OGDEN — It’s a wrap on Ogden’s starring role in the Sundance Film Festival.

The Sundance Institute has decided there will no longer be January Sundance Film Festival events at Peery’s Egyptian Theater.

The Ogden extension of the Park City-based festival will be replaced by a variety of local screenings during the summer and fall, said Sarah Pearce, managing director of the Sundance Institute.

“We are moving to a more community-based program plan for Ogden,” Pearce said in a phone interview Tuesday with the Standard-Examiner.

Volunteers and patrons of the Ogden screenings were notified of the decision in an email Wednesday.

The number of films that will play locally in 2017 and how they will be presented hasn’t been determined, Pearce said. The movies will “most likely” be ones featured at the festival, she said.

“We don’t really have a full plan yet,” she said, but added the institute will work with Peery’s Egyptian Theater and Visit Ogden to brainstorm options “to find the sweet spot for programming up there.”

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“We want to get the word out so everybody can adjust their plans for January,” Pearce said.

The email states the nonprofit institute must evaluate its programs to ensure they have the best possible impact and sometimes “we have to make tough changes.”

Story continues below photo.


Theatre goers take their seats and wait for the start of the film "Morris from America" on Saturday at the opening of the Sundance Film Festival in Ogden. (DENNIS MONTGOMERY/Special to the Standard-Examiner)

“After evaluating our work in Ogden and discussing options with our local partners, we have decided to shift our programming to provide community screenings in Ogden outside of the festival season,” the email states.

Offering screenings at other times of year — in collaboration with various local organizations — will be a better way to target programming specifically to the community, Pearce said.

And a bonus, she added, is admission to community screenings will be free.

As to whether attendance has declined at Ogden’s Sundance screenings, Pearce said, “We have had a bit of that, but that’s not really the reason for this.”

The decision is a matter of wanting to be engaged with the community in a different way, she said, adding, “We’re hoping we’ll actually be discovering new audiences through this shift in programming.”

Ross Reeder, director of sales and marketing for Peery’s Egyptian Theater, said the Ogden theater has hosted Sundance screenings for about 15 years. Although Reeder said he is disappointed his theater’s role in the January festival has been canceled, he looks forward to new programming possibilities.

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The theater will be able to partner with community groups to bring in Sundance films throughout the year, Reeder said. The move will allow Ogden residents who thought it was too difficult to get Sundance tickets in the past to see screenings, he said.

Pearce said she recognizes “there will be some disappointment” in the community over the decision but added Sundance supporters are encouraged to attend or volunteer at festival events in Park City and Salt Lake City.

“We hope that the Ogden community will come out and engage with us in the summer and fall in this more targeted way,” she said.

She added, “We are so appreciative and thankful for our wonderful relationship with Peery’s Egyptian. They have been such a wonderful partner for us. … We’re glad we can continue in this new way.”

Contact reporter Becky Cairns at 801-625-4276 or bcairns@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter at @bccairns or like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SEbeckycairns.

(23) comments


Thanks Babe


Sorry I thought you were some Salt Lake snob running down Ogden. To be fair though, it sounds like your unfortunate situation isn't something that would be unique to Ogden. I hope things get better for you. Take care.


Bitter, really darling. I am a realist. Ogden is my world, two hour wait for a taxi that only takes cash. Can't depend on the bus service it does not go there. Its a eye clinic for heck sake can I please not to have to take a taxi there for $50 dollars round trip ? Uber well it is Ogden there are few Uber Drivers at 8 AM, but after everyone gets off work, from their other jobs, I have my pick.A bottle of wine with dinner, only if you've taken a taxi to Ogden's Specialty store.I live in the getto. I know the Ladies of the night, the help me cross the street.The drug dealer on the corner will bring me things I need when I am ill. And refuses my money. I make a point of not asking very often.The kids in the neighborhood know I make the best cookies or that I am good for a popsicle in the summer. We are all just people, we basically want and need the same things.I bet you are young, not trying to get along without a car or live on 700 dollars a month Social Security. Not your fault I know, mine because I stayed home a lot when you have 6 kids they need someone there with a cookie and a kiss when they get home from school.And I loved even the thought of getting a ticket to Sundance at the Perry's Egyptian. I grabbed anything available, some were shocking. But the experience incredible. They looked down on me because I wasn't dressed properly. And my wheelchair was in the way. I pressed on.I could tell you more, how my youngest daughter, emptied my bank account, while she was helping me. $57,679.00 in three weeks while she double dosed me on my meds. But I don't need your pity or help.


