The Reimagined Sundance Film Festival 2021 Diary

3 min readJan 31, 2021

Sundance Diary Day One Thursday, January 28, 2021:

It’s Sundance week, but few if any filmmakers or media pros are trekking to Park City, Utah. This Year’s Sundance Film Festival is all virtual due to the spread of COVID-19. Our smartphones are festival movie screens. Our couches are replacing red carpets. A custom-built platform allows Sundance 2021 attendees to stream premieres similar to how we’ve been watching movies throughout the time of COVID-19. What’s unique is experiencing digital gathering spots from the Artist Lounge to Main Street. After a year of joining virtual brainstorms featuring just about every online event platform, I’m happy to share that the custom Sundance Festival platform works beautifully. My avatar is having a blast sprinting across the New Frontier hub and looking forward to networking with all the Sundance 2021 virtual attendees.

‘In the Same Breath,’ Director Nanfu Wang captures the emotional toll of Covid-19. Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute.

What I’m Watching:

‘In the Same Breath’

With ‘In the Same Breath,’ making its premier at reimagined 2021 Sundance Film Festival, the political story of our lifetimes transforms into the personal journey of a mother and her son caught in the coronavirus outbreak during a New Year’s visit with family near Wuhan China.

Stand-out documentary filmmaker Nanfu Wang (‘One Child Nation’), born in China, captures the emotional toll of Covid-19 by replacing news headlines with intimate stories of personal losses and recoveries.

Many of the film’s political topics are familiar to audiences who’ve been following the COVID-19 news in detail. What’s breathtaking and new are the individual stories Wang and her team of ten-plus cinematographers gather for an emotionally riveting feature from start to finish.

Jesse Eisenberg shares the story behind his audio-first production ‘When You Finish Saving the World’ in the Variety Streaming Room. Photo by SR Media.

What I’m Learning:

‘When You Finish Saving the World’

Creator Jesse Eisenberg joins actor Finn Wolfhard and Rachel Ghiazza. EVP, Head of US Content at Audible, in the Variety Streaming Room for a virtual case study of his audio-first production ‘When You Finish Saving the World.’ Eisenberg pulls the curtain back on the creative…


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