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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)

Sundance Day Two Recap With a Look at Day Three

Posted by Larry Gleeson

PARK CITY, UT (January 21, 2022) – Sundance Film Festival welcomed audiences to an action-packed second day of premiere screenings and conversations featuring some of the most notable visionaries in independent film, new media, and culture at large, including John Boyega, Elizabeth Banks, Regina Hall, Sigourney Weaver, Abi Damaris Corbin, Phyllis Nagy, Connie Britton, Colin Farrell, Hayley Lu Richardson, Wuumi Mosaku, Zoe Renee, Mariama Diallo, Chlose Okuno, Kogonada, and more.

Out of the gate, John Boyega shed light on his earnest portrayal of Brian Brown-Easley, a real-life Marine veteran impacted by PTSD in the 892 film panel; Phyllis Nagy discussed the importance of recognizing the humanity of women in the fight for reproductive rights alongside Elizabeth Banks, Sigourney Weaver, Wuumi Mosaku, and Grace Edwards in support of their film, Call Jane. Finally, the evening left off with  Master Director, Mariama Diallo in conversation with her cast, Regina Hall and Zoe Renee, about racist underpinnings in the Ivy League system.

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 TWO HIGHLIGHTS

FILM Q&As 

    • 892 Panel

      • JOHN BOYEGA (Actor) on portraying Brian Brown-Easley, a Marine veteran impacted by PTSD: “We knew that PTSD would obviously be the main focus in formulating this character and that’s something me and Abi fine-tuned and worked out in general about the state of people who go out and protect our country who end up being in a situation, or circumstance, in which their mind can’t function well. Especially when they’re forced back into a world with no support. That was definitely a part of the process of building this character.”
      • ABI DAMARIS CORBIN (Director, Co-writer) on portraying issues with the Veterans Administration and bringing about change in this space: “Well, I grew up in a home with a dad who’s a vet, so I know this pretty intimately. We wanted to be honest about the situation and tell the story well. Our hope is that folks who just watched this film will think about it, will look at their neighbor and say ‘how you can do right by them,’ like Brian [the true subject of the film] says in the bathroom. We hope it gets in your soul. That it’s not something you leave behind after you watch it today. Beyond that, we’re partnering with several organizations who are involved with this but really that’s what we want you to take away.”

 

  • Call Jane Panel 

    • PHYLLIS NAGY (Director) on the importance of showcasing the genesis of the Janes on film: “We should all be in conversation with each other. We should be having an inter-generational conversation, an intersectional conversation – these things are extremely necessary in order for our cherished right to choose not to disappear entirely.”
    • ELIZABETH BANKS (Actor) on choosing this project to discuss abortion rights: “I really thought this was an opportunity for us to shine a light on that activism and more importantly, the camaraderie, of the women involved. [We] celebrate the women who came together to solve and to evolve and to help each other. If we could really build empathy for this woman and this character, we could speak to the audience about larger issues.”
    • ELIZABETH BANKS(Actor) on why she hopes Call Jane will speak to men most: “I hope more men join the conversation, generally. I find that in all of my experience, that unwanted pregnancy is 100% the cause of irresponsible ejaculation. Men are responsible, let’s get them more involved. This movie is a reminder that these women had to get together to solve something that they didn’t do…. This film is a joyful representation of women working together, but there’s some really supportive men in the film as well, and I love that about the relationships we have in the movie and what that says about where we could go with this conversation.”
    • WUUMI MOSAKU (Actor) on the pervasive hurdle historically facing Women of Color’s right to choose: “The thing is, it’s capitalism at the heart of it. It’s about money in the end, right? Can you afford it? And now, that just cuts out a whole chunk of people who just can’t afford it, and does that now mean that we believe that they don’t deserve what we’re trying to give? I don’t know – I feel like it’s a really important question  that sometimes gets missed out in a lot of feminist conversation: How inclusive are we being? How helpful are we being? Do we all care about the same things – are we all fearful of the same things? And do I value your fears, as much as I value mine?”
    • WUUMI MOSAKU (Actor) spoke on the bracing reality of what happens when abortion access is stripped from women: “What really struck me when I read the film for the first time, was that making abortion illegal isn’t going to stop abortions from happening. What we’re gonna do is make people very vulnerable. You’re just making it not safe. If someone wants an abortion they will get it. So why take away their dignity, their safety by making it illegal? It’s still going to happen. And so, I just really want people to know that, and understand that, and have empathy. Think of that person, that is doing something that they don’t want to do – no one wants to – be in this situation. If you’re considering an abortion, it’s not easy. So, give them grace by leaving them alone and letting them do it safely. Because it’s not going to stop, it’s just going to become dangerous. Again.”
    • SIGOURNEY WEAVER (Actor) on her major takeaway as a part of this film, reliving history: “When Roe v. Wade was passed, three of the judges passed it were Nixon’s conservative judges. But they understood that the right of a woman to decide for herself whether to bear a child was fundamental to her dignity and to her person and to her freedom and to her health. And it just was such a wake up call to me when I read that because it is an issue that has been so politicized, and this film will take you back into that experience. And so beautifully shows that it’s just about women, and in this case – women rescuing other women from hopelessness and danger, frankly. And having lived through that time, believe me we do not want to go back to that.”
    • SIGOURNEY WEAVER (Actor) on what she hopes audiences take away from this film: “Remind people that there’s a life at stake that’s walking, breathing, and trying to make the best decision she can. It’s important to respect these choices. You may not agree with them personally, and that’s your choice. It’s about Pro-choice. So, I hope that we can engage the younger generation who’ve always had this, and they may have taken it for granted, and put the focus back on the woman herself.”

