Sundance FIlm 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.

Sundance Institute


The Sundance Institute has announced it is cutting 24 positions in Los Angeles, New York, and Park City. Some staff will move to reduced schedules with greatly reduced seasonal staff budgets. 


Sundance Film Festival

Utah’s state epidemiologist says it’s possible COVID-19 was circulating at Sundance.

The film festival took place over ten days at the end of January, months before Park City saw it’s first COVID-19 case. But when state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn was asked Wednesday if the virus came in with the crowds, she said it was possible.

Sundance Institute

Without immunity or a vaccine and no knowledge if or when the coronavirus will be back with a vengeance this winter, planning for the future is difficult. Still, even with the future unknown, the Sundance Film Festival team says, for now, it’s planning for its 40th anniversay  live festival come January.

Sundance Institute Managing Director Betsy Wallace spent Friday morning on a conference call planning and budgeting for the 2021 Sundance Film Festival – which will celebrate the 40th anniversary.

Wallace says, at this point, it’s full speed ahead.

The Sundance Film Festival Marquee - Festival starts this week.
Kevin Kotzian

Members of the Summit County Council say that a documentary at this year’s Sundance Festival got them thinking about equity and access for those with disabilities.    

During the Council Comments segment at their meeting Wednesday, they said the popular documentary “Crip Camp’ was moving, and got them thinking about how many buildings in the county  still are not compliant with the American Disabilities Act.

Council Member Kim Carson said  she’d rather start with education, before some kind of regulation.      

Sundance Institute

The Sundance Institute has concluded the 2020 Film Festival by announcing their new Festival Director.

Tabitha Jackson, the festival’s Documentary Programmer, has been named to the helm, succeeding John Cooper’s tenure of more than a decade.

In a press release issued this weekend, the Institute said that after conducting a worldwide search, they selected Jackson, who has directed the Institute’s Documentary Film program for the last six years.

Sundance Film Festival
Kevin Kotzian

Awards were handed out Saturday night for the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.   One of the major winners was a film about a Korean immigrant family pursuing the American Dream.

The 2020 Festival screened 128 feature films over 10 days.

A big winner on the weekend was “Minari” which won both the Grand Jury Prize for the U.S. Dramatic competition, and the Audience Award in the same category.    The story, set in the 1980’s, concerns a Korean father (played by “Walking Dead” star Steven Yeun) who moves his family from L.A to Arkansas to pursue his dream of a farm.   

Leslie Thatcher


Women’s stories have a prominent role at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Former First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State and 2016 Presidential Candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton was in Park City to attend the premier of the Hulu docu-series about her life.

Sundance Film Festival
Kevin Kotzian

The Sundance Film Festival is adding a new event this year—a Community Bonfire, which will take place at the Flagpole Parking Lot, near the bottom of Swede Alley, on Thursday January 30th   

Tabitha Jackson, who is director of the documentary film program for the festival, said they wanted to celebrate the Utah community that comes together for Sundance.         

On today's show Utah State Rep. Brian King previews the 2020 legislative session. Sundance Events Manager Josie McGuinn has details about the opening night of the Sundance Film Festival, including Artist at the Table. U.S. Ski and Snowboard Communications Manager Lara Carlton has this week's update and with a property tax approved, Snyderville Basin Recreation Director Brian Hanton previews some of the projects planned for 2020.

Sundance Institute

All films for the 2020 Sundance Film Festival have been selected with the film program to be released this Friday. The annual Film Festival is set to run from January 23rd to February 2nd.