A timeline of Sundance and Park City, as 2021 forces a temporary split after 40 years

The festival and the ski town have been intertwined since 1981.

The film festival that became the Sundance Film Festival didn’t start out in Park City. But Park City has been its home since before there was a Sundance Institute. Here’s a timeline:

1978 • The Utah/U.S. Film Festival started in September 1978 at Salt Lake City’s Trolley Corners. Though mostly focused on classic films, it included an eight-movie independent-film section.

(Rick Egan | Tribune file photo) Sydney Pollack in a 1998 photo from the Sundance Film Festival in Park City.

1980 • The late Sydney Pollack — a friend of Robert Redford, who directed Redford in “Jeremiah Johnson,” “The Way We Were,” “Out of Africa” and other films — suggested the festival move to Park City. “You’d be the only film festival in the world held in a ski resort during ski season, and Hollywood would beat down the door to attend,” Pollack told organizers, according to early programmer Lory Smith, in his 1999 book, “Party in a Box.”

1981 • The festival relaunched in Park City in January 1981, and Redford founded the nonprofit Sundance Institute later that year.

1985 • The institute took over operations of the U.S. Film Festival. All the screenings were in two theaters: The Egyptian and the Holiday Village Cinemas.

1987 • A third theater was added, at Prospector Square.

1991 • The name Sundance Film Festival became official.

1995 • The renovated Jim Santy Auditorium at Park City Library Center became the festival’s fourth venue.

1997 • The festival’s fifth theater opened, in the Yarrow Hotel (now the Doubletree).

(Danny Chan La | Tribune file photo) People line up in front of the Phillips Lounge Saturday night on Main Street during the 2006 Sundance Film Festival in Park City.

1998 • Park City’s largest venue, the 1,300-seat Eccles Center Theatre, showed festival movies for the first time, starting with the Gwyneth Paltrow film “Sliding Doors.”

2004 • The festival’s opening night gala, for years a Salt Lake City event, moved to Park City — with a screening of the surfing documentary “Riding Giants.”

(Chris Detrick |Tribune file photo) Festivalgoers take a picture next to a Banksy artwork during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City Friday, Jan. 21, 2011.

2010 • The elusive British street artist Banksy debuted his first movie, “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” at Sundance. He tagged an outbuilding near Park City’s McPolin Barn and painted three of his trademark stencils in the Main Street area. The Main Street art is preserved, making Park City a global art-tourist destination.

2017 • Park City saw its biggest traffic jam ever, caused by some 8,000 protesters taking part in the March for Women rally during the festival, the day after President Donald Trump was inaugurated.

(Arthur Mola | Invision/AP) Actresses Chelsea Handler and Charlize Theron participate in the "Women's March On Main" during the 2017 Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, in Park City.

2020 • The festival drew an estimated 116,800 attendees to screenings and events in Park City, Salt Lake City and at the Sundance Resort. Utahns and visitors from other states spent an estimated $150 million, according to Salt Lake City research firm Y2 Analytics.

2021: For the first time in four decades, the festival will not be held in Park City — forced online and onto screens in 20 other cities by the coronavirus pandemic.