Riveting! 42West Sundance 2022 Slate

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Another day, another batch of Sundance 2022 films! The film festival is set to run January 20th throught January 30th, 2022. Check out 42West Sundance 2022 Slate with riveting and informative documentaries from Rory Kennedy (DOWNFALL: THE CASE AGAINST BOEING), Eva Longoria Bastion (LA GUERRA CIVIL  chronicling the epic boxing matches between Oscar De la Hoya and Julio César Chávez), Tia Lessin, and Emma Pildes (THE JANES, a revelatory period piece on finding a safe alternative to a life-threatening pregnancy). And, there’s the riveting Maika Monroe-led Watcher from Chloe Okuno! See below for more.

Maika Monroe appears in Watcher by Chloe Okuno, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.


42West Sundance 2022 Slate



Premieres — Acquisition

Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

A film by Phyllis Nagy

Starring Elizabeth Banks, Sigourney Weaver, Chris Messina, Kate Mara, Wunmi Mosaku, Cory Michael Smith, Grace Edwards

Set in Chicago, 1968. As a city and the nation are poised on the brink of violent political upheaval, suburban housewife Joy leads an ordinary life with her husband and daughter. When Joy’s pregnancy leads to a life-threatening condition, she must navigate a medical establishment unwilling to help. Her journey to find a solution to an impossible situation leads her to the “Janes,” a clandestine organization of women who provide Joy with a safer alternative — and in the process, change her life.



Premieres — Netflix

Courtesy of IMDb and Sundance Institute.

A film by Rory Kennedy

Many of us take for granted that commercial air travel is safe. In 2018, with some 10,000 aircraft in service in more than 150 countries, industry leader Boeing had built its reputation on a dogged commitment to safety. But after 346 passengers are killed when two Boeing 737 MAX jets crash less than five months apart, dedicated journalists, surviving family members, and the United States Congress fight to reveal a culture of concealment and deceit within the venerated company.

Acclaimed director Rory Kennedy returns to the Sundance Film Festival with this comprehensive investigation into the crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. Families of the victims relate the human cost of these tragedies, while aviation experts and former Boeing employees reveal what went wrong at the company, offering damning evidence of lies, negligence, and cover-up. DOWNFALL: The Case Against Boeing serves as a searing indictment of a once-principled company corrupted by the influence of Wall Street to prioritize profits above all else.

Rory’s films are all well-researched, informative and can pack a punch – expect nothing less with DOWNFALL.



Premieres — Acquisition

Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

A film by Julian Higgins

Starring Thandiwe Newton, Jeremy Bobb, Joris Jarsky, Jefferson White, Kai Lennox, Tanaya Beatty

When a grieving college professor confronts two hunters she catches trespassing on her property, she’s drawn into an escalating battle of wills with catastrophic consequences.



US Documentary Competition — HBO

Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

A film by Tia Lessin and Emma Pildes

In the spring of 1972, police raided an apartment on the South Side of Chicago. Seven women were arrested and charged. The accused were part of a clandestine network. Using code names, blindfolds, and safe houses to protect their identities and their work, they built an underground service for women seeking safe, affordable, illegal abortions. They called themselves Jane. Facing off against the mafia, the church, and the state, the Janes exhibited unparalleled bravery and compassion for those most in need.

Co-directors and Sundance Film Festival alumni Tia Lessin and Emma Pildes unearth this incredibly timely story to demonstrate how the fight for safe and legal abortions was and continues to be, an uncertain and perilous undertaking. Electrifying archival footage of Chicago in the late ’60s and early ’70s, coupled with affectingly honest interviews with the Janes themselves, brings to life the city and its spirit of revolution in that historic moment.



Premieres — DAZN

Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

A film by Eva Langoria Bastón

This feature-length documentary follows the epic rivalry between iconic boxers Oscar De La Hoya and Julio César Chávez in the 1990s sparked a cultural divide between Mexican nationals and Mexican-Americans. A chronicle of a battle that was more than a boxing rivalry, and examining a fascinating slice of the Latino experience in the process. La Guerra Civil is a DAZN Originals production, directed by Actress, Producer, Director & Activist, Eva Longoria Bastón and produced by her Emmy-nominated UnbeliEVAble Entertainment.



Midnight — Acquisition

Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

A film by Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace

An immersive journey through the New York music scene of the early 2000s. Set against the backdrop of 9/11, the film tells the story of how a new generation kickstarted a musical rebirth for New York City that reverberated around the world. Inspired by the book by Lizzy Goodman.



U.S. Dramatic Competition — Acquisition

Maika Monroe appears in Watcher by Chloe Okuno, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

A film by Chloe Okuno

Starring Maika Monroe, Karl Glusman, Burn Gorman, Ciubuciu Bogdan Alexandru

A young woman moves into a new apartment with her fiancé and is tormented by the feeling that she is being stalked by an unseen watcher in an adjacent building.



