Sundance Institute video helps film lovers enjoy the 2021 film festival |

Sundance Institute video helps film lovers enjoy the 2021 film festival

Virtual event runs from Jan. 28-Feb. 3

Attendees of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival line up outside of the Egyptian Theatre on Main Street. This year’s festival will be presented virtually, so attendees will be able to enjoy films, discussions and other events online.
Park Record file photo

Since organizers pivoted the 2021 Sundance Film Festival into a totally virtual event that will run from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3, the Sundance Institute saw it fitting to create an instructional “How to Fest” video to help film lovers make the most out of what will be a Sundance unlike any other. The video, which helps festival-goers navigate the digital programming, features a hands-on, step-by-step walk-through led by Sundance Labs alumnus Boots Riley, the writer and director of the comedy “Sorry to Bother You,” which premiered at the 2018 festival. The video is available at and

“(This video allows you to) do all the things you would normally do at the Sundance Film Festival,” Riley says as he helps viewers navigate the festival’s website.

In addition, these same instructions are located in writing at the Sundance Film Festival’s official website,

The first thing festival-goers need to do is set up a Sundance Film Festival account by visiting

“This space is safe and respectful to everybody, so, please, sign the community agreement,” Riley says in the video.

The agreement is a disclaimer that sets guidelines and rules about using the account.

After festival-goers create their accounts, they can check out the festival program and search for films by category, genre and accessibility.

Account holders can “short list” a film and add it to their “favorites” list by clicking the plus sign at the bottom of the film’s information, and all participants’ lists are set up in a platform called My Schedule that pops up when they click the plus sign.

With My Schedule, festival-goers can organize screenings, find screenings, track favorites and purchases and watch films, Riley said.

“This is something you need to pay attention to,” he said. “It’s the best way to manage your festival experience, because all you have to do is click to buy tickets or reserve a seat with your pass.”

Although 2021 Sundance Film Festival attendees won’t attend panel discussions in person, they will be able to create their own festival accounts to participate in these and other events online.
Park Record file photo

Festival-goers can also use My Schedule to reserve their spots for world premieres, he said.

“You can only reserve a spot at one premiere at a time, no overbooking,” he said. “Every premiere has a three-hour window. You can tune in anytime during those three hours.”

Once participants have scheduled a screening, they can purchase tickets and passes by visiting

All films have limited slots available, and tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. The last day to reserve a spot for a premiere screening is Jan. 28, per Sundance Film Festival regulations.

In addition, all single-film tickets are considered to be reservations, so those who have already purchased them are set to watch the films at the appropriate time.

While individual tickets for some films are currently sold out, festival organizers encourage festival-goers to check in again closer to the festival’s start date, because more tickets may become available.

After festival-goers have purchased tickets, they can enjoy their selections at the scheduled time by clicking the “watch” button that coincides with their films.

One change this year will allow all account holders to participate in talks and panel discussions without purchasing tickets or passes, according to Riley.

“We’re going to let you sneak in to all of those just with an account,” he said.

The best way to participate in these events is through the Festival Village site,

This takes the place of the free events, sponsored experiences and discussions by Sundance Institute’s partners and collaborators.

The Artist Lounge at is another place where festival-goers can participate in free meet-and-greets and events with filmmakers and other artists.

The lineup for these events is located at:

The 2021 Sundance Film Festival

When: Jan. 28-Feb. 3

Where: Online


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