“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,” said the festival curator’s statement.
The festival, taking place from January 20 to January 30, was originally scheduled to follow a hybrid model with an in-person event at the Sundance Mountain Resort and in Park City, Utah, as well as virtual screenings that were introduced during the pandemic in 2021. The institute had also announced a partnership with seven satellite screens and independent arthouse and drive-in theatres across the US to screen the compact lineup of around 80 films. These in-person elements will no longer be part of this year’s fest.
The lineup of films for the 37th edition of the festival were announced in December. The 82-film lineup includes 75 world premieres.
Shaunak Sen’s documentary, All That Breathes, is the only Indian film in the festival this year. The 2021 edition of Sundance included two Indian films, namely Fire in the Mountains and Writing with Fire, both of which were entered in competition. Writing with Fire went on to win the Audience Award and the Special Jury Award (Impact for Change) in the World Cinema Documentary category at the fest. It is currently in the run for Oscars 2022 as well.
The recent spike in Covid-19 cases with the new variant, Omicron, has led to many countries across the world reinstating restrictions to curb the third wave of the pandemic. Many film festivals and award shows have also announced change of plans as a result. The Palm Springs Film Festival, that was scheduled to be held from January 7 to January 17, announced the cancellation of this year’s event. The Critics Choice Awards, originally slated for January 9, has been postponed and a new date is yet to be revealed.