Category Archives: #Sundance

2022 Sundance Film Festival: Asia returns for in-person festival and events on 25-28 August, 2022

Posted by Larry Gleeson

2022 Sundance Film Festival: Asia Short Film Competition submissions open
Calling for entries from Indonesian filmmakers now until 31 May, 2022

 

Sundance Film Festival: Asia, presented by the Sundance Institute and XRM Media is proud to announce the return of the 2022 edition of the Festival on Thursday 25th – Sunday 28th August, 2022 in Jakarta, Indonesia with support from IDN Media.

The Festival will take place in person and include film screenings and panels catered to Indonesian audiences and additional events to enhance the experience, all to be announced in the summer.

 

Tabitha Jackson, Festival Director of the Sundance Film Festival

“We’re thrilled to be able to continue working with XRM Media to present the Festival in person this year in Jakarta. It is a powerful opportunity to share new independent films we love with engaged audiences in Indonesia,” said Tabitha Jackson, Festival Director of the Sundance Film Festival.

 

William Utomo, Chief Operating Officer, IDN Media, states that “We are very excited to work together to create the in-person festival experience and continue to serve the best interest of movie lovers in Indonesia. We hope that the Sundance platform can continue to push the movie industry forward.”

 

“Beyond our Festival in January, we strive throughout the year to find more emerging filmmakers around the world working in the short film form,” said Mike Plante, Senior Programmer for Short Films. “Last year our short film competition was a fantastic success. We loved the submissions, showcased ten of them in Sundance Asia, and were thrilled to have two of them at our Festival last January. Really excited to see more this year.”

 

To continue the support of Indonesian filmmakers, the Festival will again hold the Sundance Film Festival: Asia Short Film Competition, sponsored by Argo. Filmmakers can submit short films across any genre or theme that have been completed on or after 1 January 2020, with a duration between 3 to 20 minutes. Submissions are now open through 31 May 2022 to Indonesian citizens living domestically or abroad, 18 years or older.

A jury of representatives from the Sundance Institute, IDN Pictures, and Argo will curate a program of short films from among the competition submissions. The jury will also select a Jury Award winner, which will receive a $2000 USD cash prize sponsored by Argo. The jury includes:

    • Kim Yutani, Director of Programming, Sundance Film Festival
    • Heidi Zwicker, Senior Programmer, Sundance Film Festival
    • Mike Plante, Senior Programmer, Short Film, Sundance Film Festival
    • Susanti Dewi, Head of IDN Pictures
    • Amanda Salazar, Head of Programming and Acquisitions, Argo

Official selected shorts will be screened on Argo at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival: Asia in August and offered worldwide digital distribution on the platform post-festival. These films will also be automatically submitted for consideration in the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.

 

 

For further information on submission procedures and rules and regulations, please visit the Sundance Asia Film Freeway page:  https://filmfreeway.com/SundanceAsia

 

About Sundance Institute
As a champion and curator of independent stories for the stage and screen, the nonprofit Sundance Institute provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, film composing, and digital media to create and thrive. Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, the Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs which are dedicated to developing new work and take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally, are supported largely through contributed revenue. 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, discovering original voices, and build a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported projects such as CODA, Clemency, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Zola, Time, MInari, 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.

About XRM Media
XRM Media is an award-winning entertainment and media technology company dedicated to supporting, producing, and financing diversity-driven, multicultural content across all mediums with its global partners.  Through unconventional thinking, utilizing our diverse portfolio of investments, and taking risks on projects we believe in–XRM defies conventional expectations in both the traditional and new media space to connect a global audience with resonant and powerful stories.

About IDN Media
IDN Media is the leading media platform company for Millennials and Gen Z in Indonesia, with over 70 million Monthly Active Users (MAU). Our vision is to democratize information and bring positive impacts to the society.

About Argo
Argo is the streaming platform on a mission to change the way you watch, share and discover film. Argo is building a community; connecting filmmakers to audiences, and featuring all genres of short films curated into themed playlists by film festivals, filmmakers, and influencers from around the world.
Argo makes sure that filmmakers get paid! The platform works on a revenue-share basis with a goal to ensure filmmakers have the opportunity to truly showcase their work, while entertaining and inspiring the new wave of independent film..

 

Sundance Film Festival Wrap – Fourth and Final

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 2022 Sundance Film Festival has come and gone leaving in its wake a plethora of films, music, conversation, and virtual space.

Acura continued on as the Official Vehicle and a Presenting Sponsor of the Sundance Film Festival for the 12th consecutive year offering the independent film community and fans gathering virtually for the 2022 Sundance Film Festival a unique experience at AcuraWatchParty.com. Virtual Sundance programming from Acura included important conversations and activations with like-minded entertainment and media partners focusing on supporting diversity in film, along with A-list filmmakers and talent.

Embracing the creative spirit of the Sundance film community, Acura debuted a new four-part anime series, Chiaki’s Journey, during the Festival. Chiaki’s Journey featured a young hero’s quest to overcome multiple challenges on her path toward victory while offering viewers a first look at Acura’s trio of all-new Type S performance models: 2022 TLX Type S sport sedan, 2022 MDX Type S 3-row SUV, and 2022 NSX Type S supercar.

In staying true to form the 2022 emergent Sundance Film Festival theme of ‘Fighting the System” rang true as eloquently stated by Festival Programming Director, Kim Yutani, with art “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.” during an interview for Vanessa Zimmer’s  ‘Fighting the System’ Emerges as Major Theme in 2022 Lineup.

As the Delta and Omicron variants raged, Sundance bent on implementing updated  COVID protocols over the holidays. At last, with the risk factors too great for the filmgoing populace the well-thought and deeply discerned decision was made to go virtual. Fortunately, Shari Frilot, Chief Curator of New Frontier, and a Harvard grad, stepped up and went where no man had gone before and created a vast virtual entity adeptly called “The Spaceship” where art, film, and multimedia converged and sent the 2022 Sundance Film Festival into the stratosphere allowing for parties, mingling, conversation, and film and artistic viewings.

