Actors & Decision Makers Will Spotlight Need to Include Disability in Diversity Conversations; Organization Serves as Member of Sundance Institute’s Accessibility & Inclusion Alliance
PARK CITY, UTAH — Jan. 23, 2020 — For Immediate Release — An Allied Organization of Sundance Institute and member of its newly announced Accessibility & Inclusion Alliance, Easterseals Disability Services will host a panel on the influence of diversity and inclusion initiatives in Hollywood in increasing the visibility of/opportunities for talent with disabilities in the entertainment industry. As a go-to resource for filmmakers and actors with disabilities, ESSC has worked with the Institute since 2018, helping to make the annual Sundance Film Festival more inclusive and accessible.
Moderated by Britt Stephens, Celebrity & Entertainment Editor, Pop Sugar. Guest panelists include Shanique Bonelli-Moore, Executive Director of Inclusion, United Talent Agency; Franklin Leonard, Founder and CEO, The Black List; John Travis, VP of Brand Marketing, Adobe; and Shoshannah Stern, Creator, Executive Producer, Writer and Star of Sundance TV’s This Close.
The disability community, which makes up 25 percent of the U.S. population and commands $21 billion in discretionary income, is represented in less than three percent of on-screen roles. It is time for Hollywood to take the opportunity to capitalize on new, authentic stories and reach a large segment of the marketplace by including people with disabilities in their content.
Said Mark Whitley, CEO, ESSC, “It’s been just three years since Sundance and Easterseals joined forces to advance disability inclusion and greater accessibility across the Festival and the entertainment industry at large. We’re making real progress, but still have more to do to make disability inclusion, whether in front of or behind the camera, commonplace— an industry practice and standard. This year, we’re honored to extend our work and partnership with Sundance Film Festival, bringing together new and diverse voices to share their unique perspectives, address challenges and push the needle forward on inclusion.”
As part of Easterseals’ vision of building a more inclusive future for more than 61 million Americans with disabilities, the organization is working with Sundance Institute to increase accessibility for filmmakers, critics and film enthusiasts with disabilities at the Festival.
Activation Adds Sponsors, Event Programs to Multi-Venue Roster
January 20, 2019 (Park City, UT)— WELLHAUS, the new health, wellness and CBD/cannabis-focused event platform from event industry veterans Axcess Entertainment, is pleased to announce that their second-annual activation during 2020’s Sundance/Slamdance film festivals in Park City, UT will be going zero-waste. A zero-waste event follows sustainable practices to send the least possible (approaching zero) amount of waste to landfills. Recycling, reusing items, and reducing waste are all important components of a zero-waste event. In addition to the zero-waste initiative, new panels, parties and partnerships have been added.
Located in the heart of historic Main Street, WELLHAUS has partnered with three local venues to create a first-ever multi-location brand experience at the Festival: the WELLHAUS Spa Experience at the PuraVida Spa at Sky & Main Hotel (201 Heber Street at Main); the WELLHAUS Café Experience offering complimentary organic coffees and healthy snacks at the Main Street Deli (525 Main Street) and the WELLHAUS Lounge at the brand-new Old Town Cellars (OTC, 408 Main Street) from January 24th through 27th during the festivals’ kick-off weekend. The Wellhaus Spa will additionally offer unique health & wellness services for the duration of the festival week, through February 2nd.
Joining the WELLHAUS Lounge as its resident DJ during the festivals to provide world-class entertainment for all events will be DJ Lavelle Dupree, one half of famous EDM duo Scooter & Lavelle. Recently voted the #1 DJ in San Diego, Lavelle has performed for crowds all across the globe and at notable music events such as Coachella and Winter Music Conference in addition to residencies in Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego and Park City.
Presenting Sponsor The Erba Verde Group (EVG) is a company with the global vision and leadership to become the future of legal cannabis. EVG is focused on early-stage investments, distribution, ancillary businesses and digital solutions in the emerging cannabis market. Erbe Verde is an end-to-end player in the cannabis, hemp and CBD space, involved in cultivation, extraction, R&D, product development, and distribution. WELLHAUS seeks to embody the Group’s ethos—as well as those of their other sponsors and partners—by implementing a series of unique programming and hospitality activations throughout the duration of Sundance, each aimed to educate and entertain the public and the festival community on the rapidly growing cannabis and CBD movement and wider health and wellness industries.
Joining EVG is BRIC’S Milano (https://bricstore.com). Established in 1952 in Florence, Italy by Mario Briccola, BRIC’S has been handcrafting travel bags and fine leather goods for over 60 years. Today BRIC’S is located in the beautiful Lake Como region of northern Italy, and with the motto, “happiness is packing for your next adventure,” the brand is currently owned and operated by Mario’s sons, daughters and grandchildren. This new generation carries on the family values, workmanship, and pride that was Mario’s original vision. BRIC’S Milano luxury pieces will be distributed with an array of Erba Verde Group and WELLHAUS health, wellness, hydration and CBD products to form a WELLHAUS “festival survival kit” for select media and celebrities attending the festival.
SEED Us Society [https://seedussociety.com], in conjunction with WELLHAUS, invites you into the conversation around self-awareness, the experience marketplace and the importance of an impact society. The SEED team, led by renowned conscious entrepreneurs Brandi Veil and Amanda Manares, will host an afternoon experience in mind, body and soul connection featuring keynote speakers, impact investors, community builders, a sound bath exercise, movement and networking, including a talk led by Theodore Adams III, Stan Lee Foundation co-founder, among others.
When it debuted last year, WELLHAUS was the first fully integrated health, wellness and ancillary product concept house during the festival, marking a departure from the typical mainstream consumer brand sponsor activations. Featuring the Wellhaus Lounge at OTC with exciting experiential and hospitality activations daily, WELLHAUS will host film premieres, dinners, receptions, daytime experiential activities, happy hours and panel discussions on cannabis in Hollywood and other topics. WELLHAUS will mix this programming with events in support of official competition films and leading filmmakers at the festival, to provide a truly integrated and unique Main Street experience. Select activities at WELLHAUS will also be open to the festival-going public—making this one of the most sought-after and highly trafficked locations during the festival. Here is a sampling of activities (*open to pubic):
FRIDAY, January 24:
10:00am-7:00pm: Spa open by appointment for talent and media throughout festival / * open for public with daily bookings
2:00-5:00pm: Night House Junket
5:00-7:00pm: WELLHAUS Opening Party *
8:00-11:00pm: Cocktail Party for Night House cast/crew
SATURDAY, January 24:
10:00am-7:00pm: Spa open *
Noon-3:00pm: DAILY GRIT panels/cocktails
3:00pm-6:00pm: SEED mind/body/soul experience
7:30pm-9:30pm: Kirby Dick/Amy Ziering documentary party: On the Record
11:00pm-1am: Premiere Party for Save Yourselves cast/crew
SUNDAY, January 25:
10:00am-7:00pm: Spa open *
3:00-7:00pm: Asian Pacific Filmmaker’s Experience Part
8:00-10:00pm: Film Fatales annual festival party
Complementing the flagship Wellhaus Lounge is the Wellhaus Spa Experience, operating through the duration of the festivals at PuraVida Spa in the Main & Sky complex at 201 Heber Avenue (at Main Street) and featuring Erba Verde Group’s high-end CBD products woven into traditional Ayurvedic therapies. The Wellhaus Spa will offer full-range professional spa treatments to media, celebrities and the public by appointment daily.
WELLHAUS is wholly-owned and produced by Axcess Wellness, a division of Axcess Entertainment – a global leader in live event, festival and entertainment production for more than 17 years and producer of more than 500 individual film events worldwide. The concept debuted in 2019 with activations during Sundance and SXSW, and expects to tour throughout North America and internationally in 2020 with executions in Malibu, Coachella, Las Vegas, Austin, Toronto, Miami and New York. For more information follow @ThisIsWellhaus on Instagram and visit the Axcess Entertainment website.
