Gathering together at the start of each year in Utah is part of the fiber of the Sundance Film Festival. Because of the pandemic, we formed a new plan this year: an adaptation of the Festival to an online platform where our local Utah audiences, as well as those who would have traveled to Utah, can gather safely in their respective homes to participate in the Festival. The safety and well-being of our audiences, community and staff is the most important thing to us. In consideration of the overall public health situation in Utah – a month out from the Festival – we will be pivoting our planned indoor theater screenings at The Ray to our online platform. We have made case-by-case health and safety evaluations in our other Satellite Screen locations as well; audiences in markets where in-person gathering is inadvisable will also be joining us online.
Festivalgoers online can screen work across the entire program and take part in premiere screenings followed by a live Q&A with the artists and filmmakers. You can also wander through our online Festival Village launching January 7, and be a part of all the activities that used to be available only to credential holders.
While we will deeply miss gathering in-person in Utah this year, our online format provides a new way for us to serve the Utah Community with our programming, upholds our commitment to our local community, and even expands opportunities for participation across the state. Some of the new ways we hope Utahns will engage with and enjoy the Festival this year are:
- Joining us for a free Utah residents screening of the feature film Life in a Day 2020.
- Sundance Film Festival will be distributing free and discounted tickets and passes for 18- to 25-year-olds through Utah colleges and universities, as well as through more than 200 local community organizations around the state.
- New this year, we are expanding access for high school teachers across the state to screen a Festival film for their students. Whether students are at school in-person or learning from home, teachers will be offered the opportunity to show a feature film to their students via our online platform and interact with the director and film team members in a live Q&A following the film.
- Additionally, high school students across the state can participate in The Art of the Short, a collection of 9 short films from the Festival lineup.
- Continuing our longstanding partnership with Utah Film Center, who are presenting online-only programming for our youngest audiences at Tumbleweeds Films for Kids in Festival Village.
- As previously announced, Salt Lake Film Society is a Satellite Screen, hosting an online-only program of talks and events featuring Utah artists and organizations.
The way we gather will be different but we will still gather with those in Utah, those who planned to travel to Park City, and even wider audiences now, to celebrate vital storytelling and meet artists and their new work.