For those challenged by space and mobility, there is always next year. Yet, even without total access to all The Spaceship amenities, Sundance delivered 82 master feature-length films along with 6 Indie Episodics, and the aforementioned New Frontier (15) works.

Here were some of my top takeaways:

Navalny, Festival Favorite Award, Audience Award: U.S. Documentary Presented by Acura

A still from Navalny, an official selection of the U.S. Documentary section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

In August 2020, a plane traveling from Siberia to Moscow made an emergency landing. One of its passengers, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, was deathly ill. Taken to a local Siberian hospital and eventually evacuated to Berlin, doctors confirmed that he had been poisoned with Novichok, a nerve agent implicated in attacks on other opponents of the Russian government. President Vladimir Putin immediately cast doubt on the findings and denied any involvement.

While recovering, Navalny and his team — already with a large social media following in tow — partnered with the data investigative journalism outlet Bellingcat as well as other international news organizations to investigate his attempted assassination and find proof of the Kremlin’s involvement. In NAVALNY, filmmaker Daniel Roher reveals a courageous and controversial would-be president at the precipice of sacrificing everything in order to bring reform to his homeland. —BT (Sundance.org)

 

Good Luck To You, Leo Grande (Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute).

Director Sophie Hyde and Writer Katy Brand’s, Good Luck To You, Leo Grande, stars Dame Emma Thompson, as a retired schoolteacher who has yet to experience the joy of sex. Enter Daryl McCormack as the young and debonnaire sex worker, Leo Grande. What starts out as a cold transactional relationship ends up as a deep, warm, caring transactional relationship opening hearts and minds to a retelling of modern love. Picked up by Searchlight Pictures and scheduled to stream exclusively on Hulu. Four stars.

 

Elizabeth Banks appears in Call Jane by Phyllis Nagy, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Wilson Webb.

Phyllis Nagy’s Call Jane, set in the mid to late 1960’s follows the pursuit of women’s rights led by Elizabeth Banks, progressive suburbanite wife, and homemaker, Joy, who discovers a more engaging life in helping women get safe medical procedures for their unwanted or life-endangering pregnancies. Nagy wrote the 2015 Douglas Sirkian style melodrama, Carol, directed by Todd Haynes. Jane has a similar look with a joyous, optimistic, and forward-looking narrative. Four stars.

 

Emily The Criminal (Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute)

Emily The Criminal from Director John Patton Ford addresses the fallout from the collateral damage of a young woman’s college experience and relationship troubles. Aubrey Plaza portrays Emily, a young woman who went to college on student loans, partied, got an education, then received an assault conviction for her role in a relationship fight. Unable to land suitable work with her criminal record, Emily becomes a “dummy shopper,” in an illegal, underworld enterprise. Fast-paced, this psychological, neo-thriller reverberates an age-old adage, “desperate people do desperate things.” Highly recommended. A top pick.

 

EMERGENCY

Emergency, the recipient of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: U.S. Dramatic, harkens the impact racism can have on life-threatening, real-life situations and its ramifications on human potential. Told through a darkly comedic lens with moments of “throw it all at the kitchen sink” style of comedy. Guaranteed to “shock, enlighten, and infuriate.” From two-time Sundance alum Carey Williams (2021’s modern, social media retelling of “Romeo and Juliet,”  R#J), based on his 2018 Sundance short film of the same name. Excellent writing and strong acting. Four stars.

 

To The End (Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute)

Director Rachel Lears, whose Lears 2019 Sundance film Knock Down the House followed four women who ran insurgent congressional campaigns in 2018, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cori Bush. The film won the Audience Award and the Festival Favorite Award and was shortlisted for an Oscar and nominated for an Emmy. Lears 2022 offering, To The End, is a visionary look behind the scenes of a philosophical movement, social and political, where young people have rejected the cynicism and complacency of a power structure that has failed to meaningfully address the existential threat faced by climate change. Told through the narratives of four instrumental leaders and women of color — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Varshini Prakash, Alexandra Rojas, and Rhiana Gunn-Wright. This is more than the Green New Deal. It’s planetary survival. Four stars.

 

Oscar de la Hoya and Julio Cesar Chavez appear in La Guerra Civil by Eva Longoria Bastón, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

La Guerra Civil, directed and produced by Eva Longoria Bastón tells the story of two of Mexico’s greatest lightweight modern-era boxers, American-born Oscar De La Hoya and Julio Cesar Chavez. More than a boxing story, Longoria Bastón shapes the narrative through the Mexican and Mexican-American cultural lens. What emerges is a very intimate look at both boxers and their impact on the dichotomy of what it means to be Mexican and what it means to be Mexican-American. Four stars.

 

The Worst Person In The World (Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute).

The Worst Person in the World directed by Joachim Trier is the third part of his Oslo trilogy. A beautifully made film with a first-time film portrayal for the lead actress, Renate Reinsve. The film is told through Reinsve’s character and is about finding one’s place in the world. In the film’s introduction, Trier referred to the film as a Norwegian romantic comedy told in twelve separate chapters with an epilogue and a prologue. Originally premiered in competition at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival (with Renate Reinsve winning Best Actress for her performance).

 

Chiqui (Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute).

Chiqui, an indie episodic set in the 1980s was a romp. 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. The cast and crew – simply superb.

 

Downfall: The Case Against Boeing (Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute).

Downfall: The Case Against Boeing. One of the most anticipated films of the festival from acclaimed director, Rory Kennedy. Kennedy’s films are well-researched and provide astute socio-cultural insights. Downfall’s production values were exceptional resulting in a very polished film revealing shifts in cultural norms undoubtedly contributing to the untimely and tragic Max 737 plane crashes. Scheduled for a February 13th Netflix release followed by a theatrical run. A Netflix and Moxie Films Production. Four stars.

