Sundance Film Festival Cancels LA Drive-In Screenings

As the coronavirus pandemic persists, the film industry's important event once again pivots.


The Sundance Film Festival has canceled all of its 2021 drive-in screenings in Southern California as the region continues to see a record-breaking surge in COVID-19 cases. In December, the festival reacted to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic by announcing the typically Salt Lake City-based event would instead go virtual with "satellite screens" at drive-ins and independent theaters across the country.

"The safety and well-being of our audiences, community, and staff is the most important thing to Sundance Institute and Sundance Film Festival," the festival said in a statement provided to Variety. "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."

In a separate letter distributed to filmmakers obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, festival programmers point to a "significant spike in COVID-19 cases" for the cancelation, adding, "It is deeply unfortunate that Southern California, and Los Angeles County in particular, is now one of the worst hit parts of the country."

Sundance will, as of this writing, still proceed elsewhere in the country with screenings to assure the traditional Sundance premiere for film titles is still able to move forward. The festival has been shortened to seven days, compared to the usual 10. Check Sundance's website for listings of where there might be local screenings.

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