Sundance FIlm Festival

Sundance Institute | Photo by Mark Leibowitz

After 10 years at the helm of the Sundance Institute as its chief executive officer, Keri Putnam announced Thursday that she would step down from the position at the end of August.


In a letter addressed to the Sundance community, Putnam wrote she’s decided that this the right time for her to step down. 


Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Park City’s contract with the Sundance Institute enabling the annual Sundance Film Festival runs through 2026. Sundance’s Managing Director Betsy Wallace says that although planning for future in-person festivals have some uncertainties, thanks to COVID-19, the organization is staying in Park City.


Sundance’s modified contract with the city in 2013 provided, among other things, that the event’s schedule would shift so it didn’t conflict with Martin Luther King Day, which is an important period for Park City’s ski hospitality industry.

Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

The organizers of the Sundance Film Festival are proud that they were able to put on a successful online event, and were able to expose new artists and their work to viewers in all 50 U.S. states and in 120 countries.


Betsy Wallace, the CFO and Managing Director of the Sundance Institute, talked to KPCW about the seven-day, Park City-less 2021 edition of the festival. 


Sundance Film Institute's CFO and Managing Director Betsy Wallace talks about the technological changes and challenges for the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.

Wallace provides a recap on how it went overall and what they are planning for the future.

Courtesy of Sundance Institute

The Sundance Institute handed out its awards for the 2021 edition of its film festival on Tuesday, and this time around, there was a clear winner. 


A U.S. Dramatic feature called “CODA,” named after the acronym for “child of deaf adults,” proved to be a smash hit. The film set a Sundance Film Festival record by winning the Audience Award, the top prize for Directing, Best Ensemble Cast, which included Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin, and the Grand Jury Prize.


Sundance Institute

On Thursday night, film-lovers were welcomed to an online Sundance Film Festival for 2021.


During the virtual ceremony, which included a message from Sundance founder Robert Redford, organizers said they are using a new format, but haven’t given up on their core purpose.


Redford delivered a recorded message that took a cosmic perspective on independent film, Sundance and the past year.


Sundance Institute

Organizers of the Sundance Film Festival went virtual Thursday for the press conference opening the 2021 online edition of the festival. 


But they said while the event had to be limited for the COVID-19 pandemic, the spirit and ideals of Sundance haven’t changed.


On Today's Local News Hour

(00:02) - Utah Avalanche Center Report 


(08:42) - Peace House Executive Director Kendra Wyckoff talks about the challenges the Peace House is facing during the pandemic and how its residential units are being used to serve those in need.


( 22:58) - Park City Mayor Andy Beerman has end of the year reflections on 2020, plus a preview of the State of the City and what's next for Vision 2020.


( 36:07) - Sundance Film Festival Programmer Heidi Zwicker talks World Cinema screenings in this year's festival.

On Today's Local News Hour:

(02:42) - Utah Avalanche Center Report 

(04:36) - Utah State Rep. Mike Kohler from District 54 has an update on this year's legislative session.

(21:52) - Snyderville Basin Planning Commission Chairman Ryan Dickey has details from Tuesday's meeting.

(38:07) - Sundance Film Festival Director of Strategic Initiatives and Senior Programmer John Nein gives the lowdown on the talks and events that are free and open to the public at

On today's Local News Hour

(00:06 - Nikki Champion has today’s Utah Avalanche Forecast Center report.

(02:41) - Summit County Manager Tom Fisher discusses the agenda for Wednesday's county council meeting.

(20:05) - Summit County Clubhouse Ex. Director Amber Mackay has details about the new clubhouse and how they're managing during the pandemic.

(38:03) - Sundance Film Festival Senior Shorts Programmer Mike Plante talks about the 50 short films that are playing at this year’s virtual festival.


With an in-person Sundance Film Festival absent from Park City due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, local businesses are bracing for a January that could see some sectors take a 50% hit in sales compared to a pre-COVID year.


January is usually all about Sundance in Park City. The movies, the celebrities, and the crowds. Unfortunately, there won’t be any of that this year thanks to COVID-19.


Sundance Institute

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.

Sundance Cancels In-Person Screening At The Ray Theater

Dec 31, 2020
KPCW-Sundance Film Festival

Sundance is canceling the only live screening venue in Park City for the 2021 film festival.

The 2021 Sundance Film Festival will run from January 28 to February 3. Virtual, online film screenings will be held throughout the 7-day period. However, there will be no live screening events in Park City. Sundance organizers announced the cancellation for health and safety reasons when COVID-19 is spiking with case counts reaching dangerous levels.

Courtesy of Sundance Institute

The Sundance Institute has unveiled its line-up for the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, modified to be a largely online event in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Passes and tickets for the festival go on sale on Jan. 7, and it takes place from Jan. 28 through Feb. 3.


There will also be some in-person events on “Satellite Screens” throughout the country, public health conditions permitting. One of those satellite locations will be the Ray theater in Park City.



Sundance Film Festival 2021 will be shorter this year due the pandemic. The festival normally runs for 11 days, but this year they’ve cut down the number of days to seven, running from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3.

In those seven days, they plan to squeeze in 70 feature films and 50 shorts, which is down from the 118 titles they screened last year.

Besty Wallace is the Sundance Institute Managing Director and CFO. She said the lineup of films will be released soon.