PARK CITY, Utah (AP) -- Sundance means more than big stars for Utah, it also means big bucks.
A new study indicates 46,771 people flocked to the independent film festival in Park City and surrounding Sundance sites to bask in Hollywood's reflected glory in January, spending nearly $43 million.
The study conducted by the University of Utah's Bureau of Economic and Business Research in conjunction with the Sundance Institute, the festival's organizer, indicates this year's 11-day event generated $42.7 million in economic activity for the state, up 3 percent from the previous year.
"Just based on the feel of this year's festival, we suspected that we were in for another gain (in economic impact)," said Jill Miller, managing director of the Sundance Institute. "The numbers that we are seeing now bear that out."
The attendance figure is up 10,115 people the 2004 independent film festival; 67 percent of attendees this year came from out of state; and nearly half were attending for the first time.
"It is the equivalent of a big convention - as much of a boost for tourism as it is a film festival," said Bill Malone, executive director of the Park City Chamber Bureau.
A third of all festival-goers skied for an average of three days, according to the Sundance Institute.
But Park City wasn't the only area to experience an economic bump from out-of-state spenders, who spent freely along the Wasatch Front, said Alan Isaacson, a research analyst at the Bureau of Economic and Business Research.
Isaacson said there was a noticeable amount of travel between the various festival venues in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance Village.
The economic impact of the Sundance Film Festival, which showcases the best and latest work of independent American and international filmmakers, has increased from $12 million in 1995 to $42.7 million this year. a
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)