Slamdance Film Festival Leaving Park City for Los Angeles in 2025

Looks like it’s not just Sundance that could be on the move. The Slamdance Film Festival, the smaller, independent stepsister festival to Sundance, has announced it will be leaving its long-time home of Park City, Utah and will relocate to Los Angeles beginning in 2025.

Next year’s Slamdance, which enters its 30th year after being founded in 1995, will take place in Los Angeles’ West Hollywood neighborhood at the Landmark Theatres Sunset and the DGA Theater Complex. The festival also traditionally runs in late January, generally around the same time as Sundance, but will now be scheduled for February 20-26, 2025.

More from IndieWire

Slamdance believes being in LA will offer the festival to continue to grow, and it shouldn’t hurt to be out of Sundance’s shadow.

“Slamdance is coming to Los Angeles! Building upon our success in Utah, we will grow the festival with greater accessibility in Los Angeles and continue our work in launching new films, new careers, and new ideas in filmmaking”, said Slamdance President and Founder Peter Baxter. “With new and existing collaborators, our mission is to increase the global value of independent film and digital media and serve the Los Angeles arts community.”

Slamdance is an annual festival showcasing films that do not have U.S. distribution and have budgets below $1 million. Last year’s festival had record attendance, hosting screenings both in Salt Lake City at the University of Utah and at The Yarrow, a venue that in the past has been held by Sundance. Slamdance saw ticket sales go up 18 percent compared to 2023.

While Slamdance doesn’t always have the buzz of Sundance, it’s proven to be an impressive launch pad for many filmmakers, including mega-directors like Christopher Nolan, whose “Following” first debuted at Slamdance, Rian Johnson, The Russo Brothers, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Sean Baker, and even Bong Joon-ho.

Anthony and Joe Russo are also still major supporters of Slamdance, holding the AGBO Fellowship for filmmakers emerging from the festival, which offers mentorship from the “Avengers” directors and a $25,000 grant.

“Our journey in the film industry began at Slamdance, and our commitment to the festival and the opportunities it offers filmmakers has remained unwavering,” the Russo Brothers said. “Over the years, we’ve had the privilege of collaborating with numerous filmmakers through our fellowship program and various initiatives at our studio. We look forward to witnessing the continued growth and impact of Slamdance in its new home.”

Slamdance 2024
Slamdance 2024 Award WinnersLauren Deserberg

Slamdance’s move to Los Angeles also has the support of Mayor Karen Bass.

“To know the history and landscape of independent storytelling is to know that Los Angeles has always been a home and a source of inspiration for artists, as the creative capital of the world,” Bass said in a statement. “As we welcome filmmakers, artists, and cinema enthusiasts from around the world, the Slamdance Film Festival will serve as a dynamic hub for creativity, connection, and job opportunities for Angelenos.”

Slamdance in LA will bring with it some of its traditional programs, including Polytechnic, Slamdance’s free education endeavor, and ’6ixty’, a series of one-minute short films made on any format. The festival will also feature programs including Next Wave LA highlighting new media work by LA-based artists, and DIG (Digital, Interactive, Gaming) highlighting experimental work.

The festival aims to be financially accessible once it moves to Los Angeles, a challenge for the increasingly pricy trips to Park City, with festival passes starting as low as $50 and other programs free to the public.

The news about the move comes as Sundance has begun exploring options for a potential new home with a Request for Information. Park City since the pandemic has become increasingly expensive for travelers, both festivals have become crowded, and locals aren’t always thrilled to have the festival there at the height of ski season. Sundance might also be in danger of losing two multiplexes it generally uses for press and industry screenings because the theaters’ parent company recently declared bankruptcy. Sundance though has a contract with Park City through 2027, so it has at least a couple more years out in the cold.

Panasonic LUMIX will be the Official Sponsor of the 2025 Slamdance Film Festival in Los Angeles, solidifying a partnership at the intersection of cutting-edge technology and independent filmmaking. Additional industry partners include the DGA, Landmark Theatres, and AGBO.

Submissions for the Slamdance 2025 Film Festival will open on May 8, 2024.

The Los Angeles Times first reported the news.

Best of IndieWire

Sign up for Indiewire's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.