This year's festival will look different, but it has the same depth of film talent that has made the annual festival one of the most important events in the indie world.
The Sundance Film Festival has announced its full list for the 2021 edition, which, in addition to physical screenings at satellite locations across the country, will mainly take place as a virtual event via an online platform. The program includes 72 feature films from 29 countries and 38 first-time feature filmmakers. Fourteen films and projects announced today have received development support from the Sundance Institute through direct grants or residency labs. The festival runs from January 28th to February 3rd, 2021.
This robust cast includes many familiar names and faces, including Edgar Wright, Lucy Walker, Robin Wright, Betsy West and Julie Cohen, Siân Heder, Sion Sono, Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister-Jones, Ana Katz, Kevin Macdonald and many more. More than half of the cast are first-time filmmakers, and they range from established actors like Rebecca Hall and Jerrod Carmichael to newcomers like Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr. Sixty-six of the festival's feature films, or 92 percent of the cast announced today, will be world premieres.
In 140 films and projects, 50 percent were directed by one or more women (after years of rapprochement, this year's Sundance will be the first to unfold behind the camera with gender equality). In addition, four percent were led by one or more non-binary people; 51 percent were staged by one or more color artists; 15 percent of one or more people who identify as LGBTQ +. These films were selected from 14,092 submissions, including 3,500 feature films. Tabitha Jackson, director of the Sundance Film Festival, told IndieWire, “Our process is a collective process. All the programmers are in the room discussing all of these films to create a program. There are certain things to consider and having a program that reflects the world as closely as possible, who we are and how we live is important to us. This is one of the things we discussed, but we are not programming on quotas. "
"Togetherness has been an invigorating principle here at the Sundance Institute as we have been working to redesign the festival for 2021 because there is no Sundance without our community," said Sundance Institute founder and president Robert Redford in an official Explanation. "Under the leadership of Tabitha, we have developed a new collective vision: one that honors the spirit and tradition of these invigorating annual gatherings in Utah while creating space for imaginative new opportunities in a new online format."
“This festival is a unique response to a unique year – both in terms of design and curation – and we are excited to see the new dimensions of possibilities that will arise. But at the core, there is something that speaks for our most enduring values, ”Jackson said in her own statement. “For thousands of years people have gathered to tell stories and make sense. In this pandemic year, we gather to celebrate a constellation of artists with unique perspectives who express this current moment and together say: “We exist. This is us. And we see that. "
The first day films that will debut on the platform at the opening of the festival are "Censor", "CODA", "Flee", "One for the Road", "In the Same Breath" and "Summer of Soul" (. .. or when) The revolution could not be televised. "Son of Monarchs," featured in the next section, was named the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Award winner.
The projects confirmed for the Sundance Film Festival 2021 are as follows: All synopses and information come from the festival.
US DRAMATIC COMPETITION
The Dramatic Competition presents the world premieres of 10 narrative feature films and offers festival-goers a first glimpse into groundbreaking new voices in American independent film.
"CODA" / USA (director and screenwriter: Siân Heder, producers: Philippe Rousselet, Fabrice Gianfermi, Patrick Wachsberger) – As a CODA child of deaf adult – Ruby is the only hearing person in her deaf family. When the family's fishing business is threatened, Ruby is torn between pursuing her love for music and her fear of leaving her parents. Cast: Emilia Jones, Eugenio Derbez, Troy Kotsur, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Daniel Durant and Marlee Matlin. World premiere. DAY ONE
"I was a simple man" / USA (Director and screenwriter: Christopher Makoto Yogi, Producers: Sarah S. Kim, Christopher Makoto Yogi, Matthew Petock, Yamato Cibulka) – As a family in Hawaii, the death of their eldest is imminent Past haunt the landscape. Cast: Steve Iwamoto, Konstanz Wu, Kanoa Goo, Chanel Akiko Hirai, Tim Chiou, Boonyanudh Jiyarom. World premiere
Jockey / USA (Directed by Clint Bentley, Writer: Clint Bentley, Greg Kwedar, Producer: Clint Bentley, Greg Kwedar, Nancy Schafer) – An aging jockey is determined to win one final championship, but his dream is at a young age complicated rookie shows up and claims to be his son. Starring: Clifton Collins Jr., Molly Parker, Moises Arias. World premiere
"John and the Hole" / USA (Director: Pascual Sisto, Screenwriter: Nicolás Giacobone, Producer: Elika Portnoy, Alex Orlovsky, Mike Bowes) – A non-traditional coming-of-age story set in the unsettling reality of John , a child, plays who keeps his family trapped in a hole in the ground. Starring: Charlie Shotwell, Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Ehle, and Taissa Farmiga. World premiere
“Mayday” / USA (director and screenwriter: Karen Cinorre, producers: Jonah Disend, Lucas Joaquin, Karen Cinorre, Sam Levy) – Ana is taken to a dreamy and dangerous country, where she joins a team of female soldiers who join in a never-ending war along a rugged coastline. Although she finds strength in this exciting world, she realizes that she is not the killer she is supposed to have. Actors: Grace Van Patten, Mia Goth, Rose Liu from Havana, Soko, Théodore Pellerin, Juliette Lewis. World premiere
"On the Count of Three" / USA (Director: Jerrod Carmichael, Scriptwriters: Ari Katcher, Ryan Welch, Producers: David Carrico, Adam Paulsen, Tom Werner, Jake Densen, Ari Katcher, Jimmy Price) – Two weapons. Two best friends. And a pact to end her life when the day is over. Starring: Jerrod Carmichael, Christopher Abbott, Tiffany Haddish, J. B. Smoove, Lavell Crawford, Henry Winkler. World premiere
