Film ratings

Sundance cancels in-person program and film festival goes virtual

The Sundance Film Festival has abandoned plans for an in-person rally for 2022 and will continue as a virtual-only event.

After a long nail bite, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 proved too overwhelming for a planned physical return to the luxurious Sundance setting in Park City, Utah. It was scheduled to take place from January 20 to 30 and offer a virtual component for those who could not attend in person.

“Despite the most ambitious protocols, the Omicron variant with its surprisingly high rates of transmissibility pushes the boundaries of health security, travel and other infrastructure across the country,” organizers said in a statement. “Elements of the in-person festival in Utah will go live this year. While we are disappointed that we did not deliver the full hybrid experience and meet in person as planned, audiences this year will still experience the magic and energy of our festival.

The Sundance Institute added how difficult the decision was given that “as a nonprofit, our Sundance spirit is to make something work against the odds. But with the number of cases expected to peak in our host community during festival week, we cannot knowingly put our staff and community at risk. The undue stress on Summit County Health Services and our more than 1,500 staff and volunteers would be irresponsible in this climate. “

New movies, extended reality (“XR”) programming, artist conversations and more content will all be accessible through virtual portals, they added. Sundance had planned to institute COVID safety measures such as the requirement for booster doses as well as negative test results, as well as a ban on food and drink during screenings.

Organizers were hoping Sundance could do it in person, given that domestic theaters have yet to close following the new variant – and in fact, Sony’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home” continues to lead audiences. at the cineplex to record the figures of the pandemic.

Sundance, of course, is not just a series of Spartan film screenings. Roundtables, filmmaker dinners, nightly after-parties and hospitality lounges attract all creative and industrial players during the 10-day event. Other notable events recently pulled from the calendar include the Grammy Awards, the Palm Springs International Film Festival, the Film Academy’s annual Governors Awards, and the scheduled broadcast of the Critics Choice Awards.

Sundance hosted a virtual edition in 2021 and offered selected physical screenings to US markets