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Movie Awards Season Continues as the Sundance Film Festival Gets Underway in the Real Hollywood Hills

by | Jan 19, 2018 | Press Releases

Plus Utah Prepares for the 40th Birthday of Iconic Sundance Film Festival

Movie awards season is in full swing stateside, and not just in the hallowed halls and hills of Hollywood. While tinseltown sparkles in the afterglow of the Golden Globes, a more rugged destination – Utah – is also now enjoying its moment in the spotlight.

2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the Sundance Film Festival, held in Utah’s world famous ski town, Park City. Having just returned for its annual 10-day run (18-28 January), the festival will bring Utah its fair share of star power over the next week and a half. In 2017, it attracted ‘A List’ celebrities and movie industry ‘Hall of Famers’ including Quentin Tarantino, Michelle Monaghan, Salma Hayek and Jon Hamm. Films premiering at the festival this year include Monsters and Men and American Crime.

Utah is a fitting location for the largest independent film festival in the USA, with its majestic mountains and national parks forming the backdrop to more than 1,000 movies and counting. Added to this, big budget TV shows like HBO’s multi-award winning Westworld (aired on Sky Atlantic in the UK) use Utah as their film set and the popular drama recently finished shooting its second season in the Beehive State.

Nicknamed ‘Natural Hollywood’ in the industry, Utah has acted as the backdrop for a stampede of award-winning movies over the decades. Here, to mark the 2018 awards season and the launch of this year’s Sundance Film Festival and the event’s 40th anniversary – are six of the biggest Utah-filmed movie successes so far.

1) Forrest Gump (1995)

Starring: Tom Hanks and Robin Wright

Key Utah Filming Locations: Highway 163, Monument Valley and Mexican Hat

Academy Award Nominations: 13

Academy Awards: 6


2) Thelma and Louise (1991)

Starring: Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon

Key Utah Filming Locations: Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, Dead Horse Point State Park, Moab and Mexican Hat

Academy Award Nominations: 6

Academy Awards: 1

3) Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid (1969)

Starring: Paul Newman and Robert Redford

Key Utah Filming Locations: Zion National Park, St. George, Grafton Ghost Town and Snow Canyon State Park

Academy Award Nominations: 7

Academy Awards: 4

4) Planet of the Apes (1968)

Starring: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter

Key Utah Filming Locations: Lake Powell and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Academy Award Nominations: 3

Academy Awards: 1


5) How The West Was Won (1962)

Starring: James Stewart, John Wayne and Gregory Peck

Key Utah Filming Location: Monument Valley

Academy Award Nominations: 8

Academy Awards: 3


6) Stagecoach (1939)

Starring: John Wayne and Andy Devine

Key Utah Filming Location: Monument Valley

Academy Award Nominations: 7

Academy Awards: 2


For more on Utah’s cinematic heritage or to plan a visit to the state, go to www.visitutah.com/uk