PARK CITY, Utah (ABC4) – The Sundance Film Festival, which has been held in Park City for close to 40 years and supports artists by creating a community for independent storytelling, will be held online for the first time ever in 2022.

Despite ambitious covid protocols, the Omicron variant has put a dent in the plans, with high transmissibility rates jeopardizing the health safety of the event. But it’s not just Sundance that’s been affected, but travel and other infrastructures across the country as well.

The Sundance Institute has released the statement, “While we’re disappointed to not provide the full hybrid experience and gather in-person as intended, audiences this year will still experience the magic and energy of our Festival with bold new films and XR work, the discovery of new storytellers, direct encounters with artists, and an innovative globally accessible social platform and gallery space. Our partner community will also be adding a vibrant dimension to the festival with a rich mix of conversation, talent talks and events.”

Case numbers are projected to peak throughout Park City during the scheduled week of the festival, causing the Sundance Institute reevaluate. Ultimately, they elected that the risk not only affects the people attending, but the more than 1,500 staff and volunteers that work for Summit County’s health services.

The Sundance Institute has, however, expressed their excitement about an immersive digital experience, with the festival starting on Thursday, Jan 20 as planned. The festival will have 11 days of programming, with a few schedule adjustments to account for the digital platform schedule.

The satellite partners of the event will be hosting screenings for their local communities Jan. 28-30.

The institute has announced that they will be in touch with pass, package, and ticket holders regarding an update on the already purchased tickets. Single tickets will go on sale Jan. 13 (Jan 12. for membership pre-sale), as previously announced.

The Sundance Film Festival is about a community of artists and film enthusiasts gathering to support one another in their endeavors, and although the community may not be in-person this year, the celebration of artistry remains the same.