Logan Center for the Arts on the campus of the University of Chicago co-hosted the first event with Sundance to be hosted at a city other than Park City, Utah on Friday, June 28, 2024. It began with the showing of the Sundance documentary “Luther: Never Too Much” at the Logan Center for the Arts. No less a celebrity than the Mayor of Chicago, Brandon Johnson, was present. Also in attendance was Eugene Hernandez, the Director of the Sundance Film Festival since 2022 and the Director of “Luther: Never Too Much,” Dawn Porter.

The City of Chicago and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and Choose Chicago, in partnership with the nonprofit Sundance Institute kicked off the highly anticipated Sundance Institute X Chicago 2024 – the first of its kind event in the United States –  with a welcome reception with City officials, Sundance creatives, and the greater Chicago film community.

Mayor Brandon Johnson at the Logan Center for the Arts on Friday, June 28, 2024.

The landmark three day event, June 28 – 30, showcases Midwest premiere screenings of four films drawn from the Sundance Film Festival’s lineup in January, along with a robust series of panel discussions, master classes, and community programming.

Sundance, originally the brainchild of Robert Redford, began in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1978. In 1981, the festival moved to Park City, Utah, and changed the dates from September to January. The move from late summer to midwinter was done by the executive director Susan Barrell with the cooperation of Hollywood director Sydney Pollack, who suggested that running a film festival in a ski resort during winter would draw more attention from Hollywood. It was called the US Film and Video Festival. [Pollack is now deceased and perhaps visiting snowy Utah in the middle of winter is, too.]

The 44th Sundance Film Festival went virtual for the first time in 2021. In 2020, the year the pandemic struck, the estimated value of Sundance to Utah was said to be $167 million. The festival returned to in-person showings in 2023. I covered 8 films streamed to me from Sundance in 2024.

Currently, Sundance is considering moving to another city in 2027. (Perhaps someone should have mentioned to Sydney Pollack that more people might want to go to a warm weather locale in the middle of winter, perhaps, than those who might want to ski. The growth of SXSW in Austin, Texas, held in March, which I have reviewed since 2017,  is further evidence of the popularity of a less wintery climate in winter-time.

Cities that have expressed interest in hosting Sundance if it moves include Boulder,[35] Atlanta, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Chicago, Buffalo, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The Logan Center pre-screening celebration from 6:30 to 7:30 PM on June 28, featured music, art, cocktails, and photo opportunities. Chicago artist Obi “Obisoulstar” Uwakwe  showcased his art installation, Electriqsoul Hideout Satellite Studio, celebrating Black and Indigenous artists from Chicago and beyond. Enjoy a special performance by D-Composed, a Chicago-based Black chamber music collective highlighting the creativity of Black composers. The celebration was free for all ticket holders

Then came the enjoyable documentary about the life and career achievements of Luther Vandross. (Review to follow).

Photo is of me during the Opening Night reception, with photo opportunities on the Red Carpet.


Luther: Never Too Much chronicles the story of a vocal virtuoso. Using a wealth of rarely seen archives, Vandross tells his own story with assistance from his closest friends and musical collaborators including Mariah Carey, Dionne Warwick, Valerie Simpson and Roberta Flack. The film relives the many stunning moments of Vandross’ Grammy® award-winning musical career, while exploring his personal life, health struggles, and a lifelong battle to earn the respect his music deserved. (Review to follow).