Minnesota film industry hopeful to land Sundance Film Festival

Minnesota film industry hopeful to land Sundance Film Festival

Minnesota film industry hopeful to land Sundance Film Festival

Minneapolis wants to bring one of the most well-known film festivals in the world to the city. The Sundance Institute announced last week it’s exploring new locations to host its iconic festival starting in 2027.

It currently takes place in Park City, Utah.

For Andrew Peterson, the possibility of the Sundance Film Festival moving to the Twin Cities is filled with potential.

“I’m more than ready to do this here,” he said. “I start focusing on that five or six-block stretch of Hennepin Avenue where we have some of the most gorgeous, jewel box, beautiful theaters that can become synonymous now with Sundance.”

Peterson worked for Sundance as the director of theater operations for three years in the early 2000s.

“I liaised with the City of Park City creating contracts and then building out venues,” Peterson explained. “Plans for celebrities and how they get in and out and every aspect of how a film plays out there.”

He still partners with the non-profit as the executive director of St. Paul-based FilmNorth.

“Sundance is well aware of the talent in Minnesota,” he said.

The Sundance Film Festival is internationally recognized for supporting independent films. It received more than 17,000 submissions from 153 countries last year. Park City has hosted the festival for 40 years but the contract is up for renewal in 2027.

The Sundance Institute is now accepting requests for information from interested cities until May 1.

“The City of Minneapolis, in collaboration with Meet Minneapolis and FilmNorth, has been requested to submit a proposal,” said Andrew Ballard, enterprise events manager with the City of Minneapolis, during Tuesday’s City Council Committee of the Whole meeting.

City Council members approved moving forward with the request for information. According to the Sundance Institute, the request for proposals process will follow from May 7 to June 21. A selection is expected to be announced at the end of 2024 or early 2025.

Minnesota was host to several major film sets in the 1980s and 1990s, including Grumpy Old Men and Jingle All the Way. In 2021, the Minnesota Legislature enacted an income tax credit for production companies to help rebuild the industry, which drew six major projects in the first year.

“Here’s a time to brag and, here’s a time to let Sundance know just how special it is and have them come out and see for themselves because we know it, once they see it they’re going to love it,” said Peterson. “I feel like this has been waiting to happen. We’ve been sitting here building it and we didn’t know it.”