About Erba Verde Group (EVG)
A vertically integrated cannabis platform, EVG is comprised of a network of industry leaders and experienced operators and staff who ensure our products are the best they can be, from cultivation to production and into the market place. EVG has built a farm network from proven farmers in North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, New York, and Oregon and is constantly expanding. Our production network is equipped with the latest in extraction technology. Our equipment extracts all cannabinoids, giving EVG the flexibility to produce any product the market wants. EVG has partnered with the industry’s top distribution companies which include marketing and creative specialists, dispensaries and logistics services. Please visit us at https://erbaverdegroup.com
About BRIC’S Milano
Still family-owned for more than 60 years, the collections offered today result from a combination of research into new and traditional materials designed to meet the needs of today’s travelers. Modern amenities and styling combined with iconic silhouettes provide the best of both worlds.
As BRIC’S continues to grow into a global brand it’s the core values of quality, artistry, attention to detail, Italian style, function, fashion, innovation, aesthetics, and durability, all backed by a family name that has helped BRIC’S grow into one of the premier luxury travel bag brands in the world. Please visit www.bricstore.com
About SEED Us Society
SEED Us is a society of impact investors and innovators who align through mission-driven projects and curated experiential, wellness events, which successfully aims to bring creatives, spiritualists, executives, musicians and industry thought leaders together to steward in the for-benefit economy.
Founder of Being Investments and creator of SEED Us Society Brandi Veil says “a society” that is focused on mission-driven impact can shift culture and impact the world for the better! SEED Us Society’s funding culture creates unique opportunities and experiences that cultivate change and is rewarding to the human spirit and the bottom-line. Health and wellness can be the drivers of the influence marketplace but first, you must experience it to have a cultural shift. If you can influence culture, you can influence the markets! Social Funding for GOOD! Join SEED Us Society today.
About Tyler’s Coffee
Tyler’s recommends drinking acid-free coffee for better health. They pride themselves on being the “only acid-free USDA-Certified Organic Coffee.” Tyler’s Coffee offers a healthier alternative for people suffering a variety of ailments from acid-related issues. Please visit https://www.tylerscoffees.com
THROUGH PANEL DISCUSSIONS AND DAILY SOUND BATHS, AUDIBLE CELEBRATES THE NEXT FRONTIER OF BOLD, TRAILBLAZING VOICES
WHAT:Audible Inc., the world’s largest producer and seller of spoken-word entertainment and audiobooks, today announced it will make its Sundance Film Festival debut as the Festival’s exclusive audio entertainment sponsor with The Audible Speakeasy, where stories are stirred, shaken and spoken. Creators and Festival attendees will have the opportunity to attend Los Angeles Times-curated and -hosted panel discussions, daily sound baths and more.
The Speakeasy will provide a home for powerful voices and feature innovative filmmakers and creatives through panel discussions curated and hosted by the Los Angeles Times. Audible Speakeasy attendees are also invited to relax through daily, 30-minute sound baths hosted by a leading voice in sound bath experiences, Sara Auster. Guests will be introduced to sound meditation with guided instructions focused on breathing practices.
The Audible Speakeasy will provide Festival attendees, creators and industry professionals with an inspiring and comfortable meeting place at the center of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Space will be open to the public on Main Street in Park City from Friday, January 24 through Monday, January 27.
Audible has a robust slate of original content featuring exclusive audio entertainment created by celebrated storytellers from the worlds of entertainment, theater, journalism, comedy, literature and more. Audible Originals offer powerful performances created specifically for listeners, spanning every genre and length, from Patti Smith at the Minetta Lane, the intimate portrait of an icon via spoken-word stories from her life, interwoven with the music from her beloved catalog; to Evil Eye, an episodic light-hearted family dramedy turned supernatural thriller by playwright Madhuri Shekar; to Kate McKinnon’s Heads Will Roll, a raunchy episodic satire set in Medieval times produced with Broadway Video and featuring Kate McKinnon, Emily Lynne, Meryl Streep and Peter Dinklage.
WHERE & THE AUDIBLE SPEAKEASY
WHEN: Address: 692 Main Street, Park City (at 7th Street)
Public Hours of Operation:Friday, January 24 – Sunday, January 26:
10:30am – 4:00pm & Monday, January 27: 10:00am – 3:00pm
*Speakeasy will close promptly at 4:00pm (Jan. 24-26) for RSVP-only private events
Daily Public Programming:
9:00 – 10:00am: Sound Bath with Sara Auster (RSVP required)
Afternoon: Los Angeles Times Panel (Jan. 24-26)
ABOUT AUDIBLE, INC. Audible, Inc., an Amazon.com, Inc. subsidiary (NASDAQ:AMZN), is the leading provider of premium digital spoken audio content, offering customers a new way to enhance and enrich their lives every day. Audible content includes more than 475,000 audio programs from leading audiobook publishers, broadcasters, entertainers, magazine and newspaper publishers, and business information providers.
(Source: Press release provided by Gabrielle Flamand, CIVIC on behalf of Audible)
(Los Angeles, California, December 18, 2019) – Celebrating thirteen years of engaging and elevated programming since 2007, The Blackhouse Foundation once again returns to the 2020 Sundance Film Festival (January 24-January 27 in Park City, UT), as announced this morning by The Hollywood Reporter. This year, The Blackhouse Foundation welcomes Facebook as the Presenting Sponsor and Strayer University and Warner Media as Premier Sponsors.
Facebook is thrilled to be returning for the third year in a row with their SEEN (IG@seen) program supporting underrepresented voices in film. They will be on the ground at The Blackhouse workshopping with and creating content to promote black filmmakers and their stories at the festival.
The Blackhouse Foundation also returns to the Filmmaker Lodge with another slate of its history-making programs. In past years, featured guests have included Harry Belafonte, Ice-T, genre-shaping black women in film, and some of the leading minds behind television and film’s most significant projects.
The Blackhouse Foundation co-founder Brickson Diamond says,
“Our work at Sundance represents the pinnacle of what Blackhouse does. The line-up is more diverse than ever. We count 55 films, episodic, VR and live performance projects with black directors, subject matter and/or cast included in the 2020 Sundance Film Festival programming. This represents yet another record and a beautiful trajectory from the seven programmed black films that accompanied our first year at Sundance in 2007. We couldn’t be more excited about or proud of our community and the Sundance team. Our incredible sponsors and brilliant constituents are going to be busy teaching, learning, sharing and elevating all of this #blackexcellence come January.”
Leading up to the festival, The Blackhouse Foundation will reveal a stacked slate of panels, activations, discussions, events, and community gatherings in the coming weeks. As always, expect surprise guests and full cultural immersion.
Additional sponsors include OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, BET Networks, CAA, and more. The Blackhouse Foundation stands out as a bastion for the most influential and impactful Black writers, directors, producers, crew, actors, and actresses throughout film, television, digital media, and beyond. It continues to elevate such talent into the spotlight on a global scale via engagements at Sundance.
ABOUT THE BLACKHOUSE FOUNDATION:
The Blackhouse Foundation works to expand opportunities for Black content creators by providing pathways to opportunities within film, television, digital and emerging platforms. Blackhouse provides opportunities for minority creatives to learn about the financial, production, marketing and distribution resources that will raise the profile of their content, while also providing participants with a nucleus for continuing support, community, and education.
The Social Dilemma Joins Documentary Premieres; Born into Brothels and High Art Are From The Collection Films
Special Event Love Fraud Confirmed as Day One Screening
(FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE) Park City, UT — Sundance Institute adds three feature films to the 2020 Sundance Film Festival’s robust slate of independent work today, alongside previously announced work. The Institute also confirmed that previously-announced Special Event, Love Fraud, will screen on Day One of the Festival. The Festival will take place in Park City, Salt Lake City and at Sundance Mountain Resort on January 23–February 2, 2020.
Pulling from the vault of festivals past, archival selection High Art will be presented thanks to a newly created DCP provided by Focus Features/Universal Pictures. Lisa Cholodenko’s feature debut, featuring a breakthrough performance from Patricia Clarkson and Radha Mitchell, and an award-winning turn from Ally Sheedy, High Art premiered at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival and won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. High Art follows an ambitious female magazine editor who has a chance encounter with her neighbor, a brilliant photographer who’s lost in an underworld of sex and drugs. As the two begin a passionate love affair, a powerful struggle ensues and a story of ambition, sacrifice, seduction, and other career moves unfolds.
