Ticket sales started Thursday for a 2021 Sundance Film Festival which will be shorter, and will take place entirely on-line in Utah.
The event is running from Thursday, January 28th to Wednesday, Feb. 3rd.
Due to Covid concerns, Sundance organizers dropped the Ray in Park City as an in-person satellite venue, and won’t have any other live locations on the Wasatch Front.
However, Institute Managing Director and CFO Betsy Wallace said that even online, Sundance is pursuing its goals of finding talented film-makers and presenting their work to Utah and the world.
She said that on the 28th at 6 p.m., Mountain Time, the festival will open with “Coda” a dramatic feature about a youth who is the only hearing person in her family. (The title is short for “Child of Deaf Adults.”)
Wallace said they will host premieres through the weekend, and also on the following Monday and Tuesday. There are on-demand films that don’t have to be seen at a specific time.
Their Award ceremony will be held on Tuesday, Feb 2nd, and Wednesday they will screen the award winners.
She said that the Sundance films will be able to get a larger audience than normal, since they’re not confined to physical buildings. But the audience for them isn’t unlimited.
“It is definitely a little more expansive, but we still have caps. And the caps allow us to have more people to watch films, but the caps are set by film and they’re set by the filmmakers, or whoever owns the rights to those films, and right now, it’s usually the filmmakers. So we have to live and abide by those. Those are what set the amount of tickets available. But I remind people that as you see something on-line, many times it’s just not yourself watching these films. It might be your family or your kids, or however you’re gonna celebrate Sundance in a very safe fashion.”
Working with some local resources, Wallace said the Utah Film Center will help with online programs for kids. The Salt Lake Film Society will present talks and events with Utah artists. They are planning a free screening of the documentary “Life in a Day”. And Festival Director-Emeritus John Cooper might even be conducting interviews from Park City’s Main Street.
Wallace said attendees should go online as soon as they can, at “festival.sundance.org” to set up an account. She noted some of the tickets available.
“Individual screen tickets. We have new product for passes, so we have a full Festival pass, and we have a one-day pass. And those passes allow you to go online, reserve a ticket for a premiere should you wish, or if you wanna wait for them to come in to the on-demand windows, which really start for public on Saturday, that you have the ability to see them at your own leisure, vs. a premiere which has a slotted time.”
Sundance organizers originally set up over 30 satellite in-person locations around the country. Wallace said that on a case-by-case basis, they’re working with local governments to review the Covid situations in each spot.
“It’s interesting. Most of the satellite screens in the South are gonna be in drive-ins. So as long as drive-ins are open, and people want to go, that’s one route. As you get farther north, and you get colder and colder, to Park City, that becomes a little bit more difficult.”
In the meantime, Wallace said they’re looking forward hopefully to next year.
“We’re looking for 2022, and hoping that we can get everybody healthy and everybody who wants to be vaccinated, vaccinated and we can kick this Covid you-know-where, and really be able to come back together.”
Sundance Institute Managing Director Betsy Wallace.