ALL ACCESS PASS TO THE SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

For the second year in a row, the Sundance Film Festival is offering you an all access pass to the films industry insiders will be buzzing about in 2022. On January 20th, Sundance is going virtual and giving adventurous film buffs a chance to hit their virtual red carpet and attend premieres, exclusive talks, events and more. Tonight Sundance Film Festival director Tabitha Jackson walks us through how you can plan an experience unlike no other from the covid safe comfort of your home.

For more information on the Sundance Film Festival, click here.

TRANSCRIPT

> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS,' I'M JACK FORD.

AS WE CONTINUE TO ADAPT TO LIVING IN A WORLD WITH COVID, WE CAN ONCE AGAIN LOOK FORWARD TO LARGE-SCALE CULTURAL EVENTS, ALBEIT OFTEN IN NEW AND CHANGING FORMATS.

ONE OF THOSE MAJOR EVENTS, THE FAMED SUN DANCE FILM FESTIVAL S COMING UP LATER THIS MONTH.

AND IT WILL NOW BE A MOSTLY VIRTUAL AFFAIR.

BUT YOU CAN STILL WATCH DOZENS OF INDEPENDENT FEATURE FILMS, DOCUMENTARIES, AND SHORTS, RIGHT FROM YOUR OWN HOME.

THERE WILL ALSO BE SATELLITE SCREENINGS AT SEVERAL THEATERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

AND THIS YEAR'S FESTIVAL MAY WELL JUST HAVE, AS IT HAS NOTICE PAST, THE NEXT BIG SCREEN SENSATION FOR US ALL.

JOINING US TONIGHT TO DISCUSS THE UPCOMING 2022 SUN DANCE FILM FESTIVAL AND THE CHALLENGES COVID HAS BROUGHT IS ITS HISTORY MAKING DIRECTOR, TAB THAT JACKSON.

TAB THAT, WELCOME TO YOU, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

IT IS AN ABSOLUTE PLEASURE, JACK.

I AM A HUGE PAN OF PUBLIC MEDIA IN ALL OF ITS FORMS.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

WE ARE HUGE FANS OF SUN DANCE, BELIEVE ME.

WE MENTIONED BRIEFLY IS HE START THERE HAS BEEN A SHIFT.

THIS EXPECTATION WAS THIS WOULD BE BACK TO AN IN-PERSON EVENT.

TAKE US THROUGH THE DECISION TO SHIFT AWAY.

YES.

WE HAD -- AFTER THE SUCCESS OF LAST YEAR'S FESTIVAL, WHICH WAS ON LINE, WE WERE LOOKING AT REIMAGINING SUN DANCE FILM FESTIVAL AGAIN BY DOING A HYBRID, THIS TIME WITH IN-PERSON, FULLY BACK IN OUR HOME STATE OF UTAH.

AND WE HELD OUT THAT DREAM.

WE HAVE BEEN PLANNING IT FOR A YEAR, YOU KNOW, HOW DO YOU CONVERGE THE IN-PERSON WITH THE ON LINE EXPERIENCE?

AND WE WOULD COME UP WITH A -- I HAVE GOT THE SAY, OUR TEAM CAME UP WITH A PRETTY AMAZING PLAN AND THEN AS OMICRON BEGAN TO TRAVEL AND TRAVEL FASTER AND FASTER AND FASTER, WE WERE PUTTING IN ALL DIFFERENT KINDS OF PROTOCOLS TO KEEP OUR FESTIVAL COMMUNITY SAFE.

AND ULTIMATELY, JACK, IT CAME DOWN TO SOME JUST REAL TALK WITH -- WITH OUR HOST CITY, PARK CITY, OF WHAT THEIR PUBLIC HEALTH INFRASTRUCTURE AND THE INFRASTRUCTURE OF THE CITY COULD HANDLE.

AND WE WERE LOOKING AT THE PEAK OF THE OMICRON TRANSMISSION SURGE COMING RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR FESTIVAL SOCIETY.

