Atlanta Film Society Initiates Bid to Host Famed Sundance Film Festival from 2027

An exciting development in the film industry took a leap forward recently as the Atlanta Film Society publicized their intent to contend for the hosting rights of the esteemed Sundance Film Festival. They aim for this significant event to grace the city of Atlanta from 2027 onwards.

The Prelude to Bidding

The Atlanta Film Society’s executive director, Christopher Escobar, confirmed initial plans in talks with FOX 5 Atlanta. At present, the city is just kicking off the film festival’s Request for Information (RFI) process. This is the preliminary stage prior to stepping into the more detailed Request for Proposal (RFP) phase.

Understanding the Legacy of the Sundance Film Festival

Initiated in 1985 in Park City, Utah, the Sundance Film Festival has emerged as America’s most significant independent film festival. Over the years, the festival has showcased a variety of innovative films, creating a launching pad for countless filmmakers and actors. In 2023, it drew over 86,824 attendees with 138,050 ticket redemptions. This highlights its massive appeal and scope of influence.

Details of the Bidding Process

The current RFI phase is due to conclude on May 1. It paves the way for the RFP stage running from May 7 until June 21. While the bidding process remains open, Park City has the option until October 2024 to secure an extension of its hosting contract. This reveals that Sundance’s potential relocation remains an open-ended matter.

What Hosting Sundance Could Mean for Atlanta

Becoming the host city for the Sundance Film Festival would bolster Atlanta’s reputation as a cultural hotspot spotlighting its prowess in handling such a large and influential event. However, the city will have to strategically navigate the competitive bidding process.

Community and Economy: The Potential Upsides

The economic impact of hosting the festival holds significant potential for Atlanta. During the 2023 festival, for instance, out-of-state visitors contributed approximately $97 million to Utah’s economy. On a cultural level, Atlanta’s film industry could experience an unprecedented upliftment.

The Atlanta Film Society’s Role

The Atlanta Film Society has played a key role in advancing film culture within the region. Atlanta’s exemplary track record in hosting major events, including the Olympics and multiple cultural festivals, positions it as a robust contender for hosting Sundance. This sets the stage for captivating developments in the future cinematic landscape.

The Discovery of Sundance Film Festival

Established in 1978 as the Utah/US Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival has become the primary platform for independent filmmakers in the United States. The festival, created by Sterling Van Wagenen and John Earle, aimed to lure more filmmakers to Utah. Robert Redford, an acclaimed actor and director, was intricately involved from the beginning. His association became a defining attribute of the festival.

Developing Sundance’s Reputation

The festival moved to Park City in 1981, combining winter sports appeal with film offerings. This strategic shift coupled the festival with a picturesque, vibrant community supportive of film and cultural events. By 1984, the festival began gaining recognition for showcasing distinctive narratives seldom seen in mainstream Hollywood films.


With Atlanta’s bid to host Sundance, the city is stepping towards a transformative opportunity. As the bidding process unfolds, the possibility of a new chapter in festival’s rich history looms, potentially with Atlanta at its heart.

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