The Sundance Film Festival is planning to offer COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to eligible in-person attendees, multiple sources told Variety.
Following last week’s festival mandate requiring all participants in screenings and official events to show proof of three vaccination shots, Sundance is putting resources into offering boosters on the ground in Park City, Utah. Over a series of filmmaker calls this week, international artists and producing teams were informed of the offer, two individuals familiar with the matter said.
While the initiative has not yet been formally announced, the CDC’s guidelines for booster eligibility say individuals must have received their second COVID vaccination at least six months prior to a booster shot. Boosters are also only available for those age 18 and older. Sundance is scheduled to run from Jan. 20 to 30 and will also mount a hybrid virtual edition.
In-person gatherings have been dropping like flies from Hollywood calendars recently, as the omicron variant has stormed the U.S. This includes the Wednesday cancellation of the annual Palm Springs Film Festival, and before that, the film academy’s annual Governors Awards and the Critics Choice Awards (both scheduled for January).
Sundance is proceeding with extreme precautions. Individuals familiar with the festival pointed out that the smattering of cancelled events are largely splashy gala celebrations where guests eat, drink and double-kiss all evening. Having banned food and drink and mandated masks for the duration of film screenings, Sundance remains confident it can mitigate omicron risks, said the insiders.
Sundance has partnered with the company PandemSafe to offer free tests to all participants at vaccine verification and testing hubs around the festival campus this year. Employees, volunteers and on-site contractors will be required to be tested upon check-in at the event, and they will be encouraged to test once every subsequent 48 hours. Creatives, press and industry are also required to be tested within 48 hours prior to arrival or upon arrival. Additional testing is required for attendance to a slate of private events.