 

  • Master Panel

    • MARIAMA DIALLO (Director) announced that Master will make its debut on Amazon in March.
    • REGINA HALL (Actor) on the dedication of the movie to her mother: “My mother, who passed away, had joined us during filming.  It was wonderful that Mariama and the producers dedicated it to her. She would have loved the film, even though she was terrified of horror movies. She impacted me profoundly.”
    • ZOE RENEE (Actor) on the world that director Mariama created on-set:  “She created a world that was painful to jump into, but once you were in it, it’s impossible not to react to your surroundings. A lot of our actors were all white and in a position of trying to create a feeling of isolation. Mariama asked us to be honest about the situation we were being put into to make sure the looks and movements felt real and vulnerable.  It was a painful process and watching it back made it worth it.”
    • MARIAMA DIALLO (Director) on whether the concept of “masters at Yale” are real: “It’s not there anymore, but while I was a student I came in and was assigned a master. The way they induct you into this system was done so slickly I barely flinched or noticed. As they were ushering us through the gates they said the term as if it were second nature that it’s done in a way you don’t even realize you’re being put into the experience. I had accepted someone into my life with this title and I didn’t know why I hadn’t woken up sooner. It didn’t come to me until I saw him on the streets and I called out by the title as second nature and it became weird right away. I could tell from the look on his face he knew it wasn’t right.  I had been told it was okay and had accepted it.”

CINEMA CAFÉ

    • KAREN GILLAN & EMMA THOMPSON | 1:00PM ET // 11:00AM MT // 10:00AM PT
      • Karen Gillan (Actress, Dual) and Emma Thompson (Actress, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande). Moderated by Shirley Li (The Atlantic)

  • A HIGHLIGHT OF FILM PREMIERES AND POST Q&As:

    • Nanny | 3:28 PM ET // 1:28 PM MT //12:28 PM PT
      • Nikyatu Jusu (Director); Anna Diop (Actor), Michelle Monaghan  (Actor), Leslie Uggams  (Actor)
    • We Need To Talk About Cosby | 4:00 PM ET // 2:00 PM MT//1:00 PM PT
      • W. Kamau Bell (Director)
    • BRAINWASHED: Sex-Camera-Power | 4:06 PM ET // 2:06 PM MT// 1:06 PM PT
      • Nina Menkes (Director/Producer), Maria Giese (Co-Producer). Joey Soloway (Subject), Cecily Rhett (Editor)
    • Jihad Rehab | 7:42 PM ET //5:42 PM MT// 4:42 PM PT
      • Meg Smaker (Director), Mohammed Aabas (Executive Producer)
    • Good Luck to You, Leo Grande | 6:43 PM ET // 4:43 PM MT // 3:43 PM PT
      • Sophie Hyde (Director), Emma Thompson (Actor), Daryl McCormack (Actor), Katy Brand (Screenwriter)
    • Summering | 8:33 PM ET // 6:33 PM MT // 5:33 PM PT
      • James Ponsoldt (Director)
    • Dual | 9:40 PM ET // 7:40 PM MT// 6:40 PM PT
      • Riley Stearns (Director), Karen Gillian (Actor), Aaron Paul (Actor), and Beulah Koale (Actor)
    • Sharp Stick | 10:01 PM ET // 8:01 PM MT // 7:01 PM PT
      • Lena Dunham (Director/Actor), Kristine Froseth (Actor), Jon Bernthal (Actor), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Actor), Taylour Paige (Actor), Scott Speedman (Actor), Luka Sabbat (Actor)
    • Resurrection | 11:48 PM ET // 9:48 PM MT // 8:48 PM PT
      • Andrew Semans (Director)
    • Lucy and Desi | 12:48 AM ET //10:48 PM MT // 9:48 PM PT
      • Amy Poehler (Director), Lucy Arnaz (Subject)

 

  • THE BIG CONVERSATION

 

 

 

 

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.  Tickets are on sale.

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.

(Press release provided by Sundance Press Office)

XRM Media with Argo To Champion Filmmakers Through Sundance Film Festival Industry Discussion

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Bringing together experts for a virtual conversation on short films and the industry’s evolution

 

OS ANGELES (Jan. 21, 2022) – Media technology and entertainment entity, XRM Media and short film streaming platform, Argo, are assembling a panel, All Things Shorts, for filmmakers attending this year’s virtual Sundance Film Festival.

As a Leadership Level Sponsor of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, XRM Media with Argo will lead a curated discussion on Friday, January 21 at 10:30am MST. See below for more information on the discussion topic and its guests.

Now in its second cycle of supporting the institution of Sundance Institute, this is an opportunity for filmmakers and those abroad to learn of new ways to get their artistic ambitions off the ground.

While Sundance will now be a virtual festival, Michael Y. Chow of XRM Media and Arcadiy Golubovich of Argo felt it keenly important to continue to provide content and programming that benefit the film industry and its community members.

XRM Media with Argo at Sundance Film Festival 2022 – Virtual Conversation

Friday, January 21, 2022

10:30am MST

All Things Shorts

The demand for short films is exploding due to emerging platforms, growing audiences, and a craving for shorter storytelling. Find out from our panel of industry leaders about the key issues currently on the minds of funders, festival programmers, distributors, and content providers as we celebrate the short film.

