Virtual 2021 Sundance Film Festival opens on a screen very near you


City, Utah. And because of the pandemic, thousands of film lovers will go to premieres, panels and parties, mostly online. NPR's Mandali Del Barco has this preview. This year's Sundance opens with the premier of the documentary, Summer of Soul or when the Revolution could not be televised. Director Amir Thompson, known as the Musician. Quest, Love presents footage of the 1969 Harlem cultural Festival that has never been seen since. Pressure's lower. Take My hand was Dr King's favorite zone and Sistema Hey, you're Jackson was my idol. She was my hero. I love this. So much listening to singer Mavis Staples praising my Hayley and Jackson is just one highlight of the film. In a normal year. There'd be long lines of festivalgoers standing in the snow to get into theaters to watch. This year films will be screened virtually through especially built online platform, says the festival's new director, Tabatha Jackson. The global pandemic hit And we realized that we had to re imagine everything. Jackson says her team wanted to create a wafer, filmgoers and filmmakers to gather will be able to chat with each other in virtual waiting rooms. Then watch film premieres together before asking questions of the casts and crews, and that's to preserve the energy and the excitement on the buzz and the conversation. In that moment, as we are confined in our Safe spaces. This is an opportunity to go out into the world and be taken around the world by some of these films as an international festival dedicated to independent filmmaking, the Sundance Community prides itself on being a bit scrappy. We're excited. I think this feels like a grand experiment, so people who are they couldn't afford it or couldn't make the journey. Couldn't navigate the icy streets of Park City can now come to Sundance. We're bringing Sundance to them. This year, Half the films at Sundance were directed by people of color as well as by women. Many were shot or finished during the pandemic lockdown. There's even one titled In the same breath about how covert 19 began in Wuhan, China. Many of the doctors said these hospitals must have known this new virus was spreading between people, but they were afraid to say so for fear of punishment from the government. Among the feature films to watch for is Koda, about a hearing girl whose family is deaf, also sons of monarchs, about a Mexican biologist and flee and animated film about an Afghan refugee. Other highlights included documentary about choreographer Alvin Ailey and another about the life and career of actress Rita Moreno. Life can be pressing America what was different about Anita and with side stories that she was a girl who respected herself. Who had a certain amount of dignity. Actually, she became my role model. The festival will also include online panels, meetups concerts and parties, many of them free. There will be virtual spaces for black and Latin. Next creators, and Jackson says festival goers can participate in the new frontier program using Webcams or virtual reality headsets from home, you Congar! Oh, in as an avatar, you can wonder around this incredible space garden. Go to parties, which are where people are going to gather to talk about films. We felt a cinema house in this virtual environment, and there's an extraordinary gallery off new work. The reason I'm so excited about it is because it really is an unusual space in which we can still come together and socialize, and it doesn't feel anything like Zoom. Sundance is also partner with art House cinemas around the country to present some in person events, including at drive in theaters. Manda Little Barco. NPR news.

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