Born into Brothels, the second archival screening, won the Documentary Audience Award when it premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. A tribute to the resiliency of childhood and the restorative power of art, Born into Brothels is a portrait of several unforgettable children of prostitutes living in the red light district of Calcutta. Photographer Zana Briski gives the children cameras as they learn to see the world with new eyes. The film, which highlights the immensely restorative, empowering, and liberating nature of art, went on to win an Academy Award® for Documentary Feature in 2005. Nearly lost in a fire, Born into Brothels has been digitally restored, and a DCP was created through a collaboration between Sundance Institute, UCLA Film & Television Archive, and the Academy Film Archive branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Archival screenings are made possible by the Sundance Institute Collection at UCLA and give audiences the opportunity to discover and rediscover the films that have shaped the heritage of both Sundance Institute and independent storytelling. To address the specific preservation risks posed to independent film, including high costs of storage, lab closures, issues around intellectual property rights, and damage from neglect, Sundance Institute partnered with UCLA Film & Television Archive in 1997 to form the Sundance Institute Collection at UCLA.
The Collection has grown to over 4,000 holdings representing nearly 2,300 titles, and is dedicated to preserving independent feature-length and short films supported by Sundance Institute. Celebrating the history of independent film, past From the Collection screenings have included The Blair Witch Project, Hours and Times, River of Grass, Paris is Burning, Desert Hearts, Daughters of the Dust, El Mariachi, sex, lies, and videotape, Hoop Dreams, and Paris, Texas.
The Social Dilemma / U.S.A. (Director: Jeff Orlowski, Screenwriters: Vickie Curtis, Davis Coombe, Jeff Orlowski, Producer: Larissa Rhodes) — Never before have a handful of tech designers had such control over the way billions of us think, act, and live our lives. Insiders from Google, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube reveal how these platforms are reprogramming civilization by exposing what’s hiding on the other side of your screen. Cast: Vincent Kartheiser, Skyler Gisondo, Kara Hayward. World Premiere
FROM THE COLLECTION
Born into Brothels / U.S.A. (Directors: Zana Briski, Ross Kaufman) – A tribute to the resiliency of childhood and the restorative power of art, Born into Brothels is a portrait of several unforgettable children of prostitutes living in the red light district of Calcutta. Photographer Zana Briski gives the children cameras as they learn to see the world with new eyes.
High Art / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Lisa Cholodenko, Producers: Dolly Hall, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Susan A. Stover) – A story of ambition, sacrifice, seduction, and other career moves. Syd, an ambitious female magazine editor, has a chance encounter with her neighbor one night, the enigmatic Lucy, a brilliant photographer who’s lost in an underworld of sex and drugs. As the two begin a passionate love affair, a powerful struggle ensues – will Lucy be saved or will Syd be destroyed? Cast: Patricia Clarkson, Tammy Grimes, Gabriel Mann, Radha Mitchell, Bill Sage, Ally Sheedy. The Sundance Film Festival®
The Sundance Film Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most groundbreaking films of the past three decades, including Sorry to Bother You, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Eighth Grade, Get Out, The Big Sick, Mudbound, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Whiplash, Brooklyn, Precious, The Cove, Little Miss Sunshine, An Inconvenient Truth, Napoleon Dynamite, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Reservoir Dogs, and sex, lies, and videotape. The Festival is a program of the non-profit Sundance Institute®. 2020 Festival sponsors include: Presenting Sponsors – Acura, SundanceTV, Chase Sapphire; AT&T; Leadership Sponsors – Adobe, Amazon Studios, DIRECTV, Dropbox, Netflix, Omnicom Group, Southwest Airlines®, Stella Artois®, WarnerMedia; Sustaining Sponsors – Audible, Canada Goose, Canon U.S.A., Inc., Dell Technologies, Fire TV, GEICO, High West Distillery, Hulu, IMDbPro, Lyft, Unity Technologies, University of Utah Health; Media Sponsors – The Atlantic, IndieWire, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Variety, The Wall Street Journal. 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. Look for the Official Partner seal at their venues at the Festival. sundance.org/festival
Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and media to create and thrive. 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 Co//ab, 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, discovering original voices, and build a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as The Farewell, Late Night, The Souvenir, The Infiltrators, Sorry to Bother You, Eighth Grade, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Hereditary, RBG, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, The Big Sick, Top of the Lake, Winter’s Bone, Dear White People, Little Miss Sunshine, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, State of the Union, Indecent, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
Writer/Directors from China, South Africa, U.S. and U.K.
(FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE)Los Angeles, CA — Fifteen screenwriters will convene to advance their independent projects at Sundance Institute’s January Screenwriters Lab, taking place at the Sundance Mountain Resort in Utah, from January 17-22, 2020. At the Lab, the screenwriters will immerse themselves in a rigorous and holistic creative process, working to further develop their scripts with the mentorship of accomplished Creative Advisors.
The January Screenwriters Lab has been created and organized under the leadership of Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program Founding Director Michelle Satter and Deputy Director Ilyse McKimmie. The team of Creative Advisors includes Artistic Director Scott Frank, Michael Arndt, Suha Arraf, Ritesh Batra, Andrea Berloff, D.V. DeVincentis, Gonzalo Maza, Doug McGrath, Walter Mosley, Nicole Perlman, Howard Rodman, Susan Shilliday, Zach Sklar, Dana Stevens, Joan Tewkesbury, Bill Wheeler, and Tyger Williams.
“We’re so excited to welcome this singular and bold group of artists to our January Screenwriters Lab,” said Satter. “Our program provides a safe and protected space for writers to be rigorous in their creative process as they develop new work that’s a true reflection of their unique voice and power as storytellers. Our Labs are the beginning of a long-term commitment to these writer/directors, who we will continue to advance with a robust, ongoing suite of customized support.”
Current award-winning films supported by the Feature Film Program (FFP) Labs include Lulu Wang’s The Farewell, Laure de Clermont Tonnere’s The Mustang, and Joe Talbot’s The Last Black Man in San Francisco. Ten films supported by the Feature Film Program will premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. In U.S. Dramatic Competition, those films include The 40-Year-Old Version, written and directed by Radha Blank; Farewell Amor, written and directed by Ekwa Msangi; Miss Juneteenth, written and directed by Channing Godfrey Peoples; Nine Days, written and directed by Edson Oda; and Save Yourselves!, co-written and co-directed by Alex Huston Fischer and Eleanor Wilson. The World Cinema Dramatic Competition includes the FFP-supported films Cuties, written and directed by Maïmouna Doucouré, and Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness, written and directed by Massoud Bakhshi. In addition, the Midnight section features His House, written and directed by Remi Weekes; the NEXT section includes The Mountains Are a Dream That Call to Me, written and directed by Cedric Cheung-Lau; and Wendy, co-written by Benh and Eliza Zeitlin and directed by Benh Zeitlin, will screen in the Premieres section.
Alumni writer/directors with new films premiering at the Festival include Miranda July, Sean Durkin, Rodrigo Garcia, Sara Colangelo, Braden King, Eliza Hittman, Julie Taymor and Dee Rees.
The projects and fellows selected for the 2020 January Screenwriters Lab are:
Aftersun (United Kingdom/U.S.A.) Charlotte Wells (writer/director)
A young father and his 11-year-old daughter have impossible expectations of themselves and each other on a week’s holiday at a resort in the Mediterranean, forcing them to confront the disconnect between who they are as a family and who they are apart.
Charlotte “Charlie” Wells is a Scottish filmmaker based in New York. Her first short film, Tuesday, was nominated for a London Critics’ Circle Award, two BAFTA Scotland New Talent Awards, and won special mention at the Glasgow Short Film Festival. Her second short film, Laps, won awards at the Sundance Film Festival and SXSW, screened online as a Vimeo Staff Pick Premiere, and was featured on Short of the Week, Topic, and Nowness. Wells’ most recent short, Blue Christmas, premiered at TIFF, screened at the Sundance Film Festival, and won awards at festivals in the US and UK. She is a graduate of the MBA/MFA dual-degree program at NYU and was featured in Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 Faces of Independent Film” 2018.
Birth/Rebirth (U.S.A.) Laura Moss (co-writer/director) and Brendan O’Brien (co-writer)
In this all-female reimagining of the Frankenstein story, a grieving maternity nurse and an obsessive morgue technician are unexpectedly bound together in a quest to successfully re-animate a deceased child.
