The Sundance Film Festival 2022 world premiere of Kanye West’s Netflix documentary jeen-yuhs has been affected by COVID-19. Organizers announced on Wednesday (January 5) the in-person return of the legendary film festival in Park City, Utah would be shuttered due to rising Omicron cases in the area.
The festival was set to kick off on January 20, when cases are reportedly expected to peak, and instead would be moved entirely online, squandering any hope of in-person viewing.
“Despite the most ambitious protocols, the Omicron variant with its unexpectedly high transmissibility rates is pushing the limits of health safety, travel, and other infrastructures across the country. And so, today we’re announcing: the Festival’s in-person Utah elements will be moving online this year,” read the announcement from the Sundance Institute.
Festival organizers added that “while it is a deep loss to not have the in-person experience in Utah, we do not believe it is safe nor feasible to gather thousands of artists, audiences, employees, volunteers, and partners from around the world, for an eleven-day festival while overwhelmed communities are already struggling to provide essential services.”
Sundance posted to its Instagram on Tuesday (January 4) that any attendees with in-person tickets would be able to alter their tickets to accommodate the now completely-virtual online screenings.
Among the plethora of anticipated films was Ye’s jeen-yuhs documentary, which would chronicle the rise of the 44-year-old Hip Hop mogul. Netflix confirmed the Coodie & Chike-directed film would make its debut at Sundance 2022, and debut on their streaming platform at a later date.
“Shot over 20 years, this documentary trilogy is an intimate and revealing portrait of Kanye West’s experience, showcasing both his formative days trying to break through and his life today as a global brand and artist,” Netflix said in a statement. While Ye isn’t directly involved in the film, he reportedly signed off on the footage being used. The documentary reportedly sold for over $30 million in April.