This time last year, fans and participants flocked to the annual Sundance Film Festival to see some of the year’s best movies and attend star-studded events, panels, lounges, and parties.
This year, there will be films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, but it will look very different than years past. The 2021 Sundance Film Festival will be a primarily virtual event, taking place almost exclusively online.
And that might not necessarily be bad. While the same level of excitement on Park City’s Main Street won’t be there, the virtual event will offer more opportunities for people worldwide to participate in the event without traveling to Park City.
When, Where & How?
This year, the festival will take place from January 28 to February 3rd. There will be limited opportunities for press and other industry professionals to attend individual in-person screenings and events, with the bulk of the festival taking place online.
However, opportunities for connection and discussion are still widely available during the festival. Attendees can gather in virtual waiting rooms, participate in live Q&As, and congregate in new online environments to interact in a wide variety of ways.
Last month, the Sundance Institute unveiled its full lineup of feature films, somehow impressive as ever even during these trying times. A wide variety of films are on display this year, from a documentary about black market fishing to an Instagram-based love story. It should provide viewers with a rewarding and provocative viewing experience.
While the list this year is filling with fascinating and potentially thought-provoking works of art, we’ve found a few projects we wish to highlight.
An opening-night documentary that looks to be a can’t-miss hit is The Roots drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s directorial debut Summer of Soul. This film looks at the often-overlooked Harlmer Cultural Festival that took place the same summer as Woodstock.
Sundance director Tabitha Jackson praised this film, saying, “The joy in that film, the vibrancy of the colors, the music, the social engagement, is all cinematic rather than a history lesson. Watching it during the dark days of the pandemic, it lifted us all.”
Another film that looks to make a massive splash at the festival is comedian Jerrod Carmichael’s debut, On the Count of Three. The plot of this film is under wraps. Still, it is a darkly comedic thriller that includes a star-studded cast featuring Christopher Abbott, Tiffany Haddish, J.B. Smoove, Henry Winkler, and Carmichael himself. “It will get people talking,” said an insider who got an early look.
Almost all films will be available for public screening, but tickets for these films are limited. To buy tickets for the event, visit https://tickets.festival.sundance.org/. This year, viewers can buy a variety of single film tickets, as well as all-access passes that allow users access to panels and unique features such as the world-famous New Frontiers experience.
New Frontiers is always of the festival’s most-anticipated experiences in years past. It showcases innovative technology, relying on this technology to showcase seven experiences that will broadcast via the internet using Oculus VR equipment.
For the first time, adventurous audiences worldwide will be given a chance to engage with the works, the artists, and each other via a bespoke virtual platform, accessible via computer and VR headsets.
The festival will also be hosting a diverse lineup of online special events, panels, conversations, and activations available for free to the global public. The online Cinema Café, presented by Audible with Questlove, Rita Moreno, Robin Wright, and many others, is a series of informal chats that bring together special guests for thought-provoking encounters.
The Blackhouse Foundation will host a series of panels and special events, including the Facebook Shorts Directors’ Roundtable, the United for Equality Scripted Event, Sunday Brunch with Seen Black Filmmakers Intro, and more.
The Spirit Remains the Same
While this year may be a bit different in format, the festival’s spirit remains the same. Exploring new, innovative works and formulating a thought-provoking discussion about the art we love remains paramount for this prestigious annual event. This year, over half of the submissions are first-timers, providing the groundwork for some trailblazing premieres from artists breaking into the industry.
For a list of other upcoming events in Park City, visit Jensen and Company. While the festival this year is mainly online, Park City remains home to various culturally immerse events year-round.
We look forward to welcoming back the traditional Sundance Film Festival next year. Until then, we hope you enjoy the online format.
If you want to be living in Park City in time for the next Sundance Film Festival, see our website to see a list of available properties or learn more about real estate in the area.