New Frontier of the Sundance Film Festival will connect physical and virtual worlds for 2022

New technology-driven art will be headquartered in Park City and in an online spaceship.

(Sundance Institute) An image from The Spaceship, a virtual meeting place that will be part of the Sundance Film Festival 2022 New Frontier program.

The 2022 Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier program will be a “biodigital showcase” that bridges the gap between virtual and physical art spaces, say the festival organizers.

Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute, the nonprofit arts group that hosts the annual festival, announced Monday that it will host the New Frontier program – which highlights the artistic and storytelling applications of new technology – both in person in Park City and on a virtual place.

The virtual venue, called The Spaceship, will be accessible through a laptop or VR headset (like Oculus devices). There, festival goers can see a gallery of works from the New Frontier lineup, interact with other movie party visitors, and watch programs and performances in an immersive online theater called Cinema House.

The spaceship is thematically linked to The Craft, the personal space at 950 Iron Horse Drive in Park City. The space was named New Frontier Central when it opened at the 2019 festival, in a space that used to house the icon of an earlier generation for new storytelling technology: a blockbuster video store.

Free to all festival goers from January 21-25, The Craft features a daily series of Beyond Film talks, artist and community panels, and other get-togethers. Some of these events, known as “Artist Spotlights”, will take place in person and virtually in the spaceship’s cinema house.

The Craft, say the festival organizers, will also offer a technology that will allow people to connect with virtual festival-goers via the spaceship.

New Frontier performances will also take place at the Egyptian Theater in Park City, concurrently broadcast on The Spaceship – with in-theater and online viewers participating in post-performance Q&A sessions.

The programmers of Sundance will announce the New Frontier program sometime in December along with the approximately 80 feature films of the festival.

The spaceship is a continuation of the New Frontier platform launched during the 2021 festival, which was only online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“After Festival ’21 we found that effectively presenting the work online required one of the hottest and most inaccessible experiences of previous festivals, and made it instantly available to anyone with the right technology worldwide,” said Shari Frilot, a senior programmer of the festival and chief curator of New Frontier said in a statement. “New Frontier is prioritizing biodigital design this year as a very adventurous endeavor that addresses the priorities of its creators, artists and audiences.”

The craft is free for festival goers. Spaceship access is available to anyone with an Explorer Pass, which costs $ 50 or is included with all festival ticket packages. Tickets are required for events at The Egyptian; Tickets will be available for package holders on December 17th, and single tickets will go on sale on January 5th.

The 2022 Sundance Film Festival will take place January 20-30 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Sundance Mountain Resort and online.

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