The Slamdance Film Festival, the upstart alternative movie event that usually runs in Park City parallel to the larger Sundance Film Festival, will be a two-week online affair in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Slamdance organizers announced that the festival would run in virtual form from Feb. 12 to 25, playing on the slamdance.com website and on YouTube.
The online content will include feature films, short films, filmmaker Q&As, award presentations, workshops and panels — including a program called Unstoppable, Slamdance’s first program for filmmakers with disabilities. The online showcase will share revenue from sponsors to filmmakers, and provide some free programming.
There will be a physical component to the 2021 festival: an invitation-only, socially distanced weekend retreat for filmmakers and industry guests in Joshua Tree, Calif. The desert event will include outdoor premiere screenings, filmmaker workshops, talks with alumni and music performances. Organizers also are planning a public drive-in movie program in Joshua Tree.
“Slamdance ’21 isn’t about compromise because of the pandemic. It’s about community, accessibility and growth,” Peter Baxter, Slamdance’s co-founder and president, said in a statement. “It’s about Slamdance’s future and the love of independent film.”
Since its founding in 1995, by Baxter and other filmmakers who didn’t get into Sundance, Slamdance has become an indie-film destination of its own, screening films and gathering a community of filmmakers at Park City’s Treasure Mountain Inn, scheduled during Sundance in late January. Slamdance boasts a roster of famous alumni, including directors Christopher Nolan (“Tenet,” “Dunkirk”) and the Russo brothers (“Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame”).
The larger Sundance Film Festival is finalizing its plans for 2021. Sundance organizers have said the festival will be shorter than the usual 11-day event, staged both in Park City, online, and at venues around the country. Further details from Sundance are expected to be announced later this month.