As summer takes hold and temperatures are creeping towards triple digits, we all find ourselves seeking shade, delicious iced beverages, and misters. (Seriously, we could use more misters!) Maybe the best compliment to an iced beverage (and alternative to yard work) on a hot summer afternoon is a great movie. The best place to find a great movie could very well be the Sundance Film Festival. Summer is the best time to catch up on the 2017 Sundance movies we haven’t yet seen that got a lot of buzz, or perhaps just watching an old favorite.


Anyone who has spent any time in Utah in January knows what a big deal the Sundance Film Festival is. It’s huge! If not for Sundance, you may never have heard of household names like Jennifer Lawrence, Christopher Nolan, or Quentin Tarantino, and you may never have seen or quoted movies like Garden State (“Hey, man, I thought you killed yourself.”), American Psycho (“I have to return some videotapes.”), Memento (“We all lie to ourselves to be happy.”), In Bruges (I…shoot people for money.”), Napoleon Dynamite (“Gosh”), The Usual Suspects (“Who is Keyser Soze?”), or Reservoir Dogs (“If someone deserves a tip, if they really put forth an effort”). This is by no means an exhaustive list of great and quotable movies that the Sundance Film Festival has brought us and the festival just keeps growing in size and relevance.


In addition to bringing the cinematic, artistic, and cultural center of the universe to the beautiful Wasatch Mountains every year, the Sundance Film Festival has a significant economic impact on our local economy. Y2 Analytics conducted an independent economic impact study from the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and the numbers are staggering:

  • The 2017 Sundance Film Festival had a record number of 71,600 attendees.
  • The 2017 Sundance Film Festival generated $14 million in state and local tax revenue.
  • The 2017 Sundance Film Festival attendees spent $144.9 million locally.
  • The 2017 Sundance Film Festival contributed $151.5 million to the state’s GDP.
  • Utah benefits from the international spotlight and publicity value generated by the festival which increased 20% in 2017 over the Festival’s 5 year average to an incredible $90.9 million.
  • The 2017 Sundance Film Festival generated a total economic impact of $151.5 million and supported 2,788 jobs.


These numbers represent a truly fantastic benefit for the State of Utah and a whole new reason to love the Sundance Film Festival over and above the opportunity it creates for independent film makers and the wonderful movies they create. We are indeed very fortunate to host Sundance every year and are already looking forward to the 2018 festival.


We all know about the Sundance Film Festival, however, not all of us are as familiar with the Sundance Institute. Their mission as a nonprofit organization is to discover and support independent film and theater artists from the U.S. and around the world, and introduce audiences to their work. More than just the annual festival we are all familiar with, the Sundance Institute has year-round programs including a Summer Film Series.  For more information check out

*Blog post contributed by William Wright.