for many favorites of the large and small screen.

Visitors have always been drawn to Utah’s image in film and television, and the economic impact of this has been immense. A 2023 survey indicates that 37% of visitors cite film and/or television as one of the motivators in selecting Utah as a destination. Over the last 10 years, those visitors have spent an estimated $6 billion in the state.

Visit film.utah.gov/100years to learn more about how to get involved in the SixDegrees.org Building Kits event on April 20, 2024.