Laura Moss is a filmmaker from New York City whose work has screened at MoMA, Tribeca, Rotterdam and SXSW. She was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in 2017 and her short film, Fry Day, which is currently available on the Criterion Channel, premiered at SXSW in 2017. Her latest project, the pilot of the sci-ﬁ/comedy series neurotica, starring Karen Gillan and Jon Bass, premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival and won Best Director for a Comedy Pilot at Seriesfest.
Brendan O’Brien is a writer and producer whose films have screened at SXSW, Rotterdam, Tribeca and Clermont-Ferrand. His work has been included in the London Review of Books and the Zombie Movie Encyclopedia.
Chalino (U.S.A.) Jesus Celaya (writer) Chalino tells the true story of Chalino Sanchez, the originator of the narcocorrido, who immigrated from Sinaloa to Los Angeles in the early 1990s and started a musical revolution with his songs about the lives of Mexican outlaws. Recipient of the Sundance Institute Latinx Fellowship.
Jesus Celaya is a Mexican American genre writer raised between the mountains of Washington State and the deserts of Sonora, Mexico. He finally settled in Los Angeles for film school, where he now resides. Celaya comes from a storytelling family born of a storytelling culture, marrying his love of history and folklore with his passion for cinema. Chink (U.S.A.) Bing Liu (writer/director)
An Asian American teen raised in a volatile household wrestles with complex familial relationships while carving his own path toward independence and self-worth. Recipient of the Sundance Institute Asian American Fellowship.
Bing Liu is a Chicago-based filmmaker best known for the Academy Award and Emmy-nominated documentary Minding the Gap, which premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and went on to win a Peabody Award. He directed three storylines on America To Me, a 10-hour series from Steve James that examines racial inequities in the U.S. education system. Liu is a 2017 Film Independent Fellow, a Garrett Scott Development Grant recipient, and graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is in post-production on his second feature documentary, following two young men and their mentors transforming lives in two Chicago neighborhoods affected by gun violence.
Frybread Face and Me (U.S.A.) Billy Luther (writer/director)
Two adolescent Navajo cousins from different worlds bond during a summer herding sheep on their grandmother’s ranch in Arizona, as they learn about their family’s past and themselves.
Billy Luther (Navajo, Hopi and Laguna Pueblo) is the director/producer of the award-winning documentary, Miss Navajo, which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and aired nationally on PBS’ Independent Lens that same year. His second documentary featureGRAB premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and aired nationally on Public Television that same year. His latest short documentary film Red Lake had its world premiere at the 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival and was nominated for Best Documentary Short at the 2016 International Documentary Association Awards. In 2018, he launched his web-series alter-NATIVE for PBS’ IndieLens StoryCast.
Luna Likes (U.S.A.) Danya Jimenez (co-writer) and Hannah McMechan (co-writer)
Luna Ramirez, a melodramatic Mexican teen, is Anthony Bourdain’s biggest fan, and she knows it is her destiny to become the next great culinary/travel documentarian extraordinaire! The only issue: Luna is undocumented, and her family doesn’t understand or support a career they see as fraught with risk. Recipient of the Sundance Institute | Comedy Central Comedy Fellowship.
Danya Jimenez is a Mexican American writer who learned English by repeating everything Lizzie McGuire said. Hannah McMechan was raised in a small tourist town beneath Yosemite National Park before moving to LA to pursue her dream of fulfilling that cliché. Together, their first pilot earned them a place in the 2017 Black List x Women in Film Episodic Television Lab. Since then, they have co-written and co-directed the 2018 Black List Release Video, punched up movies for Universal and Disney, and made The 2019 LatinX List for their feature, Luna Likes. Currently, the two are working on an upcoming Sony feature and writing on the Disney Channel show Gabby Duran & The Unsittables.
Magnolia Bloom (U.S.A.) Phillip Youmans (writer/director)
Young, black community organizers with bonds thicker than blood strive for self-governance in 1970 New Orleans.
Phillip Youmans is a filmmaker from the 7th Ward of New Orleans. At 19, he became the youngest and first African American director to win the Founder’s Award for Best Narrative Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival for his feature-length debut, Burning Cane, which he wrote, directed, shot, and edited during his final years of high school. Distributed by Ava Duvernay’s ARRAY Releasing, Burning Cane opened in select theaters and on Netflix in fall of 2019, and Youmans was nominated for a Gotham Award for Breakthrough Director for his work on the film.
Nanny (U.S.A.) Nikyatu (writer/director)
Aisha is an undocumented nanny in New York City, caring for the privileged child of an Upper East Side family. As she prepares for the arrival of the child she left behind in her native country, a violent presence rattles her reality, jeopardizing the American Dream she has so carefully constructed.
Sierra Leonean American filmmaker Nikyatu’s films have screened at film festivals nationally and internationally. With a BA from Duke University and an MFA from NYU’s Tisch Graduate Film School, she has earned numerous awards including NYU’s Spike Lee Fellowship Award, the Princess Grace Narrative film grant and Director’s Guild of America Honorable Mentions. Her short film Suicide By Sunlight screened at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
Sisyphus (China) Xixi Wang (writer/director)
Based on true events, a single mother fights to uncover the truth after her son dies in a subway station in China. Over the course of the investigation, she confronts an impenetrable bureaucracy but also rediscovers herself.
Xixi Wang, a Chinese writer and director, graduated from Beijing Film Academy with a B.A. in Screenwriting and received an MFA in Directing from Columbia University. She is currently teaching in the Department of Screenwriting and Film Studies at Beijing Film Academy.
The Spirit Guest (South Africa) Fanyana Hlabangane (writer/director)
Estranged brothers Tito and Kgabane struggle to make a life on the fringes of Johannesburg. During a mercilessly dry winter, their dead mother suddenly arrives in the flesh, bringing childhood pain to the surface and forcing the brothers to confront the trauma that pulled them apart.
Screenwriter, director, and photographer Fanyana Hlabangane was born and raised in Alexandra, Johannesburg’s oldest township. Having written episodic content professionally for Mnet, Africa’s main Pay TV channel, his shorts have also screened at numerous international film festivals such as Durban and Shnit. He developed his debut feature script The Spirit Guest through Realness, and producer Mmabatho Kau will attend 2020 IFFR PRO with the project. Hlabangane’s photographic work was also recently exhibited at the 12th Recontres de Bamako (2019), Africa’s most significant photo biennale.
Tiger Girl (U.S.A.) Andrew Thomas Huang (writer/director)
Set in 1966 Los Angeles, Tiger Girl is a coming of age fantasy about a repressed Chinese American teenage girl haunted by a tiger lurking in her attic. When pressured by her immigrant mother’s rigid social expectations, the girl must learn that the beast upstairs is the tiger within that will set her free.
With a background in fine art, visual effects, animation and puppetry, Andrew Thomas Huang is a visual artist and filmmaker whose collaborators include Björk, FKA twigs and Thom Yorke among others. Huang served as creative director for the immersive traveling VR exhibit Bjork Digital and his work has been shown at The Museum of Contemporary Art, NYC, the Sydney Opera House and The Museum of Contemporary Art, LA. Huang is an IFP filmmaker, a Cinereach fellow, a participant in the Film Independent Screenwriters & Directors Labs, and a recipient of the K Period Media Grant. His most recent narrative short Kiss of the Rabbit God premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival.
Welcome (United Kingdom) Nadia Latif (co-writer/director) and Omar El-Khairy (co-writer)
Documentarian Melissa feels compelled to invite Tarek, a Yemeni asylum-seeker and the subject of her latest film, into her London home. As Tarek brings the outside world crashing into these close quarters, it is Melissa’s trauma that begins to surface in unexpected and terrifying ways.
Nadia Latif is a theatre maker and film director, originally from Sudan. She has worked at theatres including the Almeida, Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal Court. She was Associate Director of the Young Vic from 2018-2020, where she most recently directed the sold out production of the Pulitzer-prize winning Fairview. Her first short film, White Girl, written by Omar El Khairy, was produced with BFI support, is currently in festivals, and was nominated for Best Short at the 2019 London Film Festival.
