Each year, Hollywood descends upon Park City for the ever-popular Sundance Film Festival. Founded in Salt Lake City in August 1978, one of the little known facts about the festival is that it was not founded by Robert Redford, as many have come to believe. It was actually co-founded by Sterling Van Wagenen (the husband of Redford’s cousin and head of Wildwood, Redford’s company) and John Earle of the Utah Film Commission. Robert Redford was the chairperson. Since Redford’s name was attached to the festival, it received a lot of attention. In 1981 the festival was moved from Salt Lake City to Park City, reportedly to attract more attention from Hollywood. At that time Park City was just an up-and-coming ski town, a far cry from the internationally-renowned resort town that it’s known as today.
In 1984 Redford founded the Sundance Institute and took over the Utah/U.S. Film Festival, changing the name to Sundance. Since then, the festival has grown to attract over 45,000 visitors from around the globe, making it one of the largest independent film festivals in the United States. Each year the third Thursday in January turns this small and vibrant resort town nestled in the Rocky Mountains into a booming artistic community with a cacophonous urban flair.
While many locals joke about the folks in black flock to our community, we truly feel lucky to have such an amazing cultural gathering right in our own backyard. The live music, events, and stargazing are all fun pastimes during the festival, but what we love most is the chance to see films that we might not otherwise see on the big screen. This year, we’re especially excited to see Dirty Wars, Pandora’s Promise, Fire in the Blood, Valentine Road, and Blackfish.
And so, here we sit in 2013, 35 years from the festivals inception, and with only 6 days until Park City, Utah once again metamorphoses into a buzzing epicenter for Hollywood stars, musicians, indie film enthusiasts, star chasing fans and all those caught in between.