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Sundance Film Festival cancels Utah events, moves ahead online

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Crowds line up at the Egyptian Theater on Main Street. Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute
Crowds line up at the Egyptian Theater on Main Street. Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute

Jan. 5 (UPI) -- The Sundance Film Festival announced Wednesday that in-person events for 2022 have been canceled due to the Omicron surge. The online portion of the festival will continue as planned Jan. 20 - 30.

"Despite the most ambitious protocols, the Omicron variant with its unexpectedly high transmissibility rates is pushing the limits of health safety, travel and other infrastructures across the country," the festival wrote in an e-mail. "With case numbers forecasted to peak in our host community the week of the festival we cannot knowingly put our staff and community at risk."

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The festival had planned to offer a hybrid festival with both in person events in Utah and online screenings and talks. COVID-19 safety plans included requiring attendees to be fully vaccinated with the booster, mask requirements and testing every 48 hours.

Ticket sales are now paused until Monday at 8 a.m. MST while the festival updates the schedule.

The 2021 Sundance Film Festival was presented entirely online in January last year. Films such as Coda, Mass, Summer of Soul and more premiered online at the 2021 festival.

The online platform proved successful and the festival planned to continue offering online access for those who could not travel to Utah in 2022. Film festivals later in 2021 such as Venice, Telluride and Toronto held in person festivals with COVID-19 safety protocols.

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