In October, the Sundance Film Festival Twitter account put out a mysterious message that declared “We’re doing things a bit differently for #Sundance 2021, connecting artists and audiences wherever you are. Stay tuned for big news.” Full details on that news have now arrived, which explain the general format and how film fans will be able to tune in from across the United States.
Sundance usually begins in Utah on a Thursday in late January and runs until the next Sunday. A number of public spaces in Park City, including the high school auditorium, local gymnasium, and library, are converted into screening venues. More than 100,000 people travel each year and don winter coats and snow boots to watch movies, hear from filmmakers, party on Main Street, and hit the ski slopes.
Due to the current pandemic, which has seen festivals like Tribeca and Telluride cancelled, Sundance 2021 is being reimagined. The upcoming edition of the festival will run from Thursday, January 28th to Wednesday, February 3rd and be centered on programming for online audiences. Films will premiere as they have previously at the in-person festival in dedicated timeslots to “preserve the energy of a Festival, with an abundance of choices and collective experiences.” The new Satellite Screens programs will bring programming to audiences across the country, with participating theaters announced and specific lineups to be revealed as safety is evaluated. Read more about the plan and local screens in the press release from Sundance.
This will mark the 37th edition of the winter film festival. It was founded in 1984 as a project of Sundance Institute, which was started by Robert Redford. John Cooper was director of the festival beginning in 2009 and was succeeded by Tabitha Jackson at the end of last year’s festival. Potential Oscar contenders from the 2020 edition of Sundance include The Father, Minari, and Promising Young Woman.