Omar El-Khairy is a former Leverhulme Associate Playwright at the Bush Theatre and an alumnus of The Old Vic 12. His plays include Burst, Sour Lips, The Keepers of Infinite Space, The Chaplain: or, a short tale of how we learned to love good Muslims whilst torturing bad ones, Homegrown and The Mob Reformers. His first short film, No Exit, received its world premiere at the Dubai International Film Festival 2014. White Girl, his latest short, supported by BFI NETWORK, premiered in competition for the Short Film Award at the BFI London Film Festival 2019. He is also co-directing a feature-length documentary with Ana Naomi de Sousa and Hakawati.
In addition to the Lab projects, the Feature Film Program will host Michelle Latimer as an Artist in Residence at the January Screenwriters Lab:
Michelle Latimer is the showrunner and director of the breakout Indigenous resistance series RISE (Viceland), which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and won the 2018 Canadian Screen Award for Best Documentary Series. Her latest film Nuuca (Field of Vision) premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, and screened at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and Berlinale Film Festival. Latimer is currently showrunning and directing a six part scripted series, Trickster, that she co-created and adapted from bestselling author, Eden Robinson’s trilogy Son of a Trickster. She is also completing production on the documentary feature adaptation of Thomas King’s novel Inconvenient Indian (Bell/HBO Canada). Michelle’s Métis/Algonquin heritage informs her filmmaking perspective, and much of her work is dedicated to the pursuit of Indigenous rights and sovereignty.
The Sundance Institute Feature Film Program is supported by explore.org, a direct charitable activity of the Annenberg Foundation; Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation; Maja Kristin; Universal Filmed Entertainment Group; Amazon Studios; Hollywood Foreign Press Association; Karen Lauder; RT Features; Sandra and Malcolm Berman Charitable Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; Ray and Dagmar Dolby Family Fund; NHK/NHK Enterprises, Inc.; Comedy Central; John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; SAGindie; Philip Fung—A3 Foundation; Directors Guild of America; Writers Guild of America West; Rosalie Swedlin and Robert Cort; and the Deborah Reinisch and Michael Theodore Fund.
Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and media to create and thrive. 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 Co//ab, a digital community platform, brings artists together to learn from Sundance Advisors and connect with each other 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 The Farewell, Late Night, The Souvenir, The Infiltrators, Sorry to Bother You, Eighth Grade, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Hereditary, RBG, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, The Big Sick, Top of the Lake, Winter’s Bone, Dear White People, Little Miss Sunshine, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, State of the Union, Indecent, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, to Receive the Inaugural Vanguard Award for Philanthropy
Evening Featuring the World Premiere of Crip Camp: Tickets on Sale Now Here
(FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE) Park City, UT — Sundance Institute invites champions of independent storytelling to attend An Artist at the Table Presented by IMDbPro, Sundance Institute’s annual fundraising event hosted on the first night of the Sundance Film Festival, Thursday, January 23, 2020, in Park City, Utah. During the celebratory event, Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, will be honored with the Vanguard Award for Philanthropy. Proceeds from the evening will advance Sundance Institute’s mission and programs that discover, support and amplify risk-taking and exciting independent film, media and theatre artists. In addition to Presenting Sponsor IMDbPro, the event is supported by Lead Sponsor the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation.
The evening will begin with the world premiere of Crip Camp, a documentary detailing the revolution that blossomed in a ramshackle summer camp for disabled teenagers, transforming their young lives and igniting a landmark movement down the road from Woodstock, New York in the early 1970’s. Directed by Jim LeBrecht and Nicole Newnham and produced by Sara Bolder, Jim LeBrecht, and Nicole Newnham, the film will screen in the U.S. Documentary Competition category of the Festival. Crip Camp was developed at Sundance Institute’s 2018 Documentary Edit and Story Lab, participated in the Institute’s Creative Producing Summit and Catalyst Forum and received a grant from the Institute’s 2017 Sundance Documentary Film Fund.
Following the screening, guests will convene for a celebratory dinner and a brief live program, centered on the creative minds behind some of today’s most exciting new stories in independent film and media and celebrating the Institute’s community of supporters and artists. Each table is hosted by a Sundance Institute artist, allowing guests the unique opportunity to connect directly with Institute alumni and learn more about their artistic paths, works, and experiences. This year’s artists include Ritesh Batra (Photograph), Joe Berlinger (Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile), Catherine Gund (Aggie), Lisa Kron (Fun Home), Dee Rees (The Last Thing He Wanted), Junaid Sarieddeen (36 Abbas Street, Haifa), Nanfu Wang (One Child Nation), Benh Zeitlin (Wendy), and Marina Zenovich (Lance), with more to be confirmed.
The evening will also feature Sundance Institute’s inaugural Vanguard Award for Philanthropy, which honors innovation, originality, and independent spirit as demonstrated over an exemplary career in philanthropy and social impact. This year’s honoree, Darren Walker, has helmed transformational initiatives like the Art for Justice Fund, demonstrated a commitment to diversifying leadership in museums and cultural institutions, and redesigned the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice. His tenure at the Ford Foundation has inspired many, provided long-lasting career stability for hundreds of artists, and created space for a more just and equitable arts landscape in the United States and around the world.
“On behalf of my colleagues at the Ford Foundation, I am honored to receive the Vanguard Award for Philanthropy from Sundance Institute,” said Walker. “The projects and artists supported by Sundance have helped shape public discourse on some of the most pressing social issues of our time. As a society, we can, and should, do more to support our artists as leaders in the community.”
“The opening night of the Sundance Film Festival is a perfect occasion to celebrate the incredible artists, audiences and supporters who together fuel the creative community of Sundance Institute – dedicated to independent voices, risk-taking art, and stories that seek truth and forge connections,” said Keri Putnam, CEO of Sundance Institute. “As a visionary leader in the philanthropic space, Darren and his inspiring work embody the spirit of Sundance Institute and we are pleased to honor him with the Vanguard Award for Philanthropy.”
While this is the first special iteration of the Vanguard to honor a philanthropist, Sundance Institute has previously presented the Vanguard Leadership Award to established filmmakers and the Vanguard Emerging Award to new independent storytellers. Previous winners of the Vanguard Award include Lulu Wang, Boots Riley, Marielle Heller, Benh Zeitlin, Ryan Coogler, Damien Chazelle, and Dee Rees; winners of the Vanguard Leadership Award include Quentin Tarantino, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Glenn Close, and Roger Ebert.
Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and media to create and thrive. 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. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Sorry to Bother You, Eighth Grade, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Hereditary, RBG, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, The Big Sick, Top of the Lake, Winter’s Bone, Dear White People, Brooklyn, Little Miss Sunshine, 20 Feet From Stardom, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, I’m Poppy, America to Me, Leimert Park, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
(FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE) New York, NY – Monday, December 16 – Shudder, AMC Networks’ premiere streaming service for horror, thriller and the supernatural, has announced the acquisition of all rights in its territories (North America, the UK, and Ireland) to the Sundance Film Festival-bound titles SCARE ME and LA LLORONA. SCARE ME, Josh Ruben’s feature-length directorial and screenplay debut, in which he also stars alongside Aya Cash (“You’re The Worst”) and Chris Redd (“Saturday Night Live”), will have its world premiere in Sundance’s Midnight Section. Jayro Bustamante’s LA LLORONA will have its U.S. premiere in the festival’s Spotlight Section following its top award-winning world premiere at Venice Days, the independent competitive section of the Venice Film Festival, and its Canadian premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival.
The comedic thriller SCARE ME unfolds as two strangers tell scary stories during a power outage in the Catskills. The more Fred (Ruben) and Fanny (Cash) commit to their tales, the more the stories come to life in the dark cabin. The horrors of reality manifest when Fred confronts his ultimate fear: Fanny is the better storyteller. Josh Ruben pens a refreshing, hilarious, and self aware narrative that features committed performances from Ruben, Cash, and Redd that beg the question: what makes a good scare?
Josh Ruben is a five-time Webby Award-winning actor, writer, and director best known for appearing in and/or directing hundreds of shorts for comedy mega site, CollegeHumor. Josh recently directed all ten episodes of Spotify and Funny or Die’s upcoming narrative series, “The Last Degree of Kevin Bacon” and is currently in pre-production for his next feature, a horror/comedy whodunnit with Ubisoft Film & Television and Vanishing Angle producing. Ruben is represented by Artists First, ICM and Ginsburg Daniels Kallis.
SCARE ME was produced by Josh Ruben, and Irony Point’s Alex Bach and Daniel Powell. ICM negotiated the deal with Shudder’s Emily Gotto.
