As the Omicron variant threatens the return to normalcy, the Sundance Institute has announced that it has shifted this year’s in-person film festival to a virtual event.
In a new statement released on the film festival’s official website, it was revealed that the Sundance Film Festival won’t be returning to its physical gathering in Park City, Utah, due to the new COVID-19 variant.
The festival schedule will have slight adjustments but will begin on Thursday, January 20, 2022, as planned. The eleven-day event will screen as per the new schedule, and the festival’s satellite partners will host screenings for their local communities from January 28-30.
We have been looking forward to our first fully hybrid Sundance Film Festival, and our teams have spent a year planning a festival like no other. But despite the most ambitious protocols, the Omicron variant with its unexpectedly high transmissibility rates is pushing the limits of health safety, travel, and other infrastructures across the country. And so, today we’re announcing: the Festival’s in-person Utah elements will be moving online this year.
Although there were strict guidelines in place, including requiring booster shots, negative test results, banning food and drink at screenings, the risk was still estimated to be too high for such an event.
The statement further promises the audience would still be able to “experience the magic and energy” of new films and “XR” extended reality programming, interviews and conversation, talent talks, and events online.
As an institution that prides itself on having introduced films like Hereditary, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, Whiplash, Little Miss Sunshine, Napoleon Dynamite, and Reservoir Dogs to audiences worldwide, the statement added that this was a difficult but necessary choice.
With case numbers forecasted to peak in our host community the week of the festival, we cannot knowingly put our staff and community at risk. The undue stress to Summit County’s health services and our more than 1,500 staff and volunteers would be irresponsible in this climate.
As Sundance prepares for yet another year of a virtual festival, single tickets will be available for purchase on January 13 at 10 a.m. MT.
However, Sundance isn’t the only major event facing hindrances due to the pandemic. So far, The Palm Springs International Film Festival has canceled its entire event for 2022. Whereas the Grammys and Critics’ Choice Awards have been postponed indefinitely.
Although Spider-Man: No Way Home’s box-office success gave hopes that audiences were willing to return to the theatres, handling such big events with thousands of people present is much more trickier.
Source: Sundance Film Festival