2015 Sundance Film Festival generates more than $84M for Utah

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PARK CITY — Each January, the Sundance Film Festival draws celebrities, big-name sponsors and film enthusiasts to Utah, but along with Hollywood’s finest comes another perk: major revenue.

This year’s festival brought in a whopping $83.4 million for the state of Utah and supported 1,325 jobs, according to a new report by the University of Utah’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research. That includes $7 million in state and tax revenue.

“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,” Gov. Gary Herbert said in a statement Thursday.

Overall attendance was up slightly from last year with just over 46,107 people flocking the streets of Salt Lake City, Provo and Park City. Sixty-seven percent of festivalgoers came from out of town, while 33 percent were locals, according to the report.

The festival drew in a broad international audience with 3,735 people traveling to Utah from 30 countries this year. When surveyed, half of the travelers who came to Utah for the festival said they planned to visit the state again within the next year, according to the report.

This year’s festival attracted a younger crowd with a rise in attendees between the ages of 19 and 25.

2015 Sundance Film Festival
By the numbers:
  • Total attendees: 46,107 (67% non-residents)
  • Total money spent by festival goers: $62.2 million
  • Total jobs supported: 1,139
  • Total tax revenue: $7 million
  • Overall economic impact: $83.4 million

“These numbers indicate a strong and growing interest among the next generation of film enthusiasts, who we work hard to engage,” said Sundance Institute Managing Director Sarah Pearce.

Local businesses always feel the boost during Sundance week. Throughout the 10-day festival, attendees spent over $62 million on food, lodging, shopping and festival-related events, the report revealed. Out-of-state visitors accounted for more than $57 million of that total, spending the majority of money on food and lodging.

Despite an increase in attendance, spending was down just under $2 million from the 2014 festival — likely because more locals attended this year, and locals traditionally spend much less than people who come from out of state, the report suggested.

Since 2010, the Sundance Film Festival has generated $391 million for the state of Utah, according to the report.

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Jessica Ivins


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