Moderator: Amanda Salazar, Head of Programming & Acquisitions, Argo

Panelists: Lamonia Deanne Brown, Consulting Producer, WarnerMedia OneFifty; Merrill Sterritt, Co-Director, IF/Then Shorts; Charlie Phillips, Head of Video, The Guardian; Opal Hope Bennett, Shorts Co-Producer, POV; Adam Piron, Interim Director of Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program

About Argo

Founded in 2021, Argo is a new generation streaming platform for curating, promoting, and monetizing premium short film and TV entertainment. Argo is building a never-before-seen ecosystem that connects audiences to filmmakers, influencers, and film festivals, giving them more ways to engage and discover the right entertainment for them. Argo allows viewers to connect with their friends, upvote the films they love and follow film recommendations by renowned filmmakers and influencers while granting users the opportunity to personalize their preferences and receive tailored premium short film selections on the go. Argo works on a revenue-share basis with a goal to ensure filmmakers have the opportunity to showcase their work while entertaining and inspiring the new wave of independent film. For more information about Argo, you can visit www.WatchArgo.com or download the app in the App Store or Google Play.

 

About XRM Media

Headquartered in Burbank, California, XRM Media (www.xrmmedia.com) is an entertainment and media technology entity, with state-of-the-art production facilities, dedicated to combining compelling storytelling with innovative distribution to push the limits of creativity in both the traditional and new media space. Our mandate is to be forward-looking, out-of-the-box thinking and stay unconventional in redefining an intersection where content and technology are seamlessly weaved together. XRM Media’s capabilities include all stages of the development, production, and distribution as well as equity financing, co-financing, and fund management. Through our strategic partnerships and venture capital investments in 26 countries, we are driven by our entrepreneurial culture to take risks to create unique business models, franchise concepts, and/or innovative platforms that resonate with a global audience.

(Press release provided by Julie Gutterman, Wolf Kasteler Public Relations)

Sundance Film Festival Opens Day One with Groundbreaking Programming

Posted by Larry Gleeson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesse Eisenberg, director of When You Finish Saving the World, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Karen Kuehn.

Finn Wolfhard and Julianne Moore appear in When You Finish Saving the World by Jesse Eisenberg, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Beth Garrabrant.

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

 

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

 

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

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

ABOUT SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

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

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

“Berlinale Series Market” Online: Current Trends and Developments in Talks, Screenings and Showcases

Posted by Larry Gleeson

European Film Market & Co-Production Market

The eighth edition of the “Berlinale Series Market” (February 14 to 16, 2022) will once again offer industry experts, right holders, buyers, and creatives a platform to address and discuss current developments in the world of series. This year, the program will take place online – analogous to the European Film Market – and will include talk formats, showcases by international production companies, streaming platforms and series events, online screenings, and, under the label “Berlinale Series Market Selects”, a curated selection of high-quality series being traded on the market.

European Film Market & Co-Production Market
Dennis Ruh

EFM director Dennis Ruh: “The ‘Berlinale Series Market’ has developed into an integral part of the EFM, reflecting the growing diversification of our exhibitors’ sales and promotion portfolios. What we offer here helps us to create more visibility for serial content. Successfully introduced last year, the label “Berlinale Series Market Selects” has contributed significantly to this. I am especially pleased to note that we will be able to present a very international, varied selection this year. Through the conference programme, we will also offer our professional audience the chance to take a look at current developments in the industry.”

 

 

The Talk of the Town in the Series Industry

The “Berlinale Series Market’s” conference program deals with current trends in the series business. The opening panel “MISSION: EUROPE. How Local Markets Muscle Up” co-hosted by the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW delves into the varying perspectives of streamers, local TV stations as well as producers regarding European streaming business strategies.

Acclaimed directors Lone Scherfig (Berlinale Special 2009: An Education; Silver Bear 2001: Italian for Beginners; Competition 2019: The Kindness of Strangers) and Daniel Burman (Silver Bear 2004: El abrazo partido; Panorama 2016: El rey del once) have been invited to the Berlinale along with their series The Shift and Iosi, el espía arrepentido, respectively. Our format “In Conversation with Lone Scherfig & Daniel Burman: From Film to Series” will take a look at their career paths from film director to series-maker and reveal some of their experiences with these different forms of content creation.

A round of talks entitled “When the Power Shifts – A New Era for Producers?” – co-hosted by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg – will discuss the ever louder demand for investment commitments in local markets by major streaming services, which already exist in France, for example, and also ask how this would alter the production companies’ role in the series sector.

The African series landscape, in which female authors, in particular, have a large share of the emerging market, will be the focus of the panel “Shaping a New Market – African Female Talent”. The question of whether women in Africa have succeeded in obtaining the same conditions as their male colleagues will be discussed here. Finally, the “Berlinale Series Market” will also be addressing the issue of inclusion: For the first time, the “Berlinale Series Market” co-hosts a two-part talk series with Series Mania debating whether and how talented individuals with disabilities are represented and included in the series industry, both in front of and behind the camera and to what extent they are able to contribute their own stories and perspectives. Subsequent to the opening in Berlin, the topic will be continued in the conference format in Lille.

An official part of the conference program, a half-day summit on Wednesday, February 16, co-hosted by Variety presents three top-class cast talk formats.

The showcase “Up Next: Germany” presents current and upcoming series projects from Germany. These include, for instance, the prominently cast comedy Greenlight – German Genius (W&B Television, Warner TV Comedy, CAB Film, Macadamia & Mothermilk, BBC Studios Germany, Studio Babelsberg), the action series Kleo (Zeitsprung Pictures, Netflix) focusing on the Stasi-killer of the same name, the German-Israeli thriller Munich Match (Amusement Park Films, Sky, CBS Studios) centering around a threat on a friendly game fifty years after the Munich massacre during the Olympics, as well as the high-end documentary series Reeperbahn Special Unit 65 (Gebrüder Beetz, NDR, WDR, SWR, rbb, SHE).