Why so bitter? Is it because Ogden keeps getting voted one of the best places to live in the country by various publications? No idea where you live but you're right. Ogden is horrible! I highly recommend you stay where you are.


Sundance is the "Big Time".....Ogden isn't!


Xt, I've been saying this for years, well spoken!


Bravo....well spoken!!!


Walk the Ogden City Cemetery, the headstone 's bear their names.Even the Chinese workers baby's are buried there. We are here but we do not want to be here anymore. I do not.


Even the railroads have abandoned Ogden. Salt Lake City has been their hub for many years. The children of the people who built the railroad probably have left Ogden too.


Even a lot of the people who live in Salt Lake City don't want to drive to Ogden to see something. Of course, for Ogden residents you have no choice but to drive to Salt Lake City for a lot of the entertainment, restaurants, and night life that simply isn't available in Ogden.


This is just a railroad town. And the railroad is over. What is left is the children of those who built it, hard workin, kind of poor, barely middle class. Who haven't figured out they deserve better !


So Ogden isn't the place.


It's easily an hour and a half trip (including parking) from Park City to Ogden. That's a long ways from the "Sundance Experience" in time, distance and culture for the independent filmmakers and actors.


Only if the film's topic is get rich quick, multi-level ponzi schemes.


As soon as this news cools down, they'll announce a new venue in Utah county. People down there will be willing to pay double what people in Ogden do.


Total failure of leadership in city hall...just chalk up one more in the long list of failures...Blighting the city and unending shootings...must have played a role in their decision to leave..


"To more fully engage the community" is, not to be too indelicate about it, disingenuous b.s. Has Redford become a Republican?


I just know when a company spins something like that with somewhat ambiguous verbiage it tends to mean "you're getting screwed". But we shall see.


It's going to be interesting to see what that looks like. Will we see the same movies they show in PC and SLC? Will we see them before or after the festival and how long after?It will be nice for those that enjoy independent films to have a better chance to see them. But there is something cool about attending the actual festival.


"Offering screenings at other times of year — in collaboration with various local organizations — will be a better way to target programming specifically to the community," & "The decision is a matter of wanting to be engaged with the community in a different way,". Wow. What a load of nonsense. Okay fine don't tell us the actual reasons.


This isn't shocking news. Ogden is a bit "blue collar" for something like Sundance. Our residents will dress up to go eat dinner in Salt Lake but wear tank tops and flip flops to the nicest restaurants in Ogden. We're cheap and less cultured than the population in the "big city."As someone who has attended at least one Ogden screening each year, I am saddened but not surprised.


It's true the Ogden venue was primarily supported by locals, but we still paid our $20 per ticket to see each film. I'm not blue collar, and you seem a little pretentious.


I am more white trash than pretentious, I still drink beer on my front porch. But I also recognize what Ogden is and isn't.I like the film fest in Ogden. I wish it were staying. But I am also a realist enough to know that our city just isn't what Sundance is looking for. We rarely got "great" screenings under the guise of distance and that is a shame due to our Egyptian being a great venue. People will fly in and attend screenings in Salt Lake and Park City but rarely come to Ogden.The question I am asking is why it has to be an either or proposition when it comes to year round screenings vs. festival screenings. Why wouldn't they support both in Ogden?

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