Here’s What Business, Community and Education Leaders are Saying about the Bid to Host the Sundance Film Festival in Boulder, Colorado

Friday, June 21, 2024

DENVER — This week, the State of Colorado announced on behalf of the Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Boulder) and a regional coalition of partners, including the City of Boulder, the Boulder Chamber, the University of Colorado Boulder and the Stanley Film Center, that a proposal was submitted to host the Sundance Film Festival in Boulder, Colorado starting in 2027. 

“Colorado and the Boulder community are thrilled to be throwing our hat in the ring to become the next host of the Sundance Film Festival. This is a great partnership for the success of the Festival and for Colorado. Here in Colorado we value our arts and creative industries, and the incredible economic impact they have on our state. This opportunity would create new jobs and drive economic development in Colorado,” said Governor Jared Polis. 

In April, the Sundance Institute initiated a process to consider host locations for the internationally renowned festival. Boulder, Colorado responded to a Request for Information in May, which led to an invitation to respond to a Request for Proposals. The State of Colorado collaborated with Visit Boulder to support the development of a competitive application that highlights how Boulder and Colorado can help preserve and grow an inclusive Festival centered around artists and filmmakers while engaging diverse audiences. 

Boulder’s hospitality community is eager to welcome the Sundance Film Festival with a diverse array of accommodations and exceptional service tailored to the festival’s unique needs. The city’s hospitality industry is dedicated to providing filmmakers, industry professionals, and festival attendees with an unparalleled experience that embodies Boulder’s welcoming spirit and commitment to the arts. 

Here is what business, community and education leaders are saying about this unique opportunity to elevate Colorado’s creative industries, create jobs, attract out-of-state visitors to the state, and support small businesses by boosting winter tourism in Boulder and surrounding areas. 

"The University of Colorado Boulder is honored to partner with the city of Boulder, the state and local business community for the opportunity to host the world-renowned Sundance Film Festival. Hosting such a prominent festival would provide unparalleled opportunities for our cinema studies and moving image arts students, faculty, and campus community," said University of Colorado Boulder Chancellor, Philip DiStefano. 

“I’m incredibly excited about the prospect of the Sundance Film Festival coming to Boulder. I’m delighted CU Boulder is partnering with state and local organizations to pursue this opportunity, which has profound cultural, educational and economic implications for all of Colorado. Hosting this prestigious festival would further enrich our state’s innovative and dynamic arts landscape,” said University of Colorado President Todd Saliman. 

"The Boulder Chamber is proud to have partnered in this collaborative proposal for welcoming the Sundance Film Festival to Boulder,” said Boulder Chamber President and CEO John Tayer. “While our mission aligns most clearly with the substantial economic benefits of hosting the Sundance Film Festival, we also relish the opportunity it offers to showcase Boulder's rich arts and cultural assets, as well as our community’s commitment to achieving economic vitality goals in harmony with social equity and environmental values." Tayer added, “Our initial outreach to private donors, corporations, and foundations has already attracted significant commitments of financial and in-kind support from across the state, and we expect further exponential support corresponding with the outpouring of enthusiasm for this opportunity to host the Sundance Film Festival in Colorado.” 

“The City of Boulder is proud to join with our local partners to showcase all we have to offer to the already amazing Sundance Film Festival. It would be a privilege to continue the tradition of premiering world-class films in the West, and in a way that centers our shared commitment to sustainability, equity and advancing the creative arts,” said Boulder City Manager Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde. 

“Arts and the creative industries have been a core part of the mission at The Stanley Hotel since its inception in 1909, and we are honored to support this proposal to bring more Sundance Institute programming to Colorado. Last month, we very successfully hosted the 2024 Directors Labs and look forward to welcoming the Sundance Institute back to The Stanley in 2025 for the Directors Lab and the Catalyst Forum. We have deep ties and friendships with the Sundance Institute and look forward to continuing it,” said John Cullen, owner of The Stanley Hotel. 

“Hosting the Sundance Film Festival in Colorado would create new opportunities for our partners throughout Colorado to promote winter experiences, as visitors to the Festival extend their stay to explore our great state,” said Tim Wolfe, Director of the Colorado Tourism Office. “That includes skiing in our mountain communities as well as meaningful marketing opportunities for northern Colorado during what can be a quiet time of year, in communities like Broomfield, Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont and Loveland. These regions will attract a large following of regional tourism with extended stays and days trips from Colorado's Western Slope as well as neighboring states.” 

“This is an incredible opportunity to deepen artistic and cultural impacts in Boulder, the surrounding region and across the state. As a world-renowned festival, the Sundance Film Festival lifts up and celebrates a diverse collection of voices and stories, and demonstrates the many ways the creative industries enhance our quality of life,” said Colorado Creative Industries Director, Josh Blanchard. 

“Boulder’s hospitality community is enthusiastic about the opportunity to host the Sundance Film Festival,” said Joseph Steiskal, Area Managing Director of the Hiltons on Canyon, Vice President of the Boulder Hotel & Motel Association, and Board Chair for Visit Boulder. “Our city offers a dynamic and inspiring environment, perfect for fostering creativity and cultural exchange. We are confident that our hotels and restaurants will provide an exceptional backdrop for this renowned festival.” 

"Estes Park just hosted the Sundance Directors Lab at The Stanley Hotel, and it was a huge success," said Kara Franker, CEO of Visit Estes Park. "Northern Colorado offers an exceptionally inspiring location for the arts and all of our communities would greatly benefit from having such an incredible institution make Colorado its home. We fully support our neighbors in Boulder." 

About Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade 

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) works to empower all to thrive in Colorado’s economy. Under the leadership of the Governor and in collaboration with economic development partners across the state, we foster a thriving business environment through funding and financial programs, training, consulting and informational resources across industries and regions. We promote economic growth and long-term job creation by recruiting, retaining, and expanding Colorado businesses and providing programs that support entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes at every stage of growth. Our goal is to protect what makes our state a great place to live, work, start a business, raise a family, visit and retire—and make it accessible to everyone. Learn more about OEDIT.