Screening Programme: Highlights from the World of Serial Narration

After a successful first edition in 2021, the “Berlinale Series Market Selects” will be entering their second year with a total of 14 program slots. Series from four continents have been selected, including from Brazil, South Africa, Israel, Russia, and two German productions: ZERV, staged by director Dustin Loose and starring Nadja Uhl and Fabian Hinrichs as an unequal team of East-West investigators, and Oh Hell, starring Mala Emde as an unconventional dreamer in search of meaningfulness.

The short-form program presents no less than three French series: Diana Boss, the second season of Parlement, and About Last Night …; these are complemented by the impressively acted drama Fredløs. Other program highlights include the Swedish music drama Harmonica, co-developed and acted by Josephine Bornebusch and Jonas Karlsson, the Portuguese social study about empowerment, Vanda, Šutnja from Croatia about a web of corruption and human trafficking, and The Fear Index with Josh Hartnett as a genius billionaire.

The “Berlinale Series Market” is a joint initiative of the European Film Market, the Berlinale Co-Production Market, and Berlinale Talents, organized in close cooperation with the Berlinale Series. The official main partner of “Berlinale Series Market” is the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW and is also funded by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.

 

“Berlinale Series Market Selects” 2022

Crna svadba (Black Wedding)
Serbia
Creators: Nemanja Ćipranić, Strahinja Madžarević
Showrunner: Ivana Miković
Director: Nemanja Ćipranić
with Uliks Fehmiu, Jelena Djokić, Nikola Kojo
Production Company: Firefly Productions
Broadcaster: Superstar TV, Radio Television of Serbia
World Sales: Firefly International
1/10 episodes

While investigating a bloody massacre in a remote village in eastern Serbia, a Secret Service operative, Petar, becomes entangled in the ancient conflict between good and evil – a war that has been raging for centuries.

 

The Fear Index
England
Writers: Paul Andrew Williams, Caroline Bartleet
Director: David Caffrey
with Josh Hartnett, Arsher Ali, Leila Farzad
Production Companies: Left Bank Pictures in cooperation with Sky Studios
Broadcaster: Sky
World Sales: NBCUniversal Global Distribution
2/4 episodes

Dr. Alex Hoffman (Josh Hartnett) is a tech genius at the peak of his career, who’s about to experience the worst 24 hours of his life when a sinister force invades it. A fast-paced thriller based on the bestselling novel by Robert Harris.

 

Filhas De Eva (A Woman’s Fate)
Brazil
Creators: Adriana Falcão, Jô Abdu, Martha Mendonça, Nelito Fernandes
Director: Leonardo Nogueira
with Renata Sorrah, Giovanna Antonelli, Vanessa Giácomo
Production Company: Globo
Broadcaster: Globoplay
World Sales: Globo
2/12 episodes

Stella gets a divorce, Lívia chooses between her career and a manipulative husband, and Cléo frees herself from her mother’s clutches – three women trapped in social patterns need to reinvent themselves and discover their inner strengths before they can find personal freedom.

 

Harmonica
Sweden
Creators: Josephine Bornebusch, Jonas Karlsson
Director: Josephine Bornebusch
with Josephine Bornebusch, Jonas Karlsson, Eric Ericson
Production Company: Warner Bros. International Television Production Sweden
Broadcaster: Viaplay
World Sales: Nordic Entertainment Group
2/5 episodes

Sixteen years ago, Harry and Monica were living the glitzy life playing big arenas with their band, Harmonica. Now the band has broken up and their marriage is in crisis. When they are invited to play a nostalgia tour, Monica gives Harry an ultimatum. Tour or divorce.

 

Identifikatsiya (Identification)
Russia
Creators: Vladlena Sandu, Nikita Ikonnikov
Showrunners: Valeriy Fedorovich, Evgeniy Nikishov
Director: Vladlena Sandu
with Lena Tronina, Polina Kutepova, Roman Vasilev
Production Company: 1-2-3 Production
Broadcaster: Premier
World Sales: 1-2-3 Production
2/8 episodes

An orphaned girl who has converted to Islam and lives in a local immigrant community, Valeria becomes the main suspect in a murder case at her own wedding. The investigation reveals that her past is no less mysterious than the killing.

 

Kfulim S3 (False Flag S3)
Israel
Creators: Maria Feldman, Leora Kamenetzky, Amit Cohen
Director: Oded Raz
with Miki Leon, Tali Sharon, Lena Fraifeld
Production Company: Spiro Films
Broadcaster: Keshet 12
World Sales: Keshet International
2/8 episodes

Following a chemical attack at a party for an Israeli high-tech company in Cyprus, Eitan Koppel flies in to investigate. Sophisticated software quickly identifies three suspects who all have something to hide, but can the data be trusted?

 

Oh Hell
Germany
Creator: Johannes Boss
Director: Simon Ostermann, Lisa Miller
with Mala Emde, Edin Hasanović, Salka Weber
Production Company: Good Friends Filmproduktions GmbH
Broadcaster: Magenta TV, Warner TV Comedy
World Sales: Warner TV International
3/8 episodes

24-year-old Helene overpaints reality with her imagination to deal with boredom and family grief. Between fooling her parents with a fake law degree and losing several jobs, an exuberant love story seems just what she needs to get her life back on track.

 

Recipes for Love and Murder
South Africa
Creators: Karen Jeynes, based on a novel by Sally Andrew
Showrunner: Thierry Cassuto
Directors: Christiaan Olwagen, Karen Jeynes
with Maria Doyle Kennedy, Tony Kgoroge, Kylie Fisher
Production Company: Both Worlds Pictures
Broadcaster: MNET, Acorn TV
World Sales: Global Screen
2/10 episodes

When a woman who sought her help is found dead, Tannie Maria and her colleague, rookie journalist Jessie September, spring into action, determined to solve the murder in South Africa’s Karoo region. But all too soon, a second murder is discovered.

