Citing concerns about the Omicron variant with its unexpectedly high transmissibility rates and the limits of health safety, travel, and other infrastructures across the country the organizers of the Sundance Film Festival have announced that the festival’s in-person Utah elements will be moving online this year.
The statement, which was signed jointly by Joana Vicente, CEO, Sundance Institute and Tabitha Jackson, festival director, Sundance Film Festival, continued: While it is a deep loss to not have the in-person experience in Utah, 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 eleven-day festival while overwhelmed communities are already struggling to provide essential services.
“This was a difficult decision to make. 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. It has become increasingly clear over the last few days that this is the right decision to make for the care and well-being of all of our community.
“The festival is important not only to the artists and audiences who gather each year, but also as the most essential fundraiser for underwriting the Institute’s year-round artist support work. We are thrilled to be able to convene the 2022 edition of the Sundance Film Festival online, building on the success of last year. In addition to reaching global audiences, we forged a path for immersive online experiences that we are building on in 2022. And while we will be proud to again deliver an incredible digital experience of the 2022 festival, our belief in the unique power of gathering in person as an independent storytelling community remains.”
The festival will run from January 20-30. as planned. The eleven days of online programming will proceed, with screening schedule adjustments to account for an online only schedule. The festival’s seven satellite partners will host screenings for their local communities from January 28-30.