Just as Sundance Film Festival kicks off its 2014 season with locals' specials and calls for press coverage, a Utah-Chinese investment group has begun construction on a film production center at Quinn's Junction about 5 miles from festival ground zero.
Two key things to know about the project, which will include movie and TV sound stages, lodging and classrooms, is that the first stage won't be completed until late 2014. Second, it has no connection with Sundance Institute—at least so far.
To make the project feasible, developer Greg Ericksen had to make it a Swiss Army knife of a film complex: besides the studios, pre- and post-production facilities and screening rooms, Park City Film Studios would ultimately include a small hotel for visiting film workers, classrooms for film students from Utah Valley University and a basic restaurant to feed the mob.
“To make it work, we had to have both the physical studio facility and the ancillary facilities as well,” Ericksen says. The screening rooms would make it convenient, he says, for Hollywood execs “who would fly in and want screen the movie And do a deal with a filmmaker."
Ericksen adds: "The screening rooms also could be used film festivals.”
Which brings us to a PCFS-Sundance link. Ericksen says he has had no talks with the 500-pound gorilla of alt-film, but providing facilities for the film festival is an obvious connection. Sarah Pearce, Sundance Institute co-managing director says: “We look forward to continuing discussions with Park City Film Studios to understand what facilities they plan to build in Park City and how they might fit our needs.”
Ericksen says PCFS's proximity to Hollywood through SL International and Utah's outdoor splendor is key to its viability, but a more competitive state film incentives wouldn't hurt. "We're working on that."