"Passing" / USA (Director and Screenwriter: Rebecca Hall, Producers: Forest Whitaker, Nina Yang Bongiovi, Margot Hand, Rebecca Hall) – Two African American women who can "fit" as white live on opposite sides of the color line in the year 1929 New York in an exploration of race and gender identity, achievement, obsession and oppression. Based on the novella by Nella Larsen. Actors: Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga, André Holland, Alexander Skarsgård, Bill Camp. World premiere
"Superior" / USA (Director: Erin Vassilopoulos, Scriptwriters: Erin Vassilopoulos, Alessandra Mesa, Producers: Benjamin Cohen, Grant Curatola, Patrick Donovan) – On the run, Marian returns to her hometown in the state of New York to deal with her estrangement to hide identical twin sister Vivian. Marian struggles to leave the past behind and lies about the reason for her return. She leaves her sister in the dark until their two worlds begin to collide. Cast: Alessandra Mesa, Ani Mesa, Pico Alexander, Jake Hoffman and Stanley Simons. World premiere
"Together Together" / USA (director and screenwriter: Nikole Beckwith, producers: Anthony Brandonisio, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Tim Headington) – When the young loner Anna is hired to replace Matt, a single man in his forties, the two come Strangers realizing this unexpected relationship will quickly challenge their perception of the connection, limits, and details of love. Actors: Ed Helms, Patti Harrison, Tig Notaro, Julio Torres and Anna Konkle. World premiere
"Wild Indian" / USA (Director and Screenwriter: Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr., Producer: Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr., Thomas Mahoney, Eric Tavitian) – Two men are inextricably linked after covering up the wild murder of a schoolmate. After years of separating in very different ways, they finally have to grapple with how their traumatic secret has irrevocably shaped their lives. Cast: Michael Greyeyes, Chaske Spencer, Jesse Eisenberg, Kate Bosworth, Phoenix Wilson and Julian Gopal. World premiere
US DOCUMENTARY CONTEST:
Ten American world premiere documentaries that shed light on the ideas, people and events that shape the present.
"Ailey" / USA (Director: Jamila Wignot, Producer: Lauren DeFilippo) – Alvin Ailey was a visionary artist who found salvation through dance. In his own words and by creating a dance inspired by his life, this haunting portrait tells a man who, when faced with a world that refuses to embrace him, is determined to build one that would . World premiere
"All Light, Everywhere" / USA (Director: Theo Anthony, Producer: Riel Roch-Decter, Sebastian Pardo, Jonna McKone) – An investigation into the common history of cameras, weapons, police and justice. As surveillance technologies become an integral part of everyday life, the film questions the complexity of an objective point of view and examines the prejudices inherent in both human perception and the lens. World premiere
At the Ready / USA (Directed by Maisie Crow, Producers: Hillary Pierce, Maisie Crow, Abbie Perrault) – Students at Horizon High School in El Paso, home of one of the largest law enforcement education programs in the region, become police officers and border guards Discovering the realities of their dream jobs can be at odds with the truths and people they care about. World premiere
"Cusp" / USA (Directors: Parker Hill, Isabel Bethencourt, Producers: Zachary Luke Kislevitz, Parker Hill, Isabel Bethencourt) – In a Texas military town, three teenage girls stand in front of the dark corners of youth at the end of a feverish dream summer. World premiere
"Homeroom" / USA (Director: Peter Nicks, Producer: Peter Nicks, Sean Havey) – After class of 2020 at Oakland High School in a year marked by seismic changes, explore the emotional world of adult teenagers against the backdrop of a fast changing world. World premiere
"Rebel Hearts" / USA (Director: Pedro Kos, Producer: Kira Carstensen, Shawnee Isaac-Smith, Judy Korin) – A group of pioneers bravely oppose the patriarchy of the Catholic Church and fight for their livelihood, their convictions and their equality against an almighty cardinal. From the march in Selma in 1965 to the women's march in 2018, these women changed our society with their courageous acts of defiance. World premiere
"Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Chose" /.USA (Directed by Mariem Pérez Riera, Producers: Brent Miller, Mariem Pérez Riera, Ilia J. Vélez-Dávila) – Rita Moreno defied both her humble upbringing and relentless racism to become a select group that deserves an Emmy , Grammy, won. Oscar and Tony Award. In her seventy year career, she paved the way for Hispanic-American artists by refusing to be categorized into one-dimensional stereotypes. World premiere
"Summer Of Soul" (… or when the revolution couldn't be televised) / USA (Director: Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, Producer: David Dinerstein, Robert Fyvolent, Joseph Patel) – Over 300,000 in the same summer as Woodstock People participated in the Harlem Cultural Festival, celebrating African American music and culture, and promoting black pride and unity. The festival footage was in a basement that has not been seen in over 50 years and has made this incredible event in American history lost – until now. World premiere. DAY ONE
"Try harder!" / USA (Director: Debbie Lum, Producer: Debbie Lum, Lou Nakasako, Nico Opper) – In a universe where cool kids are nerds, the orchestra is world class and Asian Americans are the norm. Lowell High School seniors compete for the grand prize: admission to the college of their dreams. World premiere
"Users" / USA, Mexico (Director: Natalia Almada, Producer: Elizabeth Lodge Stepp, Josh Penn) – A mother wonders if my children love their perfect machines more than me, their imperfect mother? She turns on a smart crib that lulls her crying baby to sleep. That perfect mother is everywhere. She watches over us, takes care of us. We listen to her. We trust her. World premiere
WORLD CINEMA DRAMATIC COMPETITION
Ten films from aspiring filmmakers around the world offer new perspectives and inventive styles.
