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San Francisco Film Festival attendees weigh in on city's bid to host Sundance

S.F. Film Festival attendees weigh in on city's bid to host Sundance
S.F. Film Festival attendees weigh in on city's bid to host Sundance 03:14

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Sundance Institute is considering moving locations after its current partnership with Park City, Utah expires in 2026. The city of San Francisco will be applying to be the new host.

Filmgoer and publicist Karen Larsen says she's not sure that's a good idea.

"I think San Francisco has too many festivals already," Larsen said. "There's a festival for everything here, including dogs."

The Sundance Institute opened a "request for information" this month, asking cities to submit proposals explaining why they should host the festival beginning in 2027.

San Francisco is expected to be one of many cities applying for the role but Larsen believes that Park City is part of the allure of the festival.

"I thought it's odd because Sundance was started in Utah. That was the whole point of it. It was a destination festival like Telluride so it was kinda surprising news," Larsen said.

She understands why they may consider other options. She used to attend Sundance but hasn't gone in recent years.

"It's really cold, really hard to get around," Larsen said. "Hard to work there."

She did admit that San Francisco would have nicer weather for the festival and more hotel availability.  

Suzanne Pfeifer was waiting in line to see one of the San Francisco International Film Festival movies. She says she has conlficting opinions.

"I think it would be wonderful. I just don't want it to negatively impact the San Francisco Film Festival," Pfeifer said. "But, if it's a different time of year, I think it would do well here. This festival sells out every year."

In a statement Gloria Chan with the S.F. Office of Economic and Workforce Development said "The City can confirm we will be submitting to the Request For Information (RFI) proposal. San Francisco is a hub for artistic expression that offers a unique blend of urban sophistication and natural beauty, providing filmmakers and attendees with an unparalleled setting with the infrastructure and amenities to immerse themselves in the magic of cinema. From our bustling neighborhoods to the tranquil shores of the Bay, every corner of the city pulsates with energy and inspiration, igniting the imagination of storytellers and audiences alike."

"San Francisco is one of the most cinematic cities in the world -- one that harnesses independent and innovative storytelling, cultural vibrancy and creativity from filmmakers such as Joe Talbot (The Last Black Man of San Francisco), Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl) and Barry Jenkins (Medicine for Melancholy)," Chan said. "San Francisco stands as the perfect backdrop for the Sundance Film Festival, with a rich history in celebrating the groundbreaking works of independent filmmakers from around the world."

Many films have had their world premieres at the Sundance Film Festival which is usually in January. Then they go to other festivals later in the year.

Larsen says that, if Sundance did come to to S.F., she thinks it would impact the festivals already here.

"Like this festival, the Asian Film Festival, which is in two weeks, they all pick up films at Sundance," Larsen noted.

The Sundance Institute is continuing to collect proposals through May 1.

The final location is expected to be announced at the end of 2024 or beginning of 2025.

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