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Following last week’s news that the Sundance Film Festival would be moved completely online due to concerns over the COVID-19 omicron variant, director Michel Hazanavicius and the team behind Final Cut announced that the film would no longer be screening as a part of the festival line-up.
“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,” read the statement. “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.”
Final Cut was set to screen in the Premieres section of the festival and becomes the first film to drop out of the program since Sundance’s Jan. 5 announcement that the fest would be going virtual for the second year in a row.
Sundance organizers offered in a statement: “We had looked forward to screening Final Cut and due to the shift in our format they are no longer participating in the Festival. We respect the filmmaker’s wishes to share their work in a different capacity. 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.”
Sundance was set to take place in Park City from Jan. 20 to Jan. 30 and was always planned as a hybrid format, following last year’s completely virtual fest. On Dec. 23, Sundance unveiled increased COVID-19 mitigation measures, including reduced theater capacity and the requirement of booster shots. (It was previously required that all in-person attendees only had to have their first dose of COVID-19 vaccines.)
Hazanavicius, the Oscar-winner behind The Artist, wrote and directed the French-language title that follows a small film crew shooting a low-budget zombie movie that then is attacked by real zombies. The title, which is being repped for sale by CAA Media Finance and Wild Bunch, was produced by John Penotti, Noëmie Devide, Alain de la Mata, Brahim Chioua, Vincent Maravalr, and Hazanavicius.
Updated Jan. 10 12:40 p.m. Updated to include statements from Sundance festival organizers.
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