 

Chloe Okuno

Watcher, Chloe Okuno’s, multi-layered suspenseful horror, drama, thriller features Maika Monroe as a young, blonde female coping with life in a foreign country. Monroe delivers a highly competent and strong performance. The non-diegetic soundtrack added immensely to the suspense and featured  Max Richter’s “Moment in Paris.” Undeniable Charade and Rear Window Hitchcockian influences Shot on location in Bucharest, Romania. Four stars.

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.

As the festival inched closer to its end, after nine days, 84 feature films and 59 short films, the juries deliberated and the audience voted. The 26 jury-awarded and six audience-awarded prizes recognized “achievement in global independent storytelling.” Bold, intimate, and culture-shifting stories prevailed across categories, with Grand Jury Prizes awarded to Nanny (U.S. Dramatic), The Exiles (U.S. Documentary), Utama (World Cinema Dramatic), and All That Breathes (World Cinema Documentary). Audience Awards were presented to Navalny (U.S. Documentary), Cha Cha Real Smooth (U.S. Dramatic), Girl Picture (World Cinema Dramatic), The Territory (World Cinema Documentary), Framing Agnes (NEXT), with Navalny winning the Festival Favorite Award.

 

Joana Vicente

“Today’s awards represent the determination of visionary individuals, whose dynamic work will continue to change the culture and create discourse throughout the year,” said Sundance Institute CEO Joana Vicente. “This year’s entire program has proven that no matter the context, independent storytelling remains a pivotal tool in expanding critical dialogues, and these stories will and must be shared.”

 

Tabitha Jackson

“The 2022 Sundance Film Festival once again met our audience wherever they happened to be,” added Sundance Film Festival Director Tabitha Jackson, “Whether you watched from home or one of our seven satellite screens, this year’s Festival expressed a powerful convergence; we were present, together, as a community connected through the work. And it is work that has already changed those who experienced it.”

Kim Yutani

“We are so grateful for this year’s jurors who brought their expertise and passion to their decision-making process,” said the Festival’s Director of Programming Kim Yutani, “We congratulate the award winners and we’re so thankful to each and every film in the program that made the 2022 Sundance Film Festival such a huge success.”

The awards announcement marked a key point of the 2022 Festival, where 84 feature-length and 59 short films — selected from 14,849 submissions — were showcased online via the Festival’s online platform; a selection of the program played at 7 Satellite Screen locations across the United States.

The 2022 Sundance Film Festival jurors were: Chelsea Barnard, Marielle Heller, and Payman Maadi for U.S. Dramatic Competition; Garrett Bradley, Joan Churchill, and Peter Nicks for U.S. Documentary Competition; Andrew Haigh, Mohamed Hefzy, and La Frances Hui for World Cinema Dramatic Competition; and Emilie Bujès, Patrick Gaspard, and Dawn Porter for World Cinema Documentary Competition. Joey Soloway was the juror for the NEXT competition section. Penelope Bartlett, Kevin Jerome Everson, and Blackhorse Lowe juried the Short Film Program Competition.

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

Larry Gleeson, left, with Hollywood starlet, Angie Dickinson. (Photo credit: HollywoodGlee)

Call Jane

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Elizabeth Banks and Cory Michael Smith appear in Call Jane by Phyllis Nagy, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Wilson Webb.

Phyllis Nagy’s Call Jane, set in the mid to late 1960’s follows the pursuit of women’s rights. Progressive suburbanite wife and homemaker, Joy, portrayed by Elizabeth Banks, discovers a more engaging life in helping women get safe medical procedures for their unwanted or life-endangering pregnancies when the procedure was illegal in most of the U.S. The 2022 Sundance Film Festival Sundance programmed several films about abortion, including the documentary The Janes and the international drama Happening.

 

Elizabeth Banks appears in Call Jane by Phyllis Nagy, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Wilson Webb.

With a talent-laden cast led by Banks and Sigourney Weaver, Oscar-nominated screenwriter Nagy made her directorial debut with this film based on the real-life Jane Collective, an underground organization that helped women access abortions before Roe V. Wade. Written by Hayley Schore and Roshan Sethi, Call Jane explores the gender and body politics of the time within a positive and non-judgemental lens. Nagy also wrote the 2015 Douglas Sirkian style melodrama, Carol, directed by Todd Haynes. Jane has a similar look with a forward-looking narrative.

 

Elizabeth Banks and Sigourney Weaver appear in Call Jane by Phyllis Nagy, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Wilson Webb.

Roadside Attractions announced it acquired U.S. rights to the film on February 4, with a planned theatrical release this fall. In addition, Call Jane is a nominee for the Golden Bear, the top prize at the upcoming 2022 Berlin Film Festival, set for February 10th – 20th, 2022. Four stars.

 

Sundance Film Festival 2022 Wrap – Part III

Posted by Larry Gleeson


The Sundance Film Festival has wrapped another successful year of showcasing the very best independent films from across the globe. Festival programmers, who this year painstakingly whittled down 3,762 feature-length submissions to the final 82 selections — not counting Shorts, Midnight, and other film categories; strove to create a balanced slate of films under Festival Programming Director Kim Yutani’s direction, “that were meaningful and inspiring, in addition to being simply entertaining.”

While deals were being made and are being inked,  here are some of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival top selections:

Navalny

Festival Favorite Award

Audience Award: U.S. Documentary Presented by Acura

A still from Navalny, an official selection of the U.S. Documentary section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

In August 2020, a plane traveling from Siberia to Moscow made an emergency landing. One of its passengers, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, was deathly ill. Taken to a local Siberian hospital and eventually evacuated to Berlin, doctors confirmed that he had been poisoned with Novichok, a nerve agent implicated in attacks on other opponents of the Russian government. President Vladimir Putin immediately cast doubt on the findings and denied any involvement.

While recovering, Navalny and his team — already with a large social media following in tow — partnered with the data investigative journalism outlet Bellingcat as well as other international news organizations to investigate his attempted assassination and find proof of the Kremlin’s involvement. In NAVALNY, filmmaker Daniel Roher reveals a courageous and controversial would-be president at the precipice of sacrificing everything in order to bring reform to his homeland. —BT (Sundance.org)

 

Good Luck To You, Leo Grande (Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute).

