Michel Hazanavicius’ film “Final Cut” has dropped out of its planned premiere slot at the Sundance Film Festival after the festival chose to move to a fully virtual format amid the widening COVID-19 pandemic.
Hazanivicius, who took home an Oscar for Best Picture winner “The Artist,” said he and the filmmakers support the festival’s decision but they prefer to open the film in a theater with a live audience. The movie is also no longer listed on the Sundance program website for 2022.
“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,” the director and the filmmaking team said in a 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” is a comedy about a low-budget film crew that sets out to make a zombie movie, only to be attacked by real-life zombies, and the film is described as a love letter to directors and filmmaking. The film is an acquisition title with sales handled by CAA and Wild Bunch International. The film stars Romain Duris, Bérénice Bejo, Grégory Gadebois, Finnegan Oldfield, Matilda Lutz and Raphaël Quenard.
“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,” the festival said in a statement. “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 is scheduled for January 20-30 and will now be fully virtual amid the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.