The Sundance Film Festival is launching later this month in virtual form for the first time ever, offering attendance-limited screenings of festival entries that can be enjoyed from home. But via partnerships with arthouse theaters around the country, there are also some in-person, pop-up screenings happening —including some at the Fort Mason pop-up drive-in in San Francisco, hosted by the Roxie Theater.
Despite San Francisco having shut down all such activities in early December, the city has made an exception for the Sundance screenings at the four-month-old, temporary drive-in — and, really, could a drive-in really be that unsafe? Festival-goers are expected to adhere to state and city guidelines, with only one household permitted in each car, as KQED reports.
The screenings run during the virtual festival, from January 28 to February 2, and this is the only satellite location for Sundance in Northern California, as KQED reports. Tickets are $49 per car — and SUVs get pushed to the back, for sightline reasons.
Organizers of the drive-in say that they'll be complying with all state guidelines — which do still allow drive-ins to operate — and no concessions will be available. Assuming other businesses aren't allowed open by the end of the month, this would be the only "non-essential" thing allowed to operate in SF.
“In line with the city’s allowance of industry operation to the level at which the state permits, San Francisco has worked with the Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture to carefully examine operating conditions that reduce the risk of drive-in theaters as much as possible," organizers said in a statement to KQED. "The Fort Mason Center has been a close partner in ensuring that their operations are aligned with the current state of public health conditions in San Francisco and we will continue to work together on these issues."
Among the films being screened here include the international premiere of Son of Monarchs, by Mexican director and screenwriter Alexis Gambis, on the 28th; the world premiere of In the Earth, a virus-related thriller from the UK, on the 30th; and Together Together, a comedy from writer/director Nikole Beckwith and starring Ed Helms, Patti Harrison, Tig Notaro, Julio Torres, and Anna Konkle.