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Sundance 2022 Goes All Virtual Due to Omicon Covid-19 Variant

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A still from the Sundance Film Festival selection Brian and Charles.

Brian and Charles is a movie we’re looking forward to at Sundance 2022.
Image: Sundance

The 2022 Sundance Film Festival was set to be the big comeback after a fully virtual event in 2021. With vaccines and boosters now in full effect, the festival was meant to be both Hollywood’s return to Park City, Utah, and an evolution of its virtual component. Even with the rise of the covid-19 omicron variant over the past few weeks, the festival was planning on having people attend in person with even stricter restrictions as recently as this week. However, with just over two weeks until opening night, Sundance has decided to cancel all in-person attendance.

“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,” read a Sundance press release. “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.”

“While it is a deep loss to not have the in-person experience in Utah, we do not believe it is safe nor feasible to gather thousands of artists, audiences, employees, volunteers, and partners from around the world, for an 11-day festival while overwhelmed communities are already struggling to provide essential services,” the statement continues.

However, this is not the end of Sundance 2022. The virtual festival is obviously going on as planned and even being adapted with “screening schedule adjustments to account for an online only schedule.” Having “attended” Sundance online last year, I must admit it was an excellent, seamless experience. The streaming quality was good, ability to socialize via the festival chat rooms easy, and then of course the quality of the films were second to none: In the Earth, Flee, Censor, Coda, etc. We’d expect more of the same in 2022, as you can see in this piece we did highlighting all of the awesome-sounding genre films that will be screening at the festival.

And good news! You can still attend from the safety of your computer: single tickets for the films go on sale January 13. Head over to the Sundance site for more information and check io9 starting later this month for our coverage. The 2022 Sundance Film Festival takes place January 20-30.

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