"The Dog Who Wouldn't Be Quiet" / Argentina (Directors: Ana Katz, Scriptwriters: Ana Katz, Gonzalo Delgado, Producers: Laura Huberman, Ana Katz) – Sebastian, a man in his thirties, works in a number of temporary jobs and he hugs love at every opportunity. He transforms through a series of brief encounters as the world flirts with a possible apocalypse. Actors: Daniel Katz, Julia Zylberberg, Valeria Lois, Mirella Pascual, Carlos Portaluppi. World premiere
“El Planeta” / USA, Spain (Director and Screenwriter: Amalia Ulman, Producer: Amalia Ulman, Kathleen Heffernan, Kweku Mandela) – In the midst of the devastation of Spain after the crisis, mother and daughter are bluffing to keep up their lifestyle. They deserve to get over overturn a shared tragedy and an impending eviction. Cast: Amalia Ulman, Ale Ulman, Nacho Vigalondo, Zhou Chen and Saoirse Bertram. World premiere
"Fire in the Mountains" / India (Director and screenwriter: Ajitpal Singh, producers: Ajay Rai, Alan McAlex) – A mother tries to save money to build a road in a Himalayan village to bring her wheelchair-bound son to the Bringing physical therapy, but her husband, who believes that an expensive religious ritual is the cure, is stealing her savings. Cast: Vinamrata Rai, Chandan Bisht, Mayank Singh Jaira, Harshita Tewari and Sonal Jha. World premiere
"Hive" / Kosovo, Switzerland, Macedonia, Albania (director and screenwriter: Blerta Basholli, producers: Yll Uka, Valon Bajgora, Agon Uka) – Fahrije's husband has been missing in Kosovo since the war. She starts her own small business to care for her children, but when she battles a patriarchal society that doesn't support her, she faces a crucial decision: wait for his return or hold out. Actors: Yllka Gashi, Çun Lajçi, Aurita Agushi, Kumrije Hoxha, Adriana Matoshi and Kaona Sylejmani. World premiere
“Human Factors” / Germany, Italy, Denmark (director and screenwriter: Ronny Trocker, producers: Susanne Mann, Paul Zischler, Martin Rehbock) – a mysterious break-in reveals the agony of an exemplary middle-class family. Actors: Sabine Timoteo, Mark Waschke, Jule Hermann, Wanja Valentin Kube, Hannes Perkmann, Daniel Séjourné. World premiere
“Luzzu” / Malta (director and screenwriter: Alex Camilleri, producers: Rebecca Anastasi, Ramin Bahrani, Alex Camilleri, Oliver Mallia) – Jesmark, a fishing fisherman on the island of Malta, is forced to turn his back on generations of tradition and tradition Risk it all by entering the world of black market fishing to care for his girlfriend and newborn baby. Actors: Jesmark Scicluna, Michela Farrugia, David Scicluna. World premiere
"One for the Road" / China, Hong Kong, Thailand (Director: Baz Poonpiriya, Scriptwriters: Baz Poonpiriya, Nottapon Boonprakob, Puangsoi Aksornsawang, Producer: Wong Kar Wai) – Boss is a consummate lady man, a free spirit and a bar owner in NYC. One day he receives a surprise call from Aood, an estranged friend who has returned to Thailand. Aood dies of cancer and asks Boss for help making a bucket list – but both of them are hiding something. Cast: Tor Thanapob, Ice Natara, Violette Wautier, Aokbab Chutimon, Ploi Horwang and Noon Siraphun. World premiere. DAY ONE
“The Pink Cloud” / Brazil (Director and Screenwriter: Iuli Gerbase, Producer: Patricia Barbieri) – A mysterious and deadly pink cloud appears around the world, forcing everyone to stay home. In the beginning, strangers, Giovana and Yago, try to invent each other as a couple, as a year-long lockdown pass. While Yago lives in his own utopia, Giovana feels trapped inside. Actors: Renata de Lélis, Eduardo Mendonça. World premiere
“Pleasure” / Sweden, Netherlands, France (Director and screenwriter: Ninja Thyberg, producers: Eliza Jones, Markus Waltå, Erik Hemmendorff) – A 20-year-old girl moves from her small Swedish town to LA to make a career in the Adult film industry. Cast: Sofia Kappel, Revika Anne Reustle, Evelyn Claire, Chris Cock, Dana DeArmond and Kendra Spade. World premiere
“Prime Time” / Poland (director: Jakub Piątek, scriptwriters: Jakub Piątek, Łukasz Czapski, producer: Jakub Razowski) – On the last day of 1999, 20-year-old Sebastian locked himself in a television studio. He has two hostages, a weapon and an important message for the world. The story of the attack examines the extreme measures and last resort of a rebel. Actors: Bartosz Bielenia, Magdalena Popławska, Andrzej Kłak, Małgorzata Hajewska-Krzysztofik, Dobromir Dymecki, Monika Frajczyk. World premiere
WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
Ten documentaries from some of the most daring filmmakers working around the world today.
