For the second year in a row, the Sundance Film Festival will hold a completely online festival because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Sundance Institute, the non-profit arts group that hosts the festival, announced Wednesday that the in-person part of the hybrid festival will be canceled due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.
“We do not believe it is safe nor feasible to gather thousands of artists, audiences, employees, volunteer, and partners from around the world, for an eleven-day festival while overwhelmed communities are already struggling to provide essential services,” the festival said in a statement.
The 2022 festival will begin Jan. 20, virtually presenting 82 feature films and 59 short films.
In the statement, Sundance voiced their excitement for the magic of the festival that is still achievable online.
“While we’re disappointed to not provide the full hybrid experience and gather in-person as intended, audiences this year will still experience the magic and energy of our Festival with bold new films and XR work, the discovery of new storytellers, direct encounters with artists, and an innovative globally accessible social platform and gallery space.”
In the statement, Sundance further explained the reasoning for their decision.
“With case numbers forecasted to peak in our host community the week of the festival we cannot knowingly put our staff and community at risk. The undue stress to Summit County’s health services and our more than 1,500 staff and volunteers would be irresponsible in this climate. It has become increasingly clear over the last few days that this is the right decision to make for the care and well-being of all of our community.”
Single tickets for the festival will go on sale Jan. 13 at 10 a.m. Membership pre-sale begins the day prior.