Season Three Premiere Event Screening + Panel

Daveed Diggs, Rowan Blanchard, Lena Hall, Iddo Goldberg, Alison Wright, Mickey Sumner, Katie McGuinness, Chelsea Harris, Mike O’Malley, Annalise Basso, Steven Ogg, Sheila Vand, Roberto Urbina, Christoph Schrewe (subject to change pending availability)

WarnerMedia Lodge

Friday, January 21st at 5:00-6:30PM 

ABOUT SNOWPIERCER SEASON THREE: At the end of “Snowpiercer” season two, Layton (Daveed Diggs) and Ruth (Alison Wright), who were banished to Big Alice’s compost car, plotted to take back Snowpiercer. With the help of Javier (Roberto Urbina) and Alexandra (Rowan Blanchard), Layton and Ruth made it back to Snowpiercer and rallied with their supporters. Josie (Katie McGuiness) destroyed the Aquarium car, separating Snowpiercer’s head from the remaining 1,023 cars. Season three picks up with Layton (Diggs) and his inner circle commanding a small 10 car “pirate train” in search of Melanie (Jennifer Connelly) and a possible warm location to restart civilization; while back on Snowpiercer, Mr. Wilford (Sean Bean) is consolidating power, awaiting Layton’s return.

Stay tuned!

Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Utah.


Obscured Pictures Slate at 2022 Sundance Film Festival

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Things are warming up with the approaching 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Obscured Pictures released their slate of films that are sure to heighten viewer sensibilities. To quote St. Louis, MO,  hip hop/rapper Nelly, “it’s getting hot in herre (So hot).” Check out these fiery films:

(Acquisition Title)
Nancy Stokes, a retired schoolteacher, is yearning for some adventure, and some sex. Good sex. And she has a plan: she hires a young sex worker named Leo Grande.
Section: Premieres
Directed by: Sophie Hyde
Written by: Katy Brand
Cast: Emma Thompson, Daryl McCormack
Producer: Debbie Gray, Adrian Politowski
Run Time: 97 mins


(Bleecker Street)
During their last days of summer and childhood — the weekend before middle school begins — four girls struggle with the harsh truths of growing up and embark on a mysterious adventure.

Section: Kids
Directed by: James Ponsoldt
Written by: James Ponsoldt & Benjamin Percy
Cast: Lia Barnett, Lake Bell, Sarah Cooper, Ashley Madekwe, Madalen Mills, Megan Mullally, Eden Grace Redfield, and Sanai Victoria
Producers: P. Jennifer Dana, Peter Block, James Ponsoldt

Run Time: 87 Minutes
(Focus Features)
Set in an isolated mountain village in 19th century Macedonia, YOU WON’T BE ALONE follows a young girl who is kidnapped and then transformed into a witch by an ancient spirit. Curious about life as a human, the young witch accidentally kills a peasant in the nearby village and then takes her victim’s shape to live life in her skin. Her curiosity ignited, she continues to wield this horrific power in order to understand what it means to be human.
Section: World Cinema Dramatic Competiton
Directed by: Goran Stolevski
Written by: Goran Stolevski
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Anamaria Marinca, Alice Englert, Carloto Cotta, Félix Maritaud, Sara Klimoska
Producers: Kristina Ceyton, Sam Jennings
Run Time: 109 mins
(Acquisition Title)
Destitute without electricity and running water, Yolanda Signorelli Von Braunhut has lost control of her late husband Harold’s iconic Amazing Live Sea Monkeys novelty. Yet she alone knows their secret formula, and from her crumbling estate on the Potomac, Yolanda wages legal and existential battles to fully win them back.
Section: Indie Episodic Program
Directed by: Mark Becker, Aaron Schock
Producers: Mark Becker, Aaron Schock, Julie Gaynin
Run Time: 180 mins

(Sourced from Obscured Pictures News Release)

Sundance Gems

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The beauty of Sundance is the films. And, the 2022 festival is showcasing extraordinary World Cinema Documentary and NEXT films currently up for acquisition.


HollywoodGlee inside the Sundance Film Festival Headquarters at the Park City Marriott on January 23, 2019, in Park City, Utah, the day before the opening of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)


Stay tuned for more on these informative gems from the Sundance Film Festival, scheduled for January 20th to the 30th, 2022, in Park City, Utah!

ALL THAT BREATHES, Dir. Shaunak Sen (World Cinema Doc Competition) – Against the darkening backdrop of Delhi’s apocalyptic air and escalating violence, two brothers devote their lives to protect one casualty of the turbulent times: the bird known as the Black Kite. (Acquisition title. Sales: Submarine)

THE MISSION, Dir. Tania Anderson (World Cinema Doc Competition) – A revelation of the inner lives of young LDS missionaries as they leave their homes for the first time and travel to the other side of the world in an attempt to convert some of Europe’s most non-religious, private and skeptical people, the Finns, to their faith. (Acquisition title. Sales: Autlook)
NOTHING COMPARES, Dir. Kathryn Ferguson (World Cinema Doc Competition) – The story of Sinéad O’Connor’s phenomenal rise to worldwide fame and her exile from the pop mainstream. Focusing on Sinéad’s prophetic words and deeds from 1987-1992, the film reflects on the legacy of this fearless trailblazer through a contemporary feminist lens. (Acquisition title. Sales: Submarine)