 

Storm Lara
Belgium
Creator: Daan Gielis
Director: Kadir Ferati Balci
with Ella Leyers, Wouter Hendrickx, Anemone Valcke
Production Company: A Private View
Broadcaster: Streamz
World Sales: Keshet International
4/4 episodes

When ice-cool, late-night radio DJ Lara receives a call from suicidal Suzy, a grueling game of cat and mouse unfolds; soon it seems that Suzy is holding all the cards. Lara realizes it’s time to take a decision and end the game.

 

Šutnja (The Silence)
Croatia, Ukraine
Creators: Marjan Alcevski, Miodrag Sila, Nebojsa Taraba, Dalibor Matanić
Showrunners: Miodrag Sila, Nebojsa Taraba
Director: Dalibor Matanić
with Kseniya Mishina, Goran Bogdan, Darko Milas
Production Companies: Drugi plan and HRT in coproduction with Beta Film, Star Media, OLL.TV and ZDF/ARTE
Broadcaster: HRT, OLL.TV
World Sales: Beta Film
1/6 episodes

When the body of a young girl washes up on a riverbank in Croatia, a police detective, a reporter, and the wife of a politician are sucked into a dark case that isn’t at all what it first seems.

 

Trom
Denmark, Faroe Islands
Creator: Torfinnur Jákupsson
Showrunner: Torfinnur Jákupsson
Directors: Kasper Barfoed, Davið Óskar Ólafsson, Peter Ahlén (co-director)
with Ulrich Thomsen, Maria Rich, Olaf Johannessen
Production Companies: REinvent Studios, KYK Pictures
Broadcaster: Viaplay, DR
World Sales: REinvent International Sales
2/6 episodes

Journalist Hannis receives a panicked message from Sonja, an animal rights activist, saying that her life is in danger. After returning home to the Faroes, he discovers Sonja’s body during a whale hunt. His search for answers uncovers a web of secrets.

 

Vanda
Portugal
Creator: Patricia Müller
Writers: Patricia Müller, Carmen Jimenez
Director: Simão Cayatte
with Gabriela Barros, João Baptista, Joana de Verona
Production Companies: SPi, S.A.; Legendary Television; La Panda Productions
Broadcaster: OPTO SIC (Portugal)
World Sales: Legendary Television
2/8 episodes

Vanda is a hairdresser living in Lisbon, who suddenly finds herself alone, with no husband or home but with two children to raise in the midst of the financial crisis. With a blonde wig and a toy gun, she takes destiny into her own hands and robs a bank.

 

ZERV (Divided We Stand)
Germany
Producers: Gabriela Sperl, Quirin Berg, Max Wiedemann, Miriam Klein (EP)
Writers: Jens Köster, Kim Zimmermann, Gabriela Sperl, Michael Klette
Director: Dustin Loose
with Nadja Uhl, Fabian Hinrichs, Max Hubacher
Production Companies: Gabriela Sperl Produktion for W&B Television in collaboration with Wilma Film for ARD, MDR and ARD Degeto for Das Erste
Broadcaster: ARD, MDR, Das Erste
World Sales: Beta Film
1/6 episodes

In a newly-united Germany, an Eastern and a Western police officer have to work together to solve a murder, despite their differences – they soon learn that organized criminals from West and East were the first to join forces.

 

Short Form Block:

Diana Boss
France
Creator: Marion Seclin
Showrunners: Marion Seclin, Niels Rahou
Director: Niels Rahou
with Moon A, Tokou, Ilan Bergala
Production Company: La Belle Télé
Broadcaster: France tv slash
World Sales: France tv distribution
1/5 episodes

By day, Malika helps defend clients; by night, she becomes Diana Boss, battling with other rappers. In both roles, true to her convictions, she fights the same injustices that she herself is a victim of. To find her place in society, Malika must choose: Law or rap?

 

Fredløs (Outlaw)
Denmark
Creators: Malthe Jagd Miehe-Renard (screenplay), Babak Vakili (screenplay)
Director: Laurits Flensted-Jensen
with Besir Zeciri, Maria Cordsen, Afshin Firouzi
Production Companies: Strong Productions, Splay One
Broadcaster: DR
World Sales: DR Sales
1/8 episodes

Mohammed is looking for a quiet life with his girlfriend Ida. When he is charged with armed robbery, he is remanded in custody and experiences racism and betrayal. With time, he loses faith in his previous dreams and ambitions.

 

Narvalo S2 (About Last Night … S2)
France
Creator: Matthieu Longatte
Writer: Matthieu Longatte
Director:Matthieu Longatte
with Sandor Funtek, Sofia Lesaffre, Samir Decazza
Production Companies: Studiocanal Original, BDF Films
Broadcaster: Canal +
World Sales: Studiocanal
1/8 episodes

Each episode, inspired by an actual event, features different groups of friends telling each other about their latest crazy antics. A tribute to all those people who sacrifice their dignity so they will have some good stories to tell their mates.

 

Parlement S2 (Parliament S2)
France
Creator: Noé Debré
Showrunner: Noé Debré
Directors: Emilie Noblet, Jérémie Sein, Noé Debré
with Xavier Lacaille, Liz Kingsman, Philippe Duquesne
Production Company: Cinétévé, Artémis Productions, CineCentrum Deutsche Gesellschaft für Film- und Fernsehproduktion mbH
Broadcaster: France.tv, WDR, ONE, SWR & StudioHamburg
World Sales: France tv distribution
1/10 episodes

Samy, a young parliamentary assistant, arrives in Brussels just after the Brexit referendum. He is obviously not fit for the job. In fact, Samy doesn’t know much about European institutions at all, but he hopes to get away with this through wit and cunning…

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

(Sourced from Berlinale Press Release)

BLACKHOUSE FOUNDATION CELEBRATES FIFTEEN YEARS AT THE SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2022

Posted by Larry Gleeson

For the fifteenth consecutive year, The Blackhouse Foundation is bringing the culture to independent film and content as it joins the virtual lineup of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival on Sundance Digital Main St. The organization will curate three days of programming for the festival, from January 21 – January 23.

