Everyone attending the 2022 Sundance Film Festival’s Utah events must get vaccinated against COVID-19 first, the festival’s director announced.
“We will be requiring all participants attending the festival, or Sundance-affiliated events, in person in Utah to be fully vaccinated,” Tabitha Jackson, the festival’s director, wrote in a message released Tuesday by Robert Redford’s nonprofit arts group, the Sundance Institute.
The message is going out now, nearly six months before the festival’s scheduled dates — Jan. 20-30, 2022 — “to ensure that all in-person participants feel comfortable attending, and can adjust their travel plans if needed,” Jackson wrote.
Details on other health issues, such as mask rules and theater capacity, will be announced closer to the festival, Jackson said.
Sundance announced in May that it will hold the 2022 festival — Jackson’s second as director — mostly in person at its longtime base in Park City, as well as in Salt Lake City and the Sundance Mountain Resort.
The festival canceled all in-person Utah screenings in January 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the festival played out online. Movies were streamed into people’s homes, Q&As and panel discussions were conducted virtually over Zoom, and attendees gathered in a virtual meeting place in the New Frontier program. A handful of cities held in-person screenings at drive-ins and other venues that allowed for social distancing.
Jackson declared the 2021 festival a success, because it “welcomed more young people and more people who had never been able to participate before. There was nothing virtual about the connections forged in the New Frontier space or the shared experience of watching films that have stayed with us ever since; all of this was real.”
For 2022, Jackson said she aims to bring back “the annual pilgrimage” to Utah, but also allow audiences “to join us online from wherever they are.”
Festival programmers will choose about 80 new feature films, which will premiere in Utah between Jan. 20, the festival’s traditional Thursday opening night, and Tuesday, Jan. 25, with additional screenings to follow through Jan. 30.
That’s more than the 73 films that premiered at this year’s mostly online festival — but still fewer than the approximately 120 titles that have unspooled each year at past festivals.
After the in-person premieres, Jackson said, the films will have their online premieres on the same custom digital platform Sundance used this year.
The festival will announce its awards on Friday, Jan. 28, a day earlier than the traditional Saturday-night closing party. The award winners will be shown Friday, Jan. 28, through Sunday, Jan. 30 — online and in person at the Utah venues and in up to 10 cities around the country.
The Utah/US Film Festival, founded in 1978 in Salt Lake City, moved to Park City in 1981. Redford kept it there when his Sundance Institute took over the festival in 1985. Since then, Sundance had been held there every January until this year.