RIOTSVILLE, USA, Dir. Sierra Pettengill (NEXT) – Welcome to Riotsville, a fictional town built by the U.S. military. Using footage shot by the media and government, the film explores the militarization of the police and the reaction of a nation to the uprisings of the late ’60s, creating a counter-narrative to a critical moment in American history. (Acquisition title. Sales: Cinetic)

SIRENS, Dir. Rita Baghdadi (World Cinema Doc Competition) – On the outskirts of Beirut, Lilas and Shery, co-founders and guitarists of the Middle East’s first all-female metal band, wrestle with friendship, sexuality and destruction in their pursuit of becoming thrash metal rock stars. (Acquisition title. Sales: CAA)

TANTURA, Dir. Alon Schwarz (World Cinema Doc Competition – Day One Film) – In 1948, the State of Israel was established and war broke out. Hundreds of Palestinian villages were destroyed with their inhabitants killed or exiled. The film focuses on one village: Tantura, bringing to light Israel’s founding myth and its society’s inability to come to terms with its dark past. (Acquisition title. Sales: UTA)

(Sourced from Susan Norget news release)


Posted by Larry Gleeson

The American Film Institute (AFI) has announced that it will postpone the AFI AWARDS luncheon scheduled to take place on Friday, January 7. In response to the rising concerns over current health conditions, the organization will reschedule the much-anticipated event for a later date.


Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO

“The goal of AFI AWARDS is to bring together the creative community at a private event founded in hugs and handshakes,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO. “Because that goal is not achievable at this time, we will be postponing the event until we can properly celebrate the artists in a manner worthy of the gifts they have given the world.”


Timothy Chalamet and Steven Spielberg shake hands at the 2018 AFI Awards.

AFI AWARDS selections are made through AFI’s unique jury process – in which scholars, artists, critics, and AFI Trustees determine the most outstanding achievements of the year.


AFI AWARDS honorees include 10 outstanding films and 10 outstanding TV programs deemed culturally and artistically representative of this year’s most significant achievements in the art of the moving image. Additional honorees were selected in a category for “Special Awards,” designated for works of excellence that fall outside of the Institute’s criteria of American film and television.


tick, tick… BOOM!



Celebrating film and television arts’ collaborative nature, AFI AWARDS is the only national program that honors creative teams as a whole, recognizing those in front of and behind the camera. All of the honored works advance the art of the moving image, inspire audiences and artists alike, enhance the rich cultural heritage of America’s art form and make a mark on American society. When placed in a historical context, these stories provide a complex and rich visual record of our modern world.

AFI AWARDS selections are made through a jury process where AFI Trustees, artists, critics, and scholars determine the year’s most outstanding achievements and provide artistic and cultural context for the selection of each honoree.

This year’s jury featured acclaimed artists including Lee Isaac Chung, Liz Hannah, Anjelica Huston, and Ed Zwick; renowned film historians Annette Insdorf, L.S. Kim, Akira Mizuta Lippit, Leonard Maltin, Ellen Seiter, and Robert Thompson; the AFI Board of Trustees; film critics Shawn Edwards from the African American Film Critics Association and Claudia Puig from Los Angeles Film Critics Association; and film and television critics from outlets such as the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, Rolling Stone, TV Guide, and The Washington Post. The jury was chaired by AFI Board of Trustees member Jeanine Basinger (Chair Emerita and Founder of the Film Studies Department, Wesleyan University) and AFI Board of Trustees Vice Chair Richard Frank (former Chairman of Walt Disney Television, President of Walt Disney Studios, President of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences).

The 2021 recipients join a distinguished group of previous AFI AWARDS honorees whose works define the art form and contribute to our rich cultural legacy. View all past AFI AWARDS honorees here.

About the American Film Institute (AFI)

The American Film Institute (AFI) is a nonprofit organization with a mandate to champion the moving image as an art form. Established in 1967, AFI launched the first comprehensive history of American film and sparked the movement for film preservation in the United States. In 1969, AFI opened the doors of the AFI Conservatory, a graduate-level program to train narrative filmmakers. AFI’s enduring traditions include the AFI Life Achievement Award, which honors the masters for work that has stood the test of time; AFI AWARDS, which celebrates the creative ensembles of the most outstanding screen stories of the year; and scholarly efforts such as the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and the AFI Archive that preserve film history for future generations. AFI exhibition programs include AFI FESTAFI DOCS, and a year-round exhibition at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Maryland. Other pioneering programs include workshops aimed at increasing diversity in the storytelling community, including the AFI Directing Workshop for Women and the AFI Cinematography Intensive for Women. AFI’s newest program is AFI Movie Club, a daily global engagement for those who love the movies. Read about all of these programs and more at AFI.com and follow us on social media at Facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstitute, YouTube.com/AFI, Twitter.com/AmericanFilm and Instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute.

