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Cinema

The Sundance Film Festival Goes Largely Virtual for 2021

December 3, 2020

Leave the snow boots, parkas and glove warmers in the closet, the 2021 Sundance Film Festival is coming down from the mountain and straight to your living room. 

Organizers on Wednesday said that this year they will premiere over 70 films on a custom online platform during the seven day event. There will also be some socially distanced screening opportunities around the country. The festival, which is normally held in Park City, Utah, has been preparing for various scenarios for months as the pandemic has raged on. 

Festival director Tabitha Jackson said that this model, "Gives us the opportunity to reach new audiences, safely, where they are."

Over the course of the festival, feature films will premiere throughout the day at a dedicated time followed by a live Q&A. Ticketholders will have a three-hour window to watch. Second screenings will be available for 24 hours two days later. The rollout, organizers said, is designed to "preserve the energy of a Festival."

There will also be limited screenings at venues across the county, including Birmingham, Alabama's Sidewalk Drive-In, Pasadena, California's Rose Bowl, Denver's Sie Film Center and Columbus, Ohio's Gateway Film Center. 

"At the heart of all this is a belief in the power of coming together, and the desire to preserve what makes a festival unique — a collaborative spirit, a collective energy, and a celebration of the art, artists, and ideas that leave us changed," Jackson said. 

The 2021 Sundance Film Festival runs from January 28 through February 3, and tickets will be available for purchase for the general public beginning Jan. 7. The 2021 slate will be revealed in the coming weeks. 

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