“Faya Dayi” / Ethiopia, USA (director, screenwriter and producer: Jessica Beshir) – A spiritual journey into the highlands of Harar, immersed in the rituals of khat, a leaf that Sufi Muslims have chewed for centuries for religious meditations – and Ethiopia's most lucrative cash harvest today. A tapestry with intimate stories offers a glimpse into the dreams of youth under a repressive regime. World premiere
“Flucht” / Denmark, France, Sweden, Norway (Director: Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Producer: Monica Hellström, Signe Byrge Sørensen) – Amin came to Denmark from Afghanistan as an unaccompanied minor. Today he is a successful academic and marries his longtime friend. A secret he's been hiding for 20 years threatens to ruin the life he's built. World premiere. DAY ONE
"Inconvenient Indian" / Canada (Director and Screenwriter: Michelle Latimer, Producer: Stuart Henderson, Justine Pimlott, Jesse Wente) – An investigation into Thomas King's brilliant breakdown of the North American colonial narrative, refreshing history with the powerful voices of those who make the story continue tradition of indigenous resistance. International premiere
"Mischa and the Wolves" / United Kingdom, Belgium (Director and Screenwriter: Sam Hobkinson, Producers: Poppy Dixon, Al Morrow, Matthew Wells, Gregory Zalcman, Jürgen Buedts) – A woman's Holocaust memoirs are taking the world by storm, however a fallout with her publisher turned detective reveals her story as a bold deception created to hide a darker truth. World premiere
“The Most Beautiful Boy in the World” / Sweden (Director: Kristina Lindström, Kristian Petri, Producer: Stina Gardell) – The life of Swedish actor / musician Björn Andresen was forever changed at the age of 15 when he played Tadzio, the object by Dirk Bogarde's obsession with death in Venice – a role that led Italian maestro Luchino Visconti to call him "the most beautiful boy in the world". World premiere
"Playing With Sharks" / Australia (director and screenwriter: Sally Aitken, producer: Bettina Dalton) – Valerie Taylor is a shark fanatic and an Australian icon – a maritime outsider who has established herself as a fearless diver, cameraman and conservationist. She filmed the real sharks for Jaws and was known to wear a chain mail suit that used itself as shark bait and forever changed our scientific understanding of sharks. World premiere
"President" / Denmark, USA, Norway (Director: Camilla Nielsson, Producer: Signe Byrge Sørensen, Joslyn Barnes) – Zimbabwe is at a crossroads. Opposition MDC party leader Nelson Chamisa challenges the old guard ZANU-PF, led by Emmerson Mnangagwa, known as "The Crocodile". The elections test both the ruling party and the opposition – how do they interpret the principles of democracy in discourse and in practice? World premiere
“Sabaya” / Sweden (director and screenwriter: Hogir Hirori, producers: Antonio Russo Merenda, Hogir Hirori) – With just one cell phone and a gun, Mahmud, Ziyad and their group risk their lives to save Yazidi women and girls from ISIS as Sabaya (kidnapped sex slaves) in the Middle East's most dangerous camp, Al-Hol in Syria. World premiere
“Taming the Garden” / Switzerland, Germany, Georgia (director Salomé Jashi, producers: Vadim Jendreyko, Erik Winker, Martin Roelly, Salomé Jashi) – a poetic ode to the rivalry between man and nature. World premiere
"Writing With Fire" / India (Directors and Producers: Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh) – India's only newspaper operated by Dalit women is being produced in a male-dominated, overcrowded news landscape. Armed with smartphones, Chief Reporter Meera and her journalists are breaking traditions on the front lines of India's biggest problems and within the confines of their own homes and redefining what it means to be powerful. World premiere
Pure, bold works, characterized by an innovative, forward-looking approach to storytelling, populate this program.
"The Blazing World" / USA (Directors: Carlson Young, Scriptwriters: Carlson Young, Pierce Brown, Producers: Brinton Bryan, Elizabeth Avellán) – Decades after her twin sister accidentally drowned, a self-destructive young woman returns to her family home, to one drawn another dimension in which her sister may still live. Actors: Udo Kier, Carlson Young, Dermot Mulroney, Vinessa Shaw, John Karna, Soko. World premiere
“Cryptozoo” / USA (Director and Screenwriter: Dash Shaw, Producer: Kyle Martin, Jane Samborski, Bill Way, Tyler Davidson) – While Cryptozookeepers try to catch a Baku (a legendary dream-eating hybrid creature), they wonder if they can should show these rare animals within the confines of a cryptozoo, or whether these mythical creatures should remain hidden and unknown. Cast: Lake Bell, Michael Cera, Angeliki Papoulia, Zoe Kazan, Peter Stormare and Grace Zabriskie. World premiere
"First Date" / USA (directors and scriptwriters: Manuel Crosby, Darren Knapp, producers: Brandon Kraus, Manuel Crosby, Darren Knapp, Lucky McKee, Charles Horak) – Connected with the purchase of a seedy '65 Chrysler, Mike's first date with the girl -Next door, Kelsey, implodes when attacked by criminals, cops, and a crazy cat lady. A night of desire, balls, and burning rubber makes any other first date seem like a stroll in the park. Cast: Tyson Brown, Shelby Duclos, Jesse Janzen, Nicole Berry, Ryan Quinn Adams and Brandon Kraus. World premiere
"Ma Belle, My Beauty" / USA, France (director and screenwriter: Marion Hill, producers: Ben Matheny, Kelsey Scult, Marion Hill) – A surprising reunion in the south of France arouses passions and jealousy between two women who used to be polyamorous lovers. Cast: Idella Johnson, Hannah Pepper, Lucien Guignard and Sivan Noam Shimon. World premiere
