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Sundance economic impact $62.7 million says Gov. Herbert at Salt Lake City Gala

Published: Saturday, Jan. 22 2011 12:54 a.m. MST

From left, Actors J.K. Simmons and Lou Taylor Pucci arrive for the world premiere of From left, Actors J.K. Simmons and Lou Taylor Pucci arrive for the world premiere of "The Music Never Stopped" at the Salt Lake City Gala of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival at the Rose Wagner Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, Jan. 21, 2011. (Mike Terry, Deseret News)

As happy as the director and cast of "The Music Never Stopped," and the Grateful Dead were to be at Friday's Sundance Salt Lake City Gala and Screening, nobody seemed happier than Utah Gov. Gary Herbert.

He was on hand to emphasize the point that Utah officially values the "cultural" and "significant financial impact" the festival makes each year. He might not have minded rubbing elbows with Dead guitarist Bob Weir and drummer Mickey Hart but he seemed pretty pleased to report some numbers too.

$62.7 million is the economic impact number that Herbert threw out from a University of Utah study. Add to that $18.5 million worth of Utah media coverage around the world from the 10-day event and its easy to see why Herbert was all smiles. But ultimately, even big, successful numbers can't compete with film.

Sundance's Director of Programming, Utahn Trevor Groth (Brighton High School, University of Utah) introduced the film based on Oliver Sacks' case study of a family divided by the culture clash of the 1960's then forced to face a brain injury to son Gabriel and how music played a part in both situations.

Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert and his wife Jeanette Herbert arrive at the world premiere of Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert and his wife Jeanette Herbert arrive at the world premiere of "The Music Never Stopped" at the Salt Lake City Gala of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival at the Rose Wagner Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, Jan. 21, 2011. (Mike Terry, Deseret News)

Director Jim Kohlberg received a standing ovation after the emotionally charged film that audience members were definitely buzzing about. He also brought out cast members J.K. Simmons, Lou Taylor Pucci, Julia Ormond and Mia Maestro along with Weir and Hart. During the Q&A, the audience made it clear it was delighted the film would be hitting theaters in March and then was clearly less delighted to hear Salt Lake City wasn't among the handful of cities to feature the release. Success in the first wave of release will determine if the film returns to Utah audiences.

Besides Greatful Dead music the film features songs from Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Buffalo Springfield and other contemporaries from that era. Music licensing for any film can be a cost prohibitive challenge but that level of big name music is unheard of for an independent film and in this case is absolutely essential to the story.

Actress Julia Ormond at right, along with from left, actress Cara Seymour and Director Jim Kohlberg arrive prior to the screening of the film, Actress Julia Ormond at right, along with from left, actress Cara Seymour and Director Jim Kohlberg arrive prior to the screening of the film, "The Music Never Stopped" at the traditional Salt Lake City premier of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival at the Rose Wagner Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, Jan. 21, 2011. (Mike Terry, Deseret News)

"I didn't think I would ever be able to make (the film)," Kohlberg said after the screening. "Dylan came aboard and then the Dead and we just went from there."

The film will seemingly earn a PG rating from the MPAA when it is released. For more information about the movie see: themusicneverstopped-movie.com/

e-mail: LC@desnews.com

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