CORONAVIRUS UTAH

Sundance Film Festival cancels in-person events as Utah sets COVID case count record

Jan 5, 2022, 1:26 PM | Updated: Jan 6, 2022, 1:04 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The Sundance Film Festival announced all in-person events for this year’s festival will be moved online as Utah sees a surge in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant.

Festival officials made the announcement Wednesday as Utah saw a record 7,247 new COVID-19 cases and the Utah Department of Health reported 44 additional deaths.

“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,” festival officials said.

Festival officials said their audience can still enjoy “bold new films and XR work, the discovery of new storytellers, direct encounters with artists and an innovative globally accessible social platform and gallery space” this year via online events.

The festival will still begin on Jan. 20 and screening schedules will be adjusted to create the online-only lineup. Officials said they will be in contact with pass and package holders with an update on previously-purchased tickets.

Single tickets will now go on sale on Jan. 13 (Jan. 12 for the membership pre-sale) at 10 a.m. MT.

“This was a difficult decision to make,” officials said. “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.”

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Sundance Film Festival cancels in-person events as Utah sets COVID case count record