"R # J" / USA (Director: Carey Williams, Scriptwriters: Carey Williams, Rickie Castaneda, Alex Sobolev, Producers: Timur Bekmambetov, Igor Tsay, John J. Kelly, Alex Sobolev, Anna Soboleva) – A new interpretation of Romeo and Juliet that takes place on their cell phones in a mixture of Shakespeare's dialogue with current social media communication. Cast: Camaron Engels, Francesca Noel, David Zayas, Diego Tinoco, Siddiq Saunderson and Russell Hornsby. World premiere
"Searchers" / USA (Director: Pacho Velez, Producers: Pacho Velez, Joe Poletto, Cathy Tankosic, Sam Roseme) – In alternating humorous and touching encounters, various New Yorkers navigate their favorite dating apps in search of their special person. World premiere
“Son of Monarchs” / Mexico, USA (director and screenwriter: Alexis Gambis, producers: Abraham Dayan, Maria Altamirano) – After the death of his grandmother, a Mexican biologist living in New York returns to his hometown, nestled in the majestic monarch butterfly forests of Michoacan. The journey forces him to grapple with past traumas and reflect on his hybrid identity, triggering a personal and spiritual metamorphosis. Actors: Tenoch Huerta Mejía, Alexia Rasmussen, Lázaro Gabino Rodríguez, Noé Hernández, Paulina Gaitán, William Mapother. Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Award
“Strawberry Mansion” / USA (directors and scriptwriters: Albert Birney, Kentucker Audley, producers: Taylor Shung, Sarah Winshall, Emma Hannaway, Matisse Rifai) – In a world where the government records and taxes dreams, a humble dream checker gets carried away on a cosmic journey through the life and dreams of an aging eccentric named Bella. Together they have to find a way back home. Cast: Penny Fuller, Kentucker Audley, Grace Glowicki, Reed Birney, Linas Phillips and Constance Shulman. World premiere
"We're all going to the world exhibition" / USA (director and screenwriter: Jane Schoenbrun, producers: Sarah Winshall, Carlos Zozaya) – A young girl is immersed in an online role-playing game. Actors: Anna Cobb, Michael J. Rogers. World premiere
A showcase with world premieres of some of the most anticipated feature and non-fiction films of the coming year.
"Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir" / USA (Director: James Redford, Producer: Karen Pritzker, Cassandra Jabola) – Amy Tan has established herself as one of America's most respected literary voices. It would be decades before the Joy Luck Club author fully understood the inherited trauma that is ingrained in the legacies of women who have survived the Chinese tradition of cohabitation. World premiere, documentary
"Bring Your Own Brigade" / USA (Director and screenwriter: Lucy Walker, producers: Lucy Walker, Julian Cautherley, Holly Becker, Lyn Lear) – A character-based verité and disclosure investigation takes us on a journey where fire fighters and local residents are on the move a mission to understand the causes of historically great forest fires and survive them to find out that the solution has been here all along. World premiere, documentary
"Eight for Silver" / USA, France (director and screenwriter: Sean Ellis, producers: Mickey Liddell, Pete Shilaimon, Sean Ellis) – At the end of the 19th century a man came to a remote village to investigate an attack by a wild animal but discovers a much deeper, sinister force that holds both the mansion and the townspeople under control. Cast: Boyd Holbrook, Kelly Reilly, Alistair Petrie, Roxane Duran and Aine Rose Daly. World premiere, narration
"How it Ends" / USA (Directors, Screenwriters and Producers: Daryl Wein, Zoe Lister-Jones) – On the last day of the world, a woman takes a trip through LA to get to her last party before the world ends. On the way we encounter an eclectic group of characters. Starring: Zoe Lister-Jones, Cailee Spaeny, Olivia Wilde, Fred Armisen, Helen Hunt and Lamorne Morris. World premiere, narration
In The Earth, UK (Director & Screenwriter: Ben Wheatley, Producer: Andy Starke) – As a catastrophic virus hits the planet, a scientist and park scout venture deep into the woods to perform a routine equipment run. Through the night their journey becomes a terrible journey through the heart of darkness as the forest around them comes to life. Starring: Joel Fry, Ellora Torchia, Hayley Squires and Reece Shearsmith. World premiere, narration
"In The Same Breath" / USA (Director: Nanfu Wang, Producer: Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang, Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, Carolyn Hepburn) – How did the Chinese government turn pandemic cover-ups in Wuhan into a triumph for the communist party ? Eine wesentliche Darstellung von Berichten aus erster Hand über das Coronavirus und eine aufschlussreiche Untersuchung darüber, wie Propaganda und Patriotismus den Verlauf des Ausbruchs geprägt haben – sowohl in China als auch in der US-amerikanischen Weltpremiere Documentary. TAG EINS
"Land" / USA (Regie: Robin Wright, Drehbuchautoren: Jesse Chatham, Erin Dignam, Produzenten: Allyn Stewart, Lora Kennedy, Leah Holzer, Peter Saraf) – Die ergreifende Geschichte der Suche einer Frau nach einem unergründlichen Ereignis, für die Bedeutung in der weiten und rauen amerikanischen Wildnis. Darsteller: Robin Wright, Demián Bichir, Kim Dickens. Weltpremiere, Erzählung
"Marvelous and The Black Hole" / USA (Regisseurin und Drehbuchautorin: Kate Tsang, Produzentin: Carolyn Mao) – Eine jugendliche Straftäterin freundet sich mit einem mürrischen Zauberer an, der ihr hilft, ihre inneren Dämonen und ihre dysfunktionale Familie in einem kommenden Moment mit Fingerspitzengefühl zu steuern. Alterskomödie, die unwahrscheinliche Freundschaften, Trauer und Hoffnung in den dunkelsten Momenten berührt. Darsteller: Miya Cech, Rhea Perlman, Leonardo Nam, Kannon Omachi, Paulina Lule und Keith Powell. Weltpremiere, Erzählung