The Blackhouse Foundation welcomes Meta back as Presenting Sponsor. This year, the festival features 35 black films across all categories out of 82 programmed films.

Regarding the presence of The Blackhouse Foundation at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, Executive Director Jenean Glover commented:
Jenean Glover

“We are privileged to have a unique partnership with our returning sponsor Meta. Together, we are excited to host three exciting virtual activations. We are consciously inclusive in the delivery of transformative content to our audience of diverse creatives and digital festival-goers. As we pivot to a digital festival for the second year in a row, we are excited to scale our audience in much the same way Blackhouse and Meta increased our impact on our student filmmaker fellows tenfold in 2021.”

Coming soon, The Blackhouse Foundation will unveil a dynamic schedule of virtual activations, discussions, events, and community gatherings. Included among the events hosted by The Blackhouse Foundation is the return of The Blackhouse Portrait Studio, during which illustrious photographer Erik Umphery will return to capture the essence of Blackhouse via unique, invitation-only, one-on-one sessions.
Meta returns for their third year as Presenting Sponsor with an expansion of their SEEN program, an activation providing continuous support for Black filmmakers at every stage in their career, along with We The Culture for Black Creators and Instagram’s Share Black Stories programs. The 2022 Sundance Film Festival marks Meta’s fifth year of partnership with The Blackhouse Foundation. In addition to highlighting the best Black films and directors of the festival, the partnership facilitates Blackhouse’s transition to the virtual world.
Meta joins Blackhouse at this year’s festival with the following programming:
  • Friday, 1/21, 4:30pm MT: At the Sundance Filmmakers Lodge, Meta and Blackhouse present “Being SEEN: The Black Filmmakers Journey,” featuring filmmakers JaSaun Buckner and Kaelo Iyizoba from Meta’s SEEN Black Filmmakers Program, moderated by Blackhouse Executive Director Jenean Glover, and includes Blackhouse co-founder Brickson Diamond and Meta’s Head of Entertainment Creative Shop, Jen Barrett.
  • Friday, 1/21, 6pm MT: We The Culture, Meta’s Black Creator program, led by Michelle Mitchell (Meta, Media Partnerships) will engage in a candid conversation with Ms. Tina Knowles-Lawson –– star of the Facebook Watch show, Talks with Mama Tina and co-founder of the WACO Theater Center, along with impressive creators from its inaugural year. Together, this group of creatives will discuss their journeys and the role We The Culture has played along the way.
  • Saturday, 1/22, 10am MT: Instagram and #ShareBlackStories Presents: The Land of Milk and Honey, a vision by Alexander-Julian (AJ) Gibbson (Creative Director) and Shakeil Greeley (Brand and Editorial Director); panel moderated by Sarissa Thrower (Instagram Comms). This project was ideated as an audit of the American Dream, in the form of a series of photo essays and video interviews with immigrant families of color. The United States is famously known as a ‘land of immigrants,’ and this project explores and celebrates the ways in which immigrants are different and how their experiences vary, intersect, and deviate, all within the spectrum of the American experience. These families are shot in their homes and communities, by photographers of the same descent, and dressed in clothes designed by members of those same immigrant groups. It’s imperative to find ways to really see one another, to look deeply and embrace the kaleidoscopic experience of what it means to be an immigrant.
The Blackhouse Foundation stands out as a bastion for the most influential and impactful Black writers, directors, producers, crew, and talent throughout film, television, digital media, and beyond. Celebrating its 15th year, The Blackhouse Foundation continues to elevate such talent into the spotlight on a global scale via engagements at Sundance and beyond.
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.
Until next time, I’ll see you at the movies!
HollywoodGlee inside the Sundance Film Festival Headquarters at the Park City Marriott on January 23, 2019, in Park City, Utah, the day before the opening of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)

 

Honorary Golden Bear for Isabelle Huppert at the upcoming 2022 Berlinale

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The Homage section of the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival will be dedicated to French film and stage actor Isabelle Huppert, who will be awarded an Honorary Golden Bear for lifetime achievement. In conjunction with the Award Ceremony on February 15, 2022, at the Berlinale Palast, the festival will screen as a Berlinale Special Gala À propos de Joan (About Joan, dir: Laurent Larivière). Huppert is often seen as one of the most versatile actors in the world and has played an impressive range of characters in almost 150 cinema and television productions.

Isabelle Huppert has been closely linked with the film festival for many years and has starred in seven Competition films to date. She was first a guest in Berlin with La vengeance d’une femme (A Woman’s Revenge, dir: Jacques Doillon). Director François Ozon cast her in his dark musical comedy 8 Femmes (8 Women) as an unprepossessing woman who emerges in the end as a confident beauty. The ensemble cast was awarded a Silver Bear for outstanding artistic accomplishment. In L’Avenir (Things to Come), she also plays a woman re-discovering her freedom as a philosophy teacher in a failing marriage. Director Mia Hansen-Løve won the Silver Bear as Best Director for the film.

