How to Virtually Attend Sundance This Year

How to Virtually Attend Sundance This Year
Photo: PureRadiancePhoto, Shutterstock

The annual Sundance Film Festival kicks off January 28, and for the first time, you don’t have to travel to Utah or stand in line in the cold to take part. The Sundance Institute is screening films, Q&A panels, and special events virtually so you can watch from the comfort (and safety) of your living room.

Like most years, all-access passes sold out early (some things never change), but individual film tickets are still available for about $20 for many showings. The festival is offering two ways to watch: live premieres that take place within set 3-hour windows, and on-demand screenings that allow access to your chosen films for 24 hours.

How to buy tickets

While you can view the screening schedule and ticket availability online, it’s easier to navigate the site once you’ve created an account.

From there, check out which films and showings still have tickets for purchase by clicking Select A Screening under the Single Film Ticket option.

Sundance doesn’t make it easy to learn more about each film (or whether you’re buying a premiere or on-demand ticket) directly from this page, so you’ll have to pull up the schedule separately. Scroll down to view the day-by-day listings in a visual format, and click on the film titles to read the descriptions. This will also show you the times for each screening and tell you whether tickets are still available.

According to the website, additional tickets may be released for sold-out shows, so keep checking back if you’re set on catching a specific film.

A heads up: on-demand screenings aren’t truly “on demand” for the duration of the festival. You’ll only be able to watch purchased films for 24 hours from the time they launch on the online platform (no matter what time you actually begin your viewing). For live premiere screenings, you can start watching at any point during the 3-hour window, but you’ll miss the live Q&A if you are late.

In addition to single film tickets, the $32 Explorer Pass is still available. This gives you on-demand access to short films and other media, like VR experiences.

How to watch at home

Once you’ve purchased tickets, you’ll be able to view them in the My Schedule section of your account. A “Watch” button will appear here once the screening window opens.

You can watch films on most devices and via most browsers, and cast the showings to your streaming device or smart TV. There’s also a Sundance Film Festival app for AppleTV, Android, and iOS. You’ll have to log into your Sundance account, and if you’ve purchased an on-demand screening, you’ll have to make sure it’s “favorited” and added to My Schedule via browser for it to load in the app. Also note that you can’t use the app on multiple devices at once.

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