"Mass" / USA (Regisseur und Drehbuchautor: Fran Kranz, Produzenten: Fran Kranz, Casey Wilder Mott, JP Ouellette, Dylan Matlock) – Jahre nach einer tragischen Schießerei treffen sich die Eltern des Opfers und des Täters von Angesicht zu Angesicht . Darsteller: Jason Isaacs, Ann Dowd, Martha Plimpton und Reed Birney. Weltpremiere, Erzählung
„Mein Name ist Pauli Murray“ / USA (Regie: Betsy West, Julie Cohen, Produzentin: Talleah Bridges McMahon) – Von der Geschichte übersehen, war Pauli Murray ein rechtlicher Vorreiter, dessen Ideen den Kampf der RBG für die Gleichstellung der Geschlechter und Thurgood Marshalls wegweisende Bürgerrechtsargumente beeinflussten . Mit nie zuvor gesehenem Filmmaterial und Audioaufnahmen ein Porträt von Murrays Einfluss als nicht-binäre schwarze Leuchte: Anwalt, Aktivist, Dichter und Priester, der unsere Welt verändert hat. Weltpremiere, Dokumentarfilm
"Philly D.A." / USA (Erstellt von: Ted Passon, Yoni Brook, Nicole Salazar, Produzenten: Ted Passon, Yoni Brook, Nicole Salazar, Josh Penn, Michael Gottwald) – Ein bahnbrechender Einblick in die Wahl und die turbulente erste Amtszeit von Larry Krasner. Philadelphias nicht entschuldigender Bezirksstaatsanwalt und sein Experiment, das Strafjustizsystem von innen heraus zu verbessern. Weltpremiere, Dokumentarfilm
"Gefangene des Geisterlandes" / USA (Regie: Sion Sono, Drehbuchautoren: Aaron Hendry, Reza Sixo Safai, Produzenten: Michael Mendelsohn, Laura Rister, Ko Mori, Reza Sixo Safai, Nate Bolotin) – Ein berüchtigter Verbrecher wird zur Rettung eines entführte Frau, die in einem dunklen übernatürlichen Universum verschwunden ist. Sie müssen den bösen Fluch brechen, der sie bindet, und den mysteriösen Wiedergängerinnen entkommen, die das Geisterland regieren, einen Wirbel aus Schönheit und Gewalt zwischen Ost und West. Darsteller: Nicolas Cage, Sofia Boutella, Nick Cassavetes, Bill Moseley, Tak Sakaguchi und Yuzuka Nakaya. World Premiere, Narrative
“The Sparks Brothers” / United Kingdom (Director: Edgar Wright, Producers: Nira Park, Edgar Wright, George Hencken, Laura Richardson) — How can one rock band be successful, underrated, hugely influential, and criminally overlooked all at the same time? Take a musical odyssey through five weird and wonderful decades with brothers Ron & Russell Mael, celebrating the inspiring legacy of Sparks: your favorite band’s favorite band. World Premiere, Documentary
“Street Gang: How We Got To Sesame Street” / U.S.A. (Director: Marilyn Agrelo, Producers: Trevor Crafts, Ellen Scherer Crafts, Lisa Diamond) — How did a group of rebels create the world’s most famous street? In 1969 New York, this “gang” of mission-driven artists, writers and educators catalyzed a moment of civil awakening, transforming it into Sesame Street, one of the most influential and impactful television programs in history. World Premiere, Documentary
From horror and comedy to works that defy genre classification, these films will keep you wide awake, even at the most arduous hour.
“Censor” / United Kingdom (Director: Prano Bailey-Bond, Screenwriters: Prano Bailey-Bond, Anthony Fletcher, Producer: Helen Jones) — When film censor Enid discovers an eerie horror that speaks directly to her sister’s mysterious disappearance, she resolves to unravel the puzzle behind the film and its enigmatic director – a quest blurring the lines between fiction and reality in terrifying ways. Cast: Niamh Algar, Nicholas Burns, Vincent Franklin, Sophia La Porta, Adrian Schiller, Michael Smiley. World Premiere. DAY ONE
“Coming Home in the Dark” / New Zealand (Director: James Ashcroft, Screenwriters: Eli Kent, James Ashcroft, Producers: Mike Minogue, Catherine Fitzgerald, Desray Armstrong) — A family’s outing descends into terror when teacher Alan Hoaganraad, his wife Jill and stepsons Maika and Jordon explore an isolated coastline. An unexpected meeting with a pair of drifters, the enigmatic psychopath Mandrake and his accomplice Tubs, thrusts the family into a nightmare when they find themselves captured. Cast: Daniel Gillies, Erik Thomson, Miriama McDowell, Matthias Luafutu. World Premiere
“A Glitch in the Matrix” / U.S.A. (Director: Rodney Ascher, Producer: Ross M. Dinerstein) — A multi-media exploration of simulation theory – an idea as old as Plato’s Republic and as current as Elon Musk’s Twitter feed – through the eyes of those who suspect our world isn’t real. Part sci-fi mind-scrambler, part horror story, this is a digital journey to the limits of radical doubt. World Premiere
“Knocking” / Sweden (Director: Frida Kempff, Screenwriter: Emma Broström, Producer: Erik Andersson) — When Molly moves into her new apartment after a tragic accident, a strange noise from upstairs begins to unnerve her. As its intensity grows, she confronts her neighbors – but no one seems to hear what she is hearing. Cast: Cecilia Milocco. World Premiere
“Mother Schmuckers” / Belgium (Directors and Screenwriters: Lenny Guit, Harpo Guit, Producers: David Borgeaud, Erika Meda) — Issachar & Zabulon, two brothers in their twenties, are supremely stupid and never bored, as madness is part of their daily lives. When they lose their mother’s beloved dog, they have 24 hours to find it – or she will kick them out. Cast: Harpo Guit, Maxi Delmelle, Claire Bodson, Mathieu Amalric, Habib Ben Tanfous. World Premiere
“Violation” / Canada (Directors, Screenwriters and Producers: Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Dusty Mancinelli) — A troubled woman on the edge of divorce returns home to her younger sister after years apart. But when her sister and brother-in-law betray her trust, she embarks on a vicious crusade of revenge. Cast: Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Anna Maguire, Jesse LaVercombe, Obi Abili, Jasmin Geljo, Cynthia Ashperger. International Premiere
The Spotlight program is a tribute to the cinema we love from throughout the past year.
