For the last 2 years, I have had the pleasure of attending the Sundance Film festival virtually. As a newly developed avid cinema lover, I honestly have never attended a film festival before. To be fair I don’t think that I would have the chance to attend one before the pandemic due to tickets being insanely expensive and that it was held all the way in Utah. Nevertheless, I was new to the world of navigating various state and city film festivals and figuring out how I can watch unreleased and undistributed indie movies.
During my virtual Sundance 2021 experience, there were so many films to choose from and my college budget wallet was practically begging for help. But I ended up buying 2 single film tickets to see Passing (2021) and Strawberry Mansion (2022). Then this year I gave in again and bought 2 more tickets to see Master (2022) and The Worst Person in the World (2021). I can’t lie it is a huge gamble buying a ticket to movies that have yet to be seen by the general public or a solid trailer but for indie movies, I’d do anything.
I really had a great experience despite seeing these films online and I truly do think that it is a great idea for a film festival like Sundance to always have a virtual option for film lovers who can’t afford a hefty full-on experience at Sundance or any film festival for that matter. Providing this accessibility is not only fundamental for fans alike to see a new unreleased exciting movie but it also provides filmmakers an extra set of eyes to watch something that might have taken a lot of money and years spent to make.
Being able to story-tell from film functions at its best when its ability to resonate with spectators across the world and connect in a way that transcends areas in our personal life This is why film festivals like Sundance are so important because they bring exposure to independent stories that have a universal ability to induce that type of transcendental storytelling. Even if sometimes a film does not get distributed from Sundance, the filmmaker and spectator are still able to convene on a 90-minute excursion that has the potential to change a spectator’s life or signifies a major milestone in a filmmaker’s career.
I am hoping that next year Sundance will continue to provide a virtual option and that countries outside the U.S can engage and take full advantage of this option. As minor as it might seem, this has made a great difference in how film is accessible for me and has deepened my love for cinema.