ALL NEWS

Sundance Film Festival moves entirely online due to rising COVID cases

Jan 5, 2022, 1:45 PM | Updated: 5:23 pm
Sundance online...
Sundance Film festival cancels all in-person events and moves entirely online. Photo: Lee Benson / Deseret News

PARK CITY, Utah — Sundance just announced plans to cancel all in-person events for the 2022 film festival. Although, this year was meant to be an in-person and online hybrid, organizers have concerns about surging COVID-19 numbers. 

Just a few weeks away from the festival, organizers announced the change in an update. The 2022 Sundance Film Festival will be exclusively online. 

Festival organizers explained that despite adopting the most ambitious protocols, the unexpectedly high transmission rates of the omicron variant pose a serious threat to health safety in travel and in-person events.

Omicron drives Sundance Film Festival online

The announcement came just after the Utah Department of Health announced the state’s highest daily COVID-19 case count to date. With omicron surging, Sundance said it’s not safe or feasible to gather thousands of artists, employees, volunteers and more from around the world for the 11-day event.

Sundance Institute CEO Joana Vicente and Festival Director Tabitha Jackson issued a joint statement that reads, in part, “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.” 

In the update they wrote, “as a nonprofit, our Sundance spirit is in making something work against the odds.”  However, organizers expressed they cannot knowingly put their staff and community at risk.

Other organizations are saddened, but support the decision

Organizations that work closely with Sundance organizers say they applaud the decision, although there is something special about being at the festival, in person. 

Park City Film Commission Director Katherine Wang says, “I applaud their decision.  I know it was an incredibly hard decision for them to have made.”

Wang says vendors and volunteers had growing doubts that the in-person events would be allowed to continue as they watched Omicron variant cases continue to rise.

“It just became increasingly clear that that was not going to be possible to the rest of us.  I think Sundance had to make that hard decision,” she says.  “Absolutely, festivals will come back when it’s safe and we’re safely ale to do that.”

Wang has high praise for Sundance’s 2021 festival, which was also strictly online.  She says access to the events was, in a way, better than it is in an in-person setting.

“If you missed a Q&A, which often happens in a live festival if you have to run off to another film, you could go back and watch the Q&A at a later time,” Wang says.

 

Other Stories:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

A bill that could make its way to the Utah legislature in the 2023 session would require school dis...
Mark Jones

Potential redesign of new Utah State Flag emphasizes Native American tribes

Sen. Dan McCay (R-Riverton) is sponsoring a bill that would call for a slight redesign of the new Utah State Flag.
24 hours ago
New Utah State Correctional Facility fails to give appropriate medication to inmates....
Mark Jones

Correctional officer assaulted at Utah State Correctional Facility

The Utah Department of Corrections says a correctional officer was assaulted Monday inside the Antelope Housing Unit at the Utah State Correctional Facility. The officer was hospitalized, but later released.
24 hours ago
As temperatures in the state plummet far below zero, advocates with Unsheltered Utah built an unsan...
Devin Oldroyd

Unsheltered Utah opens warming tent for unhoused people to escape frigid temperatures

As temperatures in the state plummet far below zero, advocates with Unsheltered Utah built an unsanctioned makeshift warming tent Monday.
24 hours ago
snow shovel driveway dialysis...
Mark Jones

Cold weather causes late start for Logan City School District Wednesday

The Logan City School District and the Cache County School District will be on two-hour late starts on Wednesday, Feb. 1.
24 hours ago
A pair of bills in the Utah Legislature address if and how Utah teens could use social media. One w...
Lindsay Aerts

Bill would require parental permission for Utah teens to use social media

Two bills circulating at the 2023 Utah Legislative Session involve social media, parents, and their teens. A group of tech CEOs opposes one.
24 hours ago
Centerville Police department...
Elizabeth Weiler

Centerville Police restate “guardian over warrior” mantra

"Our role in Centerville and in policing in general ... is as a Guardian instead of the Warrior" Sgt. Dingman said. "The relationships we build with the community and how they are treated by our officers is still a priority."
24 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Sundance Film Festival moves entirely online due to rising COVID cases