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Sundance cancels in-person events amid COVID surge, shifts online

The Sundance Institute has announced that the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, which had been planned as a hybrid event, will instead shift fully online. Organizers specifically cited the Omicron variant as ...
January 5, 2022

The Sundance Institute has announced that the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, which had been planned as a hybrid event, will instead shift fully online.

Organizers specifically cited the Omicron variant as the reason for the change, just weeks after announcing updated health and safety protocols, including requiring vaccine boosters for in-person attendees.

The Festival will begin as planned on January 20, with 11 days of online programming and adjustments to the screening schedule to account for the new online-only format. Organizers will be in touch with pass and package holders as well as ticket purchasers to provide updates on tickets that have already been purchased.

“Our partner community will also be adding a vibrant dimension to the festival with a rich mix of conversation, talent talks and events,” the Sundance Institute’s CEO, Joana Vicente, and festival director Tabitha Jackson said in a joint statement.

“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 11-day festival while overwhelmed communities are already struggling to provide essential services.

“This was a difficult decision to make,” they added. “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.”

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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