LA LLORONA follows Enrique, a retired general who oversaw the Mayan genocide and is haunted by his devastating crimes. A tale of horror and magical realism, the film reimagines the iconic Latin American fable as an urgent metaphor of Guatemala’s recent history and tears open the country’s unhealed political wounds to grieve a seldom discussed crime against humanity.
The film received unanimous acclaim out of Venice and TIFF, with The Wrap’s Carlos Aguilar praising its balance “between fact and myth to engender a shrewdly frightening piece of political horror” and Variety’s Guy Lodge calling it “meaty, adventurous auteur cinema.” LA LLORONA marks Bustamante’s third feature and demonstrates his continued efforts to highlight social inequality in his native Guatemala following his previous titles TEMBLORES (2019) and IXCANUL (2016).
LA LLORONA was produced by Jayro Bustamante, Gustavo Matheu, Georges Renand, and Marina Peralta. Film Factory negotiated the deal with Shudder’s Emily Gotto.
Speaking on the acquisition, Shudder’s General Manager Craig Engler said, “We are thrilled that the Sundance Film Festival has recognized the exceptional talents of Jayro Bustamante and Josh Ruben and their new films, each of which pushes the boundaries of genre cinema in exciting and surprising ways. We can’t wait to share LA LLORONA and SCARE ME soon with Shudder members around the world.”
“I’m so grateful that SCARE ME has found its home at Shudder,” said filmmaker Josh Ruben. “It was a bucket list item to make this movie, let alone get eyes on it. Now, we’re headed to Sundance under the Shudder banner. They’re the horror club you want to be a part of. Their curation is expert, and they’re so creator-forward. It’s a total privilege, I’m dead serious, pun intended.”
“For independent producers like us, it is very hard to film a movie in a country like Guatemala,” said filmmaker Jayro Bustamante. “It honors us that a distributor like Shudder is supporting a film from a country with an emerging industry. It is very important for us to make visible the social and political horrors from Guatemalan history; and on the other hand, to help the industry grow and display our talent. I am extremely happy that LA LLORONA will be seen in the U.S. at Sundance alongside Shudder.”
Shudder continues to be at the forefront of curating many of the most exciting and critically-lauded independent and international genre films, including Coralie Fargeat’s REVENGE, Issa Lopez’s TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID and Shinichiro Ueda’s ONE CUT OF THE DEAD. The service has also garnered attention for its original programming including the breakout hit series “Creepshow” under showrunner Greg Nicotero and the influential and acclaimed documentary HORROR NOIRE: A HISTORY OF BLACK HORROR.
(Source: Press release provided by Guillermo Restrepo, Brigade Marketing)
32 Projects from 21 Countries, Across Multiple New Venues
(FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE) Park City, UT — Sundance Institute spotlights work at the dynamic crossroads of film, art and technology with the New Frontier selections for the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, announced today. This curated collection of cutting-edge independent and experimental media works are by creators who are pushing artistic innovation across mediums that include rocket travel, biotech, facial recognition, mixed reality (MR), smartphone AR, underwater VR, game engines, big data, AI, the human archive, and innovative uses of SMS text & iPhone video capture. Programmers assembled a global slate of work from a mix of invitations and submissions to an open call for work earlier this year.
The 2020 edition of New Frontier returns to two dedicated venue spaces: New Frontier at The Ray and New Frontier Central, each of which host a variety of media installations, a VR Cinema, and panel discussions. New this year, New Frontier Central also houses the Biodigital Theatre, a cutting-edge presentation space that will feature a rotating schedule of large scale VR theatrical works including a feature-length livestream game telecast. Once again, New Frontier Central will feature lounge space for credential holders to meet and relax before and after experiencing the New Frontier program. New Frontier also breaks out into the wild with satellite projects in the pool at Festival Headquarters, AR dances to be discovered in various locations around Park City, and a nationwide “fugitive newscast” accessed at various sites around the festival, as well as at 11 art house theatres across the U.S., including The Belcourt Theatre (Nashville, Tenn.); Cinema Detroit; The Loft Cinema (Tucson, Arizona); Michigan Theater (Ann Arbor, Michigan); The Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, Texas), Nitehawk Cinema (Brooklyn, New York), Northwest Film Forum (Seattle, Washington), O Cinema (Miami, Florida), Parkway Theatre (Baltimore, Maryland), The State Theatre (Ann Arbor, Michigan) and Texas Theatre (Dallas, Texas).
Robert Redford, President and Founder of Sundance Institute, said, “Technology infuses most aspects of modern life — and is evolving at a historic pace. The New Frontier artists that we showcase are taking completely fresh and thoughtful approaches to how the newest technological formats engage with the ancient art of storytelling.”
Shari Frilot, Chief Curator, New Frontier, said “Powerful technologies now enable experiences that capture, replicate, and replace “the real.” But it is even more special when the human touch converges with technology, we are provoked to reach beyond what we know to be real and enter into unfamiliar terrain. This transcendence can shift who we believe ourselves to be, where our bodies begin and end, what we are to each other, and who we are ultimately capable of being. The 2020 edition of New Frontier stares down the fear of losing our neighborhoods, and losing ourselves, and reminds us that the future is now — and because the future is now, the future can be ours.”
With these additions, the 2020 Sundance Film Festival Program features 241 works, 44% are directed or led by one or more women, 35% were directed or led by one or more artists of color, and 19% by one or more people who identify as LGBTQ+. The 32 projects announced today include work from 21 countries, and 31% are directed or led by one or more women, 44% are directed or led by one or more artists of color, and 31% by one or more people who identify as LGBTQ+. 4 were supported by Sundance Institute in development, whether through direct granting or residency Labs.
New Frontier alumni include Doug Aitken, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Chris Milk, Nonny de la Peña, Pipilotti Rist and Jennifer Steinkamp. The Institute’s support extends well beyond its curated slate of Festival projects, and includes the annual New Frontier Story Lab, which offers mentorship and development opportunities for new media storytellers, and the Future of Culture Initiative, an action plan that includes partnerships with Johns Hopkins University and Stanford University in order to implement key recommendations from a two-year global field scan that analyzed strategies for improving equity and inclusion in emerging media. The Sundance Institute New Frontier Program is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Cindy Harrell Horn and Alan Horn, Dell Technologies, Google Empathy Lab, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Oculus from Facebook, Unity Technologies, The Walt Disney Company, YouTube VR, and Adobe.
In addition to the New Frontier program announced today, films across all categories, including works in the Shorts, Special Events and Indie Episodic sections, have been announced and are listed at sundance.org/festival.
The 2020 Sundance Film Festival New Frontier slate:
FILMS AND PERFORMANCES
BLKNWS / U.S.A. (Director: Kahlil Joseph, Screenwriters: Sheba Anyanwu, Lee Harrison, Darol Kae, Producers: Onye Anyanwu, Kahlil Joseph) — An ongoing art project that blurs the lines between art, journalism, entrepreneurship, and cultural critique, appropriating the newsreel format as an opportunity to reimagine the contemporary cinematic experience, mixing an element of seriousness with a lighthearted twist on what news can be. Cast: Helen Molesworth, Alzo Slade, Amandla Stenberg, Trifari Williams. BLKNWS will also screen at 11 art house theatres around the country.
Infinitely Yours / U.S.A. (Director: Miwa Matreyek) ― A live performance at the intersection of cinema and theater exploring what it means to be living in the Anthropocene and the time of climate crisis. A kaleidoscopic meditation that is an emotionally impactful and embodied illustration of news headlines we see everyday.
A Machine for Viewing / United Kingdom, Australia (Directors: Oscar Raby, Richard Misek, Charlie Shackleton, Producers: Richard Misek, Oscar Raby) ― A unique three-episode hybrid of real-time VR experience, live performance and video essay in which three moving-image makers explore how we now watch films by putting various ‘machines for viewing,’ including cinema and virtual reality, face to face.
małni – towards the ocean, towards the shore / U.S.A. (Director, screenwriter and producer: Sky Hopinka) — An experimental look at the origin of the death myth of the Chinookan people in the Pacific Northwest, following two people as they navigate their own relationships to the spirit world and a place in between life and death. Cast: Jordan Mercier, Sweetwater Sahme. World Premiere
Sandlines, the Story of History / Iraq (Director, screenwriter and producer: Francis Alÿs) — The children of a mountain village near Mosul re-enact a century of Iraqi history, from the secret Sykes-Picot agreement in 1916 to the realm of terror imposed by the Islamic State in 2016. The children revisit their past to understand their present. World Premiere
Vitalina Varela / Portugal (Director and screenwriter: Pedro Costa, Producer: Abel Ribiero Chaves) — Vitalina Varela, a 55-year-old, Cape Verdean, arrives in Lisbon three days after her husband’s funeral. She’s been waiting for her plane ticket for more than 25 years. Cast: Vitalina Varela, Ventura.