Director Sophie Hyde and Writer Katy Brand’s, Good Luck To You, Leo Grande, stars Dame Emma Thompson, as a retired schoolteacher who has yet to experience the joy of sex. Enter Daryl McCormack as the young and debonnaire sex worker, Leo Grande. What starts out as a cold transactional relationship ends up as a deep, warm, caring transactional relationship opening hearts and minds to a retelling of modern love. Picked up by Searchlight Pictures and scheduled to stream exclusively on Hulu. Four stars.

 

Elizabeth Banks appears in Call Jane by Phyllis Nagy, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Wilson Webb.

Phyllis Nagy’s Call Jane, set in the mid to late 1960’s follows the pursuit of women’s rights led by Elizabeth Banks, progressive suburbanite wife, and homemaker, Joy, who discovers a more engaging life in helping women get safe medical procedures for their unwanted or life-endangering pregnancies. Nagy wrote the 2015 Douglas Sirkian style melodrama, Carol, directed by Todd Haynes. Jane has a similar look with a joyous, optimistic, and forward-looking narrative. Four stars.

 

Emily The Criminal (Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute)

Emily The Criminal from Director John Patton Ford addresses the fallout from the collateral damage of a young woman’s college experience and relationship troubles. Aubrey Plaza portrays Emily, a young woman who went to college on student loans, partied, got an education, then received an assault conviction for her role in a relationship fight. Unable to land suitable work with her criminal record, Emily becomes a “dummy shopper,” in an illegal, underworld enterprise. Fast-paced, this psychological, neo-thriller reverberates an age-old adage, “desperate people do desperate things.” Highly recommended. A top pick.

 

EMERGENCY

Emergency, the recipient of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: U.S. Dramatic, harkens the impact racism can have on life-threatening, real-life situations and its ramifications on human potential. Told through a darkly comedic lens with moments of “throw it all at the kitchen sink” style of comedy. Guaranteed to “shock, enlighten, and infuriate.” From two-time Sundance alum Carey Williams (2021’s modern, social media retelling of “Romeo and Juliet,”  R#J), based on his 2018 Sundance short film of the same name. Excellent writing and strong acting. Four stars.

 

To The End (Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute)

Director Rachel Lears, whose Lears 2019 Sundance film Knock Down the House followed four women who ran insurgent congressional campaigns in 2018, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cori Bush. The film won the Audience Award and the Festival Favorite Award and was shortlisted for an Oscar and nominated for an Emmy. Lears 2022 offering, To The End, is a visionary look behind the scenes of a philosophical movement, social and political, where young people have rejected the cynicism and complacency of a power structure that has failed to meaningfully address the existential threat faced by climate change. Told through the narratives of four instrumental leaders and women of color — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Varshini Prakash, Alexandra Rojas, and Rhiana Gunn-Wright. This is more than the Green New Deal. It’s planetary survival. Four stars.

 

Oscar de la Hoya and Julio Cesar Chavez appear in La Guerra Civil by Eva Longoria Bastón, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

La Guerra Civil, directed and produced by Eva Longoria Bastón tells the story of two of Mexico’s greatest lightweight modern-era boxers, American-born Oscar De La Hoya and Julio Cesar Chavez. More than a boxing story, Longoria Bastón shapes the narrative through the Mexican and Mexican-American cultural lens. What emerges is a very intimate look at both boxers and their impact on the dichotomy of what it means to be Mexican and what it means to be Mexican-American. Four stars.

 

The Worst Person In The World (Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute).

The Worst Person in the World directed by Joachim Trier is the third part of his Oslo trilogy. A beautifully made film with a first-time film portrayal for the lead actress, Renate Reinsve. The film is told through Reinsve’s character and is about finding one’s place in the world. In the film’s introduction, Trier referred to the film as a Norwegian romantic comedy told in twelve separate chapters with an epilogue and a prologue. Originally premiered in competition at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival (with Renate Reinsve winning Best Actress for her performance).

 

Chiqui (Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute).

Chiqui, an indie episodic set in the 1980s was a romp. 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. The cast and crew – simply superb.

 

Downfall: The Case Against Boeing (Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute).

Downfall: The Case Against Boeing. One of the most anticipated films of the festival from acclaimed director, Rory Kennedy. Kennedy’s films are well-researched and provide astute socio-cultural insights. Downfall’s production values were exceptional resulting in a very polished film revealing shifts in cultural norms undoubtedly contributing to the untimely and tragic Max 737 plane crashes. Scheduled for a February 13th Netflix release followed by a theatrical run. A Netflix and Moxie Films Production. Four stars.

 

Chloe Okuno

Watcher, Chloe Okuno’s, multi-layered suspenseful horror, drama, thriller features Maika Monroe as a young, blonde female coping with life in a foreign country. Monroe delivers a highly competent and strong performance. The non-diegetic soundtrack added immensely to the suspense and featured  Max Richter’s “Moment in Paris.” Undeniable Charade and Rear Window Hitchcockian influences Shot on location in Bucharest, Romania. Four stars.

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.

 

 

Last Chance To Dance! 2022 Sundance Film Festival Coming To A Close

Posted by Larry Gleeson

2022 Sundance Film Festival Awards Announcement, Satellite Screenings, & Final Day on the New Frontier Spaceship Top Highlights of the Ninth Day of Festival Programming 

PARK CITY, UT (January 29, 2022) – Sundance Film Festival welcomed audiences to its ninth day of screenings and conversations featuring some of the most notable visionaries in independent film, new media, and culture-at-large.

The festival announced the Audience Awards alongside Grand Jury and Special Jury Prizes for films in the U.S. Dramatic, U.S. Documentary, World Dramatic, and World Documentary Competitions, NEXT, and the Short Film program. Winners included Nanny (U.S. Dramatic), The Exiles (U.S. Documentary), All That Breathes (World Cinema Documentary), Utama (World Cinema Dramatic), Cha Cha Real Smooth (Audience Award, U.S. Dramatic) and Navalny (Audience Award, U.S. Documentary; Festival Favorite Award). All winners are detailed here. Screenings of the award-winning films will play online all weekend long.

