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Sundance Film Festival Nabs Largest Audience Ever With Virtual Edition

Despite taking place virtually and over a shorter duration, the 2021 Sundance Film Festival nabbed its largest audience ever this year, the Sundance Institute announced Monday.

The 2021 festival took place from Jan. 28-Feb. 3 and was hosted online and in-person in 20 cities across the United States. This year’s audience was 2.7 times larger than the usual 11-day festival hosted in Utah, according to the Sundance Institute.

This year’s Sundance featured 73 features (down from the typical 120), 50 short films, 4 Indie Series, 23 talks and events and 14 projects in the New Frontier exhibition. Viewers came in from all 50 states and 120 countries.

“It’s been rewarding to see the way adventurous audiences everywhere engaged with our program and platform, and of course we are delighted to have met and even exceeded our goal of expanding the reach and community for independent film in this challenging year,” said Sundance Institute CEO Keri Putnam. “I am so inspired by the incredible Sundance team who rose to the challenge of presenting the Festival in a new way, and grateful to our Board whose partnership and support was invaluable and — as always — to Robert Redford for being our guiding light.”

Through Sundance’s online platform and TV apps, features, short films and Indie Series received 251,331 views. With an estimated average of two people per household, that total comes to more than 500,000 views of the film program.

“We talked about this year’s festival as a grand experiment,” said Festival Director Tabitha Jackson “and now we are in the process of analyzing the results — a vital part of informing the expression of Festival in 2022. There is a lot still to learn but we are delighted that a combination of online and in-person participation, innovative social spaces, hard work, and a lot of crossed-fingers came together to expand and connect audiences for the incredible slate of work we were lucky enough to program this year.”

Variety's Jordan Moreau contributed to this post.

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