Arts & Entertainment

Boulder approves $1.5 million incentive to attract Sundance Film Festival

“With the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop and our deep commitment to the arts, we can help the Festival achieve even greater success while preserving what makes it special... building on Colorado’s iconic creative brand and our strong arts community.” - Colorado Gov. Jared Polis

PARK CITY, Utah — Boulder, Colorado has thrown its hat into the ring to host the Sundance Film Festival in 2027 and beyond.

The Colorado Office of the Governor announced the city’s bid for the festival on Thursday, June 20, just before the Sundance Institute’s proposal deadline on Friday, June 21.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis emphasized Colorado’s arts commitment and Rocky Mountain backdrop as key advantages. The Colorado Economic Development Commission approved a $1.5 million incentive for the bid, hoping to surpass Utah’s $1.3 million contribution from last year.

The festival is known to have a positive economic impact on its host location. According to a report released by Sundance Film Festival organizers, the 2023 Sundance Film Festival brought $63 million in wages and $12.8 million in tax revenue to Utah. Out-of-state visitors spent $96 million during the festival, contributing $118.3 million to Utah’s gross domestic product.

Hosting the festival could bring hundreds of jobs and thousands of visitors to Boulder, boosting the city’s winter tourism and benefitting surrounding areas, including Denver and Fort Collins.

Colorado already has a connection to the festival, as the state recently hosted the Sundance Institute’s 2024 Directors Lab at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park.

Several cities in Georgia, as well as Santa Fe and San Francisco are also allegedly among the top contenders to become the film festival’s new home. The Sundance Institute is expected to make a decision in late 2024 or early 2025.

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