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Jeffrey Ressner/Park City

The recently concluded Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, was a feast for independent-film lovers, but many of the 6,000 or so residents in the tiny ski-resort town were happy to see it end. Some Main Street merchants estimated that sales, outside of hotels and restaurants, dropped about 20% or more last week because skiers steered clear of the fest site. The city is due for a different invasion in 2002, when the Winter Olympics arrive, and Sundance may have to alter its plans radically that year. A festival spokesman says the event could be held a week earlier, but Park City Olympics planner and former police chief FRANK BELL says he’s “skeptical Sundance can operate in any proximity to the Games.” In the meantime negotiations will continue, although the Olympics may push Sundance out of its regular January slot, if not its location. For now, no one is willing to stage a fight. “I don’t think anybody wants to compete with the Olympics,” says Bell–not even ROBERT REDFORD.

–By Jeffrey Ressner/Park City

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