Early Sundance Feelers

Posted by Larry Gleeson



Kicking off the 2022 Sundance Film Festival at 4 pm on Thursday, January 20th, award-winning documentarian Sam Green returns to Sundance with a groundbreaking and immersive documentary, 32 SOUNDS, a film about the powerful effects of sound and how it affects our conscious and unconscious lives. 32 SOUNDS will feature original compositions of live music and narration by JD Samson that will be performed live.

32 SOUNDS is designed to be experienced with personal headphones for a truly unique binaural audio experience. A high-quality headset is strongly recommended for online audiences. Wireless headphones will be provided at performances held in the Egyptian Theatre.

32 SOUNDS will be a special hybrid digital/in-person presentation and will take place simultaneously at the Egyptian Theatre and in The Spaceship’s Cinema House.

Filmmaker Margaret Brown returns to Sundance with the World Premiere of her U.S. Documentary Competition film DESCENDANT, a deeply moving look at the descendants of the survivors of the Clotilda, the last ship carrying enslaved Africans to the United States 40 years after African slave trading became a capital offense.

Brown’s DESCENDANT explores and reveals the enduring power imbalance that persists between the descendants of Timothy Meaher, the man who chartered the illegal expedition, and the descendants of those who were enslaved aboard it. The Meaher family owns much of the heavily industrialized area that surrounds Africatown. Elevated cases of cancer and illness are prevalent there, but the Africatown community persists. Residents celebrate their heritage and take command of their legacy by bringing their history to the surface

In addition, Bianca Stinger’s cinematic meditation on memory and loss, THREE MINUTES – A LENGTHENING,  will screen at Sundance in the Spotlight section after debuting to critical acclaim at the 2021 Venice International Film Festival and Telluride Film Festival.

In 2009, Glenn Kurtz discovered a crumbling 16mm color home movie in his parents’ closet — amateur footage his grandfather David shot in 1938 on a vacation to Europe. In addition to familiar tourist attractions, the film included three minutes of what would turn out to be the only known footage of the predominantly Jewish town of Nasielsk, Poland — David Kurtz’s birthplace — one year before the Nazi occupation would destroy the community, leaving fewer than 100 survivors of the Holocaust.

Stigter traces the story of those three minutes and the discoveries they prompted, conducting a filmic excavation seeking to expand time, postponing the inevitable fate of the people caught on celluloid. Examining each frame for clues, playing and replaying the haunting footage, performing active discovery on every detail, THREE MINUTES – A LENGTHENING bears witness to history to demonstrate the power of cinema to reclaim the past for the present.

Stay tuned!


(Sourced from ACME Press News)


Posted by Larry Gleeson



Larry Gleeson

As the COVID-19 virus and the Delta and Omicron variants exist, protocols are being put in place to ensure the health and safety of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival community.  Below is the latest iteration.

COVID-19 Vaccination

  • Boosters are required for all in-person attendees (employees, volunteers, contractors, general public, artists, partners, press, and industry) who are eligible and for who the CDC recommends, currently everyone ages 16 and older. All who are eligible are encouraged to receive the booster now.
  • Updated vaccination requirements. All participants are required to be fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to attending the Festival and if eligible have received a booster prior to attending the Festival in person. Currently, fully vaccinated is defined as two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19, Moderna), a single dose of Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine, or following the protocol for other WHO-approved vaccines.
  • Vaccination and booster verification, for those eligible, need to be shown on-site at a Vaccine Verification and Testing Hub, and once shown, each participant will be provided a wristband that will need to be worn at all times. Further details are below.



  • In addition to mask-wearing being required in all Festival-operated venues, it’s recommended individuals continue wearing masks indoors when in public places or private shared spaces to help protect themselves from the spread of COVID-19.
    • Each person is urged to keep their mask on, especially at any gathering when not actively eating/drinking, and when doing that, place the mask back on between sips and bites; mask-wearing is essential for health safety.

heater/Venue Capacity For Festival Run Screenings and Events

  • Theaters will operate at reduced capacity with no eating or drinking permitted in theaters. Festival-operated non-theater venues will have reduced capacity for public programming at The Craft, The Filmmaker Lodge, The Box and The Shop and food and beverages will not be permitted in these spaces during public programming. (As a reminder everyone must be fully vaccinated and masked in all venues.)
  • Capacity will be reduced for most of the Festival operated private events. These events will require the same prior testing protocols we have in place – proof of a negative test taken within 48 hours prior to the event.

Vaccine Verification Procedures

Sundance Institute has partnered with PandemSafe and will offer free vaccine verification to all employees, volunteers, artists, filmmakers, press and industry, contractors, and general attendees. Individuals will upload their vaccination card into the PandemSafe portal, via a link sent to their email. This email will be generated when an individual purchases a ticket, or it will be available on the Sundance website under the How to Fest section beginning January 6, 2022. The PandemSafe team will verify the uploaded card within 1-2 days from upload prior to the Festival and 2-4 hours during the Festival and in return, the individual will be sent a QR code. This code will allow users to get a verification wristband when they come to the Festival.

