Sundance Film Festival expanding to more cities, ramping up online presence to accommodate coronavirus restrictions
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Next year’s annual Sundance Film Festival will expand to more than a dozen communities nationwide, as well as have a larger virtual presence, to accommodate for anticipated coronavirus restrictions. 

Organizers of the Utah-based festival said Monday they are already planning next year’s event, set to be held in January, around restrictions expected to be in place. 

“As every day currently feels like a week, and every month like a year, we cannot know what the world will look like in January 2021. But as we plan this scenario, we are building in flexibility,” Tabitha Jackson, Sundance’s new festival director, said in a post on its blog.

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Jackson added that organizers are also considering a different start date than the planned Jan. 28 to “provide some room” between the presidential inauguration. 

She said organizers are planning based around the “following public health scenario: We are allowed to gather, but there is no widely available COVID-19 vaccine.”

Organizers are planning to have the festival take place in Utah, as it has for nearly 40 years, as well as at least 20 independent and community cinemas in the U.S. and beyond. Jackson said Sundance is already in discussion with cinemas in Los Angeles; New York; Nashville, Tenn.; Austin, Texas; Atlanta; Detroit; Denver; Minneapolis; and Mexico City. 

Each partner community will host a “bespoke slate” from the official selection alongside complementary programming of their own. 

The festival will have a virtual home for programs that will make it accessible for online audiences. The virtual events will also allow viewers to take place in discussion and live events.