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The 2021 Sundance Film Festival Announces Socially Distant Virtual Format

Sundance 2021 will likely be coming to a location near you.

Sundance Film Festival 2021
Park City, Utah, USA downtown in autumn at dusk.

Speak of the devil: on Wednesday, reports dropped regarding the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences being insistent that the 2021 Oscars would indeed be held “in-person” and not via teleconference. Metaflix’s reporting also mentioned that four other televised ceremonies leading up to the Oscars would be held ahead of the big event, including the Golden Globes on Feb. 28, the Critics Choice on March 7, SAG on March 14, and BAFTA on April 11.

One major film festival not mentioned since it isn’t televised is Sundance. The prestigious competition, known for its jet-set attendees and winter wonderland setting, is going a different route, rolling out a virtual event that will touch cities far beyond its Park City, Utah, base.

Sundance 2021 is scheduled to run from Jan. 28 through Feb. 3. Due to the pandemic, the festival will be virtual, with screenings being held at drive-ins, independent arthouse cinemas, and cultural organizations across some 24 states and Puerto Rico.

“Even under these impossible circumstances artists are still finding paths to make bold and vital work in whatever ways they can,” says Tabitha Jackson, the newly minted festival director. “So Sundance, as a festival of discovery, will bring that work to its first audiences in whatever ways we can.”

So far, Sundance has yet to announce the films that have been accepted to compete at this year’s festival. However, Jackson expects the lineup to be announced in the coming weeks, around mid-December.

“It’s thrilling and terrifying that this is going to be the first major festival of the new year,” Jackson told Variety. “There’s so much possibility in this. I feel both the privilege and responsibility to deliver in whatever way we can. I won’t be sleeping until the festival is over.”

The participating U.S. states and venues are as follows:

Birmingham with Sidewalk Film Festival
Sidewalk Film Center, Sidewalk Drive-In

Tucson with The Loft Cinema
The Loft Open Air Cinema

Montclair with American Cinematheque
Mission Tiki Drive-In
Pasadena with the Rose Bowl
Rose Bowl Drive-In
San Francisco with The Roxie Theater
Roxie Theater, Fort Mason Drive-In

Denver with Denver Film
Sie FilmCenter

Key West with Tropic Cinema
Tropic Cinema, The Key West Lighthouse, The Truman Little White House, The Ernest Hemingway House and Museum
Miami with Third Horizon and O Cinema
New World Symphony SoundScape Park and South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center

Atlanta with Atlanta Film Society
The Plaza Theater, Plaza Drive-In, Dad’s Garage Drive-In
Macon with Macon Film Festival
Douglass Theatre

Honolulu with Doris Duke Theatre at the Honolulu Museum of Art (HoMA)

Iowa City with FilmScene
FilmScene at The Chauncey

Wichita with microcinema, Wichita Art Museum, Groover Labs

Louisville with The Speed Art Museum
Speed Art Museum

New Orleans with New Orleans Film Society
The Broad Theater

Baltimore with Maryland Film Festival
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway Theater

Brookline with Coolidge Corner Theatre
Coolidge Corner Theatre

Detroit with Cinema Detroit

Minneapolis-St. Paul with FilmNorth
Riverview Theater

New York:
Pleasantville with Jacob Burns Film Center
Jacob Burns Film Center & Media Arts Lab

Columbus with Gateway Film Center
Gateway Film Center

Tulsa with Circle Cinema
Circle Cinema, Circle Cinema Drive-In, Admiral Twin Drive-In, Philbrook Museum, OSU-Tulsa, Tulsa University, Gilcrease Museum

Philadelphia with BlackStar Film Festival

Puerto Rico:
San Juan with Asociación de Documentalistas de Puerto Rico (AdocPR)
Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (MAPR)

South Carolina:
Columbia with The Luminal Theater
Spotlight Cinemas Capitol 8

Memphis with Indie Memphis
Malco Summer Drive-In
Nashville with Belcourt Theatre
Belcourt Theatre

Austin with Austin Film Society
AFS Cinema
Dallas with Aviation Cinemas
Texas Theatre
Houston with Houston Cinema Arts Society
MoonStruck Drive-In, DeLUXE Theater

Park City
The Ray
Salt Lake City with Salt Lake Film Society

Seattle with Northwest Film Forum

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