After an extremely weird year of cancellations, adaptations, and virtual film festivals, things appear to be slowly inching back toward “normal” in the United States in the film fest lineup. Fantastic Fest announced today that this year’s event will be held in person in Austin, Texas, while new Sundance 2022 details reveal that next year’s festival will be another hybrid of in-person screenings and virtual ones.
WE CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOU! pic.twitter.com/PyVvekldhU
— Fantastic Fest (@fantasticfest) May 13, 2021
Last year, Fantastic Fest held a few in-person events in Austin but largely opened up the experience to people from all over the world, charging money for some higher profile tickets but offering several free screenings as well. It’s unclear if the same dynamic might be at play this year (maybe with more of a focus on the in-person experience), but as the above tweet explains, the festival will be sharing more information about its plans in the weeks to come. But you can go ahead and pencil in the dates of September 23-30, 2021 if you’re considering attending.
(Note: Alamo Drafthouse, the theater chain associated with Fantastic Fest, was recently embroiled in a scandal that has dismantled the company’s reputation as one of the coolest theater chains in the country. Allegations of sexual harassment, unsafe work environments, and a boy’s club culture have been lobbed at Drafthouse, and those reports paint a picture of a company in desperate need of systemic change. We’ll continue to monitor this situation and decide whether to cover Drafthouse-related news stories on a case by case basis.)
Meanwhile, the 2022 edition of the Sundance Film Festival will be returning to its Utah home bases of Park City and Salt Lake City, but will also be continuing the virtual component that was such a rousing success when it was rolled out earlier this year. The festival is set for January 20-30, 2022, and the official website says the fest organizers are “in the process of designing a safe and accessible Festival where our audiences and artists can come together to celebrate and discover new work, and each other. Mark your calendars and stay tuned: This summer we will have more details to help you craft your plan and arrange for any travel.”
I’m curious to see if festivals like this retain a virtual component in perpetuity, but I expect they may hold back some major premieres and events and make those only accessible for those who attend in person. We’ll see how things shake out, but stay tuned for more info as we learn it.
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