Arts & Entertainment

Virtual Sundance Audience Nearly Triples Over Years Past

PARK CITY, Utah. —  This year’s virtual Sundance Film Festival reached more people than ever before in its 43-year lifespan. After 11 days of festing and 23 feature films screened (in normal years there are around 120) the 2021 festival logged 600,000 views, which is 2.7 times greater than 2020 numbers, the festival announced.

“We talked about this year’s festival as a grand experiment,” Festival Director Tabitha Jackson said in a statement. “And now we are in the process of analyzing the results — a vital part of informing the expression of Festival in 2022.”

The numbers do the talking in advocating for continued virtual components to the festival in years to come. According to Sundance, there were 251,331 views of feature, short films, and Indie Series streamed through the Sundance platform or TV apps. The festival calculated an average of two individuals per household for each ‘view,’ which brought total viewership to 500,000 for the film program portion of the festival.

The festival also reported that more than 70% of the feature film program ran across 40 satellite screens at 20 partner cinemas and organizations. This early data illustrated that attendance was around 20,000 at the drive-ins and indoor or outdoor seated screenings. 

“There is a lot still to learn, but we are delighted that a combination of online and in-person participation, innovative social spaces, hard work, and a lot of crossed fingers came together to expand and connect audiences for the incredible slate of work we were lucky enough to program this year,” Jackson said.

Sundance Film Festival sent a “thank you” to Sundance Institute founder Robert Redford as summer 2021 marks the non-profit’s 40th anniversary:

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