All Kinds of Limbo / United Kingdom (Lead Artists: Toby Coffey, Raffy Bushman, Nubiya Brandon) — The National Theatre of Great Britain’s communal musical journey reflecting the influence of West Indian culture on the UK’s music scene across the genres of reggae, grime, classical, and calypso. Immersive technologies, the ceremony of live performance and the craft of theatrical staging bring audiences into a VR performance space. Cast: Nubiya Brandon.
ANIMALIA SUM / Germany, Brazil, Iceland (Lead Artists: Bianca Kennedy, Felix Kraus) ― I am animals. I eat animals. A duality explored in a virtual reality experience in which insects will be the future’s main food supply.
Anti-Gone / U.S.A. (Lead Artist: Theo Triantafyllidis, Key Collaborators: Connor Willumsen, Matthew Doyle) ― In a post-climate change world, environmental catastrophe has become normalized. Cities are sunken, yet the vestiges of late-capitalist culture live on, clinging like barnacles to the ruins of civilization. Spyda and Lynxa are a couple navigating this world, gliding frictionlessly from shopping to movies to psychedelic drugs. Cast: Lindsey Normington, Zana Gankhuyag, Matthew Doyle.
Atomu / France, Kenya, U.S.A., United Kingdom (Lead Artists: Shariffa Ali, Yetunde Dada, Key Collaborators: Antoine Cayrol, Rafael Pavon, Arnaud Colinart, Opeyemi Olukemi, Annick Jakobowicz, Cassie Kinoshi, Toby Coffey, Steve Jelly, Simon Windsor) ― Go inside the cyclical center of a Kikuyu Tribal Myth from Kenya, where man may become woman and woman may become man. Through virtual reality, dance and music, a sacred space is created to explore many versions of yourself. Cast: Cassie Kinoshi, Alexander Whitley, Clément Chériot, Amaury La Burthe.
The Book of Distance / Canada (Lead Artist: Randall Okita, Key Collaborators: David Oppenheim, Sam Javanrouh, Emma Burkeitt, Luke Ruminski) ― In 1935, Yonezo Okita left his home in Hiroshima, Japan for Canada. Then war and racism changed everything. Three generations later his grandson leads us on an interactive pilgrimage through an emotional geography of immigration and family to recover what was lost.
Breathe / Sweden, Canada, U.S.A. (Lead Artist: Diego Galafassi, Key Collaborators: Jess Engel, Myriam Achard, Stephen Mangiat) — A mixed-reality application that uses body movement and breathing to immerse participants in the story of air. Recast the ordinary experience of breathing as an immediate, direct link to a complex living world. We are alive to a planet that is alive to us.
Chomsky vs. Chomsky: First Encounter / Canada, Germany (Lead Artist: Sandra Rodriguez, Key Collaborators: Michael Burk, Cindy Bisho, Johannes Helberger) ― A prologue to a timely conversation on AI’s biggest promises and pitfalls. Lured by the possibility of emulating one of today’s most famous minds, we meet and engage with CHOMSKY_AI, an entity under construction, evolving from the arsenal of digital traces professor Noam Chomsky has left behind. Cast: Sandra Rodriguez, Michael Burk, Cindy Bishop, Johannes Helberger, Moov.AI.
Dance Trail / Switzerland (Lead Artists: Gilles Jobin, Camilo De Martino, Tristan Siodlak, Susana Panades Diaz, Key Collaborators: Laurent Rime, Léo Thiémard) ― A dance piece in augmented reality enabling users to invite virtual dancers into our world. Site-specific and mobile, the app allows to see dance sequences outdoor and indoor during the Festival. Users can place dancers anywhere in the world and share snapshots and videos. Cast: Susana Panadés Diaz, Victoria Chiu, Maelle Deral, Diya Naidu, Tidiani N’diaye, Gilles Jobin.
The Electronic Diaries of Lynn Hershman Leeson / U.S.A. (Lead Artist: Lynn Hershman Leeson) ― In 1984, after teaching herself how to use a video camera, Lynn Hershman Leeson sat down in front of it and began to talk and for 40 years developed a sly, profound and raw confessional mediated expression for an unknown audience that led towards personal evolution and survival. Cast: Lynn Hershman Leeson, Dr. George Church, Eleanor Coppola, Dr. Caleb Webber, Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, Dr. Anthony Atala.
Hypha / Chile (Lead Artist: Natalia Cabrera, Key Collaborators: Sebastian Gonzalez, Juan Ferrer) ― An immersive virtual reality journey to heal the Earth–by becoming a mushroom. Experience the life cycle of a fungus, and comprehend the importance of the fungi kingdom, Earth’s main bioremediation agent. Cast: Trinidad Piriz.
Living Distance / China, U.S.A. (Lead Artist: Xin Liu, Key Collaborators: Qinya (Jenny) Guo, Gershon Dublon, Reese Donohue) ― A fantasy and a mission, in which a wisdom tooth is sent to outer space and back down to Earth again. Carried by a crystalline robotic sculpture called EBIFA, the tooth becomes a newborn entity in outer space and tells the story of a person in this universe.
Metamorphic / U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Matthew Niederhauser, Wesley Allsbrook, Eli Zananiri, John Fitzgerald, Key Collaborators: Tim Fain, Siyuan Qiu) In this social VR experience, the body becomes a vehicle for expression within majestically drawn worlds. Participants explore the radical possibility of effortless transformation as movement and play alter appearances and surroundings.
My Trip / United Kingdom (Lead Artist: Bjarne Melgaard) ― Simulating the experience of a DMT trip, this work draws on new psychedelia, black metal music and internet paranoia to question existential concerns such as procreation and overpopulation. A virtual retrospective, travel with characters such as Octo and Lightbulb Man through the dark web to unknown realms.
Persuasion Machines / U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Karim Amer, Guvenc Ozel, Key Collaborators: Jess Engel, , Geralyn White Dreyfous, Marni Grossman) ― How are your likes, shares, selfies, and devices being used against you? By making the invisible world of data visible, this experience will show you how your digital footprint is shaping your reality.
Scarecrow / Korea (Lead Artists: Jihyun Jung, Sngmoo Lee, Taewan Jeong, Cooper Yoo, Key Collaborators: Chungyean Cho, Sanghun Heo, Yeonjee Kim) ― A user walks into a surreal Sisyphean world of cursed artists to break the spell. Cast: Seongtae Kim, Hyoungjun Kwon, Myungseok Chae, Donggen Shin.
Solastalgia / France (Lead Artists: Antoine Viviani, Pierre-Alain Giraud, Key Collaborators: Gabríela Friðriksdóttir, Valgeir Sigurðsson, Nicolas Becker) A mixed-reality installation set in a mysterious future exploring the surface of a planet that has become uninhabitable. The last generations of humans are living as holograms, repeating the same scenes over and over again. What secret does this strange paradise contain? Cast: Mehdi Belhaj Kacem, Audrey Bonnet, Anne Brochet, Nancy Huston, Arthur Nauzyciel, Corine Sombrun.
Spaced Out / France (Lead Artist: Pyaré, Key Collaborators: Sutu, Mourad Bennacer, Ando Shah, Stephen Greenwood, Atlas Roufas) ― An underwater VR experience transports you aboard a voyage from the Earth to the moon, as well as within, led by the audio conversations of the Apollo 11 mission. Using special underwater VR goggles and a snorkel, the experience becomes a space simulation immersing all of the senses.
