Variety reports that, due to rising cases in COVID-19 in the greater Los Angeles area, the Sundance Film Festival has cancelled plans for their drive-in screenings in Southern California. This comes as little surprise as that area is a part of some of the worst hit in the entire country.
In a statement a spokesperson for Sundance stated, “The safety and well-being of our audiences, community and staff is the most important thing to Sundance Institute and Sundance Film Festival. In consideration of the overall public health situation in the Los Angeles area and the trajectory of the spread of the virus there, the health guidelines, and crisis the hospital systems are facing we will be pivoting our planned drive-in screenings to our online platform.”
This certainly makes sense for safety purposes, and lines up with their earlier initial announcement about the drive-in screenings. Festival Director Tabitha Jackson saying, “Even under these impossible circumstances artists are still finding paths to make bold and vital work in whatever ways they can.”
She continues, “So Sundance, as a festival of discovery, will bring that work to its first audiences in whatever ways we can. The core of our Festival in the form of an online platform and socially distanced cinematic experiences is responsive to the pandemic and gives us the opportunity to reach new audiences, safely, where they are.”
While the Rose Bowl and the Mission Tiki drive-ins are cancelled for the LA area, there are still drive-ins elsewhere, such as Utah and in San Francisco. Though, those could obviously change at any moment.
Overall, it is sad to see the state of film festivals, but it will make them that much sweeter when they can finally function at full capacity once more.
This year’s Sundance Film Festivals runs from January 28 through February 3, 2021. More information about this year’s unique festival can be found on their Sundance website.