Sundance Institute Brings $191 Million in Economic Impact to Utah with 2018 Sundance Film Festival
Expanded Technology Highlights at Least 124,900 Attendees, $19 Million in State and Local Tax Revenue, 3,323 Jobs Supported
Park City, Utah — The nonprofit Sundance Institute today announced that its 2018 Sundance Film Festival, which took place in Park City, Salt Lake City and Sundance, Utah in January, generated a total economic impact of $191.6 million. These numbers come from an independent economic impact study conducted by Y² Analytics, which utilized the methodology and expanded upon the technology introduced last year to give a more holistic picture of the Festival’s impact on the state of Utah’s economy than has previously been available. A new venue and an expanded section dedicated to episodic work additionally contributed to the record amount. This total is in addition to the economic impact of Sundance Institute’s year round Utah-based programs, such as the Filmmaker Labs and Summer Film Series.
The economic impact study also determined that the 2018 Festival generated over $19 million in state and local tax revenue; supported 3,323 jobs; and attracted more than 124,900 attendees from 49 states and 26 foreign countries. This year’s economic impact brought the five-year cumulative total since 2014 to $585.4 million, with more than $55 million in state and local tax revenue generated and more than 10,300 jobs supported.
“More than ever, the people of Utah and our business community appreciate the unique benefits provided by the Sundance Film Festival,” said Governor Gary Herbert. “We look forward to our ongoing work together and the positive collaboration between Sundance Institute and the State."
"It is apparent that the Sundance Film Festival continues to have an expanding impact on Utah's vibrant and diverse economy,” said Speaker of the House Greg Hughes. “In addition to the obvious economic benefits, our ongoing collaboration with Sundance Institute highlights the exceptional cultural, recreational, tourism and business opportunities available here in Utah.”
"Each year the full extent of the economic benefits of the arts has become more apparent, and we’re very proud of the role Sundance Institute and our Festival have played in demonstrating these benefits and bringing them to Utah," said Betsy Wallace, CFO and Managing Director of the Institute. "We're grateful for all of the continued support we receive and to be able to showcase all that Utah has to offer to audiences around the world."
Fuller Tracking of Attendance and Economic Impact
Through expanded use of technology, this year’s economic impact report was able to give a fuller picture of the attendance of the Festival, including attendees who come to the Festival for a single day, a group which in the past had been difficult to track. With this expanded technology, it was determined that this year’s Festival attracted an all-time high of at least 124,900 attendees. Of that total, the Festival brought in 45,000 out-of-state visitors (an approximate increase of 7,500 people from 2017) and over 1,000 international visitors from at least 26 countries. 20 percent of out-of-state attendees indicated this was their first visit to Utah and 89 percent said they would likely visit Utah again within the next year – highlighting the added tourism benefits the Festival brings, which extend throughout the year.
Per-person spending for out-of-town visitors averaged $3,518 with a median stay of five days. Lodging continues to be the largest expense for out-of-state visitors, and generated a total of $62.6 million in attendee spending. The second largest expense was in recreation and entertainment with $49.9 million total attendee spending generated. Efforts to mitigate traffic and congestion through all Festival venues, undertaken in conjunction with state and local agencies, contributed to a $20.1 million dollar spend in transportation methods.
More Opportunities to Attend
This year Sundance Institute introduced its brand new, state-of-the-art theatre, The Ray. The 500-seat, custom built space, featuring a Dolby Atmos sound system, allowed for an additional 17,349 seats to be filled by movie-goers during the Festival, as well as easier access to the groundbreaking New Frontier VR section. Also new this year was the Indie Episodic section in the Festival program, which featured stories from independent perspectives told over multiple installments. This addition, which evolved from Sundance’s Episodic Lab and the tradition of showing episodic work in the Special Events section, was the Festival’s first new film section since 2014 and gave attendees even more opportunities to interact with different forms of independent storytelling.
Bringing Utah Around the World
The Institute helps shine an international spotlight on Utah by attracting top-tier cultural attention for its programming and proactively securing diverse, global media interest. Between the announcement of the film program in late November 2017 through wrap-up articles in early 2018, the Festival generated more than 62,000 stories in print, online and on television, 15% higher than the previous year. Publicity value around the Festival has increased significantly over the last few years, totaling $93.2 million this year, a $2.3 million increase over last year and an 11% increase over the Festival’s 5-year average. Over 1,050 press were accredited to attend and cover the Festival from 28 different countries, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and Venezuela.
The Institute’s social media and website continue to expand their reach, connecting with new audiences around the world. The Festival now has over 2.3 million fans and followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Tumblr. During the Festival there were over 42 million impressions on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat alone. Additionally, from November 29, 2017 to March 9, 2018, the Institute’s website, Sundance.org, had approximately 6 million page views and 1.1 million unique visitors from 187 countries. Top countries outside the United States included the United Kingdom, Canada and France.
Economic Report Methodology
Attendance estimate data was provided by Blyncsy, a Utah-based company which assigned anonymous ID numbers to each unique cell phone found at a Festival venue. From these attendance numbers, total visitor spending was calculated by combining the number of visitors with information from online and intercept surveys where attendees reported on how much they had spent during the Festival. From total visitor spending, total economic impact was derived by applying the latest (2015) RIMS II economic multipliers produced by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. These multipliers capture how much additional spending is induced by the Festival. The RIMS II model also estimates the effect of the Festival on earnings in the state and the number of jobs produced. Additionally, the Y² Analytics team conducted three surveys, using Systematic Random Sampling techniques, to determine spending among Festival attendees.
The Sundance Film Festival®
The Sundance Film Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most groundbreaking films of the past three decades, including Boyhood, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Whiplash,Brooklyn, Twenty Feet from Stardom, Life Itself, The Cove, The End of the Tour, Blackfish, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Dope, Little Miss Sunshine, sex, lies, and videotape, Reservoir Dogs, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, An Inconvenient Truth, Precious and Napoleon Dynamite. The Festival is a program of the non-profit Sundance Institute®. The Festival is a program of the non-profit Sundance Institute®. 2018 Festival sponsors include: Presenting Sponsors – Acura, SundanceTV, and Chase Sapphire®; Leadership Sponsors – Adobe, Amazon Studios, AT&T, DIRECTV, Dropbox, Omnicom, Stella Artois® and YouTube; Sustaining Sponsors – Canada Goose, Canon U.S.A., Inc., Dell, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, GEICO, Google Pixel 2, Grey Goose Vodka, High West Distillery, IMDbPro, Lyft, Unity Technologies and the University of Utah Health; Media Sponsors - Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and Variety. Sundance Institute recognizes critical support from the Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development, and the State of Utah as Festival Host State. The support of these organizations helps offset the Festival’s costs and sustain the Institute's year-round programs for independent artists. Look for the Official Partner seal at their venues at the Festival. sundance.org/festival
Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and new media to create and thrive. The Institute's signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Mudbound, Get Out, The Big Sick, Strong Island, Blackfish, Top of the Lake, Winter's Bone, The Wolfpack, Dear White People, Trapped, Brooklyn, Little Miss Sunshine, 20 Feet From Stardom, Beasts of the Southern Wild ,Fruitvale Station, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.