The Santa Barbara Int’l Film Festival has announced that next year’s event will run from 1.15.20 to 1.25.20. This is unusual as the SBIFF has almost always spanned from late January into early February, in part to avoid overlapping with the Sundance Film Festival. Generally speaking the SBIFF usually begins as Sundance is coming to a close, although once or twice it’s begun a few days or a week later.
Therefore the new 2020 SBIFF dates (1.15 thru 1.25) startled me. I did some checking and discovered that a Sundance Institute applications page contains the following sentence: “The dates for the 2020 Sundance Festival are January 23 – February 2, 2020.”
Therefore the 2020 Santa Barbara Film Festival will, for the first time ever, precede a Sundance Film Festival. The last portion of SBIFF ’20 will actually overlap the first days of Sundance ’20, which means that as far as go-getter journalistic coverage is concerned the celebrity tributes will want to wrap by Tuesday night, 1.21, to allow journos to leave for Park City on Wednesday, 1.22.20.
The earlier SBIFF is an adjustment to the fact that the 2020 Oscar telecast will happen on Sunday, 2.9. The 2019 Oscar show will happen on 2.24, or two weeks later than the 2020 show (and two weeks from this weekend).
For years and years the pattern has been to endure the hard-charging Sundance festival in 25-degree temperatures and snowstorms and whatnot, and then hit the gentle, warmer climes of Santa Barbara and coverage that is always less stressful. But in 2020, it’ll be Santa Barbara first and then Sundance.
Incidentally: Below is a screen capture of the Sundance Institute’s code of conduct. Please pay attention to the second paragraph. Given how Sundance played their cards with Hollywood Elsewhere this year and especially Sundance exec director Keri Putnam‘s statement that she regards the press-passing of “mostly white male critics” as a “blind spot,” maybe someone can explain how they honored their own pledge to keep the Sundance Film Festival “free of…discrimination, sexism [and] disrespectful behavior.”