Sundance Institute Brings $83.4 Million to Utah with 2015 Sundance Film Festival

Park City, Utah — Sundance Institute today announced that its 2015 Sundance Film Festival, which took place in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah in January, generated an overall economic impact of $83.4 million for the State of Utah, according to the independent annual economic and demographic study conducted by the University of Utah’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the David Eccles School of Business (BEBR).

The Economic Report, posted in full on the Institute’s website, also found that the 2015 Festival generated $7 million in state and local tax revenue; supported 1,350 jobs; and was attended by more than 46,000 people. Since 2010, the Festival has generated a cumulative impact of nearly $391 million, with an average annual impact of $78.1 million.

“As Utah’s largest annual international event, the Sundance Film Festival, provides a significant boost to our economy and has become an undeniable showcase for the state’s stunning landscape and business-friendly climate,” said Gov. Gary R. Herbert.  “The nonprofit Institute delivers value year-round, and year after year with important cultural and economic benefits for Utah residents.”

Festival Attracts a Younger Audience
Though the Festival appeals to people of all ages, this year showed a noticeable increase in younger attendees.  People between 19 and 25 years old increased to 14% of all Festival attendees, and the 26-to-35-year-old demographic accounted for an additional 23% of attendees.

Locally, the Institute’s George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation Student Screenings Program grew to provide specifically programmed screenings and filmmaker conversations for over 5000 Utah students from 70 schools.

Sarah Pearce, Managing Director of Sundance Institute, said, “These numbers indicate a strong and growing interest among the next generation of film enthusiasts, who we work hard to engage. As a nonprofit working to inspire artists and engage audiences, we are pleased to be attracting younger audiences who care about film and will likely be interested in this important medium for a lifetime.”

Festival Continues to Boost Utah Tourism
The Festival attracted 30,892 out-of-state visitors and 3,735 international visitors from 30 countries. Of the out-of-state attendees, 8,650 indicated this was their first visit to Utah, 27,185 said they traveled to Utah specifically to attend the Festival and 15,137 indicated they would visit Utah again during the next year – showing that the Festival’s tourism benefits extend throughout the year.

Per-person spending averaged $1,348, with an average stay of six days. Total spending generated $28.9 million in lodging; $15 million in food and beverage (an increase of $1.2 million over the previous year); and $9.1 million in retail spending (an increase of $1.9 million over the previous year).

Building Audiences at Home and Abroad
Between the announcement of the film program in December 2014 through wrap-up articles in February 2015, the Festival generated more than 48,300 stories in print, online and on television. In total, publicity value from the Festival totaled more than $66.7 million. Over 1,130 press from 17 countries were accredited to attend and cover the Festival, including Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Hungary, Italy, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain and Sweden.

The Institute’s social media and website content strategy continues to expand to reach new audiences across the world. From December 1, 2014 to February 28, 2015, the Institute’s website,, had more than 8.2 million page views and 1.2 million unique visitors from 224 countries. Top countries outside the United States included the United Kingdom, Canada, France and Australia. In addition, the Festival now has nearly 1.75 million fans and followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine, Snapchat and Google+ platforms.

Economic Report Methodology
The Economic Report findings were generated using an economic impact model known as RIMS II, developed by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis. The economic impact study measures the impact of the Sundance Film Festival on jobs, wages, and value-added (or gross state product) on the state of Utah during a ten-day period in January 2015. It also provides an estimate of the fiscal impacts that result from the increased economic activity generated by the Festival during the study period. Fiscal impacts refer to the effects of the Festival on state and local tax collections.

Estimating the economic impact of the 2015 Festival was a two-part process. The first phase of the study estimated the economic impacts of direct expenditures made by the Institute to produce the Festival. The second phase estimated the impacts of spending by Festival attendees.


The Sundance Film Festival®
The Sundance Film Festival, a program of the nonprofit Sundance Institute, has introduced global audiences to some of the most groundbreaking films of the past three decades, including Whiplash, Boyhood, Rich Hill, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Little Miss Sunshine, sex, lies, and videotape, Reservoir Dogs, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, An Inconvenient Truth, Precious and Napoleon Dynamite, and through its New Frontier initiative has showcased groundbreaking media works by artists and creative technologists including Chris Milk, Doug Aitken, Palmer Luckey, Klip Collective and Nonny de la Pena. The Festival is a program of the non-profit Sundance Institute®. 2015 Festival sponsors include: Presenting Sponsors – HP, Acura, SundanceTV and Chase Sapphire Preferred®; Leadership Sponsors – Adobe, Airbnb, Grey Goose® Vodka, LensCrafters, Southwest Airlines and YouTube; Sustaining Sponsors – Blue Jeans Network, Blundstone Australia Pty Ltd, Canada Goose, Canon U.S.A., Inc., Chobani, LLC, The Hollywood Reporter, LUNA, Omnicom, Stella Artois® and VIZIO. Sundance Institute recognizes critical support from the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and the State of Utah as Festival Host State. The support of these organizations helps offset the Festival’s costs and sustain the Institute’s year-round programs for independent artists.

Sundance Institute
Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and new media to create and thrive. The Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Sin Nombre, The Invisible War, The Square, Dirty Wars, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

University of Utah Bureau of Economic and Business Research
Established in 1932, the Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR) is an applied research center in the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. BEBR’s mission is to conduct and support research related to the structure of the Utah economy, its resources, and its potential for expansion. Since its inception, BEBR has been a primary source of information on the Utah economy. BEBR’s professional staff gathers and analyzes data specific to both Utah and the Rocky Mountain Region to identify those factors which influence the state’s economic growth.

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