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Festival Director John Cooper, Sundance Institute Executive Director Keri Putnam, and President and Founder of Sundance Institute Robert Redford at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival Day One Press Conference

With six months to go, many people are already counting down the days until the opening of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, which is slated for January 18–28. Here's the latest roundup of news regarding festival programming and the excitement surrounding the new arts and culture district, where Sundance Institute will finally have their very own headquarters. 

New Programming for 2018 Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Institute recently announced additions to their programming, including a detailed standalone Episodic section, the return of “The New Climate” strand of environmental work, and a new award. A brand new Indie Episodic category designed specifically for stories told in multiple installments has been added to the festival. Previously, Sundance has screened episodic content, including selections O.J.: Made in AmericaTransparentTop of the LakeThe Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert DurstAnimalsGente-fiedThe Chances, and Stranger, in the Special Events category. Sundance will also continue The New Climate content to call attention to feature films, documentaries, and virtual reality experiences exploring climate change and environmental issues. Finally, audiences will have the chance to vote on a new Festival Favorite award. Much like the long-standing Audience Awards in place for each section, the Festival Favorite award will honor the feature film that best resonates with audiences across the entire festival. 

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U.S. premiere of Lady Macbeth by William Oldroyd, an official selection of the Spotlight program at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

Arts & Culture District Headquarters

Although Park City has been a part of the DNA of the Sundance Institute and they've called it home for 30 years now, Sundance has never had a building to call their own. That's about to change after Park City government announced the approval of a dedicated arts and cultural district in Bonanza Park.

"We'd been internally discussing for a long time how best to proceed when our current lease ran out, and about the possibility of building a more permanent home here in Park City. When the city brought this idea to our attention, it seemed like a perfect opportunity," said Betsy Wallace, managing director and CFO of Sundance Institute. "As a nonprofit organization, a building like this helps to ensure that we will have the facilities and the resources to continue supporting independent artists, as well as offer a world-class experience to our festival-goers. In addition to aiding the festival, this facility would help support our year-round programs, including the artist labs and our free summer film series." 

There's a multitude of ideas being discussed at the moment, but nothing will be certain until a few months. "We're working toward a 45,000-square-foot building, which would give us a lot of options. Once the fundraising campaign has commenced, we’ll have a much better idea of what the space would look like and what uses it could be put to, in addition to providing space and resources for our Park City staff and our supported artists," says Wallace. "Having a permanent space, our first ever, only solidifies that commitment, as well as the bond between this organization and city. This past year, the 10-day festival generated over $150 million in economic impact for the state of Utah and its residents. With a permanent facility and the resources that come with it, that impact, and the positive relationship between Sundance Institute and Utah should only increase."

If you're looking to volunteer at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, you can check out the experiences of other Sundance volunteers here and visit the Sundance Institute website for important info and deadlines. 

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