Celebrating 100 Years of Film in Utah


This year, Utah celebrates the centennial anniversary of the premiere of the first films ever shot in the state. This milestone event represents a significant achievement for not only Utah, but the entire film industry.

The Utah Film Commission will also commemorate its 50th anniversary in 2024, as they were established in 1974. To celebrate such an exciting year, The Utah Film Commission has planned a series of exhibits, events, and screenings throughout the year. Kicking off these exciting events is the FOCUS of the fUTure Film Festival, which is aimed at students, recent graduates of Utah’s universities, and residents between 18-25 years old; the festival focuses on the next generation of Utah Filmmakers and their talents. Keep an eye on the Utah Film Commission’s website for more screenings and events as we celebrate filmmaking history that took place upon Utah’s landscapes. 

Utah's film production industry originated in the early 1900s and underwent a transition from silent films to early talkies. The state's beautiful scenery made it a popular destination for Westerns, leading to its nickname, "Little Hollywood." Two of the first Western films shot in Utah were The Deadwood Coach and The Covered Wagon, both silent films released in 1924.

Utah’s film industry continued to grow with Robert Redford’s founding of the Sundance Film Festival In 1978, which kicks off in Park City later this month. Now the largest independent film festival in the United States, and celebrating the 40th edition of the festival this year, the state is already buzzing from the excitement of what’s to come with the 2024 Sundance Film Festival.  

Today, Utah's century-long film legacy continues to flourish. Utah's film industry is a crucial component of its culture, creating lucrative employment opportunities and supporting local businesses while attracting visitors to the state. Whether you're a fan of classic sport films like The Sandlot or something you can sing along to like High School Musical, Utah's stunning natural landscape is sure to leave a lasting impression on anyone in its audience.

Photo Courtesy of Clay Banks - Unsplash