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Sundance’s in-person movie pageant canceled as a result of COVID-19 surge

Sundance’s in-person movie pageant canceled as a result of COVID-19 surge

Final 12 months’s Sundance was held nearly due to the pandemic. The cancellation of an in-person pageant is a big blow to the impartial movie business.

Simply two weeks earlier than it was to be held in Park Metropolis, Utah, the Sundance Movie Competition is canceling its in-person pageant and reverting to a completely digital version because of the present coronavirus surge. 

Competition organizers introduced Wednesday that the pageant will begin as scheduled on Jan. 20 however will shift on-line. The pageant had been deliberate as a hybrid, with screenings each in Park Metropolis and on-line. Final 12 months’s Sundance was additionally held nearly due to the pandemic.

“This was a troublesome determination to make,” the pageant mentioned in a press release. “As a nonprofit, our Sundance spirit is in making one thing work towards the percentages. However with case numbers forecasted to peak in our host neighborhood the week of the pageant we can’t knowingly put our employees and neighborhood in danger. The undue stress to Summit County’s well being providers and our greater than 1,500 employees and volunteers can be irresponsible on this local weather.”

The cancellation of an in-person Sundance is a big blow to an impartial movie business that has struggled to remain afloat throughout the pandemic. Final 12 months’s digital Sundance, the place movies like “Summer time of Soul (or The Revolution Will Not Be Televised)” and “CODA” made a splash, proved {that a} digital pageant can nonetheless foster breakout hits. However filmmakers, executives, audiences and journalists had held out hope that Sundance — the premier American movie pageant and a launchpad for younger filmmakers — may once more kick off a brand new film 12 months with packed premieres within the Utah mountains. 

The Sundance Institute, which places on the pageant, held out so long as it may in making the choice. In late December, when the extremely infectious omicron variant of COVID-19 was driving instances up nationwide, the pageant introduced that vaccination boosters can be required for attendees, viewers capability can be slimmed down and no meals or drink can be allowed in theaters. That was on prime of earlier protocols that mandated vaccination proof, masking indoors and different necessities. 

However with omicron sending case counts to report highs, organizers in the end pulled the plug on bringing crowds again to Park Metropolis. 

“We don’t imagine it’s protected nor possible to assemble 1000’s of artists, audiences, workers, volunteers, and companions from world wide for an 11-day pageant whereas overwhelmed communities are already struggling to offer important providers,” mentioned the pageant. 

Sundance, which runs Jan. 20-30, earlier introduced a slate of 82 feature-length movies chosen from greater than 3,700 submissions. Kim Yutani, Sundance’s director of programming mentioned on the time that “this 12 months’s program displays the unsettling and unsure occasions we have been residing in for the previous 12 months and a half.”

Observe AP Movie Author Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

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