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Sundance’s Out Director on Getting Queerer and Going Virtual

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Above: Dakota Johnson and Sonoya Mizuno in Am I OK?, the directorial debut of spouses Tig Notaro and Stephanie Allynne It’s a marvelous year for the always LGBTQ-inclusive Sundance Film Festival, despite the continuing pandemic.After the venerable fest was held online in 2021 due to COVID-19, organizers hoped to have a hybrid fest in 2022, with both online and in-person components.

But as the Omicron variant spread, they realized in-person screenings weren’t a good idea.“We had designed, with great excitement … the first hybrid Sundance Film Festival,” with screenings in the fest’s home of Park City, Utah, as well as making use of the online platform the fest had developed last year, says Tabitha Jackson, the first woman — and first queer woman — to be festival director.

As the data came in about Omicron, organizers pivoted in early January, just weeks before the fest’s opening, which happens Thursday.“After being initially disappointed that we weren’t going to be back on Main Street, now I’m very excited about the work that is going to be introduced to the world on the 20th of January on our festival platform,” Jackson says.

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