12/08/2022

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Sundance Film Festival Has Directly Canceled Due to Omicron

The Sundance Film Festival has been canceled in-person for the second year in a row, organizers said Wednesday.

Sundance, a high-profile independent fest that kicks off the year in movies, was due to take place in Park City, Utah, from Jan. 20 to 30.

While it will still go in a different form online, just as it did in 2021, this year’s large-scale gathering has been axed due to concerns over the Omicron variant.

“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,” Sundance representatives said in a statement.

Though the festival had taken many precautions such as reducing screening capacity to 60%, mandating masks and booster shots and requiring testing throughout the 11 days, growing COVID cases in the United States made it unfeasible to host, they said.

It joins the Palm Springs International Film Festival, the Grammy Awards and the Critics Choice Awards in either canceling or postponing big comebacks.

The 40th edition of Sundance will still be viewable on its special streaming platform and feature films by high-profile names, such as Lena Dunham and Jesse Eisenberg and a four-hour documentary about Kanye West.

Only instead of getting an ovation on a stage, the stars will likely be filming Zoom “thank you”s from their homes. Again.

Sundance Film Festival cancels in-person events due to Omicron

FILE – The marquee of the Egyptian Theatre appears during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah on Jan. 28, 2020. The Sundance Film Festival is cancelling its in-person festival and reverting to an entirely virtual edition due to the current coronavirus surge. Festival organizers announced Wednesday, Jan 5, 2022, that the festival will start as scheduled on Jan. 20, but will shift online. Last year’s Sundance was also held virtually because of the pandemic. (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP, File)
(CNN)The Sundance Film Festival, scheduled as a hybrid of both virtual and in-person screening events in Park City, Utah later this month, has moved the entire event online, citing Covid-19 concerns.

“We have been looking forward to our first fully hybrid Sundance Film Festival and our teams have spent a year planning a festival like no other. But despite the most ambitious protocols, the Omicron variant with its unexpectedly high transmissibility rates is pushing the limits of health safety, travel and other infrastructures across the country. And so, today we’re announcing: the Festival’s in-person Utah elements will be moving online this year,” organizers announced Wednesday.
The annual event, the largest independent film festival in the United States, is schedule to run form Thursday, Jan. 20 – Sunday, Jan. 30. Last year’s festival took place entirely online due the pandemic.
“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,” the festival added in its statement.
The Festival is a program of the non-profit Sundance Institute, a non-profit organization that seeks to advance the work of independent storytellers in film and theatre. “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” “Fruitville Station” and “Little Miss Sunshine” are just some of the films from recent years to have first gained exposure at the festival and gone on to widespread success.
CNN’s Javi Morgado contributed to this story.

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