January 2021 event will be "online and in the real world"
Sundance is getting ready for a film festival unlike any other in its 30-year+ history.
The festival, the first under the leadership of new director Tabitha Jackson, released a teaser-trailer today heralding the cinematic event, which will run from January 28 to February 3, 2021. The dates alone suggest how different this festival will be from past ones -- shorter than the normal 10-day gathering of cinephiles, industry players, filmmakers, actors, musicians and others in Park City, Utah.
"...[F]or the first time ever, we are bringing the festival to you—both online and in the real world across the US and beyond," Jackson writes on the festival website. "We invite you to explore the program, join the conversation, and experience this new festival with us."
A new chapter filled with possibilities. Despite the challenges this year has brought, nothing could stop us from celebrating independent film, visionary artists, unique perspectives, and you, our adventurous audiences.
The 2020 event, the last under longtime director John Cooper, snuck in just before the U.S. and other parts of the world shut down because of the COVID-19 emergency. This January's festival cannot escape the impact of the pandemic, however, and will unspool more along the pattern adopted by other festivals in 2020, with screenings, panels and events done virtually. Details about the "real world" component of the festival haven't been released, but other festivals managed to hold some public screenings at drive-in theaters. That may or may not be possible in cities around the U.S. given that Sundance is held n the middle of winter.
The teaser-trailer highlights many of the personalities drawn to Sundance over the years and some of the festival's breakthrough films, including Little Miss Sunshine (2006), Napoleon Dynamite (2004), American Psycho (2000), Precious (2009), Whiplash (2014), and Boyhood (2014). The trailer also gestures towards notable documentaries that have premiered at Sundance, such as Strong Island (2017), Paris Is Burning (1990), O.J.: Made in America (2016), and last year's Dick Johnson Is Dead.
Watch the teaser-trailer here:
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.