The Sundance Film Festival was founded by celebrated actor/director Robert Redford (“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”) and is the largest independent film festival in the United States. Newly appointed director of Sundance, Tabitha Jackson, announced on Monday the festival’s redesigned approach to its 2021 festivities.
In the wake of two global pandemics – COVID-19 and racial injustice – Sundance is determined to make its 2021 program focus on the health, safety, equity, and inclusion of all filmmakers and attendees involved. Because social distancing protocols have limited travel and put an end to most large events, Sundance has decided to extend the festival beyond the state lines of Utah. Cities across the U.S. will have the chance to host screenings of films from the official selection and conduct city-specific cinema-related events, becoming microcosms of the real-deal Sundance Film Festival.
Similar to the Toronto International Film Festival’s revised COVID plans, Sundance will have a central online component for global engagement via discussions and live events. Though the festival is scheduled to commence on January 21, it is quite possible that it will be delayed to January 28 in order to distance itself from the U.S. presidential inauguration, which takes place on January 20, 2021.
As the state of the world in January 2021 is unknown, Sundance will continue to show flexibility in its planning and programming, with additional details to come in the following weeks.
More specifics regarding Sundance 2021 can be found here.