Sundance Reacts to Proposed Boycott

In the wake of a proposal by Americablog’s John Aravosis that gays and lesbians should boycott the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah to protest the passage of Prop. 8, Sundance Institute spokesperson Brooks Addicott told IndieWire, “It would be gravely disappointing to us if the Sundance Film Festival were to be singled out for a boycott. We bring together a diverse range of independent voices and we remain committed to create a dialogue around critical issues.”

While the proposed boycott has received widespread blog coverage, many Sundance alumnus feel that a boycott would hurt gay rights, not promote them, as the festival is known as the premiere showcase for new LGBT/queer-related work.

Producer Ross Katz (“Lost in Translation”, “In the Bedroom”) wrote on a Facebook discussion about the topic:

“The idea of boycotting Sundance is totally misguided and only HURTS the cause. The fact is that Sundance has been a constant home for celebrating gay films and filmmakers since its inception. Look back at the history of films that Sundance has supported. Look back at the history of theater projects the Sundance theater lab has supported, nurtured, and launched into the world. They offer a voice – a loud, uncompromising voice – for filmmakers of all ethnicities, sexual orientations, political bents. Those voices are shouted from the mountain tops of Park City. If anything, take the amazing platform that Sundance is, and run with it.”

Allison Anders (“Gas Food Lodging”) also wrote on the board, saying:

“Sundance was for decades one of the tiny few hands that fed gay filmmakers, women filmmakers, browns, blacks, reds and everyone underrepresented on the screen… If people continue to misplace their rage over Prop 8 passing, they will change not one thing.”

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  • Matt

    Am I a horrible gay because I just don’t care anything about Prop 8 or gay marriage? I’m not against it but it really doesn’t bother me if we have the right ot marry or not.

  • RyanInSacto

    You’re not a horrible gay, Matt. You’re maybe just a little short-sighted. Regardless of whether you intend to marry, the right to marry is still a fundamental one. And it is a right that is critical to some gay people – particularly, for example, those with children who want to create a stable home environment where familial relations are recognized by state authorities. It is not necessary for you to want to get married to see that some people in your community desperately desire to do so. Furthermore, the arguments against same-sex marriage are deeply flawed and are *always* based upon religious teaching of some sort which is antithetical to a secular republic. For these reasons, you should try to look beyond your own feelings about marriage and try to see the bigger picture.

  • Dave

    To bad for Sundance. We need to encourage this boycott. They want to stay in that state then they need to know there will be repercussions.

  • ask ena


    I have always felt the same as you…until suddenly the rights which the Supreme Court decided were mine to have were stripped away, with the reasoning that “The Majority has spoken”. Well the benefit of living in this country is supposed to be that the minority can’t get slammed by the majority when the minority is RIGHT.

    History is on our side. I am mad as hell, and you should be too. Like one sign I read at the Silver Lake protest rally said, “IF YOU’RE NOT ANGRY, YOU’RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION”

  • Wolf

    Well it would be nice if Sundance cane out with a Statement Condemming the LDS of Salt Lake which is acyually in spitting distance and make an attempt to ask guests to BOYCOTT Salt laje during their vist at Sundance and Mormon owned businesses. That MIGHT help.

  • ask ena

    But I agree with the reasoning behind not boycotting Sundance. In fact, I think there will be a great opportunity AT sundance to make a statement. SOMEBODY, please figure this one out!

  • RyanInSacto

    In essence, the argument is, “Please, gay people, keep coming to Sundance just like you always have and see if you get a different result this time.” That seems like a flawed argument.

  • Gerard Priori

    If the film festival wants people to attend (and of course they do), then they need to move the festival to another state. That’s the whole point of the boycott. It’s not so much a boycott of the film festival than it is an effort to keep our money out of Utah. If the festival organizers really care, they’d start looking for anther venue.

  • Jeff

    This is easy. Just have the Sundance festival folks hold it in another state. I am not going to Utah for anything and I am not staying at a Marriott Hotel anywhere either.

  • mark

    Sundance is within their power to act as if NOTHING has happened, and have their film festival where they want. WE (LGBTs) have it within our power to encourage film makers and guests not to attend, in solidarity with gays/lesbians.
    SO Sundance it’s your decision, but it will have consequences, and a PR nightmare.

