Image

2:56 AM / Saturday January 29, 2022

5 Jan 2022

Sundance cancels in-person film festival due to virus surge

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
January 5, 2022 Category: Coronavirus, Entertainment Posted by:

(Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP, File)

By JAKE COYLE

NEW YORK (AP) — Just two weeks before it was to be held in Park City, Utah, the Sundance Film Festival is canceling its in-person festival and reverting to an entirely virtual edition due to the current coronavirus surge.

Festival organizers announced Wednesday that the festival will start as scheduled on Jan. 20 but will shift online. The festival had been planned as a hybrid, with screenings both in Park City and online. Last year’s Sundance was also held virtually because of the pandemic.

“This was a difficult decision to make,” the festival said in a statement. “As a nonprofit, our Sundance spirit is in making something work against the odds. But 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.”

The cancellation of an in-person Sundance is a huge blow to an independent film industry that has struggled to stay afloat during the pandemic. Last year’s virtual Sundance, where films like “Summer of Soul (or The Revolution Will Not Be Televised)” and “CODA” made a splash, proved that a digital festival can still foster breakout hits. But filmmakers, executives, audiences and journalists had held out hope that Sundance — the premier American film festival and a launchpad for young filmmakers — could again kick off a new movie year with packed premieres in the Utah mountains.

The Sundance Institute, which puts on the festival, held out as long as it could in making the decision. In late December, when the highly infectious omicron variant of COVID-19 was driving cases up nationwide, the festival announced that vaccination boosters would be required for attendees, audience capacity would be slimmed down and no food or drink would be allowed in theaters. That was on top of previous protocols that mandated vaccination proof, masking indoors and other requirements.

But with omicron sending case counts to record highs, organizers ultimately pulled the plug on bringing crowds back to Park City.

Image

“We do not believe it is safe nor feasible to gather thousands of artists, audiences, employees, volunteers, and partners from around the world for an 11-day festival while overwhelmed communities are already struggling to provide essential services,” said the festival.

Sundance, which runs Jan. 20-30, earlier announced a slate of 82 feature-length films selected from more than 3,700 submissions. Kim Yutani, Sundance’s director of programming said at the time that “this year’s program reflects the unsettling and uncertain times we’ve been living in for the past year and a half.”

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Commentary

cj speaks… A poem: Live on Stage…

January 28, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email Moving into the existence of who you are becoming today with so many...

Health

‘Aftershock’ puts human face to maternal health crisis in US

January 28, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Shawnee Benton Gibson, left, and Bruce McIntyre appear in “Aftershock” by...

Color Of Money

Ask HR: How to make the most of the current job market

January 28, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT If you look at the numbers, the past few months have been...

Sun Report

Fur babies rule! How much a lifetime of care costs most pet parents

January 28, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT If you’re one of the more than 90 million American households with...

Food And Beverage

What’s Cookin’? Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

January 28, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email Tweet Share Pin Email Related Posts What’s Cookin’? Vegan Blueberry Coconut Muffins What’s...

Go With The-Flo

Dionne Warwick releases her new single “Power In The Name,” with proceeds going to various charities

January 28, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Dionne Warwick (Photo: Featureflash / Shutterstock) By Flo Anthony Our condolences...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff