The 2022 Sundance Film Festival will be moving to a fully online event due to concerns around the impact of the Covid-19 Omicron variant.
US-based non-profit arts organisation The Sundance Institute had previously hoped to run the annual festival as a hybrid event, with attendees expected to head to Utah later this month.
Organisers explained that “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 decision was made just weeks after plans were announced for new health and safety rules, including vaccine boosters for attendees.
The festival will still begin on 20 January as planned, but will now consist of 11 days of online programming with adjustments to the screening schedule to account for the new online-only format. Organisers will be in touch with pass and package holders and ticket purchasers with an update on already purchased tickets.
In a statement, the organisers said: “While it is a deep loss to not have the in-person experience in Utah, we do not believe it is safe nor feasible to gather thousands of artists, audiences, employees, volunteers, and partners from around the world, for an 11-day festival while overwhelmed communities are already struggling to provide essential services.”