Sundance 2021 was almost all digital and online
I’ve been going to Sundance since 1992 when I saw “Reservoir Dogs” for the first time. Over the years I’ve seen quite a few movies, went to several open bar parties and seen a few celebrities walking around Main St in Park City, UT. But with this year, there was a pandemic going on. No need to have 100,000 people in close proximity in enclosed theaters, packed restaurants and bars and closely cramped Q&A sessions. Even mask wearing wouldn’t be effective in crowded situations. But I still made it a plan to attend. Sundance Film Festival 2021 was January 28 – February 3
Previous years, I averaged getting tickets for 3 movies. Sometimes more, but rarely less than 3 movies. For this year, I purchased a ticket to one screening “The Sparks Brother” which is a documentary about the band Sparks. And it was really, really good and covered their almost 50 year history. I’ve been a fan of the band since the late 70’s so a good amount of the material and history covered was very familiar.
I ended up winning an Explorer Pass which is normally $25, but this year being all-digital, it included a lot of online content – including all of the Short Programs – 50 short films, documentaries and animated shorts. I ended up getting through all of them, watching most of them and skimming through some of them.
There was also a 20-30 min program each morning at 9am MST called “The Sundance Daillies” which had a look back at the previous day’s films and events as well as an interview with a filmmaker and a look at upcoming films and events for the next day. Overall, I did what I could to watch as much as I could. It helped they had apps for the streaming devices – Apple TV included – which allowed viewing on my 55-inch TV instead of forced to just a phone or laptop screen.
I am hoping with everyone else for a physical festival in 2022, but I would also welcome a hybrid mix, with in theater and digital movie watching. With over 250,000 views, this festival had a sizable audience. So I am sure there were a digital presence at the 2022 festival.