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The 2020 Sundance Film Festival runs from Jan. 23 - Feb.2, in Park City, Utah

Sundance and other Park City Festivals news, past and future.   #sundance @sundancefest


A Message from the Sundance Festival Director Tabitha Jackson

Sundance Film Festival 2021: See what we're planning

Although this planning had started as a response to an economic downturn and global health crisis, it became an opportunity for creative and expansive thinking.

So enough of the conceptual stuff — what might this look like on the ground? Seven months out, we are actively planning for the following public health scenario: We are allowed to gather, but there is no widely available COVID-19 vaccine. With the knowledge that as of now socially distanced gatherings are permitted in Utah and other states, but travel is greatly reduced — and large events, shuttle buses, and crowded waitlist tents cannot be supported, which may limit the number of theaters we use during the Festival in Utah.

We hope for better news about the pandemic by January 2021, but we also must plan for the greatest challenges. We have discovered that the planning is in fact an invitation to think differently about the form of the Festival.

The 2021 Sundance Film Festival will be a grand partnership of communities. It will take place live in Utah and in at least 20 independent and community cinemas across the U.S. and beyond. Utah has been the home of the Festival for close to 40 years and always will be, but the 2021 Festival will extend beyond Utah and will be co-created by and for different communities in different locations, preserving what is magical about experiencing films on the big screen with others — even if at a smaller and socially distanced scale.

At the center of all our planning, the 2021 Sundance Film Festival will have an online home, making the festival accessible in a way it never has been before. Audiences will have the opportunity to view the curated program and take part in discussions and special live events online via a brand-new platform. This will be the nucleus of the Festival, a showcase for a world of new work, and home to a global community of festivalgoers who will encounter the art, the artists, and each other. A one-stop point of access, designed to create a participatory experience which brings all the elements and locations of the Festival together. It will center our values of engagement, inclusion, and entertainment, and connect artists with the first audiences as their work meets the world. All this in a way that captures the energy and excitement that has long defined the Sundance Film Festival.

As every day currently feels like a week, and every month like a year, we cannot know what the world will look like in January 2021. But as we plan this scenario, we are building in flexibility, including considering a different start date (January 28) to provide some room between the U.S. presidential inauguration and the start of the Festival.

The success of this idea, indeed its very heartbeat, depends upon collaboration — between us and key players in this delicate ecology of independent cinema. Rest assured that even amid the excitement of experimentation, if our approach doesn’t work for the artist, it doesn’t work for us. Our model intentionally allows us to dial up or dial down the live gatherings (especially in our Utah home) and Festival length as conditions dictate. The structure as we are currently conceiving it will remain intact — a Festival that for this year is live and digital and is co-created with partners. A Festival that will serve our communities where they want to be, given conditions of pandemic and economy. A Festival that is more than the sum of its parts, but whose parts are all driven by values and the opportunity to think a different thought.

<p "="">We will be cheering on and learning from our colleagues putting on festivals in the fall and once again recognizing how fortunate we were to be able to have our 2020 edition, and now have some time to think about 2021. We look forward to exchanging ideas and improving on the specifics over the coming months. Together we can thoughtfully build this special edition of the Sundance Film Festival, perhaps breaking some “rules” as we go.

We are reminded daily of the power of what is made newly visible to us, the importance of what we look at. My hope for this edition of the Sundance Film Festival is that through a multiplicity of perspectives held by artists and audiences in their various communities we will also come to feel the power of where we look from.




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Ambiance from Park City Sundance film Festival January 19-29, 2012.

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