In an effort to increase the presence of the Sundance Film Festival in Salt Lake City, UT, organizers have announced that they will launch a new 'Festival District' in the city's downtown area at the upcoming event. The new site will be anchored by two movie theaters that will present two screenings each weeknight of the festival (January 19 - 29, 2006) and a full program of showings on the weekend. Festival organizers said in a statement Friday that they are responding to growing local interest in the event.
"Our goal is to create a unique Sundance experience for our local patrons, similar to that in Park City, and to build on the screenings we've been presenting there the past 3 years," said Jill Miller, Managing Director of the Sundance Institute, in a statement.
The Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center and the Broadway Center Cinemas will be the city's anchor venues for the Salt Lake City portion of the festival. A larger number of nightly screenings will also take place at the Tower Theater, expanding from one to three per evening.
In addition to the Sundance Film Festival's primary festival venues in the Wasatch mountain town of Park City, where film industry and media activity is focused, the festival also presents screenings in nearby Ogden and at founder Robert Redford's resort in Sundance, UT. Some 40,000 attendees are estimated to attend the annual event.
Locals see the growth as a business opportunity. "The potential future growth with the Sundance Film Festival in downtown Salt Lake is tremendous, including screenings, dining, and entertainment promotions," said Tracy von Harten, Event and Marketing Director for The Downtown Business Alliance, in a statement.
In additional news, the Sundance Institute also announced Friday that it would mark the 25th anniversary of the organization by partnering with Hart Sharp Entertainment on an 11-DVD collection (available next month) with net proceeds benefiting the organization. Films included in the package will be Steven Soderbergh's "Sex, Lies, and Videotape," Kevin Smith's "Clerks," Bryan Singer's "The Usual Suspects," Chris Eyre's "Smoke Signals," Chris Smith's "American Movie," Kimberly Peirce's "Boys Don't Cry," Todd Field's "In The Bedroom," Patricia Cardoso's "Real Woman Have Curves," Andrew Jarecki's "Capturing the Friedman's," and Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini's "American Splendor." An 11th disc will include Sundance Film Festival highlights and clips from sessions at the Institute's Filmmakers Lab.