The New Frontier Spaceship also celebrated its last day in orbit with Artist Spotlights and an open discussion hosted by Amelia Winger-Bearskin and Jesse Damiani on NFTs, cryptocurrencies, and the rapid proliferation of decentralized, autonomous organizations (DAOs).

The festival’s Satellite Screens kicked off yesterday as well. From Maryland to California, eight feature films from the 2022 lineup are playing this weekend at seven partner locations around the country where they are celebrating independent film and supporting like-minded arthouse theaters.

Each year, Sundance serves as a cultural launchpad, helping to expand audience horizons through film and the conversations that occur the minute that credits roll. Continuing to foster this spirit of discussion into 2022, Sundance Film Festival programs a series of panels across discipline and topics to keep the conversation going.

 

DAY NINE HIGHLIGHTS

  • 2022 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL AWARDS
    • U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic: Nikyatu Jusu for Nanny
    • U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary: Ben Klein and Violet Columbus for The Exiles
    • World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic: Alejandro Loayza Grisi for Utama
    • World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary: Shaunak Sen for All That Breathes
    • Audience Award: U.S. Documentary: Navalny
    • Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic: Cha Cha Real Smooth
    • Audience Award: World Cinema Dramatic: Girl Picture
    • Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary: The Territory
    • Audience Award: NEXT: Framing Agnes
    • Festival Favorite Award: Navalny 
    • Directing Award: U.S. Documentary: Reid Davenport for I Didn’t See You There
    • Directing Award: U.S. Dramatic: Jamie Dack for Palm Trees and Power Lines
    • World Cinema Documentary: Simon Lereng Wilmont for A House Made Of Splinters
    • Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic: Maryna Er Gorbach for KLONDIKE
    • Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: U.S. Dramatic: K.D. Dávila for Emergency
    • Jonathan Oppenheim Editing Award: U.S. Documentary: Erin Casper and Jocelyne Chaput for Fire Of Love
    • U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award: Uncompromising Artistic Vision: Bradley Rust Gray for blood
    • U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award: Ensemble Cast: John Boyega, Nicole Beharie, Selenis Leyva, Connie Britton, Olivia Washington, London Covington, and Michael K Williams for 892
    • U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award: Impact for Change: Aftershock
    • U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award: Creative Vision: Descendant
    • World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award: Documentary Craft: The Territory
    • World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award: Excellence In Verité Filmmaking: Midwives
    • World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award: Innovative Spirit: Leonor Will Never Die
    • World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award: Acting: Teresa Sánchez for Dos Estaciones
    • NEXT Innovator Award presented by Adobe: Framing Agnes
    • Short Film Grand Jury Prize: The Headhunter’s Daughter
    • Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction: IF I GO WILL THEY MISS ME
    • Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction: Dania Bdeir for Warsha
    • Short Film Jury Award: Nonfiction: Samir Karahoda for Displaced
    • Short Film Jury Award: Animation: Joe Hsieh for Night Bus
    • Short Film Special Jury Award: Ensemble Cast: Zélia Duncan, Bruna Linzmeyer, Camila Rocha, Clarissa Ribeiro, and Lorre Motta for A wild patience has taken me here
    • Short Film Special Jury Award: Screenwriting: Sara Driver for Stranger Than Rotterdam with Sara Driver
    • Previously announced:
      • 2022 Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize: After Yang
      • Sundance Institute | Amazon Studios Producers Award for Nonfiction: Su Kim for Free Chol Soo Lee
      • Sundance Institute | Amazon Studios Producers Award for Fiction: Amanda Marshall God’s Country
      • Sundance Institute | Adobe Mentorship Award for Editing Nonfiction: Toby Shimin
      • Sundance Institute | Adobe Mentorship Award for Editing Fiction: Dody Dorn
      • Sundance Institute | NHK Award: Hasan Hadi for The President’s Cake
  • NEW FRONTIER ARTIST SPOTLIGHT
    • FLAT EARTH VR
      • Lucas Rizzotto (Lead Artist) shared insight on how the project started as a joke in response to the idea that VR is an “empathy machine,” and asked whether that is still the case when the premise is entirely delusional.
      • Lucas discussed how he actually consulted flat Earthers in designing the experience and learned that ultimately, “flat Earthers are not united by their belief, but by their disbelief.” There is no singular coherent flat Earth theory and everyone has different ideas of what a flat Earth means and looks like.
      • Lucas also expressed concern about VR propaganda, and how XR creators could use their work to spread misinformation and emotionally manipulate and control audiences in showing them a “reality” regardless of whether or not it’s based in truth. He urged XR creators to be mindful of the impact their work could have and how it may be used by others in a way they might not have intended.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

The Festival takes place digitally via our 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 live stream 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 Sundance Film Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most groundbreaking films of the past three decades, including Flee, CODA, Passing, Summer Of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), 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, 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. 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.

Aubrey Plaza As Emily The Criminal Steals The Show At Sundance

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Another day, another terrific independent film. Aubrey Plaza, a stalwart comedic actor, tweaked her repertoire with a dramatic performance as Emily in the John Patton Ford directed, 2022 Sundance Film Festival feature premiere, Emily The Criminal. Plaza is also credited as a producer as she found the script and presented it to Ford. As impressive as that is, it’s Plaza’s performance onscreen leaving audiences open-mouthed. To say Plaza is oozing with talent is not an overstatement.

 

Aubrey Plaza, portrays, Emily, in the action thriller, Emily The Criminal. (Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute)

 

As the film opens, Emily is mired in student debt and is facing a human resource person reminiscent of the 1990s as he pumps Emily for attention with a request to hear her story of an assault charge on her record. Plaza is demure, edgy, and very pensive until she realizes she’s not even close to getting hired. Her sharp delivery as she exits the office sets the tone for her character, Emily.

