Oscar-winning filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius (“The Artist”) announced that his latest film “Final Cut” will no longer premiere as part of the Sundance lineup after the film festival canceled its in-person component.
In a statement, Hazanavicius and the team of filmmakers explained their decision to pull the project.
“We fully support Sundance’s decision to move the festival to a virtual format, as the safety of audiences and filmmakers is of paramount importance,” they stated. “However, we believe that it is best to premiere ‘Final Cut’ in a theater with a live audience and have made the difficult decision to remove the film from this year’s festival. We wish Sundance and all the filmmakers involved an excellent festival and look forward to sharing ‘Final Cut’ with audiences very soon.
Sundance organizers announced last week that the 2022 edition of the film festival would be presented virtually, due to rising cases of COVID-19. “Final Cut” is the only film to date to drop off the Sundance lineup, after the festival pivoted to a virtual model in 2021, which ultimately proved buzz-worthy among audiences and successful in the business of sales, with awards players like “CODA,” “Passing,” “Summer of Soul” and “Flee” making their debuts at the fest, which was primarily held virtually, with select physical screenings held in markets across the U.S.
“We had looked forward to screening ‘Final Cut’ and due to the shift in our format they are no longer participating in the festival,” Sundance organizers confirmed in a statement about the lineup change. “We respect the filmmaker’s wishes to share their work in a different capacity.”
The statement continued: “We remain committed to supporting filmmakers as we navigate the changing landscape to ensure independent artists get the visibility they deserve and while we’re deeply disappointed to not gather as intended, the safety of our entire community must come first.”
“Final Cut” was among the buzzier selections in the 2022 Sundance lineup, with the French film set to debut in the festival’s premieres section. Written and directed by Hazanavicius, the story follows the small crew of a low-budget zombie movie, who get attacked by … real zombies. Alongside Hazanavicius, “Final Cut” is produced by John Penotti, Noëmie Devide, Alain de la Mata, Brahim Chioua and Vincent Maravalr. The cast features Romain Duris, Bérénice Bejo, Grégory Gadebois, Finnegan Oldfield, Matilda Lutz and Raphaël Quenard. Details of when and where the movie will premiere are forthcoming.
The Sundance Film Festival, which runs January 20-30, is just one of a growing list of notable events to cancel or postpone their in-person plans, including the Grammy Awards, the Palm Springs International Film Festival, the Academy’s Governors Awards, and the Critics Choice Awards.