First half of 2023 Sundance Film Festival will be in person only

Second half will be a hybrid event, with in-person and online screenings, organizers say.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) A banner for the Sundance Film Festival on Main Street in Park City on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. After two years of online-only screenings, the 2023 Sundance Film Festival will be in-person only for its first half, organizers announced on Aug. 30, 2022.

After two years of online-only screenings, the 2023 Sundance Film Festival will show its film selections only in theaters during its first half — with the second half presented as a hybrid of in-person and online events.

The Sundance Institute, Robert Redford’s arts nonprofit that stages the festival every year in Park City and Salt Lake City, announced Tuesday the preliminary organizational details of the 2023 festival — the first staged in Utah venues since 2020, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The festival will have in-person screenings in Park City, Salt Lake City and the Sundance Mountain Resort from Jan. 19 to 29. The online portion of the program will launch on Tuesday, January 24.

The online offerings will feature “an on-demand, curated selection of feature films” from the festival, according to a release from Sundance Institute. The selection will include all of the films from the five competition categories — U.S. Dramatic, U.S. Documentary, World Cinema Dramatic, World Cinema Documentary and Next — as well as some works from the rest of the feature film program, and episodic work and short films.

The festival’s final weekend, Jan. 28 and 29, will feature award winners from the festival, screened in person and online.

A “regenerated” version of the New Frontier program will be presented online — also starting Tuesday, Jan. 24 — and will feature multimedia works and keynote discussions on “a bespoke spatialized digital platform.” No details were given about how the digital platform would work, or if it would resemble the “Spaceship” virtual gathering space used over the last two years.

“After two years of being apart, our priority is reuniting in person, while still sharing bold new films with audiences across the country through online access,” said Joana Vicente, the institute’s CEO, in a statement. “We’ve designed this year’s Festival based on our learnings from previous years — embracing the traditions that have been meaningful in the past, while also looking toward accessibility for audiences and expanding the platform we provide our storytellers.”

Vicente, who previously worked as executive director and co-head of the Toronto International Film Festival, will lead the 2023 festival. The festival’s previous director, Tabitha Jackson, announced in June that she was leaving the job; she oversaw the two online-only editions of the festival, but never got the chance to oversee an in-person version of the event.

The institute said it will require all staff and volunteers working the festival to wear face masks and test weekly for COVID-19. Attendees will be asked to wear masks in all festival spaces, and are encouraged to test before and during the festival — and be up to date on their vaccinations.

Filmmakers can still submit their entries to the 2023 festival. The deadline for feature film submissions is Monday, Sept. 5, with a late deadline of Monday, Sept. 26. The late deadline for short films is Monday, Sept. 5. The late deadline for New Frontier entries is Friday, Sept. 9, and the late deadline for episodic works is Monday, Sept. 12. Go to sundance.org for details.