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This is Chris Redgrave for Zions Bank Speaking on Business.

Do any of these films sound familiar: "The Blair Witch Project," "Little Miss Sunshine" or "Napoleon Dynamite?" It's thanks to a major Utah event, the Sundance Film Festival, which kicks off today, that we even know about these films.

Each year the Sundance Film Festival selects 200 films for exhibition from more than 9,000 submissions. Almost 50,000 people attend screenings in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. In addition to discovering filmmaking's newest talent through the Festival's program of documentary, dramatic and short films, those who attend the festival can enjoy live music, panel discussions, cutting-edge media, parties celebrating the festival community and more.

Think about the economic impact the festival has on our state. It's bringing an over $80 million increase for Utah's gross state product, not to mention over $6 million in state and local tax revenues. It's also supporting over 1,700 jobs in the Utah economy. This is critical during a time when job creation and job sustainability are essential to grow Utah's economy and are helping us to have one of the lowest unemployment totals in the nation.

During the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, attendees spent over $60 million. The Festival attracted almost 5,800 international visitors from 21 different countries. Visitors from Canada were the single largest share of international visitors, at almost 24 percent, followed by France, China and England.

The festival is also turning the world's eyes to Utah with over 950 registered press from 20 countries attending the Sundance Film Festival, including Egypt, Macedonia, Kosovo, Norway, Poland, Sweden and Taiwan. The Sundance Institute and Sundance Film Festival generated over 35,000 print and online articles from the announcement of the films in December until completion at the end of January, with an estimated publicity value of over $28 million.

The festival has already been highly successful with independent films, and another major category festival chair Robert Redford continues to grow is documentaries. They're getting local and national attention.

For Zions Bank, I'm Chris Redgrave, speaking on business.

Sundance Film Festival 1- 435-776-7878

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