    Once Sundance was entirely unique in being a vehicle in America for Indie films, and it does hold the position of being the most prestigious, and oldest film festival….but it’s no longer unique or rare, every city holds some kind of film festival now.

  • Paul Raposo

    We have our own LGBTQ film festivals all over America and Canada, so in reality we don’t need Sundance to showcase queer indie films. It’s obvious they are scared; which means we have to hit them harder.

    And i love this quote from Allison Anders:

    If people continue to misplace their rage over Prop 8 passing, they will change not one thing.”

    In other words, if we boycott them, they will punish us. Screw them all.

  • ask ena

    I am continually inspired by Barack Obama’s ability not to fight hate with hate, and rise above with a more powerful statement as a result.

    Let us please think things through with the intelligence and sound mind I know we are capable of. (Not saying which way to go, just saying…)

    I’m equally as afraid of our own mob mentality as I am of others’.

  • Wolf

    @ask ena:

    Uh Hun. We’ve been doing that for years now. Thats why we’ve gotten nowhere slowly after the 80’s

  • ask ena


    I disagree. I think our prop 8 efforts were/are somewhat self-congratulatory and complacent. Which is not to say we aren’t all outraged.

    To clarify my previous post, we can see now that Obama’s organized and successful efforts were surgical, if nothing else. That’s all I am saying…we need to be surgical and deep-cutting, not hateful and vague.

  • Nate

    As someone who lives in Utah, if you encourage the progressive elements of a place to leave it, you are left with a place that has no opportunity for progression. Park City, the home to the Sundance Film Festival, is very progressive, and is unlike the rest of the state.

    Also, Utah is becoming increasingly diverse, with estimates that less than 50% of the population here is now practicing LDS. We need to build relationships with these people instead of shutting them out.

    IMO, anyways…

  • Wolf

    I’m sorry ENA. I have to disagree. And IMO involing Barak is way off base here and he is not a point in our problem.
    I LOVE Barak. And the way he handeled himself was admirable. But if Mclame didn’t run such a evil little hateful trool campaign rising above it might not have worked.

    In the 60’s and 70’s WE FOUGHT. If we DON’T FIGHT NOW IMo we let down everyone before us who fought for what rights we have today. Writing letters, petitions, and TV Commercials just don;t work.

    We need to tap into the anger and the outrage and stand up for ourselves and our rights.

    Consider History….

    Would womens rights have come about without the Suffergets who chanied themselves to fences and stood for what they believed in.

    Would Civil Rights have come to be when it did if the african american people were not outrageed and stood tall in the face of of possible violence and death marched, Boycotted and disobeyed Civilly.

    And would we have have ANY of the Freedom and what few righst we do now if Stomewall never happened?

    We have acted above it and civil far too long.

  • Eric

    I know it’s hard to believe, but Utah is not the same thing as Mormonism. Park City, where Sundance is held, is overwhelmingly non-Mormon (and often quite anti-Mormon), not to mention liberal. That county voted for Obama over McCain, 57% to 41%, one of only two counties in Utah to do so.

    Even Salt Lake City is only about 40% Mormon. I know… “only.” The point is, you can’t boycott SLC altogether without also harming a lot of people who are on our side.

    If you want to be effective, boycott businesses that you know are LDS-owned, like Marriott Hotel, regardless of which state they’re in. But an overall Utah boycott is too broad. It would be like boycotting Massachusetts because you’re angry at the Catholic church.

  • The Gay Numbers

    @Eric: This talking point is not going to convince anyone. You can continue to pretend there is no link between the LDS and Utah, but people are on the internet. They google your assertion.

  • Wolf


    Actually acording to The Salt lake Trib in 2004 Utah is now 62.4 percent LDS.Tthere are 2.5 million people in Utah, and 1.5 million are LDS. There are obviously way more than before, but the percentage is only 60 percent

    All seven members of the Salt Lake City Council belong to the Mormon Church, and the State Legislature of Utah is at least 90 percent Mormon.

    But in a way you are RIGHT Within the city limits of Salt Lake City, Utah’s capital, the population is about 55 percent non-Mormon. However, the city limits circumscribe a very small part of the COUNTY of which Salt Lake City is the county seat.

  • mark

    NOT fighting the LDS elders is NOT an option.

