Sundance Film Festival in Utah Comes to Chicago

Film production, 2008. Photo: courtesy of the City of Chicago
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New event championing creative independence will feature three days of screenings and programming for Chicago audiences in June, featuring titles from the annual Sundance Film Festival in Utah

Choose Chicago and the Chicago Film Office, in partnership with the Sundance Institute, announced an exciting new independent film event coming to Chicago this summer. Taking place June 28-30, Sundance Institute x Chicago 2024 will feature artists programs, film screenings and events across the city and will be an opportunity to highlight Chicago’s vibrant cultural scene and bolster its status as a diverse and innovative filmmaking hub. Sundance Institute x Chicago 2024 will make Chicago the only U.S. city to host an independent artist and film weekend in partnership with the Sundance Institute outside of Park City, Utah, the home of the annual prestigious Sundance Film Festival.

Sundance x Chicago, photo provided by the City of Chicago

Mayor Brandon Johnson expressed his support for this partnership, saying, “This collaboration between Choose Chicago, the City of Chicago, and the Sundance Institute is a momentous occasion for our city. It not only celebrates our rich filmmaking heritage, but also provides an unparalleled platform for our local talent to engage with industry leaders and decision-makers. This event is a shining example of our commitment to enriching Chicago’s cultural landscape and fostering an environment where the arts can thrive.”

Founded by Robert Redford in 1981 with the mission of fostering new voices in independent storytelling, the nonprofit Sundance Institute is an iconic institution and a champion of independent filmmakers globally. Sundance Institute x Chicago 2024, with the tagline “Championing Creative Independence”, will bring the Institute to Chicago, providing an opportunity to celebrate Chicago’s creative community and sharing information from the Institute’s artist development programs to support emerging artists in the City.

2024 Screening,Willand Harper, Photo:Jemal Countess

“To know the history and landscape of independent storytelling is to know that Chicago has always been a home and a source of inspiration for artists, many of whom have ties to Sundance through our Festival and artist support programs,” said Eugene Hernandez, Festival Director and head of public programming, Sundance Institute. “All of us at the Institute are very much looking forward to deepening our connection to this unique community of film lovers, film champions, and filmmakers through this weekend of events designed for and with the city of Chicago.”

The event will feature:

  • Screenings of four films from the January 2024 Sundance Film Festival—premiering for the first time in Chicago—and Q&As with filmmakers
  • A short film program and masterclass for emerging and underrepresented filmmakers
  • Panel discussions at the Chicago Cultural Center and other venues
  • A presentation about Sundance Institute, offering insights on the various artist programs / labs and how to apply

“I am continuously inspired by Chicago’s vibrant community of independent filmmakers and all our amazing year-round calendar of film events,” said Rich Gamble, Interim President and CEO of Choose Chicago. “Joining forces with the Sundance Institute will give us an opportunity to support our arts community and bolster Chicago’s reputation as a must-visit destination for filmmakers and film enthusiasts.”

2024 Screening, Willand Harper,Photo: Jemal Countess

“This partnership provides a unique opportunity for Chicago’s filmmakers to engage with and learn from the Sundance Institute’s incredible team,” said Jonah Zeiger, Deputy Commissioner at the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and head of the Chicago Film Office. “We’re excited to offer a platform that nurtures local talent and celebrates the diversity of voices in Chicago’s film community. This special partnership with Sundance Institute is part of a broader effort to highlight Chicago’s unique role as an essential hub for independent film. I see a natural alignment between the important work Sundance has been doing and the inclusive, engaged culture of Chicago’s film community.”

The Chicago Film Office will take a leading role in facilitating the panel components of the weekend. Advisory groups will inform what kinds of conversations will be beneficial to our community and the national fields. This programming presents an opportunity to pair local voices alongside Sundance Institute staff and other leading industry professionals, elevating our filmmaking community while framing current issues with Chicago’s specific position in mind.

Film production, 2006. Photo: courtesy of the City of Chicago

“We are thrilled that the Sundance Institute has chosen Chicago for this first-time event,” said Chicago Alliance Film Festival representative Karen Cardarelli.  “We have an incredibly dynamic and inclusive film festival scene here and look forward to collaborating with the Sundance Institute to ignite and inspire Chicago audiences.”