Verification will take place at Vaccine Verification and Testing Hubs located throughout the Festival. The wristband will be placed around the wrist of the individual. It is a nonremovable, nontransferable wristband. If the wristband is removed, the individual is required to get a new wristband at one of the verification and testing hubs before individuals are allowed to enter any Sundance space.

Alternatively, individuals may show a paper vaccination card at a Vaccine Vaccination and Testing Hub in order to receive a wristband.


Updated information: Sundance Institute will offer free testing to all participants and community members at specific Vaccine Verification and Testing Hubs located around the Festival. All participants and audience members are encouraged to get tested prior to arrival at the Festival for community safety.

Those required to show proof of negative test results upon arrival to the Festival include:

Employees/Volunteers/Onsite Contractors:

  • Required to be tested at check-in and mid-way through the Festival. Encouraged to be testing every 48 hours throughout the Festival.


HollywoodGlee inside the Sundance Film Festival Headquarters at the Park City Marriott on January 23, 2019, in Park City, Utah, the day before the opening of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)

Artists/Press & Industry:                               

  • Required to be tested within 48 hours prior to arrival or upon arrival. Additional testing is required for private events participation. Artists are required additional testing when participating in Q&A’s, programming, and press lines.

Additional testing is required for private events where proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours prior is needed for entry.

Both PCR and rapid antigen tests will be offered and accepted as proof of a COVID-19 test. Additionally, any FDA-approved COVID-19 test that displays a valid date and time of the test was taken and valid lab result will be accepted.

For Festival operated testing hubs the test results will be emailed to the individual either through the PandemSafe portal, if the individual has created an account, or through 3rd party testing partners. The portal will take less than an hour to verify the test result. For tests taken outside of the Festival testing hub, testing results will take up to 4 hours to receive. Once uploaded, the test result will be valid for 48-hours, starting from the time of testing.

Vaccine Verification and Testing Hub Locations

Vaccine Verification and Testing hubs offer both vaccine verification and free COVID-19 testing located around Park City. Wristbands required to enter any official Festival venue will be issued at these hub locations. Additional information in connection with the Salt Lake City Hubs will be disclosed soon. Please note all times are subject to change.

Kearns Bonanza Corner (Old Maverick Station) – 1635 Bonanza Dr, Park City, UT 84068

  • January 17 – January 30 from 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM MST

Miners Hospital – 1354 Park Ave, Park City, UT 84060

  • January 20 – January 25 from 2:00 PM – 11:00 PM MST
  • January 26 – January 30 from 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM MST

Galleria Parking Lot off of Main Street in Park City

  • January 17 – January 30 from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM MST

Everyone is asked to be vigilant about hand sanitizing, test often, and when outside of Festival-operated spaces to social distance when unmasked.

The general levels of community transmission will continue to be monitored and local COVID-19 vaccination coverage to maximize health and safety and adjust any plans as needed for the safety of the filmgoing community. Further policy updates will be shared in early January.

The crew leader gets an urgent message inside the New Frontier venue, the Ray Theatre, on January 23, 2019, in Park City, Utah, the day before the opening of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)

(Sourced from Sundance News release)

Sundance News: ‘Fighting the System’ Emerges as Major Theme in 2022 Lineup

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Having watched Adam McKay’s latest film, Don’t Look Up, I am pleased to report the emergent theme ‘Fighting the System’ for the upcoming Sundance Film Festival, slated for January 20th to the 30th, 2022.



By Vanessa Zimmer

Two years of hunkering down in the face of a worldwide pandemic, battered almost daily by political divisiveness and racial strife, tends to make one rebellious.

It makes sense, then, to see that defiant spirit reflected in the 2022 Sundance Film Festival program lineup — as well as a tendency for filmmakers to experiment during the lockdown with different ways of telling their stories, often crossing genre lines in the process.

“The films we saw this year were really made against the odds, under challenging circumstances, (with filmmakers) being inventive in how they’re telling their stories, in the way they explore intimacy, just creating films in a way that is imaginative,” says Kim Yutani — the Festival’s director of programming since 2018 — in a Zoom interview. Yutani, who started out programming short films for the Sundance Institute 15 years ago, is quietly passionate about the 2022 lineup.

Festival programmers, who this year painstakingly whittled down 3,762 feature-length submissions to the final 82 selections — and that doesn’t count Shorts, Midnight, and other film categories; total submissions were 14,849 — strive to create a balanced slate of films each year. Under Yutani’s direction, this team seeks films that are meaningful and inspiring, in addition to being simply entertaining.

“We want films that entertain because it’s a festival,” Yutani stresses. “I go to festivals to be entertained, but also to have those very significant, meaningful moments… where the conversations are inspired by the films that we are seeing, the filmmakers we are discovering, the work that is launched at Sundance that we will continue to talk about throughout the year — through, hopefully, awards season.”

