Sundance Moves Online Film Festival Citation Omicron Case Investigation – The Hollywood Reporter

Organizers say the in-person event returning to the Sundance Film Festival has been canceled due to an increase in COVID-19 cases fueled by the omicron variant, with the festival taking place entirely online, organizers said on Wednesday. The news comes 15 days ahead of the festival’s start date of January 20.

“Despite the most ambitious protocols, the Omicron variant with its surprisingly high transmission rates is pushing the limits of health, travel, and other infrastructure across the country. And so, today we announce: the live Utah elements of the Festival will move online this year,” reads the announcement from the Sundance Institute, the nonprofit behind the festival.

The live festival is set to take place in Park City from January 20 to January 30, and has always been planned as a hybrid format, following last year’s completely virtual festival. On December 23, Sundance announced measures to increase COVID-19, including reducing theater capacity and requiring enhanced footage. (Previous requirement was that all in-person attendees had their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.)

Festival programmers are increasingly concerned about the increase in omicrons, which, as one insider noted, is expected to peak in Park City during event days.

Sundance organizers added, “While it is a profound loss to not have had a firsthand experience of Utah, we do not believe that bringing together thousands of artists, audiences, staff, love, Volunteers and partners from all over the world is a loss and a possibility. for an eleven-day festival while overwhelmed communities struggle to provide essential services. “

The online festival will begin January 20, as previously planned, with showtime adjustments currently being made to a virtual-only schedule. Sundance notes that it will be contacting ticket and package holders and ticket purchasers for updates on tickets purchased, adding, “We ask for your patience as we work to make it happen. make the necessary adjustments.” On Tuesday, Sundance posted on its Instagram account that any attendee who purchased tickets in person will be able to redeem tickets for the shows online.

On the eve of the festival, many in Hollywood questioned whether the live event would take place. Some industry participants have begun arranging travel, buying and selling homes and apartments in Park City for easier-to-cancel hotel rooms, which will also allow for personal isolation if someone has a negative result. positive results. Others have begun considering rental cars, if they test positive during the festival and are unable to board a plane back to Los Angeles.

The 2021 iteration of the festival founded by Robert Redford takes place strictly online and sees record sales with the winner of the US Drama Competition CODA and materials geared towards Questlove Summer of the soul.

“We believe in the transformative power of artists and their work,” concludes Wednesday’s announcement from Sundance. “Today, as we navigate all that the pandemic has thrown at us, we are back to what is certain: Gathering together – in whatever way we can – is profound. ”

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