Sundance Director Outlines 2024 Festival Changes: Earlier Screenings, Delayed Online Component for Press

Eugene Hernandez says the 40th anniversary of the event will prioritize an in-person experience

2023 Sundance Film Festival
Courtesy of Sundance Institute

In his first communication as Sundance Film Festival director, Eugene Hernandez sent a letter on Tuesday outlining what to know about the upcoming 2024 edition of the Utah festival, including a few changes from past years.

“This year, we’re getting started a little earlier, screenings will begin around noon on Jan. 18,” Hernandez said. “So if you’re coming from out of state, consider traveling on Wednesday so you don’t miss any of our opening day.”

The festival is also putting an emphasis on programming for the midpoint and second weekend in an effort to convince festivalgoers to stick around a bit longer.

“We’re prioritizing a festive and formative in-person festival in Park City and Salt Lake City all the way through the closing weekend,” he said. “With the addition of special programming and more opportunities to see all of the films in both cities during the second half of the Festival, we hope you’ll join us for more days of Sundance 2024. Or, if your schedule and resources are limited, plan to dig in at the midpoint to get a taste of everything we’re planning through the Festival’s final weekend. This is a great time for new artists to join us. The midpoint is also when we will be welcoming back Festival alumni from across our four decades — along with the next generation of artists — to join us on the Mountain to take in our special events, see this year’s films and connect and reunite with one another.”

Sundance 2024, the 40th iteration of the festival, will run from Jan. 18-24, and the in-person screenings are being prioritized.

The online component of the festival will return, but films won’t be available to watch at home until Thursday, Jan. 25. The at-home screenings will include films in the competition selections (including NEXT), and films in other selections can opt-in during that time for a limited sneak preview window.

Press and industry will have access to online screenings one day earlier, on Jan. 24, but that’s significantly later than last year. No films will be available early for professionals before that date.

The lineup will again include over 90 feature films and over 60 shorts, so the quantity of films is on par with previous years. Venues remain the same – the Eccles, Egyptian, Library Center and more old standards are back – and the Festival Awards will be presented during the day on Friday, Jan. 26, at the Ray Theater.

“This new role is a true honor and full circle moment for me, having attended the Sundance Film Festival for the first time back in 1993,” Hernandez wrote in closing. “There I met lifelong friends and colleagues and even launched IndieWire with the Institute’s crucial support. So much has changed in our field since then. In the midst of yet another moment of evolution, we believe deeply in the vital impact of independent filmmaking, discovery, and the enduring power of festivals as a bridge between audiences and artists. Thanks for your support of Sundance and the artists we serve. I look forward to sharing more soon, and gathering in January!”