Still Here / U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Zahra Rasool, Sarah Springer, Key Collaborators: Naima Ramos-Chapman, Carvell Wallace, Viktorija Mickute, Maria Fernanda Lauret) ― An immersive, multimedia installation exploring incarceration, erasure and gentrification through the lens of one woman who returns to Harlem after 15 years in prison. The use of interactive VR and AR technologies brings to life this heartfelt story about the reclaiming of space and identity in a changing black community. Cast: LeAsha Julius, Keith Buxton, Marion Green, James Brown-Orleans, Jeorge Watson, Crystal Arnette.
After the Fallout / Switzerland, U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Sam Wolson, Dominic Nahr) — In March 2011, an earthquake caused a tsunami and a meltdown at the Daiichi nuclear power plant. The devastating consequences filled the communities in Fukushima with fear of the intangible and split Japan in a distinct before and after.
Azibuye – The Occupation / South Africa (Lead Artists: Dylan Valley, Caitlin Robinson, Stephen Abbott, Key Collaborators: Ingrid Kopp, Steven Markovitz) ― When Masello and Evan, two homeless black artist/activists, break into an abandoned mansion in an affluent part of Johannesburg, they proclaim their occupation to be an artistic and political act in defiance of inequalities in land ownership in South Africa. Cast: Masello Motana, Evan Abrahamse.
Bembé / Cuba (Lead Artists: Marcos Louit, Patricia Diaz, Key Collaborators: Andy Ruiz, Alain López, Ernesto Collinet) ― Bembé is a Cuban tradition that encompasses elements of both Christianity and the African Yoruba, where the souls of dead slaves come to Earth and family, friends, and neighbors take part in a celebration lasting up to 7 days. Cast: Ernesto Collinet, Kalina Collinet, Katyleidy Collinet.
Flowers & a Switchblade / U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Nic Koller, Weston Morgan, Key Collaborators: Candice Lee, Bridget Peck) ― An everyday scene–a real-life conversation in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park–collaged together from hundreds of videos to form a fractured, hyper-stimulating, 360° Cubist world.
Go / Switzerland (Lead Artists: Sandro Zollinger, Roman Vital, Klaus Merz, Key Collaborator: Thomas Gassmann) ― Searching for stability in his life, Peter Thaler sets out on a hike in the Swiss mountains, from which he will never return. An unprecedented symbiosis of literature and virtual reality, telling a story of everyday and final farewells, and opening the door to eternity a tiny crack. Cast: Klaus Merz, Niramy Pathmanathan, Robert Vital, Regula Stüssi.
Hominidae / U.S.A. (Lead Artist: Brian Andrews, Key Collaborators: Brian Ferguson, Robert Steel, Kahra Scott-James) ― Against a landscape of X-ray imagery and wild anatomical reimagination, a mother and her children struggle for survival. This experience follows an Arachnid Hominid, an intelligent creature with human and spider physiology, from the birth of her children to her premature death in the teeth of her prey. Cast: Phyllis Griffin, Luis Mora, Emily Weems, Kidjie Boyer, Austin Daly, Oliver Angus.
tx-reverse 360° / Austria, Germany (Lead Artists: Martin Reinhart, Virgil Widrich, Key Collaborator: Siegfried Friedrich) ― What is behind the cinema screen? What if the auditorium dissolves and with it the familiar laws of cinema itself? As reality and cinema collide, viewers are drawn into a vortex where the familiar order of space and time seems to be suspended.
VR Free / Italy (Lead Artist: Milad Tangshir, Key Collaborators: Vito Martinelli, Stefano Sburlati) ― Exploring the nature of incarceration spaces by portraying slices of life inside a prison in Turin, Italy. The film also captures the reaction of several inmates during brief encounters with immersive videos of life outside of prison. Cast: Michele Romano, Albert Asllanaj, Cristian De Bonis.
NEW FRONTIER SHORTS
E-Ticket / Hong Kong, U.S.A. (Director: Simon Liu) — A frantic (re)cataloguing of a personal archive and 16,000 splices in the making. 35mm frames are obsessively rearranged in evolving-disorienting patterns, as a Dante’s Inferno for the streaming age emerges, illustrating freedom of movement for the modern cloud.
Guisado on Sunset / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Terence Nance) — Missed connection regret at that one late-night spot–the kind you keep playing back in your head but not quite ever remembering right, until it starts to look like something else. International Premiere
How Did We Get Here? / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Michelle Miles) — A visual exploration of progressive atrophy. A study in how microscopic changes can go unnoticed, but amass over time. Even as these changes become drastic, we sometimes fail to realize anything has happened at all. World Premiere
Meridian / U.S.A., Italy (Director and screenwriter: Calum Walter) — Footage transmitted by the last unit in a fleet of autonomous machines sent to deliver an emergency vaccine. The film follows the machine before its disappearance, tracing a path that seems to stray further and further from its objective.
Narcissister Breast Work / U.S.A. (Director: Narcissister) — Focusing on the exercise by women of their right to bare their breasts in public, Narcissister Breast Work aims to investigate – and expose – how prohibitions on female toplessness are grounded in fear of, and desire to control, the female body. World Premiere
Pattaki / Cuba (Director: Everlane Moraes, Screenwriter: Tatiana Monge Herrera) — In the dense night, when the moon rises, those who live in a monotonous daily life without water are hypnotized by the powers of Yemaya, the goddess of the sea. U.S. Premiere
While I’m Still Breathing (Tandis Que Je Respire Encore) / France (Directors: Laure Giappiconi, Elisa Monteil, La Fille Renne, Screenwriter: Laure Giappiconi) — The blurred portrayal of a young woman as she moves through three steps of her sexuality. North American Premiere
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(Park City, UT) – December 10, 2019. Little Chief, a narrative short film directed by Indigenous filmmaker Erica Tremblay (Seneca-Cayuga), will hold its world premiere as part of the Shorts Selection at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. The story stars an Indigenous cast, including Lily Gladstone (Certain Women, Billions), and was produced through the Sundance Institute Native Filmmakers Lab last year.
Filmed with quiet resilience and against the bleak landscape of a rural reservation in Oklahoma, Little Chief tells the story of Sharon, an exhausted school teacher struggling to keep her head and her school above water. Her student, Bear, is having a particularly hard time enduring challenges both at home and in the classroom. As she watches Bear unravel, Sharon is ultimately forced to accept her role as an imperfect role model, the unlikely matriarch her community needs. Bear becomes desperate to escape it all, and Sharon is left chasing a little boy who is running to nowhere.
“Building off of my experience growing up in Oklahoma and drawing from the true stories of my mother who is a Native school teacher, Little Chief tells a story of contemporary Native America,” says writer-director Erica Tremblay. “Within the context of national conversations about race, poverty, and education, Little Chief offers a unique perspective. How do colonized cultures grapple with educating their youth in culturally-aware ways? What are the burdens on the next generation, and how are these children emotionally coping with a grim reality that they neither chose nor control? I hope to provide insight into these questions through this work.”
Erica Tremblay (Seneca-Cayuga) is a filmmaker and activist currently studying her Indigenous language on the Six Nations reservation in Ontario, Canada. Her work has been featured on PBS, CNN, and IFC. Erica’s films explore topics including restorative justice and issues impacting the two-spirit community. She has worked with many grassroots organizations, including the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center and the Healing Native Hearts Coalition. Erica was recently honored as a 40 Under 40 Native American by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) and was a 2018 Sundance Native Filmmakers Lab Fellow.
Little Chief is screening several times during the festival before Patricia Vidal Delgado’s feature film La Leyenda Negra. Director Erica Tremblay, producer Kasia Chmielinski, picture editor Robert Grigsby Wilson and production manager Dylan Brodie will be attending each presentation.
Monday, January 27, 5:30 p.m.
Egyptian Theatre, Park City, UT
Wednesday, January 29, 8:30 a.m.
The MARC Theatre, Park City, UT
Thursday, January 30, 4:00 p.m.
Holiday Village Cinema 4, Park City, UT
Friday, January 31, 9:00 p.m.
Temple Theatre, Park City, UT
Saturday, February 1, 3:00 p.m.
Broadway Centre Cinema 6, Salt Lake City, UT
Starring Lily Gladstone as Sharon, Julian Ballentyne as Bear; Writer, Director, Producer Erica Tremblay; Supervising Producer Sterlin Harjo; Producers Deidre Backs, Kasia Chmielinski; Cinematographer Marshall Stief; Editor Robert Grigsby Wilson.