It was on again, then maybe possibly not, then most definitely “yes” if you were booster-shot and vaccinated — 2022 was set to be the year that Sundance would return to doing an in-person film festival, after 2021’s all-virtual edition. Attendees would once again be packed onto shuttles, comparing notes on which social-issue documentary to catch and crowing about seeing Ariana Grande at the checkout stand of the grocery store on Park Ave. A viral variant had other plans, alas, and we’re back to communing over cinematic discoveries and must-sees while hunched over our respective laptops. The 2022 in-person edition was canceled, and while the fest would still run from January 20th through the 30th, it would be online only. It was the right choice, the safe choice, and one met with both sighs of frustration and, frankly, relief. Ah, Sundance! Ah, humanity!
The benefit of virtual film festivals is that what you lose in the you-are-there experience of schlepping from screening to screening, bonding with folks in lines and being in the room when the lights go back up and careers are born, you gain in geography becoming an afterthought. You do not have to be in Park City to Sundance it up, in other words, and we look forward to sharing the highs and lows of what this year’s fest brings. Here are 22 movies we’re looking forward to seeing — and discussing and arguing over and unpacking with other virtual viewers — once the festival kicks off this Thursday. See you at the movies and in our DMs.