Slamdance considers plans for 2021, including the possibility of a live element in Park City |

Slamdance considers plans for 2021, including the possibility of a live element in Park City

The Slamdance Film Festival is scheduled in Park City annually in January, alongside the Sundance Film Festival. Slamdance says it is considering the plans for the event in 2021 amid the continued spread of the novel coronavirus. Plans could be finalized by the end of October.
Park Record file photo

The organizers of the Slamdance Film Festival are considering plans for January, but they have not made final decisions about an in-person event in Park City or the dates.

Slamdance unfolds alongside the Sundance Film Festival, annually occupying space in the Treasure Mountain Inn toward the southern end of Main Street. The 2021 event is scheduled from Jan. 22 until Jan. 28. Sundance recently secured an approval from the Park City Council to alter the dates in 2021 to Jan. 28 until Feb. 3. The event was also shortened as Sundance crafted an operational plan accounting for the continued spread of the novel coronavirus. The date change puts distance between Sundance and the presidential inauguration, alleviating concerns about the possibility of a large demonstration marking the swearing-in ceremony.

In written responses to a Park Record inquiry regarding the status of the festival planning, Peter Baxter, a co-founder and the president of Slamdance, said the “goal is to have a final plan in place by the end of October but the nature of this pandemic may well dictate otherwise.”

He said organizers could consider the possibility of shifting the dates of Slamdance as plans are finalized, but that decision has not yet been made.

“Patience. First and foremost, we are considering the well being of our filmmakers, audience and the people of Park City so we have to open to different dates,” he said.

Slamdance is considering holding a festival that involves an in-person experience as well as an online one, he said.

“Adaptation. What we know now is we can create an online festival showcase. We’ve already begun a plan to do this through the Slamdance site, our Channel with YouTube and virtual theatrical partners . . . We’d like to combine a physical and online experience, something we had set out to do pre-Covid and have done before with partners like Xbox. What we don’t know yet is how safe it will be to hold a physical festival in Park City during the pandemic,” Baxter said.

It is unclear what sort of capacity would be allowed at an in-person event in Park City.

“We are considering the well being of those around us, the city’s instructions and when we think it is both safe and fun to hold a live event,” Baxter said.

Slamdance has a much smaller footprint in Park City than that of Sundance, with screenings and operations contained within the Treasure Mountain Inn. Slamdance-goers, though, are part of the Park City crowd during what is normally the busiest week of the year in the community. They walk Main Street, ride buses and frequent shops and restaurants. The Slamdance filmmakers vie for publicity on Main Street alongside the entries in the larger Sundance.

Sundance intends to significantly scale back the festival in 2021. Theater capacity is expected to be reduced substantially and the roster of venues will be smaller. Sundance also is planning to show festival screenings in theaters across the U.S. and in Mexico City.

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