Published: June 20, 2024

Today, a press release from the state of Colorado announced plans 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, CU Boulder and the Stanley Film Center, to submit a proposal to host the Sundance Film Festival in Boulder starting in 2027.

“The Sundance Film Festival has a deep history in the Mountain West, and we can think of no better home for its next act than Colorado. With the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop and our deep commitment to the arts, we can help the festival achieve even greater success while preserving what makes it special, building on Colorado’s iconic creative brand and our strong arts community,” said Gov. Jared Polis.

Robert Redford is pictured at his home in Sundance, Utah

Robert Redford at his home in Sundance, Utah.

CU Boulder’s history with the Sundance Festival’s founder Robert Redford is well scripted.

In the 1950s, Redford attended CU Boulder for one year on a baseball scholarship and became a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. The future film legend and two-time Academy Award winner also worked as a janitor at The Sink, where you’ll find his likeness on the wall. Two of Redford’s children, David Redford and Shauna Redford Schlosser, also attended CU, and Redford even earned an honorary degree from CU.

"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 CU Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano.

In addition to his work as an actor, producer and director, Redford founded the Sundance Institute, which produces the Sundance Film Festival to foster independence, risk-taking and new voices in American film. 

According to the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, the Sundance Film Festival will have a significant and growing economic impact for its future host state. The 2023 festival contributed over $118 million to Utah’s economy while creating 1,608 jobs for Utah residents and $63 million in wages. Over 21,000 visitors came from out of state.

“I’m incredibly excited about the prospect of the Sundance Film Festival coming to Boulder,” said CU President Todd Saliman. “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.”

The bid submission occurs today, but the next scene is unclear, offering a cinematic dose of suspense. Regardless, CU Boulder is ready for its close up.