“Night of the Kings” / France, Ivory Coast, Canada, Senegal (Director and Screenwriter: Philippe Lacôte, Producers: Delphine Jaquet, Yanick Létourneau, Ernest Konan, Yoro Mbaye) — A young man is sent to La Maca, a prison on the Ivory Coast in the middle of the forest ruled by its prisoners. With the red moon rising, he is designated by the Boss to be the new “Roman” and must tell a story to the other prisoners. Cast: Koné Bakary, Steve Tientcheu, Digbeu Jean Cyrille, Rasmané Ouédraogo, Issaka Sawadogo, Denis Lavant.
“The World to Come” / U.S.A. (Director: Mona Fastvold, Screenwriters: Ron Hansen, Jim Shepard, Producers: Casey Affleck, Whitaker Lader, Pamela Koffler, David Hinojosa, Margarethe Baillou) — Somewhere along the mid-nineteenth century American East Coast frontier, two neighboring couples battle hardship and isolation, witnessed by a splendid yet testing landscape, challenging them both physically and psychologically. Cast: Katherine Waterston, Vanessa Kirby, Casey Affleck, Christopher Abbott. North American Premiere
“Life in a Day 2020” / United Kingdom, U.S.A. (Director: Kevin Macdonald, Producers: Jack Arbuthnott, Tim Partridge) — An extraordinary, intimate, global portrait of life on our planet, filmed by thousands of people across the world, on a single day: 25th July 2020. World Premiere
Since its launch, the Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier has served as a showcase for dynamic, innovative work at the crossroads of film, art, and technology. At the Festival’s 2021 edition, a global audience will be able to engage with the works, the artists, and fellow Festivalgoers via a bespoke spatialized platform, developed in partnership with digital experience agency Active Theory and accessible via computer and VR headsets.
“4 Feet High VR” / Argentina, France (Lead Artists: María Belén Poncio, Rosario Perazolo Masjoan, Damian Turkieh, Ezequiel Lenardón, Key Collaborators: Marie Blondiaux, Marcos Rostagno, Eugenia Foguel, Matias Benedetti, Manuel Yeri, Martin Lopez Funes, Guillermo Mena) — Juana, a 17-year-old wheelchair user, aims to explore her sexuality but is ashamed of her body. Trying to find her place in a new high school, she will go through failure, friendship, fear and politics until she builds her own pride. Cast: Marisol Agostina Irigoyen, Florencia Licera, Marcio Ramses, Natalia Di Cienzo, Francisca Spinotti.
“7 Sounds” / U.S.A. (Lead Artist: Sam Green, Key Collaborator: JD Samson) — An immersive live-streamed audio-video work exploring the universal influence of sound, weaving seven specific audio recordings into a meditation on the power of sound to bend time, cross borders, and profoundly shape our perception.
“Beyond the Breakdown” / U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Tony Patrick, Lauren Lee McCarthy, Grace Lee, Key Collaborators: Jesse Cahn Thompson, Aldo Velasco) — Imagining alternate narratives for our near-future reality, inside a browser designed to hack our normal online behaviors and cultivate collaborative spaces for self-reflection and renewal.
“The Changing Same: Episode 1” / U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Michèle Stephenson, Joe Brewster, Yasmin Elayat, Key Collaborators: James George, Alexander Porter, Rad Mora, Elliott Mitchell) — An immersive, episodic virtual reality experience where the participant travels through time and space to witness the connected historical experiences of racial injustice in America. A respectful, haunting story infused with magical realism and Afrofuturism about the uninterrupted cycle of the 400-year history of racial terror — past and present.
“Fortune!” / France, Canada (Lead Artists: Brett Gaylor, Nicolas Bourniquel, Arnaud Colinart, Key Collaborators: Marianne Lévy-Leblond, Rob McLaughlin, Dash Spielgeman, Rolito, Clement Chériot) — Money, from bills to coins, has no intrinsic value beyond what we’ve collectively agreed to grant it. However, there’s no denying that money governs our lives. This series of animated documentary shorts in AR for smartphones, tablets and social media platforms, explores that relationship. Cast: Frank Bourassa.
“Namoo” / U.S.A. (Lead Artist: Erick Oh, Key Collaborators: Maureen Fan, Larry Cutler, Eric Darnell, Kane Lee, David Kahn) — A narrative poem brought to life as an animated VR film, and an ode to a grandfather’s passing, this story follows the journey of a budding artist — and his tree of life — from beginning to end.
“Nightsss” / Poland (Lead Artists: Weronika Lewandowska, Sandra Frydrysiak, Key Collaborators: Marcin Macuk, Piotr Apostel, Kaya Kołodziejczyk, Marek Straszak, Arek Zub, Przemek Danowski) — A virtual erotic poem created in artistic animation with ASMR and interactive elements, immersing the viewer in the sensual experience of poetry and dance.