AT THAT POINT, WHEN WE LEARNED THAT DATA AND THE LATEST FIGURES ON TRANSMISSION, WE DECIDED THAT, ACTUALLY, WE JUST COULDN'T GO AHEAD RESPONSIBLY WITH THE IN-PERSON.

BUT BECAUSE WE HAD DESIGNED THIS DEVELOP TO BE BOTH ON LINE AND IN PERSON, IT JUST MEANT -- I SAY JUST.

IT'S QUITE A BIG JOB.

IT JUST WENT PIVOTING ALL TO ON LINE.

SO WE STILL HAVE A FESTIVAL, WHICH WE ARE VERY RELIEVED ABOUT.

I FIND THAT VERY INTERESTING, THAT YOU HAD COME OUT OF LAST YEAR'S WITH A PLAN FOR A HYBRID.

AGAIN AS WE HAVE SEEN SO OFTEN, WE HAD PLANS, AND THEN IT GETS CHANGED.

YEAH.

> MENTIONED BRIEFLY WHAT THE FORMAT WILL BE THIS YEAR.

GIVE US A SENSE HOW IT WILL PLAY OUT AND HOW FOLKS, VIEWERS WHO ARE WATCHING TODAY, HOW THEY CAN PARTICIPATE.

WELL, WE WERE VERY EXCITED LAST YEAR WHEN WE WERE THINKING, HOW DO YOU ACTUALLY HAVE A FESTIVAL?

WHAT DOES A FESTIVAL MEAN?

AND THEN HOW DO YOU TRANSLATE THAT TO THE ONLINE EXPERIENCE?

TAKING WHAT WE LEARNED FROM LAST YEAR, THIS YEAR WE HAVE A WONDERFUL FESTIVAL PLATFORM AT FESTIVAL.SUN DANCE.ORG.

ON THAT FESTIVAL PLATFORM YOU CAN BOOK ALL OF YOUR TICKETS, YOU CAN FINDS THE PROGRAM, AND YOU CAN ALSO WATCH PRETTY MUCH EVERY SINGLE FILM, EVERY SINGLE FEATURE FILM WILL BE PLAYING ON THE ONLINE PLATFORM.

AND IT IS NOT JUST LIKE A STREAMING SERVICE WHERE THERE IS A LITTLE TILE THAT YOU CLICK ON IF YOU WANT TO SEE IT.

WE ARE DRIVING THE ENERGY TO MAKE AN OCCASION OF THESE WORLD PREMIERES.

SO YOU BUY A TICKET FOR A FILM.

AND YOU TURN UP AT AN APPOINTED TIME WHEN THE FILM IS GOING TO REMEIR.

THERE IS A WAITING ROOM LOBBY EXPERIENCE WHERE YOU CAN TALK TO YOUR FELLOW FILM--GOERS.

AND THEN AFTER YOU HAVE WATCHED THE FILM WITH EVERYBODY THERE IS A LIVE Q ANDA.

SO THE FILM MAKERS FROM WHEREVER THEY ARE NOW -- THEY HAD ALL HOPED TO BE IN PARK CITY.

BUT NOW THEY ARE DOING IT IN THEIR RESPECTIVE COUNTRIES WIL BE ENGAGED IN A LIVE Q ANDA WITH THE AUDIENCE.

SO THERE IS THAT ENERGY, THE DIRECT INTERACTION, THE FEELING OF IF NOT GATHERING IN A SINGLE SPACE, WE ARE GATHERING TOGETHER IN A SINGLE MOMENT.

AND THAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT.

SO THAT'S HOW YOU CAN SEE ALL THE FILMS, SHORTS, INDIE EPISODIC.

THE OTHER THING WE KNOW ABOUT A FESTIVAL IS IT'S A PLACE OF GREAT SOCIAL INTERACTION.

THAT WAS ANOTHER CHALLENGE OF TRYING TO DO THIS DURING OMICRON.