Emily The Criminal is well crafted, strongly written, and has the look and feel of a Safdie Brothers film (Uncut Gems, Good Time). It’s dark, edgy, and the acting is excellent. As mentioned Plaza portrays the lead character, Emily, and delivers a well-crafted, highly compelling performance with vivacity and vibrancy, not before seen from her previous roles. Theo Rossi delivers a powerful performance as Youcef, a Lebanese gangster, becomes involved with Emily romantically. Youcef is conducting illegal business activities with his conniving cousin, Khalil, portrayed convincingly by Jonathan Avigdori.

Emily the Criminal is an action thriller providing social commentary on the challenges young individuals, saddled with five-figure student debt and a minor criminal offense, face.  Living in shared accommodation, facing judgment at almost every turn, Emily decides to pursue a line of work involving illegal activities. Plaza’s Emily continues to make efforts to find proper work. Her “friend” Liz sets her up for an unpaid internship with her design company. Gina Gershon portrays the designer Alice. Gershon’s chops are spot on as Alice interviews Emily. Plaza’s reactions as Emily sends sparks flying as discovers she’s being interviewed (eventually offered an unpaid internship) and judged for her past minor criminal offense.

After the interview, the criminal enterprise floodgates open as Emily realizes her options are limited. From here Ford tightly keeps the film’s focus on Emily. Wise decision.  The action and plot deepen and darken keeping the viewer engaged. Admittedly, the twist at the end left me wanting more. Much more.

Emily The Criminal is an excellent offering. Four stars.

 

 

Am I OK?

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Wrapping up Day 6 with the Kim Yutani (Festival Programming Director) introduced film, Am I OK? from Tig Notaro and Stephanie Allynne, I was quickly taken into the relationship fold with an intimated and personalized invitation with a mesmerizing bedroom scene between the film’s two lead actors, Dakota Johnson and Sonoya Mizuno.

Dakota Johnson, left, and Sonoya Mizuno, explore relationships and friendships in Tig Notaro and Stephanie Allynne’s Am I OK? at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. (Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute)

The editing from Kayla Emter and Glen Scantlebury and the cinematography from Cristina Dunlap brought to fruition the promise Notaro and Allyne hinted at during Yutani’s intro. The film explores sexuality and relationship mores between two 30ish women who are best friends, Jane, portrayed by Mizuno, is a firmly rooted woman finding success in her career and in her love life. On the other hand, Lucy, portrayed by Johnson, is struggling with her career and in the romance sphere.

Notaro and Allynne present the friendship in a microcosm revolving around work, friendship, relationships, and sexuality. As Lucy comes to the realization her sexual orientation is not what she thought, she has a falling out with Jane. Jane experiences a surprise in her romantic relationship when she accepts a promotion to open a London office and her partner decides he is not interested in supporting the move. Meanwhile, Lucy finds her identity.

Am I OK? is a beautiful story with exquisite character arcs. Johnson and Mizuno turn in highly compelling performances in a well-executed and strongly penned narrative. In addition, the filmmakers add comedic relief with several instances in magnifying character idiosyncrasies. Four stars.

Meet the filmmakers below. You’ll be glad you did. Until next time, I’ll see you at the movies!

 

Descendant Rocks the Boat at Sundance

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Another full day at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival with second screenings of Cooper Raif’s Cha Cha Real Smooth, a far-reaching, exquisitely cinematic effort, and Descendant, a documentary from Margaret Brown delving into the Clotilda, a renegade slave ship from 1859 that ensnared 150 Africans and brought them up into the Mobile River then was burned to hide the illegal run. Efforts were made to keep any and all references to the voyage hidden. The descendants from the Clotilda settled into an area known as Africatown and managed to keep their story alive primarily via the oral tradition.

Brown also 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.

 

Cooper Raif, left, and Dakota star in Cha Cha Real Smooth premiering at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. (Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute)

 

Cha Cha Real Smooth, like its central character, Andrew, portrayed by Raif, struggles to find its footing. Nevertheless, it is a sweetly sentimental story with a strong production design with a bountiful color pallette. Raif writes, directs, and stars with significant support from seasoned pros Dakota Johnson, Leslie Mann, and Brad Garrett. Raif is a remarkable talent comparable to the young Canadian filmmaker extraordinaire, Xavier Dolan. Of note, this is Dakota Johnson’s third film of the year (Lost Daughter premiered at the 2021 Telluride Film Festival) and her second Sundance film, following the highly compelling and well-executed story, Am I OK? from Tig Notaro and Stephanie Allyne. Stay tuned for more on Am I OK?

So many films, so little time…

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

 

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

 

Sundance Grabs History with Navalny

Posted by Larry Gleeson

 

PARK CITY, UT (January 25, 2022) – After a surprise announcement yesterday, today’s sixth day of the Sundance Film Festival saw the debut of the mystery film, Navalny, on the very same day that Russia added the Putin critic and subject of the documentary, Alexei Navalny, to their ‘terrorist’ list. In conjunction with this explosive moment, today the United States denounced this act and called for his immediate release. Never before in the history of Sundance has a film’s real-life circumstances reverberated so strongly in the culture and conversation of the day.

 

A still from Navalny, an official selection of the U.S. Documentary section at the 2022 Sundance

Sundance Film Festival completed the sixth day of its online festival programming featuring conversations with Daniel Roher, John Early, Kogonada, Lisa Joy, Donald Elise Watkins, Lily McInerny, and was home to the World Premiere of Navalny on the very same day that Russia added Alexei Navalny to their terror list.  Never before in the history of Sundance has a film and real-life circumstances been more timely.

Here’s background from Sundance’s BT –

In August 2020 while on a plane traveling from Siberia to Moscow, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned with Novichok, a nerve agent implicated in attacks on other opponents of the Russian government.

