Sundance Hopes to Bring Glitz to SLC with Downtown 'Festival District'

Sundance Hopes to Bring Glitz to SLC with Downtown 'Festival District'

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Sundance Film Festival is hoping to bring some of its glamour to the state's capital city with a "festival district" linking two downtown theaters during the January event.

The festival is adding a second screening venue in Salt Lake City -- the 485-seat Jeanne Wagner Theatre in the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center on 300 South. The festival's established downtown venue, Broadway Cinemas, is just three blocks east on 300 South. The hope is the space on the street, also known as Broadway, will become a hub for film lovers during the 10-day event.

"They just served as bookends," said Jill Miller, managing director of the Sundance Institute. "It allowed us to somewhat consolidate our festival activities into the downtown area ... so we could create more of the same experience that people get when they go to Park City."

Sundance is working with the Downtown Alliance to create a "festival corridor" along 300 South, with restaurants and street banners, similar to Park City's Main Street, which is always bustling during the festival.

"With the traffic in Park City, it's challenging for someone from Salt Lake to drive up, park their car and try to get around," Miller said. "This, hopefully, will provide an alternate for that if they want it: Come down to downtown Salt Lake, you can have an amazing dinner down there, you can go to a couple of films, see the filmmakers, and still have that great experience."

The Jeanne Wagner will also be home to the Salt Lake City Gala on Jan. 20. The gala replaces the opening-night premiere event formerly held at Abravanel Hall. Attendance at Abravanel has dropped off among out-of-towners, Miller said, after the festival moved its main opening-night premiere to Park City in 2004.

The festival, which begins Jan. 19 in Park City and runs through Jan. 29, will run two screenings at the Jeanne Wagner on weeknights, with more on the weekends. The Broadway will run a similar schedule. Salt Lake City's Tower Theatre, a longtime Sundance venue, will hold three screenings a night.


(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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