SO WE HAVE BUILT -- WE BUILT THAT LAST YEAR AND HAVE IMPROVED IT THIS YEAR.

IT IS SUPER FUN.

IT'S WHAT WE CALL SPACESHIP.

FROM YOUR LAPTOP OR EVEN WITH A VR HEADSET YOU CAN GO ONTO THIS SPACESHIP AND SOCIALLY ENGAGE WITH PEOPLE, ALL WEARING THEIR LITTLE AVATAR SUITS.

AND RUNNING AROUND.

YOU CAN TALK TO THEM THROUGH YOUR WEB CAM AND PROXIMITY AUDIO, CAN HAVE LITTLE CHATS.

IT WAS AMAZING LAST YEAR SEEING PEOPLE LIKE REBECCA HALL AND EDGAR WRIGHT HANGING OUT IN THE THE SPACESHIP WITH THE FESTIVAL AUDIENCE.

AND THE SPACESHIP ALSO HOLDS THE GALLERY OF NEW FRONTIER WORK.

THIS IS VR, XR, ALL EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES.

SO THERE IS LOTS TO -- LOTS TO PARTICIPATE IN.

AND JACK, ALTHOUGH THE FILMS THEMSELVES ARE GEOBLOCKED TO THE UNITED STATES, THE SPACESHIP AND ALL THE CONVERSATIONS, TALKS, AND EVENTS, THAT ABILITY TO SOCIALIZE IS GLOBALLY ACCESSIBLE.

YOU JUST NEED AN EXPLORER PASS.

SO THERE'S A GREAT CONVENING OF A GLOBAL ARTIST AND AUDIENCE COMMUNITY THERE.

SO IT'S -- IT'S FUN.

WE ARE SAD NOT TO BE IN PARK CITY.

BUT THE ONLINE FESTIVAL WAS SUPER FUN LAST YEAR, AND I THINK IT IS GOING TO BE AGAIN.

I THINK IN SOME WAYS WHEN YOU LOOK AT THIS -- CLEARLY, WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE THERE IN PERSON?

OF COURSE.

BUT IN SOME WAYS YOU LOOK AT THIS AND IT IS FAR MORE EXPANSIVE AND PROVIDES FAR MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE SITTING IN THEIR LIVING ROOMS FOR PEOPLE WHO COULDN'T GO TO PARK CITY TO BE PART OF THE SUN DANCE FILM FESTIVAL AND SAY I CAN PLUG INTO THIS AND HAVE CONVERSATIONS WITH THE FILM MAKERS WHICH CANDIDLY IN THE OLD FORMATS THAT WAS NOT GOING TO BE HAPPENING.

ONE OF THE HALLMARKS OF THE FESTIVAL IS THE PANEL SUGGESTIONS.

TALK ABOUT THEM IN THE NEW FORMAT NOW.

YES.

I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU FEEL, JACK, BUT THIS MEDIUM OF TALKING TO EACH OTHER -- IT IS LIKE A CLOSE-UP SHOT, OR A MEDIUM CLOSE-UP SHOT IN FILM.

IT'S ACTUALLY PRETTY INTIMATE.

AND SO THE TALKS AND CONVERSATIONS -- FOR EXAMPLE, WE HAVE A SERIES CALLED CINEMA CAFE WHERE TWO ARTISTS ARE IN CONVERSATION.

THEY DON'T NECESSARILY KNOW EACH OTHER.

BUT WE WILL HAVE EVA LONGORIA, I THINK EMMA THOMPSON IS SLATED TO BE THERE.

THE INTIMACY WE CAN HAVE WITH PEOPLE WE KNOW VERY WELL OR PEOPLE WE HAVEN'T HEARD OF YET BUT WILL BREAK OUT.

THAT IS ONE THING TO LEARN ABOUT THE CRAFT AND HEAR ABOUT THE MAKING THIS WORK.

THE OTHER THING, IN OUR BIG CONVERSATION SERIES WE HAVE A DISCUSSION WHICH IS GOING TO BE FASCINATING.

