Tourists make most of Sundance Film Festival online

Jan 22, 2022, 10:39 PM

PARK CITY, Utah — The Sundance Film Festival was going to make its grand in-person return this weekend, but unfortunately, that’s not happening because of the spike in COVID-19 cases.

The change is having some impacts on hospitality, but Park City is still buzzing.

“I was extremely excited. I knew I wanted to come,” said Natalie Justice, who’s visiting from Alabama. “And then, it was very disappointing to get the email, especially so last minute — after everything was planned, all the excitement kicked in. Very disappointing, but I’m glad that they’ve been able to do all of the online screenings.”

The iconic film festival draws in thousands of people during the bustling ski season in Park City.

Despite the switch to online, restaurants and stores told KSL TV that they’ve still been busy, but hotels suffered hundreds of cancellations. Also, private parties were canceled, impacting the catering and service industry.

“We made all of our arrangements. We were so excited that it was gonna happen, and then it didn’t happen, and we’re like well, we’re just going anyway,” Lori Sobel said.

Sobel, who came from Florida, said their Sundance stargazing trip turned into a ski trip.

“I miss the in-person element of the film screenings and hearing the audience react and see a scene and hearing what everyone thinks of the movie,” Justice said. 

Justice decided to make the trip still, just to simply see Utah.

“I think it’s beautiful,” she said. “The mountains are incredible.”

Even though you can’t see Sundance movies at the theatres, or the celebrities, everyone still seems to be enjoying Park City.

“We already know where we’re going to book our place,” Sobel said.

If you’re interested in watching the movies, they will be playing through Jan. 26. You can find out more by visiting Sundance’s website.

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Tourists make most of Sundance Film Festival online