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After 40 years in Park City, Sundance exploring options for 2027 film festival and beyond

The marquee of the Egyptian Theatre promotes the 2023 Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Charles Sykes / Invision / AP) The marquee of the Egyptian Theatre promotes the 2023 Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Charles Sykes / Invision / AP)
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The Sundance Film Festival may not always call Park City, Utah, home. The Sundance Institute has started to explore the possibility of other U.S. locations to host the independent film festival starting in 2027, the organization said Wednesday.

The 2025 and 2026 festivals will still take place in Park City and Salt Lake City. But with the current contract up for renewal in 2027, the institute is taking steps to look at all options through a request for information and request for proposal process, beginning immediately. The final selection, which could still be Park City, is expected to be announced by early 2025.

“We are in a unique moment for our Festival and our global film community, and with the contract up for renewal, this exploration allows us to responsibly consider how we best continue sustainably serving our community while maintaining the essence of the Festival experience,” said Eugene Hernandez, the festival's director, in a statement.

Hernandez said they want to “ensure that the Festival continues to thrive culturally, operationally, and financially as it has for four decades.”

Park City has been home to the Robert Redford-founded festival for 40 years. The festival and its sponsors take over many venues in the small city every January to transform it into a film festival hub with theaters in places like the library and other pop-up experiences and gathering places.

But the contract and a changing landscape presented an opportunity to look at options that might best suit the festival going forward. Sundance received a record number of submissions last year.

“We are thrilled with the vitality we see in independent filmmaking and want to assure the continuous discovery and support of independent artists and audiences our Festival is known for,” said Ebs Burnough, the chair of the Sundance Institute Board, in a statement.

Redford, who stepped back from the Sundance spotlight years ago, expressed concern in 2016 that the festival as it existed might have outgrown Park City and was thinking about ways to evolve. He and his daughter, Amy Redford, who is on the board, have been involved in the process announced Wednesday.

Last month, the Institute’s CEO Joana Vicente stepped down after two and a half years in the position. Amanda Kelso, a member of the board, was appointed acting CEO, but no permanent replacement has been announced. 

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