    The HEART of the LDS church is in Salt Lake City and always will be, no matter how they spread globally.

    The highest percentage of LDS undilluted voters are in Utah, if they can’t spread their HATE from Utah, they can’t do it ANYWHERE.

    I have hundreds of LDS family members in SLC, Vegas, and Provo. I was raised by a Mormon mother who converted to my father’s faith when I was four. I love these family members, and they love me as being openly gay. Individual Mormons aren’t my enemy, their elders who run their church ARE.
    It takes Utah residents Mormon and Non Mormon to curb these elders from attacking another State’s LGBT residents.

    Sundance executives and their film makers and guests can act to support LGBT people, or to dismiss us…it’s their choice.

  • Bob R

    The American people usually only respond to two things, money and political power. If people boycott Utah, products produced in Utah and businesses owned and operated by the Mormons, it will have an impact. Even if I’m not a Mormon, if my business is affected, I’m going to bring political pressure to bear. Massive demonstrations will also get attention. In addition, as a community we must build a powerful political organization at the local and national level. Boycott Sundance and go skiing in Colorado. The Mormons, like all religions thrive on dollars. Hit them and their supporters in the wallet. It certainly helped a few years ago with Coors.

  • Bill Perdue

    It’s a stupid, asinine idea.

    Our enemies are the politicians like Obama who say “god’s in the mix” to cover their superstition driven bigotry. And most of the major cults leaders, including the mormons, the little boy rapers and the southern baptists.

    We should mount a campaign to end federal political bribes masquerading as ‘faith based’ grants.

    And a campaign to end tax breaks for all cults. If Disney and ImageWorks are taxed why not tax all the fantasy sellers.

    And a campaign to co-indict cult leaders who advocate violence against us.

  • mark

    Robert Redford and Sundance film festival,

    You KNOW gays/lesbains, as fans, friends, and colleagues. Would you suppose the people you KNOW while their families are under attack, will remember who stood with them, and who DIDN’T?

    If you answered the later, I would say you don’t KNOW gays and lesbians. DECADES later I STILL won’t buy FL Orange Juice or Coors beer, and that won’t change.

  • Paul Raposo

    The American people usually only respond to two things, money and political power.

    Bob R, never before have truer words been written.

  • Ed

    Determining to live my life as an open and proud homosexual from the age of 18 has never been easy. You are constantly told how to behave so as not to offend others even within your own family structure. And it doesn’t matter what attempts you make, you are still thought of as less than..

    The folks at Sundance are now giving gays/lesbians/trans/bisexuals the same vacuous treatment we’ve endured our entire lives. Rather than capitalizing on this as an historic opportunity to take a conscientious civil rights stance, Sundance officials want to question the motives of the queer community.

    Does this make any sense?

    Producer Ross Kantz praises Sundance’s “loud, uncompromising voice” which seems to be strikingly hypocritical when you consider that compromise is exactly what their asking us to do.

    The fact is we have tried to amend our lives at the discretion of others and although great gains have been made, it’s not nearly enough. For too long have we stood in the background accommodating the sentiments of others and their bottom line. Of course I’d love to see the officials at Sundance take their own stance by considering moving the festival (as one possible strategy and by no means the only option), but I am no longer waiting for others to do the right thing by me and my community.

    Therefore I say boycott!

    We need to draw a line in the sand and prove that we will no longer accommodate at our expense. To me a specifically targeted boycott can be a galvanizing tool. If it is unsuccessful then we can learn what to do better the next time. But we won’t know unless we try and trying is now the time. There is a war going on and I’m no longer in the mood to accommodate.

  • michael

    Boycott them. Sundance’s stance shows that its business first, human rights second. What a bunch of crap there statement is.

  • michael

    We can not only call for a boycott of Sundance, but we can also call for a boycott of any film shown at the festival extending the financial consequences to those who support that state.

  • Vinman

    The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Say nothing, do nothing, get nothing. Sundance can move the festival and take money out of Mormon’s pockets. As previously stated they are no longer the only film festival out there.

  • Al Benson

    It’s really not an issue of boycotting Sundance, but pressuring sundance to move out of Utah. thats a 6 BILLION dollat kick in the teeth to the Mormon State.

