Thanks to Sundance, Utah has become an unlikely film destination over the years. But Provo has basically ceded all the benefits of that development to other cities. That makes absolutely no sense.
Provo could begin remedying this failure by working to screen Sundance films in town — Ogden does it, after all. But more importantly, the city also should seriously consider staging its own cinema event.
With a large university and a dedicated creative community, some sort of Provo Film Festival has seemed to me like an obvious idea for several years now. Add to that the recent development in downtown and the new airport, and the economic conditions also appear to have aligned for a film festival.
Provo is bigger, more prosperous, and more geographically accessible than either of those cities. It’s also far more cosmopolitan. So why isn’t it home to a great film festival?
Film in general is great, but I think the reason that little places like Logan — as well as more comparable cities like Boulder, Colorado — hold film festivals is because they generate growth. They bring visitors into the city, improve the area’s brand, and — much like music venues — end up being the kind of amenity that young, creative professionals look for when choosing a place to live.
And of course, film festivals are just a lot of fun.
No film festival immediately becomes Sundance and it would take years to build something exceptional. But even from the get-go, a Provo Film Festival would enrich the city, culturally and economically.