Sundance cancels in-person 2022 festival due to rising COVID cases, pivots to online event
On Wednesday, the festival organizers announced the switch from a hybrid to a fully virtual event. "While it is a deep loss to not have the in-person experience in Utah, we do not believe it is safe nor feasible to gather thousands of artists, audiences, employees, volunteers, and partners from around the world, for an eleven-day festival while overwhelmed communities are already struggling to provide essential services," reps for Sundance said in a statement.
While organizers had hoped to host both in-person as well as virtual events this year, the recent spike of the Omicron variant became too much of a hazard to continue.
"This was a difficult decision to make. As a nonprofit, our Sundance spirit is in making something work against the odds. But with case numbers forecasted to peak in our host community the week of the festival, we cannot knowingly put our staff and community at risk. The undue stress to Summit County's health services and our more than 1,500 staff and volunteers would be irresponsible in this climate. It has become increasingly clear over the last few days that this is the right decision to make for the care and well-being of all of our community," the statement said.
Sundance Film Festival will still kick off on Thursday, Jan. 20 as planned, and will continue online for 11 days. Festival organizers will be in touch with all pass and package holders and ticket purchasers with an update on already purchased tickets.
Last year, Sundance's in-person festival events were also canceled due to COVID. The last time the film festival happened in person was in January 2020 before the pandemic began.