She adds that last part with a broad smile because she knows what she’s talking about. Yutani has seen Sundance-supported films like Judas and the Black Messiah, The Father, and Promising Young Woman, and their casts and crews, perform strongly in countless awards competitions, including the Oscars.

Below, dive into some of Yutani’s initial observations about the 2022 Sundance Film Festival lineup.

Fighting the System

Thandiwe Newton stars in God’s Country.

As the 2022 lineup came together: “One of the themes that we saw emerge this year was around fighting the system,” Yutani said. “And that felt very connected to the times we’ve been living through.”

From the pursuit of democracy to the battle over control of women’s bodies — “and also just calling into question institutions, corporations, these big establishments” — that theme surfaced time and again across the 82 feature films, both fictional and documentary, Yutani says.


  • DOWNFALL: The Case Against Boeing (Premieres), a Rory Kennedy documentary that explores two deadly Boeing 737 crashes and looks at “the cost of human life through corporate greed,” says Yutani.
  • God’s Country (Premieres), which finds a Black college professor, played with intensity by Thandiwe Newton, consistently undermined and fought prejudice at every turn.
  • Master (U.S. Drama), also portraying racism in an academic setting, follows three Black women at an elite New England university. It enfolds a supernatural element, which leads us to the next theme Yutani observes in the 2022 films:


FINAL CUT imagines what could happen when real zombies infiltrate a zombie movie.

Typically, the Festival’s Midnight section showcases horror and psychological thrillers, and it will at the 2022 Festival as well, but some of those elements infiltrated other categories in lively fashion. “It seems to me that artists were experimenting and looking at how they were telling their stories by using genre tropes,” says Yutani.


  • FINAL CUT (Premieres), a “delightful film about making a low-budget zombie movie,” as Yutani describes it. “It’s kind of a love letter/romp to filmmaking.” Bérénice Bejo is entertaining: “I have never seen her quite like this, giving roundhouse kicks, a very physical performance, very funny performance,” says Yutani.
  • Resurrection (Premieres), a suspenseful film starring Rebecca Hall as a single mother haunted by her past. “It goes off the rails in the best possible way,” quips Yutani.

First-Time Sundance Directors

First-time feature-film director Reid Davenport shot I Didn’t See You There from the seat of his wheelchair.

Thirty-nine of the 92 feature-film directors, or 42%, in the lineup are directing their very first feature film. “That really speaks to the nature of discovery at Sundance,” Yutani says, and offers proof that Festival programmers are always looking for new and provocative voices.


  • Leonor Will Never Die (World Drama), by Filipina director (and screenwriter) Martika Ramirez Escobar, is a film hilariously described as the story of a retired filmmaker who falls into a coma after television land on her head and becomes the action hero of her unfinished screenplay. Essentially, this is also a “love letter to filmmaking,” says Yutani.
  • The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future (World Drama), by Chilean director (and co-screenwriter) Francisca Alegria, a film described by Yutani as an ambitious project that imagines a world where the dead come and go with the living — and which “speaks very meaningfully about the environment.”
  • Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul (Premieres), by director and screenwriter Adamma Ebo, a mockumentary that “takes a hilarious look at Black religious institutions,” with strong performances from Sterling K. Brown and Regina Hall, according to Yutani.
  • I Didn’t See You There (U.S. Documentary), in which Reid Davenport tells a first-person story from his wheelchair; it is “powerful,” “emotional,” and “inventive,” says Yutani.
  • When You Finish Saving the World (Premieres), an “exciting debut film” by Jesse Eisenberg and starring Julianne Moore. Eisenberg has been at the Festival before as an actor, but never before as a director (and screenwriter).
  • Sharp Stick (Premieres), by Lena Dunham, the story of a naive 26-year-old woman living on the fringes of Hollywood. Dunham has been a producer and actor at the Festival, but she appears for the first time as a Sundance director (and screenwriter) at the Festival in 2022 . “It’s exciting to see (Dunham) come back as a major voice in independent cinema,” says Yutani, adding with a laugh: “She takes us into a gray area, challenging audiences — as is her way.”

Strong Biographical Documentaries

Fellow comedian Amy Poehler tells the story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in Lucy and Desi.

The Festival typically screens several films about real people, and 2022 brings in documentaries on some of today’s brightest and most controversial. “These characters who are part of the public consciousness, we want to have deeper dives, to understand them more,” says Yutani.


  • jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy (Premieres), a documentary, by Clarence “Coodie” Simmons and Chize Ozah, with never-before-seen footage from 21 years in the life of musical icon Kanye West
  • The Princess (Premieres), a documentary, by Ed Perkins, on Princess Diana that challenges much of what we think we know about the people’s princess
  • La Guerra Civil (Premieres), Eva Longoria Bastón’s documentary on the legendary rivalry between boxers Oscar De La Hoya and Julio César Chávez
  • Lucy and Desi (Premieres), a documentary directed by actor and comedian Amy Poehler that testifies not only to Lucille Ball’s influence on comedy but also to her acute business sense — as well as the position of power attained by the Cuban-born Desi Arnaz. The film is featured on opening night in Salt Lake City.
  • We Need to Talk About Cosby (Premieres), a documentary by comedian W. Kamau Bell that examines the public and private persona of comedian and actor Bill Cosby, who was abruptly released from prison this summer after his sexual assault conviction was overturned.

