Sundance Film Festival Opens Day One with Groundbreaking Programming

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Posted by Larry Gleeson

PARK CITY, UT (January 20, 2022) – Sundance Film Festival welcomed audiences to an action-packed first day of premiere screenings and conversations featuring some of the most notable visionaries in independent film, new media, and culture-at-large, including Jesse Eisenberg, Eva Longoria Bastón, Sam Green, Julianne Moore, Finn Wolfhard, Emma Stone, Dale Dickey and more. Kicking off the Festival’s first day with a press conference, Festival Director Tabitha Jackson was joined by Director of Programming Kim Yutani and Senior Programmers John Nein and Shari Frilot to tee up what audiences can expect from the next ten days of Sundance.

As a point of convergence and unity for the opening day, audiences were invited to the New Frontier Spaceship to experience 32 Sounds, an immersive audio-visual documentary experience from Award-winning documentarian Sam Green that enabled the Sundance community to connect together, as one.

Sam Green appears in 32 Sounds by Sam Green, an official selection of the New Frontier section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

With the festival up and running, Director/Producer Eva Longoria-Bastón’s La Guerra Civil provided a historical treatment of how Mexicans view two of the greatest lightweight boxers in the history of the sport, Cesar Chavez and Oscar De La Hoya.

La Guerra Civil features detailed archival footage and enthusiastic interviews with Chávez and De La Hoya to illuminate a story that transcends language, heritage, and interests. Longoria Bastón’s high-energy documentary debut exudes authenticity and heart as it digs deep into the cultural significance of one of the biggest sports moments of the 1990s.

Longoria-Baston has advocated for greater inclusivity for LatinX films. Four stars.

In addition, first-time director Jesse Eisenberg brought forth When You Finish Saving The World, about high school student Ziggy performing original folk-rock songs for an adoring online fan base from his bedroom home studio. This concept mystifies his formal and uptight mother, Evelyn (Julianne Moore), who runs a shelter for survivors of domestic abuse. While Ziggy is busy trying to impress his socially engaged classmate Lila by making his music less bubblegum and more political, Evelyn meets Angie and her teen son, Kyle, when they seek refuge at her facility. She observes a bond between the two that she’s missing with her own son, and decides to take Kyle under her wing against her better instincts.
Jesse Eisenberg, director of When You Finish Saving the World, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Karen Kuehn.
Finn Wolfhard and Julianne Moore appear in When You Finish Saving the World by Jesse Eisenberg, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Beth Garrabrant.

What makes Sundance special is the connection to other artists and audience members. The Chiqui team gathered on the Spaceship following 32 Sounds and after exchanging a few pleasantries, Chiqui was added to the schedule. Chiqui is a period piece. It’s 1987. Chiqui and Carlos emigrate from Colombia to New Jersey to find a better life for themselves and their unborn son. Upon their arrival, they quickly realize that the American dream is not as easy to achieve as they thought. Nuanced and spot on. Highly recommended!

 

*Featured photo from Chiqui, an official selection of the Indie Episodic section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

 

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

The Festival takes place digitally via an enhanced online platform at Festival.Sundance.org, on the New Frontier Spaceship, a bespoke immersive platform allowing festival-goers to gather virtually, and in-person at seven Satellite Screens venues around the country during the Festival’s second weekend. Additional programming includes a daily talk show (“How to Fest: Daily”), and Satellite Screen conversations as well as partner offerings in the Festival Village. To note, all talks are available online via livestream or posted later on festival.sundance.org to view globally. Sign up for an account at festival.sundance.org to access online. All times are U.S. Mountain Time.

ABOUT SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

The Festival is a program of the non-profit Sundance Institute. 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, Unity Technologies, University of Utah Health, White Claw Hard Seltzer; Media Sponsors – The Atlantic, IndieWire, Los Angeles Times, NPR, Shadow and Act, Variety, 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. Visit sundance.org/festival for more.

Thank you to Sunshine Sachs for providing the news release and source materials.