The United States’ largest Independent Film Festival – the Sundance Film Festival – is back again in 2021. However, given the obvious complications due to COVID-19, the Utah-based festival will be fully available online – and for the first time ever! Exclusive streaming will be available from January 28 to February 3 in an effort to manage cinema capacity restrictions worldwide.
Thanks to the new service, cinema buffs can enjoy over 70 screenings spread across the week, all within the comfort of their very own home.
For the more eager cinephiles not yet ready to part ways with traditional experience, Sundance has partnered with various independent cinemas internationally to host COVID-safe in-person events. However, these have quickly sold out.
Overall, Sundance will include 7 days of premiers, events, artist talks and cutting-edge XR exhibitions.
The festival is certainly staying ahead of the technological curve. Apple TV, Fire TV, Android and iOS are all providing exclusive apps for an enjoyable and flexible experience.
However, despite the possibilities of infinite online access, Sundance is strictly ticketed event. Movies cost US $15 per stream, while all-access tickets have already sold out. So make sure you get in quick or you’ll miss out on the rest!
Which brings us to the films themselves. What exactly is on this year?
Unsurprisingly, the cinematic offerings this year have a noticeably dystopian theme. It’s a reflection on the chaotic and unpredictable reality the world has endured since Coronavirus entered the mainstream vernacular.
The comedy ‘How It Ends’ focuses on the final hours of a group of Earthlings before an asteroid destroys the planet.
Meanwhile, ‘In The Same Breath’ offers a more direct reflection on the past year. Simply put, it is a documentary on the Chinese propaganda surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak within the Wahu Province.
By contrast, the opening night ironically features a road trip movie set in Thailand – ‘One For The Road’. Though not intended, it reminds us of how limited society has become as travel restrictions continue tighten worldwide.
But perhaps the most alluring films on the COVID topic this year is the thrilling documentary ‘Life in a Day 2020’. Directed by Oscar-winner Kevin Macdonald and executive produced by Ridley Scott, it captures life on Earth on a single day, right in the eye of the viral storm. The film is particularly fascinating as it is culled from 300,000 video submissions. A true slice of life in these dystopian times.