The show will go on for the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, with the one-week event scheduled to begin on 1/28/2021. This year’s format will be significantly altered from the traditional gathering in Park City, Utah, with most screenings and press events taking place virtually. Only one venue, the Ray Theatre, will hold in-person screenings while following strict safety protocols. A live awards ceremony is also being planned, though details have yet to be finalized.
In addition to online screenings, a network of “satellite screens” made up of participating Art Houses and Drive-Ins will also simulcast a curated subset of this year’s premieres. The format of Sundance 2021 could allow a much larger audience to experience the festival buzz while avoiding the health risks and cost of travel to Park City.
Festival Director Tabitha Jackson remarked that an objective was to breathe some life back into independent cinemas, which have been one of the primary commercial outlets for Sundance titles. Jackson said, “We’ll see what works for us, the industry, and the artists. I wouldn’t want this [coming year’s] festival to be seen as a blueprint for the future, but it’s being responsive to the moment and allowing us to learn what we want the future to be.”