Sundance Film Festival cancels in-person festivities for the second year in a row

Photo via Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival suspended its plans for an in-person festival in Utah, making it the latest casualty of the COVID-19 Pandemic’s largest surge in cases yet.

With the Omicron and Delta variants of the coronavirus infecting Americans at record rates, Sundance released a statement today indicating the 2022 festival will go on in an online, remote format.

“The Festival’s in-person Utah elements will be moving online this year,” read the statement. “…The undue stress to Summit County’s health services and our more than 1,500 staff and volunteers would be irresponsible in this climate,” the statement goes on, “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 move comes in the wake of several other industry events postponing festivities or canceling them altogether, including the Critics Choice Awards, the Palm Springs Film Festival, the premiere for the new Disney+ series, The Book of Boba Fett, and the Grammy Awards earlier today.

According to the New York times, there were over 547,000 new cases and over 1,300 deaths from COVID on Jan. 4.

Given the state of the Pandemic, the cancellation of an in-person Sundance Film Festival, which attracts nearly 15,000 filmgoers each year, was all but inevitable. Prior to the announcement, Sundance was already planning to tighten pandemic-related restrictions with limits on screening capacity and concessions, as well as masking and booster requirements for attendees.