Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sundance rebounds, Utah movie industry on the rise

The Sundance Film Festival is bouncing back from a two-year economic downturn, and the head of the Utah Film Commission said the state has seen an upturn in the film business in recent months.

“Our projections are the overnight attendance for the festival will be up 12 percent this year over last year,” said Chamber of Commerce CEO Bill Malone. “It’s not just on the front end or the back end, it’s an increase in visitation every day of the festival.” This comes after Sundance business took a hit in 2009 and 2010 because of the struggling economy.

For his part, Utah Film Commission Director Marshall Moore described an uptick of another kind.

“Not only are we the host state of the Sundance Film Festival, we hosted 25 film and television productions” in 2010, Moore said. The list includes “127 Hours” and the upcoming movies “John Carter of Mars,” “Darling Companion,” “The Age of Dragons” and “Unicorn City.”

“Overall, the film industry in the state of Utah is healthy. We had our best year ever last year,” said Moore. Movie and TV productions brought the state “over a thousand jobs last year, and over a $50 million impact for the state of Utah.”

He said that was especially true in rural Utah, “where much of the economic impact took place. Although a lot of it does take place in Salt Lake, we saw it in areas like Moab and Kanab and Delta and Hanksville. More than we’d seen in any other single year since I’ve been the director of the film commission.” Salt Lake Tribune