 

Berlinale directors Carlo Chatrian, left, and Mariette Rissenbeek

“We are proud to welcome Isabelle Huppert back to the festival,” say Berlinale directors Mariette and Carlo Chatrian, “the Honorary Golden Bear may seem like a natural progression in a career without equal since Isabelle Huppert is one of the few artists recognized with acting awards at all major film festivals. But Isabelle Huppert is more than a celebrated actor — she is an uncompromising artist who doesn’t hesitate to take risks and flout mainstream trends. Awarding her our most prestigious prize is to accentuate cinema as an art form, independent and unconditional. We often see actors as tools in the hands of filmmakers, but Isabelle Huppert is a clear example that the dynamic can be a true exchange. Actors can be the true engine of creating not only emotions but also concepts of cinema.”

 

Isabelle Huppert (Photo cr. Phillip Gay/Berlinale)

 

Isabelle Huppert began studying acting at the age of 14, and later attended the Conservatoire nationale supérieur d’art dramatique in Paris.

She began her career on stage and made her screen debut with Faustine et le bel été (Faustine and the Beautiful Summer, dir: Nina Companeez). Huppert’s first appearance in an international production was in the film Rosebud (dir: Otto Preminger). Two years later, her starring performance as the shy young woman Béatrice in Claude Goretta’s La Dentellière (The Lacemaker) won her the BAFTA as Most Promising Newcomer.

Huppert early on came to the attention of a host of top filmmakers, such as Jean-Luc Godard and Bertrand Tavernier. Her first turn for Godard was as the star of his Sauve qui peut (la vie) (Every Man for Himself). Other world-renowned directors soon seized on Huppert’s diverse acting talents, including Olivier Assayas, Catherine Breillat, Patrice Chéreau, Claire Denis, Andrzej Wajda, and Joachim Trier, as well as American filmmakers such as Curtis Hanson, Hal Hartley, Ira Sachs, and David O. Russell. Italian filmmakers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani gave her the lead in their film Le affinità elettive (Elective Affinities) and she was part of the ensemble in Marco Bellocchio’s Bella Addormentata (Dormant Beauty).

Acclaimed French director Claude Chabrol cast Isabelle Huppert in a total of seven films, with each character as mutable and complex as the next, beginning with the title role in Violette Nozière. That garnered her first Palme D’Or for Best Actress at the Cannes film festival. Huppert and Sandrine Bonnaire played a pair of homicidal friends in the director’s La Cérémonie, a role that won her a César. Huppert’s final collaboration with Chabrol was her complex portrayal of a powerful judge in L’ivresse du pouvoir (Comedy of Power), which premiered in Competition at the Berlinale.

The actor’s film career has also been shaped by her work with Austrian director Michael Haneke, with whom she has made four movies. Her outstanding lead performance in his controversial 2001 drama La Pianiste (The Piano Teacher) brought her accolades as Best Actress in Cannes and at the European Film Awards, among others. Beginning with her appearance in Brillante Mendoza’s Captive, shown in Competition in Berlin, Huppert has increasingly worked with Asian directors. That same year, she was in Hong Sang-soo’s Da-reun na-ra-e-seo (In Another Country), playing three different women who all have the same name.

Huppert has also made successful films with other German-language directors and actors. She appeared alongside Hanna Schygulla in Storia di Piera (The Story of Piera) directed by Marco Ferreri. And she took on the lead as the nameless writer who increasingly loses touch with reality in the film adaptation of Ingeborg Bachmann’s Malina (dir: Werner Schroeter), winning the German Film Prize. She was top-billed in Swiss director Ursula Meier’s Home.

Isabelle Huppert has been nominated for the French film prize César more than any other actress in France and has twice won one. Her virtuoso acting style has also brought her two Palmes D’Or at Cannes. She has appeared in more than 20 films shown in competition there — yet another record. She won a Golden Globe as Best Actress for her work in the thriller Elle (dir: Paul Verhoeven). That role as a successful businesswoman who takes revenge on her rapist also resulted in her first Academy Award nomination.

In addition to her successful onscreen career, Isabelle Huppert also continues working on stage and has been awarded the Europe Theater Prize, among others. After premiering the French version of Orlando, she took to the stage under Robert Wilson’s direction once again as the glacial marchioness Merteuil in Heiner Müller’s Quartett. She was equally brilliant in Sarah Kane’s play 4.48 Psychosis staged by Claude Régy. Guest performance of that play in Berlin marked the first time that Huppert appeared on a German stage, entrancing audiences with her intense portrayal.

The French-German-Irish co-production À propos de Joan (About Joan) directed by Laurent Larivière, which stars Huppert alongside Lars Eidinger, will be released in Germany in 2022.

The Homage films:

La Dentellière (The Lacemaker), France / FRG / Switzerland, 1977, Claude Goretta
Sauve qui peut (la vie) (Every Man for Himself), France / Switzerland / FRG / Austria, 1980, Jean-Luc Godard
La Cérémonie, France / Germany, 1995, Claude Chabrol
La Pianiste (The Piano Teacher), France / Austria / Germany, 2001, Michael Haneke
8 Femmes (8 Women), France / Italy, 2002, François Ozon
L’Avenir (Things to Come), France / Germany, 2016, Mia Hansen-Løve
Elle, France / Germany / Belgium, 2016, Paul Verhoeven

The Homage is mounted under the aegis of the Deutsche Kinemathek.

(Sourced from Berlinale Press Release)

 

 

Glee’s Top 5 Christmas Pics

Posted by Larry Gleeson

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

It’s A Wonderful Life

 

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

Home Alone

 

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

White Christmas

 

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

Bad Santa

 

Bad Santa 2

2022 Sundance Film Festival: Feature Films, Indie Episodic, New Frontier Lineups!

Posted by Larry Gleeson

It’s that time of year again.