  • mark

    2008 Sundance Film Festival Sponsors

    The 2008 Sundance Film Festival Sponsors help sustain Sundance Institute’s year-round programs to support independent artists, inspire risk-taking, and encourage diversity in the arts. This year’s Festival Sponsors include: Presenting Sponsors – Entertainment Weekly, Volkswagen of America, Inc., HP, and Adobe Systems Incorporated; Leadership Sponsors – American Express, Delta Air Lines, DIRECTV, and Microsoft Corporation; Sustaining Sponsors – 360 Vodka, Blockbuster Inc., ChaCha, L’Oréal Paris, The New York Times, Ray-Ban, Sony Electronics, Inc., Stella Artois®, Turning Leaf Vineyards, Utah Film Commission, and ZonePerfect® Nutrition Bars. Sundance Channel is the Official Television Network of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

    Financial and Promotional Support for Sundance Film Festival filmmakers

    I wrote all but three of these sponsors, to ask them to exert their pressure to move Sundance outside of Utah this year to support LGBT Boycott of Utah

  • mark

    always…..follow the MONEY

  • Brian

    My family are all Mormon and they all live in Utah and I refuse to step into that shit hole.
    If Gay to go to Park City, I think it might be a good idea to sell an emblem that could be posted in a window to let people know their business is committed to over turning Prop. 8 and they are gay friendly.
    The city of Kanab Utah, which relies heavily on tourism, passed some retarded initiative last year and were dealing with a boycott by gays and lesbians. Local businesses attached rainbows in their windows to let tourists know they were gay friendly and opposed the initiative.

  • Eric

    @The Gay Numbers: “You can continue to pretend there is no link between the LDS and Utah”

    That’s an excellent example of something I did not say. What I said was that the link between the LDS and Utah is not universal. For a boycott to be effective and send the right message, it needs to affect only those who are directly connected. Forty percent of Utah’s population is non-Mormon, and 65% of Summit County (i.e., Park City) is non-Mormon. Even among those who are Mormon, only about half are actively involved with the church.

    Fifty years ago, yeah, you could boycott Utah altogether and pretty much just be boycotting Mormons. But the state isn’t like that anymore. A gay boycott against the entire state would be overdoing it and wouldn’t send a clear message.

  • mark

    Eric the population may have become more diverse in Utah, but the center of political power of representatives and judges are still firmly in Mormon hands.
    I will NEVER return to Utah or spend a dime on UT products.

    Keep your G*D DAMN H8
    in your own State

  • libhomo

    I’ve blocked the Sundance Channel from my cable in response to the network’s racist, heterosexist, misogynist, and anti atheist decision to keep the festival in Utah.

    I’m not going to live up to the stereotype of the weak, helpless gay man who refuses to fight back when stepped on by the Sundance people.

  • Andy

    Just have them move Sundance to Palm Springs or some other small town out of Utah.

  • homosexualist

    @Wolf: This is one of the most progressive gay-friendly festivals in the world. It’s a RIDICULOUS idea to force them to leave. Just because there’s a tourism benefit that might put a few coins in some bigots’ pockets does not mean that the festival doesn’t make great strides in the community when it comes to expressing tolerance and diversity. This notion would create two Americas, and woe on you if you were born in the wrong one. I grew up in Utah and worked for Sundance. It’s sorely needed there–Utah would be decades further behind the times if it weren’t.

  • homosexualist

    @libhomo: The Sundance cable network isn’t owned by the festival. Do your homework before making snap decisions.

  • Pak Tam

    it’s not about whether you want to marry. by denying equal rights, the state effectively treat you as second class citizen. your social worth is diminished. you’re more open to attacks, verbally, culturally, & god forbid, physically.

    more importantly, we need to speak up for minority rights. today the LBGT is the victim but tomorrow others would fall prey to these violation of human rights.

    First they came for the Communists,
    and I didn’t speak up,
    because I wasn’t a Communist.
    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak up,
    because I wasn’t a Jew.
    Then they came for the Catholics,
    and I didn’t speak up,
    because I was a Protestant.
    Then they came for me,
    and by that time there was no one
    left to speak up for me.

    by Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945

  • brad

    @Matt: i am straight and this bothers me. you’re one of those passionless people who float through life not really living fully. and that’s why you don’t care about having a right to marry or being treated equally. youre lazy and selfish no one would marry you anyway.

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