(Sourced from Sundance blog)

Glee’s Top 5 Christmas Pics

Posted by Larry Gleeson

For me, it just doesn’t get any better than the RKO Pictures It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), starring Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, “the richest man in the world.” Often overlooked as the film was at its release, is Donna Reed’s performance as Mary. In addition, Lionel Barrymore delivers an unforgettable performance as dastardly Mr. Potter. In the end, it’s all George Bailey exemplifying and embodying love, honor, and charity. Directed by the legendary Frank Capra who had just wrapped up several war propaganda films.

It’s A Wonderful Life


Growing up in a big family, I related to McCauley Culkin’s character, Kevin McAllister, in Home Alone (1990) Culkin portrays an eight-year-old troublemaker who must protect his house from a pair of burglars when he is accidentally left home alone by his family during Christmas vacation. Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern turn in riveting performances as the lovable would-be robbers outsmarted at every turn. Catherine O’Hara and John Heard bring it home as the warm and distraught parents who forgot their son as they hurried off to the world’s busiest airport.

Home Alone


White Christmas (1954) with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen made the list as I finally watched the classic film this week, despite being a long-time owner of the Bing Crosby Christmas Album. The film follows two war buddies who go on to a high-profile entertainment career performing live routines to rave headlines in Variety.  Made during the era of big-budget musicals, White Christmas doesn’t disappoint.

White Christmas


Bad Santa and Bad Santa 2 with Billy Bob Thronton and Tony Cox round out the list and need a warning for some adult content sure to offend and spark the ire of any parent who is anticipating a film to watch with their adolescent children. A word of caution – don’t even think about it. Watched in tandem, the films, made thirteen years apart, reach a crescendo at the end of Bad Santa and Bad Santa 2 provided a slippery descent into degradation and vulgarity not expected in a Christmas film. Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks joins the cast for the sequel. Expect the unexpected!

Bad Santa


Bad Santa 2

The 2022 Sundance Film Festival’s Convergence of Light and Life

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Like planets orbiting a star, moths are drawn to a flame, or film lovers gravitating to a screen, life gathers around light. The 2022 Sundance Film Festival is taking inspiration from our solar system’s biggest, most radiant source of light and life: the sun. We’re graphically representing our closest star as a point of, and inspiration for, convergence. So, the 2022 Sundance Film Festival will shine the brightest of lights on independent artists and their powerful, culture-shifting work.


Sundance Documentary Film Program Director Tabitha Jackson at The Movie That Blew My Mind, a festival panel at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. © 2020 Sundance Institute | photo by Maya Dehlin.

“As we complete one orbit around the brightest star and prepare to begin another,” reflects Festival director Tabitha Jackson, “let’s ask ourselves: What will be illuminated this coming year? What new possibilities will be revealed? How will this convergence change the nature of our trajectory in ways that we have not yet imagined?”

Rooted in the belief in the transformative power of independent artists, culturally, socially, and politically when their work meets audiences, this year’s Sundance Film Festival represents a new convergence that will bring together the power of the in-person experience with the access and innovation of the digital experience that debuted in 2021. It isn’t two festivals — it’s one multidimensional Festival where filmmakers and film lovers from around the world will come together to celebrate independent voices and visions.

Academy Award-winning French filmmaker, Jean-Xavier de Lestrades at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival following a screening of his episodic, Laetitia, in Park City, Utah, Tuesday, January 28, 2019. (Photo by Larry Gleeson)

Until next time, I’ll see you at the movies!

Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Utah.

New Frontier Spans Biodigital Terrain, Blending Online & In-Person in Real Time

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Park City, UT — When the 2022 Sundance Film Festival kicks off on January 20, it invites audiences to participate from wherever they are, including in-person in Utah. The 2022 edition of the Festival’s New Frontier section will be a full bio digital showcase, presented simultaneously on a bespoke WebXR spatialized virtual venue, The Spaceship, that has touchpoints in a newly conceived, free-to-access venue in Park City, The Craft. Ticketed New Frontier performances will also be presented in Park City’s iconic Egyptian Theatre, with simultaneous presentations on The Spaceship.

The Spaceship, globally accessible via laptop or VR headset, houses spaces for Festivalgoers to see the official New Frontier lineup, interact with others and gather together to watch programs and performances in an immersive arthouse theater. This year, Sundance, working again with the creative studio Active Theory, will unveil a number of upgrades to enhance The Spaceship’s functionality and accessibility. Festival attendees, both on the ground in Park City and online, can interact with each other and maintain the sense of community that the festival always aims to provide, including a bleeding-edge human-scale Biodigital Bridge that connects Festivalgoers in Park City and those attending The Spaceship online from anywhere in the world — establishing the Festival as a metaverse that overlays the physical event with a virtual one.

