The Sundance Institute has postponed its annual festivals in both London and Hong Kong, with new dates still pending. The news, sparked by the coronavirus pandemic, comes as Sundance said it has made the decision to “reimagine the 58 live programs we had planned through August 2020.”
Sundance London is the UK spinoff of the Park City festival, and typically runs in the spring at Picturehouse Central, highlighting a selection of pics and filmmakers from the main January event.
Sundance Institute said today that among other events affected are the 2020 season of summer Labs in Utah and its Film Music Program at Skywalker Ranch. The decision also applies to the full slate of planned workshops and intensives which will no longer be in-person gatherings.
Most programs will be adapted “to offer meaningful and uninterrupted support through our digital platform for artists, Sundance Co//ab.” The first adapted live program, on the subject of making and launching a short film, ran on the platform last Friday and saw more than 1,600 participants register.
Said Sundance Institute, “We are inspired by everyone who is using this time of fear and uncertainty to find meaning in the form of poems, stories, essays, images, and ideas. The scale and urgency of this challenge are extraordinary, but so are the resilience, generosity, and community we have seen from our global community of artists. If we can approach this moment with that spirit, and listen to those who embody it, we can weather this crisis with our humanity intact and reimagine a future where we are more connected than ever before.”
Sundance Co//ab’s webinars, member Q&As and masterclasses are now open at no cost and offer “the potential to gather independent creators… at a time when many are in need of community, mentorship, inspiration, and collective action.”
The Institute also noted it has set aside a fund for artist support, and is working to determine how best to provide assistance. Further, in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts, Sundance Institute is expanding and accelerating a previously-planned initiative around field sustainability to meet urgent needs that have been raised by artists and peer arts organizations, launching biweekly virtual field meetings “dedicated to addressing these timely problems.”
In addition, the joint initiative with the NEA includes a national research committee to gather and conduct relevant, actionable studies and data collection, particularly regarding the economic and social impact of the coronavirus on artists.
Looking ahead to the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, the org says, “We are in conversations with other film festivals and nonprofits to share ideas, and to ensure that we’re eliminating duplicative, expensive efforts and working as collectively and efficiently as possible to support the filmmakers whose Festival premieres and releases didn’t happen this spring, and those whose films are in suspended states of production.”