Taken to a local Siberian hospital and eventually evacuated to Berlin, doctors confirmed that he had been poisoned with Novichok, a nerve agent implicated in attacks on other opponents of the Russian government. President Vladimir Putin immediately cast doubt on the findings and denied any involvement.

While recovering, Navalny and his team — already with a large social media following in tow — partnered with the data investigative journalism outlet Bellingcat as well as other international news organizations to investigate his attempted assassination and find proof of the Kremlin’s involvement. In NAVALNY, filmmaker Daniel Roher reveals a courageous and controversial would-be president at the precipice of sacrificing everything in order to bring reform to his homeland. —BT

Navalny Panel Members

 

Check out these quotes from January 25th, 2022, Navalny panel (included below):

  • DANIEL ROHER (Director) on the best case scenario this film could have on Navalny’s release: “I want every single human being on the planet earth to know the name Alexei Navalny.  I want that name to be associated with a grotesque injustice being perpetrated by the Russian state against a man who survived a murder attempt and then was arrested for merely surviving.  I want there to be a global outrage and outcry because of Alexei’s detainment, and I want people to stop doing business with the Russians, and I want there to be reasonable expectations for Navalny’s release.”
  • CHRISTO GROZEV (subject/CEO Bellingcat) on how he wants the world to treat President Putin: “I want the whole world on a daily basis to be confronting President Putin and treating him in no way different than say the president of North Korea.  This is not a civilized country, this is not a civilized establishment.  Just think of the glaring irony that on the day of the release of the film that discloses how Alexei Navalny was poisoned by his government – his government branded him a terrorist.  The people who are the terrorists brand him as a terrorist.  This is something that should sink in and be remembered by as many people as possible on a daily basis.”
  • MARIA PEVCHIKH (Executive Producer) on making the film accessible to Russians: “We are doing everything possible, and then a little bit more on top of it, to make it accessible to the Russian audience because we are convinced that they deserve it more than anybody else.”
  • DASHA NAVALNY (Subject/Alexei’s Daughter) on how her family is doing: “we are doing good, considering everything.  Our primary thinking with this movie coming out is that we want Alexei to be released.  My dad is doing okay, but excited to see the movie if he ever gets to.”

 

 

Each year, Sundance serves as a cultural launchpad, helping to expand audience horizons through film and the conversations that occur the minute that credits roll. Continuing to foster this spirit of discussion into 2022, Sundance Film Festival programs a series of panels across discipline and topic to keep the conversation going.

Stay tuned for more on Navalny!

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Film Prize Awarded at 2022 Sundance Film Festival, Three New Artist Grant Recipients Revealed

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Film Prize Awarded at 2022 Sundance Film Festival, Three New Artist Grant Recipients Revealed

20th Year of Science-In-Film Initiative Celebrated, Feature Film Prize Goes to After Yang

Park City, UT – The Sundance Film Festival has announced the artist grant recipients for the Sundance Institute Science-in-Film initiative at the twentieth annual Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Film Prize Reception, where the previously announced 2022 Feature Film Prize winner (Kogonada, After Yang) was honored. The grantees received a total of $70,000 in funding for their projects in development through the Sloan Episodic Fellowship (Kathryn Lo, Our Dark Lady), Sloan Development Fellowship (Nuhash Humayun, Moving Bangladesh) and Sloan Commissioning Grant (Shawn Snyder and Jason Begue, The Futurist).

“The Science-In-Film Initiative is turning 20 and we are thrilled to gather and celebrate After Yang and our grantees. With the importance of this initiative becoming clearer every year, it’s with gratitude that we mark two decades of the Sloan Foundation providing material support and recognition for filmmakers whose work engages with science and technology in an entertaining, meaningful way” said Festival Director Tabitha Jackson.

“From Primer, Grizzly Man, and Robot & Frank to Searching, Tesla, and After Yang – I was there for every award – it’s been a wonderful, pioneering, two-decade partnership with Sundance,” said Doron Weber, Vice President and Program Director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “To see extraordinary work move from development to the screen and beyond for 20 years is to witness a line of progress in science and technology representation that has deeply influenced our culture. This year’s Feature Film Prize winner Kogonada and screenwriting recipients – Kathryn Lo, Nuhash Humayun, Shawn Snyder, and Jason Begue – are outstanding additions to the multitalented Sloan family. We’re honored to recognize these gifted artists and look forward to contributing to their future success.”

The twenty-year partnership between the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Sundance Institute forms part of the Sloan Foundation’s nationwide Film Program, which includes support for six of the nation’s leading film schools plus six additional public schools and seven screenwriting development partners and has resulted in over 750 film projects and 30 completed feature films. In addition to Hidden Figures, originally supported by a Sloan book grant, the film program has long championed stories about women in science from Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story to stories about Louise Pearce, Rosalind Franklin, Marie Curie, Lise Meitner and Jane Goodall. The program has also supported many works about the role of technology in daily life, including the impact of machine learning, robotics and artificial intelligence. Sloan has supported feature narrative films such as Adventures of a Mathematician, One Man Dies a Million Times, The Sound of Silence, To Dust, The Catcher Was a Spy, The Man Who Knew Infinity, The Imitation Game, Experimenter and Operator, along with documentaries, such as the 2020 Sundance Film Festival selection Coded Bias and several new projects, including episodic television, in development. The program has also given early recognition to stand-out films such as Don’t Look Up, Ammonite, The Aeronauts, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, First Man, Searching, The Martian and Son of Monarchs, last year’s recipient of the Feature Film Prize.

AFTER YANG: Winner of the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize

After Yang has been awarded the 2022 Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize and received a $20,000 cash award from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation at today’s online reception. The Prize is selected by a jury of film and science professionals and presented to an outstanding feature film focusing on science or technology as a theme, or depicting a scientist, engineer or mathematician as a major character.

The 2022 Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize Jury was previously announced on December 13th.

The jury stated, “For its exquisitely crafted and deep poetic meditation on how technology can help us reflect on our humanity, and the ways our brains navigate memory, loss, and connection — even while it poses new challenges to our privacy, security, and identity — the 2022 Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize at the Sundance Film Festival goes to Kogonada’s After Yang.”

