Sundance Film Festival Is Likely Moving After 2026

A view of the Egyptian Theatre during the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. © 2024 Sundance Institute. Photo by Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet.

The Sundance Film Festival will have a new home in 2027 as the Park City-based festival is opening up requests for information and proposals.

It is not a Sundance Film Festival without taking a photo with the Egyptian Theatre marquee in the background. It appears that those days are coming to an end. Well, maybe. Park City could still be in the running but the fact that the festival is opening up RFIs and RFPs is not a good luck for staying in the Utah town. The festival is a boon for the local economy but the state of Utah is becoming increasingly dangerous for out-of-town visitors who are LGBTQ. I will not be attending or covering the film festival in 2025-26. Should the festival decide on a location that is inclusive, I look forward to making my long-awaited return.

The Request for Information (RFI) period opened up today and will close on May 1. What follows will be a Request for Proposal (RFP) process to explore viable locations in the United States to host the Sundance Film Festival beginning in 2027.

The Festival, a public program run by the nonprofit, is the pre-eminent gathering of original storytellers and audiences seeking new voices and fresh perspectives and supporting independent film. It had a record number of submissions this year. The 2025 (January 23 – February 2) and 2026 Festivals will continue in partnership with Park City, Utah, which serves as the headquarters for the Festival, and the state of Utah.

Sundance has a 40-year history in both Park City and Utah, which is why today’s news is somewhat shocking. Imagine spending January 2027 by traveling to a city that is not Park City nor flying in and out of Salt Lake City. It’ll certainly be a shock. Aside from bigger concerns, I also hope that they choose a city with quality public transportation and is not in cold weather. Will they want a larger city with more hotel rooms or will the festival decide on a city in which festgoers will have to depend on surging AirBnb costs? The rising AirBnb prices are a contributing factor in why I am limiting my traveling to film festivals.

The RFI is the first step in a comprehensive selection process designed to gather critical logistical information from potential host locations in the United States before Sundance decides on any future homes. This includes Utah, given the Festival’s long-standing relationship. Will they stay or will they go? My guess is that they will go.

“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, Director, Sundance Film Festival and Public Programming. “We are looking forward to conversations that center supporting artists and serving audiences as part of our mission and work at Sundance Institute, and are motivated by our commitment to ensure that the Festival continues to thrive culturally, operationally, and financially as it has for four decades.”

With the format of film festivals evolving to reflect the dynamic landscape of independent cinema, the Sundance Film Festival will employ the RFI process to identify new opportunities to elevate artists while providing a space that reflects the Sundance’s values of inclusion, racial equity, accessibility and belonging at every level for artists, audiences, staff, and volunteers. Sundance maintains its commitment to upholding a culture of independent creativity, as well as providing a welcoming community that includes a broad base of individuals from different backgrounds and systems of beliefs.

After the RFI, Sundance Institute will notify the cities selected to move on to the RFP, where specific details will be assessed.

“Park City has been our home for more than 40 years, together with the state of Utah, and Sundance cherishes and respects our history and partnership. 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, Sundance Institute Board Chair. “We look forward to reviewing each proposal and working together with all of our potential collaborators to determine how we can collectively meet the needs of the independent film ecosystem and broader creative community.”

In participating in this RFI and RFP, respondents are entering into an understanding that outlines the cooperative spirit and responsibilities expected from potential host cities. This includes an acknowledgment that, if selected, the host city’s obligations would extend from 2027 into the future, subject to negotiations and mutual agreements forged with Sundance Institute.

Throughout the RFI process, the Institute will remain focused on completing a fair and comprehensive review of all possible partners and will not provide comments until the next step of the process, which will occur in the summer.

Interested parties can express interest and receive information by emailing [email protected], the RFI process will be closing on May 1, 2024.

The timeline for the process is as follows:

  • 4/17/24 RFI Opens
  • 5/1/24 RFI Phase Closed
  • 5/7/24 RFP Opens
  • 6/21/24 RFP Submissions Closed
  • Q4 2024 – Q1 2025 Final Location Selection Announced

If all goes well, we’ll know by the end of the year. Here’s to Sundance choosing a location that is fully inclusive of its guests.

The 2025 Sundance Film Festival will occur in Park City and Salt Lake City from January 23 to February 2, 2025.

Please subscribe to Solzy at the Movies on Buttondown.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.