Sundance Institute x Chicago 2024 will be a high-profile addition to Chicago’s deep lineup of film events and year-round film programming. With more than 50 film festivals each year, Chicago is at the center of the world’s filmmaking community. Sundance Institute x Chicago 2024 will follow on the heels of the Independent Film Exhibition Conference (IND/EX) – focused on all aspects of independent film exhibition. Organized by two major trade organizations, Film Festival Alliance and Art House Convergence, IND/EX immediately precedes the Sundance event, running June 25 – 28 and will draw more than 500 industry stakeholders, including festival organizers, cinema operators, film distributors, and allied organizations to Chicago. Previous to these two events, Chicago will also be hosting the Theatre Communications Group’s 3-day National Conference (June 20 – 22) at the Chicago Cultural Center as well as Filmscape Chicago, a 3-day free event (June 21-23) at CineCity Studios featuring filmmakers, production specialists, vendors, and classes on all aspects of film and media production.  This sequence of prominent events presents an unprecedented opportunity for Chicago to be in the independent film and storytelling spotlight and to encourage conference attendees and others to immerse themselves in 10 days of fun independent film and related activities and events.

2024 Screening “Daughters”, Photo:Becca Haydu

To learn more and sign up for updates, including venue and ticket on-sale dates, for Sundance Institute x Chicago 2024, visit SundanceInstituteXChicago.com.

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About Choose Chicago: Choose Chicago is the official sales and marketing organization responsible for promoting Chicago as a global visitor and meetings destination, leveraging the city’s unmatched assets to ensure the economic vitality of the city, its residents and our partner business community. Follow @choosechicago on FacebookInstagramLinkedInTikTok and    X/Twitter and tag #ChicaGOandKNOW. For more information, visit choosechicago.com.

About Chicago Film Office: The Chicago Film Office, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, leads the city’s effort to attract and support the production of all forms of screen entertainment produced in Chicago. For filmmakers, it is a one-stop liaison for all City of Chicago production needs including permitscity services, and logistical support. For film lovers and filmmakers alike, the CFO produces film programming, often in partnership with community organizations, that offers a wide spectrum of cinema experiences both for learning and enjoyment. Programming includes the Millennium Park Summer Film Series, international and art house screenings in the Chicago Cultural Center, and numerous partnership programs and events aimed to build both community and industry across all forms of filmmaking and film exhibition in Chicago. The Chicago Film Office supports the independent film sector and aims to elevate the City’s role as a leading hub and convener within the broader field. For details, visit ChicagoFilmOffice.us

The City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) supports artists and cultural organizations, invests in the creative economy, and expands access and participation in the arts throughout Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods. As a collaborative cultural presenter, arts funder, and advocate for creative workers, our programs and events serve Chicagoans and visitors of all ages and backgrounds, downtown and in diverse communities across our city — to strengthen and celebrate Chicago. DCASE produces some of the city’s most iconic festivals, markets, events, and exhibitions at the Chicago Cultural Center, Millennium Park, and in communities across the city — serving a local and global audience of 25 million people. The Department offers cultural grants and resources, manages public art, supports TV and film production and other creative industries, and permits special events throughout Chicago. For details, visit Chicago.gov/DCASE and stay connected via our newsletters and social media

About Sundance Institute: As a champion and curator of independent stories, the nonprofit Sundance Institute provides and preserves the space for artists across storytelling media to create and thrive. Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, 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. Sundance Collab, a digital community platform, brings a global cohort of working artists together to learn from each other and Sundance advisors and connect in a creative space, developing and sharing works in progress. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences and artists to ignite new ideas, discover original voices, and build a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Through the Sundance Institute artist programs we have supported such projects as Bottle Rocket, Boys Don’t Cry, Call Me By Your Name, The Farewell, Flee, Fruitvale Station, Get Out, Half Nelson, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Hereditary, Requiem for a Dream, Reservoir Dogs, RBG, Swiss Army Man, Walking and Talking and Past Lives. Through year-round artist programs, the Institute also nurtured the early careers of artists such as Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Gregg Araki, Darren Aronofsky, Lisa Cholodenko, Ryan Coogler, Nia DaCosta, The Daniels, David Gordon Green, Miranda July, James Mangold, John Cameron Mitchell, Kimberly Peirce, Boots Riley, Ira Sachs, Quentin Tarantino, Taika Waititi, Lulu Wang, and Chloé Zhao. Support Sundance Institute in our commitment to uplifting bold artists and powerful storytelling globally by making a donation at sundance.org/donate. JoinSundance Institute on FacebookInstagramTikTokTwitter, and YouTube.

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