The surge of the Omicron COVID variant has had a dramatic effect on life in and outside of the United States. Several events, festivals, and award shows have been either postponed, canceled, or reimagined. This now includes the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, which will engage their plan B and swap the in-person event for a fully virtual experience.
The news of this change of plan was announced via a statement on the Sundance Film Festival website. It reads:
We have been looking forward to our first fully hybrid Sundance Film Festival and our teams have spent a year planning a festival like no other. But despite the most ambitious protocols, the Omicron variant with its unexpectedly high transmissibility rates is pushing the limits of health safety, travel and other infrastructures across the country. And so, today we’re announcing: the Festival’s in-person Utah elements will be moving online this year.
The decision to commit to a completely virtual festival comes just 15 days before its opening night. However, as the statement includes, this decision was not easy for the team behind the 2022 Sundance Film Festival to make, but it was something that they felt was necessary:
This was a difficult decision to make. As a nonprofit, our Sundance spirit is in making something work against the odds. But with case numbers forecasted to peak in our host community the week of the festival we cannot knowingly put our staff and community at risk. The undue stress to Summit County’s health services and our more than 1,500 staff and volunteers would be irresponsible in this climate. 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.
Despite this shift for the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, the screening schedule will be adjusted but not dramatically changed, making it possible to still see all of the works the festival has to offer.
For more updates on the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and its virtual experience, as well as other movie, TV, and video game news, check back in here at The Nerd Stash!