KIMBERLY CRENSHAW, WHO IS ONE THE FOUNDERS OF CRITICAL RACE THEORY, DID AN INCREDIBLE PANEL LAST YEAR.

AND SHE WILL BE IN CONVERSATION WITH PROFESSOR DAVID BLIGHT, WHO IS THE STERLING PROFESSOR OF HISTORY AT YALE UNIVERSITY.

AND LAST YEAR THEY TALKED ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED ON JANUARY 6th.

AND ACTUALLY, THOSE THREE WEDNESDAYS IN JANUARYS WHICH WERE INCREDIBLE FOR TESTIMONY ACCURACY AND WHAT IT MEANS.

THEY ARE REPRISING THAT CONVERSATION THIS YEAR, BUT TALKING ABOUT NARRATIVES.

WE ARE A FILM FESTIVAL, SO TALKING ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF NARRATIVE.

WHEN THE STATE GETS INVOLVED IN TRYING TO REPRESS NARRATIVES, WHAT THAT MEANS FOR HISTORY, WHAT THAT MEANS FOR DEMOCRACY.

SO WE ARE TACKLING -- WE ARE TACKLING THE ARTS.

WE ARE ALSO TACKLING INCREDIBLY WEIGHTY ISSUES OF THE MOMENT WITH THE SMARTEST, MOST BRILLIANT THINKERS.

THERE IS A WHOLE RANGE OF STUFF DCHT AND SOME FUN AS WELL.

I AM MAKING IT SOUND VERY SERIOUS, BUT WE ARE GOING TO HAVE FUN, TOO.

I TEACH AT YALE AND I WOULD TAKE ANY OPPORTUNITY TO LISTEN TO PROFESSOR BLIGHT ANY TIME I COULD.

I THINK PEOPLE ARE IN FOR A TREAT WITH THAT.

IT IS A COMPETITION.

WE TALK ABOUT ALL OF THESE OPPORTUNITIES TO WATCH AND TO LEARN, BUT IT IS A COMPETITION.

TELL US ABOUT THAT ELEMENT.

IT IS FUNNY YOU SAY THAT, JACK, BECAUSE I -- I AM CONFLICTED OVER COMPETITION, PARTICULARLY WHEN IT COMES TO THE ARTS.

BUT WHAT WE KNOW IS ONE OF OUR ROLES AS A FESTIVAL, PERHAPS OUR MOST IMPORTANT ROLE, IS TO ELEVATE THIS WORK, THIS INDEPENDENT WORK, AND THESE MAKE WHO ARE COME TO US OFTEN IT'S THEIR FIRST OR SECOND-TIME FILM.

WE NEED TO FIND ALL MEANS NECESSARY TO LIFT THIS UP ABOVE THE NOISE OF EVERYTHING ELSE GOING ON.

AND SO COMPETITION -- NOT ALL OF OUR SECTIONS ARE COMPETITION SECS.

BUT WE HAVE FOUR COMPETITION SECTIONS -- MORE, ACTUALLY.

FIVE.

AND THEY -- THE WINNERS OF THOSE COMPETITIONS AND THE INCREDIBLE JURORS THAT COME TOGETHER AROUND THIS WORK CAN HELP JUST PEEK ABOVE THE NOISE FOR A MOMENT AND PEOPLE NOTICE OH, THERE IS SOMEBODY TO WATCH, OR THERE IS A PIECE OF WORK TO WATCH.

AND, YOU KNOW, I THINK, AGAIN, JURORS ARE INDIVIDUALS WITH EXPERIENCE AND INSIGHT AND EXPERTISE.

AND THEY ARE DRAWN TO CERTAIN FILMS.

EVERY FILM AND FILM MAKER IS A WINNER BY GETTING INTO SUN DANCE.

IT IS EXTRAORDINARILY COMPETITIVE.

I MEAN, WE HAD ALMOST 15,000 ENTRIES, FILMS THIS YEAR.