Since 2007, the New Frontier exhibition has showcased multimedia storytelling, art installations, and bio digital performances that make use of emerging technologies like virtual reality, haptic tech, and AI, among other tools. The 2022 edition is visualized as a human-scale and person-first digital experience that balances connection with a sense of place.

Shari Frilot,Sundance Film Festival Senior Programmer, and New Frontier Chief Curator

“Since the earliest stages of planning ’22, we’ve centered access and learnings from past iterations,” said Shari Frilot, senior programmer, and New Frontier chief curator. “After the  ’21 festival, we realized that presenting the work online effectively took one of the hottest, hardest-to-access experiences of prior Festivals and made it instantly and globally accessible to anyone with the right tech. New Frontier this year prioritizes bio digital design as a very adventurous endeavor, and one that speaks to the priorities of its creators, artists, and audiences.”

Full details on New Frontier’s 2022 edition, taking place across:

The Spaceship is a virtual venue situated to orbit Earth alongside the International Space Station and is globally accessible January 20-28 via laptop or VR headset. It will host:

  • The Gallery, which will showcase the complete 2022 New Frontier lineup of XR work + Easter eggs.

  • Cinema House, a venue featuring live streaming, room-scale address, and chat functionalities.

  • A programmed series of Artist Spotlights designed to enable artists to represent their projects in person at The Craft in Park City and on The Spaceship in Cinema House.

  • Film Party, a virtual social space, that allows audiences to inhabit avatars for organic, proximity-based, person-to-person webcam chat and connection. This venue will host dedicated film premiere parties after their online premieres and live Q&As, bringing filmmakers together with their online audiences to celebrate their films in both halves of the festival.


The Craft is a newly conceived space in Park City for artists to come together around the present and future of the artistic practice. It is an immersive environment that’s free and open to all Festival patrons. By day, artists present, discuss and celebrate the creative process through a series of special public events, also live-streamed through the online Festival platform. Providing a point of convergence between the online and  “on-mountain” Festivalgoers, The Craft is open January 21-25 and will host:

  • Creators, Festival filmmakers, New Frontier artists, and creative technologists inside a venue that provides multiple immersive touchpoints to The Spaceship, including a bleeding-edge human-scale Biodigital Bridge — an innovative piece of technology from Active Theory that connects Festivalgoers at The Craft in Park City and those attending The Spaceship online from anywhere in the world.

  • Daily curated Beyond Film conversations, artist and community panels, talks, and gatherings, featuring Festival Artists and including Artist Spotlights.

  • Social spaces designed for artistic encounters.

  • Access to the  2022 New Frontier XR lineup with equipment and assistance provided. (Attendees are also encouraged to bring their own headsets, with equipment specs to be announced at a later date.)

The Egyptian Theatre will present dynamic New Frontier performances (simultaneously happening on The Spaceship) to a live and bio digitally converged audience who will be able to participate in a post-performance Q&A. Tickets are required and will be available on December 17 (packages) and January 5 (single tickets).

The 2022 edition of New Frontier at the Sundance Film Festival on the Spaceship is accessible to all holders of the Explorer Pass ($50 via link), which is also part of all ticket packages.

The Sundance Institute New Frontier Program is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Unity, Adobe, Dell Technologies, Rally, Metaplex Studios and Canon USA, Inc.

Festival Sponsors and Host State

The Festival is a program of the nonprofit Sundance Institute. The 2022 Festival sponsors include Presenting Sponsors – Acura, AMC+, Chase Sapphire, Adobe; Leadership Sponsors – Amazon Studios, DIRECTV, DoorDash, Dropbox, Netflix, Omnicom Group, WarnerMedia, XRM Media; Sustaining Sponsors – Aflac, Audible, Canada Goose, Canon U.S.A., Inc., Dell Technologies, IMDbPro, Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold, Rabbit Hole Bourbon & Rye, Southwest Airlines®, Unity Technologies, University of Utah Health, White Claw Hard Seltzer; Media Sponsors – The Atlantic, IndieWire, Los Angeles Times, NPR, Shadow and Act, Variety and Vulture. Sundance Institute recognizes critical support from the State of Utah as Festival Host State. The support of these organizations helps offset the Festival’s costs and sustain the Institute’s year-round programs for independent artists. https://festival.sundance.org/

Sundance Institute

As a champion and curator of independent stories for the stage and screen, Sundance Institute provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theater, film composing and digital media to create and thrive.

Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, the Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs dedicated to developing new work take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. Sundance Collab, a digital community platform, brings artists together to learn from each other and Sundance advisors and connect in a creative space, developing and sharing works in progress. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences and artists to ignite new ideas, discover original voices and build a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Clemency, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Zola, On The Record, Boys State, The Farewell, Honeyland, One Child Nation, The Souvenir, The Infiltrators, Sorry to Bother You, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Hereditary, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, The Big Sick, Mudbound, Fruitvale Station, City So Real, Top of the Lake, Between the World & Me, Wild Goose Dreams and Fun Home. Join the Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

(Sourced from Sundance News Release)