After Yang / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Kogonada, Producers: Andrew Goldman, Caroline Kaplan, Paul Mezey, Theresa Park)  — In the near future, a father and daughter try to save the life of Yang, their beloved robotic family member. Cast: Colin Farrell, Jodie Turner-Smith. Justin H. Min, Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja, Haley Lu Richardson. North American Premiere. Fiction.

Koganada’s debut film, Columbus, starring John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson, premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. He wrote and directed his second feature, After Yang, starring Colin Farrell and Jodie Turner-Smith, for A24.

Sundance Institute / Sloan Episodic Fellowship

Kathryn Lo (writer) will receive a $10,000 cash award from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation at this year’s Sundance Film Festival for Our Dark Lady. Previous winners include: The Harvard Computers, Higher, and DELTA-V.

Our Dark Lady: After James Watson trashes scientist Rosalind Franklin in his memoir on the discovery of DNA’s double helix, a friend seeks to uncover the theft of her data by investigating two labs in 1950s England — where Rosalind emerges as the centerpiece of the most important scientific breakthrough of the modern era.

Working in print, radio, television and online, Kathryn Lo relishes storytelling of all forms.  She spent 10 years curating the Emmy-winning documentary series Independent Lens, and oversaw a 450-hour program pipeline at PBS.  After a career of championing others’ work, Kathryn is excited to pursue her own curiosity and projects.

Sundance Institute / Sloan Development Fellowship

Nuhash Humayun (writer and director) will receive a $15,000 cash award from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation at this year’s Sundance Film Festival for Moving Bangladesh. Previous winners include: Chariot, Tidal Disruption, and Goliath.

Moving Bangladesh: Stuck in traffic and in life – a struggling Bangladeshi entrepreneur creates an app that may change transport in developing countries forever, but must first overcome his skeptical family.

Nuhash Humayun is a Bangladesh-based writer/director with a focus on the intersection of genre and Asian identity. His credits include Sincerely Yours, Dhaka (world premiere at Busan 2018, acquired by Netflix). Nuhash’s upcoming feature Moving Bangladesh has  received support from Film Independent, Cannes Marche du Film, Locarno Open Doors and Film Bazaar.

Sundance Institute / Sloan Commissioning Grant

Shawn Snyder (co-writer and director) and Jason Begue (co-writer)  will receive a $25,000 cash award from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation at this year’s Sundance Film Festival for The Futurist. Previous winners include: Pharmacopeia, The Plutonians and Challenger.

The Futurist: When the scientific community abandons him, a renowned neuroscientist attempts to rectify his complicated past and to author a more auspicious future by using his own brain for cyborgian experimentation. The Futurist takes place inside that brain. Inspired by true events.

Shawn Snyder’s first feature, the Sloan/Sundance supported To Dust, won the Best New Director Award and Audience Award at Tribeca 2018 and was nominated for Best Screenplay at the 2020 Independent Spirit Awards. Having studied Religion at Harvard and Filmmaking at NYU, Shawn never imagined making movies about science. He stands corrected.

Jason Begue is a Latinx filmmaker known for To Dust, which he co-wrote with Shawn Snyder and co-produced alongside Alessandro Nivola, Emily Mortimer and Ron Perlman. He is currently completing studies at NYU Grad Film, while the writing duo continues to develop a larger slate of projects – including Baby-Face, Jason’s first feature.

About the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation:
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a New York-based, philanthropic, not-for-profit institution that makes grants in three areas: research in science, technology, and economics; quality and diversity of scientific institutions; and public engagement with science. Sloan’s program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology, directed by Doron Weber, supports books, radio, film, television, theater, and new media to reach a wide, non-specialized audience and to bridge the two cultures of science and the humanities.

Sloan’s Film Program encourages filmmakers to create more realistic and compelling stories about science and technology and to challenge existing stereotypes about scientists and engineers in the popular imagination. Over the past two decades, Sloan has partnered with top film schools in the country – including AFI, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, NYU, UCLA, and USC, plus six public film schools – and established annual awards in screenwriting and film production, along with an annual best-of-the-best Student Grand Jury Prize. The Foundation also supports screenplay development programs with the Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, Film Independent, SFFILM, the Black List, the Athena Film Festival, and  the North Fork TV Festival. The Foundation has helped develop over 30 feature films including Michael Almereyda’s Tesla, Lydia Dean Pilcher and Ginny Mohler’s Radium Girls, Thor Klein’s Adventures of a Mathematician, Jessica Oreck’s One Man Dies a Million Times, Michael Tyburski’s The Sound of Silence, Shawn Snyder’s To Dust,  Logan Kibens and Sharon Greene’s Operator, Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game, and Matthew Brown’s The Man Who Knew Infinity. The Foundation has supported feature documentaries such as Picture a Scientist, Coded Bias, In Silico, Oliver Sacks: His Own Life, The Bit Player, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, Particle Fever, and Oceans.

The Foundation has an active theater program and commissions about 20 science plays each year from the Ensemble Studio Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, and the National Theatre, as well as supporting select productions across the country and abroad. Recent grants have supported Bess Wohl’s Continuity, Charly Evon Simpson’s New York Times Critic’s Pick Behind the Sheet, Chiara Atik’s Bump, Leigh Fondakowski’s Spill, Lucy Kirkwood’s Mosquitoes, Nick Payne’s Constellations, Lucas Hnath’s Isaac’s Eye, and Anna Ziegler’s Photograph 51. The Foundation’s book program includes support for Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures, which became the highest-grossing Oscar-nominated film of 2017 and a social and cultural milestone.

For more information about the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, please visit www.sloan.org or follow the Foundation at @SloanPublic on Twitter and Facebook.

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 Flee, CODA, Passing, Summer Of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), 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, 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. 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. sundance.org/festival

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, theatre, 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.

(Press release provided by Sundance Institute)