YOU KNOW, AND THAT RESULTS IN 82 FEATURE FILMS AND 50 SHORTS.

SO EVERYONE IS A WINNER JUST BY GETTING INTO THE FESTIVAL.

BUT THE COMPETITION ELEMENT IS A WAY OF DRAWING MORE ATTENTION TO THIS WORK.

I THINK ANYBODY -- WE DON'T HAVE TIME TO TALK ABOUT IT, BUT IF SOMEBODY TAKES LOOK AT ALL THE FILMS THAT HAVE COME OUT OF SUN DANCE OVER ITS HISTORY -- I AM GOING OVER IT MYSELF SAYING I DIDN'T REALIZE THAT ONE.

I DIDN'T KNOW THAT ONE.

TOO.

MY GOODNESS ALL THE ONES THAT COME OUT OF IT.

RIGHT.

AND IT IS DONE SO WONDERFULLY.

IT HAS BEEN SUCH A SPRINGBOARD.

WE DON'T HAVE THE CHANCE TO TALK ABOUT IT BUT YOU TOUCHED BASE ON IT.

SUN DANCE AND OTHER FESTIVALS HAVE DONE MARVELOUS WORK ON EXPANDING DIVERSITY HERE IN THE INDUSTRY, AND HELPING PEOPLE.

I HAVE GOT A LITTLE BIT MORE THAN A MINUTE LEFT.

AND I WANT TO FINISH WITH A BIT OF A PERSONAL QUESTION FOR YOU.

I SAID HISTORY-MAKING DIRECTOR WHEN I INTRODUCED YOU.

THAT'S BECAUSE YOU ARE THE FIRST WOMAN, FIRST PERSON OF COLOR TO LEAD SUN DANCE.

LET ME TAKE YOU BACK TO, YOU TAKE OVER IN FEBRUARY OF 2020.

AND WE KNOW WHAT HAPPENS IN MARCH OF 2020.

SO YOU HAVE THIS ENORMOUS OPPORTUNITY TO BE HISTORY MAKING AND NOW YOU RUN INTO COVID.

YOUR THOUGHTS WHEN ALL OF THAT WAS TAKING PLACE?

AGAIN, I HAVE GOT ABOUT A MINUTE HERE.

I WAS HANDED THE KEYS TO THE FESTIVAL, JACK, AS YOU SAID, AND MY -- MY WORRY HAD BEEN, AND MY RESPONSIBLE WAS TO CARRY THIS VERY SUCCESSFUL FESTIVAL FORWARD INTO THE FUTURE WITHOUT BREAKING IT.

AND WHAT THAT MEANS IS BEING VERY CAREFUL, AND CAUTIOUS, AND BRINGING PEOPLE ALONG.

WHAT THE PANDEMIC ACTUALLY DID WAS TO SAY, THIS THING HAS TO BE BROKEN OPEN BECAUSE WE HAVE TO GET BACK TO THE ESSENCE OF WHAT THIS FESTIVAL AND A FESTIVAL CAN BE SO THAT WE CAN MOVE FORWARD UNDER THESE CHALLENGING CONDITIONS.

SO I DID, AFTER MY INITIAL TOTAL FREAK OUT, SEE THIS AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO FOLLOW OUR VALUES, FOLLOW OUR PURPOSE THAT HAD BEEN SET BY ROBERT REDFORD TO TAKE IT FORWARD.

I CAN TELL YOU THAT I THINK FIVE YEARS FROM NOW WE WILL LOOK BACK AND SAY WHAT A WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY THIS TERRIBLE TRAGEDY WAS TO AFFECT THIS, AND TO EXPAND IT IN SO MANY WAYS.

TAB THAT, WONDERFUL WORK YOU ARE DOING.

LOOKING FORWARD TO THE DWOO FESTIVAL.

TAKE CARE.

THANK YOU JACK.

SEE YOU ON THE SPACESHIP.

BYE NOW.

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