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Right-wing group protests Utah support of Sundance

Published January 14, 2013 10:52 am

Statement • Sutherland Institute says some festival films are obscene and pornographic.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A right-wing Utah policy group argues the state of Utah should stop supporting the Sundance Film Festival, because the internationally acclaimed event shows "films that are obscene and contrary to [Utah taxpayers'] values."

"Given the amount of sexual promiscuity that Sundance Film Festival regularly brings to Utah, it seems similarly indecent that Utah's major economic development agencies basically endorsed the event," writes Derek Monson, of The Sutherland Institute, in a blog entry posted Friday.

The Sutherland statement decries the sexual content of some of this year's Sundance titles, which Monson labeled "obscenity" and "pornography." He mentioned (without naming their titles) "Lovelace," a biography of "Deep Throat" star Linda Lovelace, and "Two Mothers," a drama in which two women each begin affairs with the other's adult sons.

"For the sake of public decency and encouraging a free, moral society, the state of Utah should end its 'complex relationship' with the Sundance Film Festival," Monson writes, concluding, "Some things are more important than money."

Sundance, the nation's most prestigious film festival, will begin its 11-day run Thursday. It will screen 119 feature films and 65 shorts in Park City and at venues in Salt Lake City, Ogden and the Sundance resort.

According to a study written last May by the University of Utah, last year's Sundance Film Festival generated $80.3 million in economic impact to the state and attracted 31,121 out-of-state visitors.

Three state agencies — the Utah Film Commission, the Utah Office of Tourism and the Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development — are listed as "Festival Host State" support in Sundance's film guide and other literature.

Officials for the Sundance Institute and the Utah Film Commission did not return calls for comment by deadline Friday evening.

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