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Slamdance CEO: Financial, accessibility concerns behind LA move

Slamdance is leaving Park City due to financial and physical accessibility concerns.
Lauren Desberg, Casey Segal
Slamdance Film Festival
Slamdance is leaving Park City due to financial and physical accessibility concerns.

The Slamdance Film Festival will leave Park City in 2025 and the CEO says it’s because of concerns over cost and physical accessibility.

After almost 30 years in Park City, the Slamdance Film Festival will move to Los Angeles in 2025. CEO and founder Peter Baxter said the festival got its start after a group of filmmakers didn’t get their films into the Sundance Film Festival.

“Instead of going off into the sunset with our tails between our legs, we decided that we would come together, support one another's films and each other and form our own festival event,” he said.

Baxter said the group made Slamdance’s home Park City because they wanted to be close to Sundance and the industry members it attracted, and films from Slamdance’s first year did get attention. And what originally was supposed to be a one-time event has continued annually for almost three decades. Baxter said it has remained artist-run throughout.

“All of the filmmakers that take part in Slamdance are invited back to program the festival, still to this day,” he said.

Just weeks before Slamdance announced its departure, the Sundance Film Festival said it is exploring leaving Park City after the 2026 festival. However, Baxter said the decision to leave has nothing to do with Sundance’s plans. The main reason behind the decision to leave Park City, Baxter said, is a lack of both financial and physical accessibility.

He said the cost to hold Slamdance in Park City has become more expensive over the years and the festival doesn’t want to go into debt. Festival organizers say operating costs will be cheaper in L.A. because of location collaborations.

The cost of attending the festival in Park City has also increased. All-access passes to Slamdance this year started at $125, but at the L.A. festival in 2025 the passes start at $50. Further, Baxter said there are more opportunities to grow in L.A. and more venue options.

Costs for artists are also more expensive in Park City. Baxter said Slamdance artists are often first-time feature filmmakers who put everything into their production, even their own money. Travel and accommodations to L.A. are expected to be lower.

Slamdance is also concerned about physical accessibility. The festival launched a program called Unstoppable, which showcases films made by filmmakers with disabilities and aims to eliminate prejudices historically barring disabled artists from the entertainment industry. Baxter said while the Yarrow was accessible this year, holding the festival in a mountain town is not inherently accessible.

Despite the decision to leave Park City, Baxter said he and the festival appreciate their time in Park City and thanked the community for their support.

“Recognizing our roots is going to be a really important component of moving forward,” he said. “Yes, we're excited about moving to Los Angeles and the opportunities that are in front of us, but we must remember where we've come from, and all the people that have helped us.” 

The 2025 Slamdance Film Festival will run Feb. 20 to 25 at venues in and around Hollywood.