“Prison X – Chapter 1 : The Devil and The Sun” / Australia, Bolivia, India (Lead Artists: Violeta Ayala, Alap Parikh, Maria Corvera Vargas, Roly Elias, Key Collaborators: Daniel Fallshaw, Rilda Paco Alvarado, Alberto Santiago) — Heavy doors open and you are swept into an infamous Bolivian jail, where you live among devils, saints, wicked characters, corrupt prison guards and even a Western filmmaker. In Prison X, inhabit the dreams and nightmares of the Neo-Andean underworld. Cast: Violeta Ayala, Genesis Owusu, Celina Debassey, Anamaria Gómez Jaramillo, Jesse Odom, Nicole Ukelele.
“Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran” / United Kingdom, Iran (Lead Artists: Javaad Alipoor, Kirsty Housley, Key Collaborator: Nick Sweeting) — A darkly comedic, urgent new play about entitlement, consumption and digital technology, exploring the ubiquitous feeling that our societies are falling apart through the story of two young members of the Iranian elite, asking what their deaths tell us about climate change, social collapse and Instagram. Cast: Javaad Alipoor, Peyvand Sadeghian.
“Secret Garden” / U.S.A. (Lead Artist: Stephanie Dinkins, Key Collaborators: Ethan Edwards, John Fitzgerald, Matthew Niederhauser, Danielle McPhatter, Sidney San Martín, Kate Stevenson, Adaora Udoji, Chris White) — An immersive web experience and installation, illuminating the power and resilience in Black women’s stories. Interactive audio vignettes generate a multi-generational narrative that collapses past, present, and future. Cast: Dayne Board, Erlene Curry, Tianna Mendez, Melissa Moore, Brandi Porter, Lisa Sainville.
“Tinker” / U.S.A. (Lead Artist: Lou Ward, Key Collaborators: Shimon Alkon, Lara Bucarey, Avril Martinez, Aileen Paron, Anthony Alan Garcia, Roberto Tan, Cristopher David, Neil Realubit, Anton Arcega, David Conklin, Evan Chavez) — What happens when the memories we spend a lifetime creating begin to disappear? Step inside the Grandfather’s workshop to discover this answer for yourself. In this live, bespoke unscripted performance, reimagine what it means to play, to connect and to hold fast to the memories we create.Cast: Randy Dixon.
“To Miss The Ending” / United Kingdom (Lead Artists: Anna West, David Callanan, Key Collaborators: Jamie Finlay, Steph Clarke, Dan Tucker) — A VR cubicle of cardboard boxes begins to glitch, revealing an empty dark space in front of you – until something glimmers in the distance, a wave of blue flooding towards you. A chorus of real memories and imagined futures expands, until only the largest memories are left. Cast: Charlotte Berry, Michael Dodds, Houmi Miura, Ben Kulvichit, Anna West.
“Traveling the Interstitium with Octavia Butler” / U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Sophia Nahli Allison, idris brewster, Stephanie Dinkins, Ari Melenciano, Terence Nance, Key Collaborators: Yance Ford, Sharon Chang, Kamal Sinclair) — Inspired by the ideas of Octavia Butler, voyaging into the interstitium: a liminal space, a cultural memory, containing the remnants of our ancestors, a place of refuge, a place of recentering, a portal into an alternate dimension.
“Weirdo Night” / U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Jibz Cameron, Mariah Garnett) — A filmed edition, hosted by Dynasty Handbag, of the wildly popular, underground, eponymous live performance and comedy event that, until COVID-19, was held monthly in Los Angeles. Cast: Patti Harrison, Smiling Beth, Morgan Bassichis, Sarah Squirm, Hedia Maron, Blasia Discoteca.
INDIE SERIES PROGRAM
A dedicated showcase for emerging creators of independently produced episodic content for broadcast, web, and streaming platforms. Previously Indie Episodic.
“4 Feet High” / Argentina, France (Directors: María Belén Poncio, Rosario Perazolo Masjoan, Executive Producers: Ezequiel Lenardón, Marie Blondiaux) — Juana, a 17-year-old wheelchair user, aims to explore her sexuality but is ashamed of her body. Trying to find her place in a new high school, she will go through failure, friendship, fear and politics until she builds her own pride. Cast: Marisol Agostina Irigoyen, Florencia Licera, Marcio Ramses, Natalia Di Cienzo, Francisca Spinotti. World Premiere
“Seeds of Deceit” / Netherlands (Director: Miriam Guttmann, Executive Producers: Monique Busman, Michiel van Erp, Judith Reuten) — The revelation that Dr. Karbaat clandestinely used his own semen to inseminate more than 65 of his patients shocked the world. A vivid portrayal of how that happened and all the ways it haunts those affected: the emotional trauma of coming to terms with a changed life, a new identity. World Premiere
“These Days” / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Adam Brooks) — Mae, lonely and self-isolating, navigates the world of online dating during the early days of quarantine. Her first attempt is a comic disaster; then, she meets Will and her world begins to change in unexpected ways. Cast: Marianne Rendón, William Jackson Harper, Amy Brenneman, Parker Young. World Premiere
“Would You Rather” / France, Germany (Creators: Lise Akoka, Romane Guéret, Executive Producer: Pierre Grimaus, Jean Dathanat) — Sixteen-year-olds Shaï, Djeneba, Aladi, and Ismaël grew up in a working-class Paris neighborhood. Together, they watch hours drift by, cracking jokes, and playing their favorite game, “Would you rather?” As the group’s equilibrium suddenly shifts, they have to start making choices – in their lives and their game. Cast: Fanta Kebe, Shirel Nataf, Zakaria Lazab, Mouctar Diawara. North American Premiere
Additional reporting by Eric Kohn.