The Sundance Film Festival begins Thursday, and with in-person activities temporarily halted this year, so has Salt Lake Community College’s involvement with the festival.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions for large indoor gatherings, all Sundance events and screenings are set to be streamed online. In previous years, the Grand Theatre screened multiple films, filmmakers would come to workshops at the campuses, and the fine arts department would buy a few tickets for local screenings to hand out to film students.
“These opportunities were canceled since they were gathering activities,” said Channing Lowe, an associate film professor at SLCC. “This time next year we will be back to normal participation and the festival will be in full swing.”
This year, the Sundance Institute is offering a 50% young adult discount available to students 18-25. The discount “includes access to all programmed feature films, short films, indie series, new frontier and sponsor activities,” Melissa Jackson, senior manager of operations of the Utah Film Commission, wrote in an email.
On the Sundance Film Festival website, attendees can learn how to view the festival from home in a video by writer and director Boots Riley. Riley goes through every step of setting up an account, making a festival schedule, and how to view the films users picked out.
According to Riley, the most important page on a user’s account is My Schedule.
“This is the best way to manage your festival experience,” Riley said. The schedule page is the link to buying tickets, making reservations and ensuring events do not overlap one another.
Viewing the festival online is not expected to lessen the experience either.
“Films like ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ and ‘Tenet’ are designed to be viewed on a huge screen in a crowd,” said David Lehleitner, an associate film professor at SLCC. “But Sundance films are smaller, more intimate and usually more dramatic.”
Lehleitner went on to say the change in viewing is not likely to hurt Sundance or its reputation.
“Sundance is still widely considered the most important film festival in the world,” said Lehleitner. “It will weather this year and return for 2022 hopefully more ‘normal.’”
Young adults who want to obtain a discounted pass must email firstname.lastname@example.org while spots are still available; passes are in limited supply.