Slamdance to make LA move

'Fringe' festival to leave Utah for next edition

by Amber Wilkinson

Barking Dogs Never Bite
Barking Dogs Never Bite

Slamdance Film Festival has announced it is going to move to Los Angeles from Utah in 2025.

The festival, which started off on the fringes of Sundance Film Festival in 1995, has since grown to a force to be reckoned with in its own right, with films getting their break there including Christopher Nolan's Following, Bong Joon-ho's Barking Dogs Never Bite and Matt Johnson's The Dirties.

It has traditionally run alongside Sundance in Park City, Utah, this year noticeably taking on a much more central and larger venue for its screenings. The switch saw an 18% rise in ticket sales. The festival said in a statement that the LA move will "allow it to expand its mission of supporting truly independent filmmakers" while giving better accessibility to attendees.

Slamdance president and co-founder Peter Baxter
Slamdance president and co-founder Peter Baxter
Founder and president of the festival Peter Baxter said: “Slamdance is coming to Los Angeles! Building upon our success in Utah, we will grow the festival with greater accessibility in Los Angeles and continue our work in launching new films, new careers, and new ideas in filmmaking.

“With new and existing collaborators, our mission is to increase the global value of independent film and digital media and serve the Los Angeles arts community.”

The move will also see the dates of the festival shift its dates away from Sundance's January slot, so that it runs from February 20-26 in 2025 at venues in and surrounding Hollywood. Venues will include the Landmark Theatres and the DGA Theater Complex.

A press release noted that the festival aims to be financially accessible with in-person passes starting at $50 and many programmes free to the public.

Existing and new programmes will be featured at the festival, including Polytechnic, Slamdance’s free education endeavor; ’6ixty’, a series of one-minute short films made on any format; Next Wave LA, a program of new media work made by LA-based artists, and the experiential and cutting-edge DIG (Digital, Interactive, Gaming) program.

Panasonic LUMIX will be the Official Sponsor of the 2025 event. Additional industry partners include the DGA, Landmark Theatres, and AGBO.

Filmmakers and AGBO co-founders Anthony and Joe Russo said: “Our journey in the film industry began at Slamdance, and our commitment to the festival and the opportunities it offers filmmakers has remained unwavering.

“Over the years, we've had the privilege of collaborating with numerous filmmakers through our fellowship program and various initiatives at our studio. We look forward to witnessing the continued growth and impact of Slamdance in its new home.”

The mayor of Los Angeles, Karen Bass, said: “We are thrilled to announce that the Slamdance Film Festival is moving to Los Angeles and will host its first event here beginning in February 2025. To know the history and landscape of independent storytelling is to know that Los Angeles has always been a home and a source of inspiration for artists, as the creative capital of the world. As we welcome filmmakers, artists, and cinema enthusiasts from around the world, the Slamdance Film Festival will serve as a dynamic hub for creativity, connection, and job opportunities for Angelenos.”

The announcement comes amid speculation that Sundance might also leave its long-held berth in Park City, Utah. It recently opened the bidding process for a potential move to a new city after its current contract comes to an end in 2026.

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