 

82 Features, 6 Indie Episodic, 15 New Frontier Projects to Debut

 

Ticket Packages On Sale December 17; Individual Tickets On Sale January 6

 

 

PARK CITY, UTAH — The nonprofit Sundance Institute announced the showcase of new independent work selected across the Feature Film, Indie Episodic, and New Frontier categories for the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. The Festival will take place in Park City, Salt Lake City and the Sundance Mountain Resort in Utah, as well as digitally via our enhanced online platform at Festival.Sundance.org; on The Spaceship, a bespoke immersive platform; and in person at seven Satellite Screens venues around the country during the Festival’s second weekend. The Festival takes place January 20–30, 2022; ticket packages go on sale on December 17 at 10am MT and single film tickets go on sale  January 6 at 10am MT.

Festival audiences will attend in a number of ways. Feature films will premiere in person in Utah, before premiering online with a live Q&A and premiere party on The Spaceship. Subsequent screenings will take place in-person and in on-demand windows on the platform. The New Frontier program will be globally accessible online via The Spaceship platform from January 20-28, with in-person augmentation and live performances at The Craft, a new artist-centered venue in Park City. Short films and Indie Episodic work will play in person in Utah and be available on the platform; the Shorts lineup will be announced in a December 10 news release. All in-person attendees are required to be fully vaccinated and wear masks. The latest health safety protocols for the well-being of Festival attendees is available here.

The Sundance Film Festival is the flagship public program of Sundance Institute. Throughout the year, the majority of the Institute’s resources support independent artists around the world as they make and develop new work through access to Labs, direct grants, fellowships, residencies, and other strategic and tactical support.

“This year, we look forward to celebrating this generation’s most innovative storytellers as they share their work across a wide range of genres and forms,” said Sundance Institute founder and president Robert Redford. “These artists have provided a light through the darkest of times, and we look forward to welcoming their unique visions out into the world and experiencing them together.”

“I’m so impressed by, and proud of, the work that the curatorial and production teams have done to plan this Festival,” said Joana Vicente, the Institute’s CEO. “I think audiences will be extremely excited to convene and engage with the incredible stories these artists are telling.”

“We’re excited to return to our home in Utah, but also to come together in new ways,” said Festival director Tabitha Jackson. “Building on our experience last year, we’ve discovered new possibilities of convergence, and we embrace the fact that we are now an expanded community in which active participation matters, and audience presence — however it manifests — is essential to our mission.”

“This year’s program reflects the unsettling and uncertain times we’ve been living in for the past year and a half. The artists in the program, through their bold and innovative storytelling, and their sheer determination to create work in this moment, challenge us to look at the world through different lenses and examine and reevaluate how these stories impact us now and in the future,” said the Festival’s director of programming Kim Yutani.

The Festival will open on January 20 with an experiment in biodigital convergence as audiences gather online and in person for a special New Frontier presentation of Sam Green’s 32 Sounds, taking place simultaneously in Park City’s Egyptian Theatre and in The Spaceship’s Cinema House. An exciting slate of Day One films will then open the Festival in Park City: 11 features and a shorts program will illustrate the scope of Festival work across genre and form. Day One Features are Emergency, Fire of Love, Fresh, La Guerra Civil, A Love Song, Marte Um (Mars One), The Princess, Tantura, When You Finish Saving the World, and The Worst Person in the World. Lucy and Desi is the 2022 Sundance Film Festival’s Salt Lake City Opening Night Gala Film, premiering at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center on January 21.

After Yang, screening in the Spotlight section, has been named the winner of the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize.

Eight feature films have been selected for the Festival’s Satellite Screens, and will play at those seven independent arthouse cinemas across the United States for local audiences during the Festival’s closing weekend, Friday, January 28, through Sunday, January 30, 2022. The films are Alice; Emergency; Every Day in Kaimukī; Free Chol Soo Lee; Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul; La Guerra Civil; Marte Um (Mars One); and Sirens, with additional Short Film participation to be announced. This program will play at Amherst Cinema in Amherst, Massachusetts; a/perture cinema in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Digital Gym Cinema in San Diego, California; Indie Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee; mama.film in Lawrence, Kansas; Northwest Film Forum in Seattle, Washington; and SNF Parkway Theatre, home of the Maryland Film Festival in Baltimore, Maryland.

The full slate of works announced today includes 82 feature-length films representing 28 countries, and 39 of 92 (42%) feature film directors are first-time feature filmmakers. Fifteen of the feature films and projects announced today were supported by Sundance Institute in development through direct granting or residency labs.

Seventy-five, or 91%, of the Festival’s feature films announced today will be world premieres.

These films were selected from 14,849 submissions, including 3,762 feature-length films. Of the 3,762 feature film submissions, 1,652 were from the U.S., and 2,110 were international. Director demographics are available in an editor’s note below.

U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION

Presenting the world premieres of fiction feature films, the Dramatic Competition offers Festivalgoers a first look at groundbreaking new voices in American independent film. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include CODAPassingMinari, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, The Farewell, Clemency, Eighth Grade and Sorry to Bother You.

892 / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Abi Damaris Corbin, Screenwriter: Kwame Kwei-Armah, Producers: Ashley Levinson, Salman Al-Rashid, Sam Frohman, Kevin Turen, Mackenzie Fargo) — When Brian Brown-Easley’s disability check fails to materialize from Veterans Affairs, he finds himself on the brink of homelessness and breaking his daughter’s heart. No other options, he walks into a Wells Fargo Bank and says “I’ve got a bomb.“ Cast: John Boyega, Michael Kenneth Williams, Nicole Beharie, Connie Britton, Olivia Washington, Selenis Leyva. World Premiere.

Alice U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Krystin Ver Linden, Producer: Peter Lawson) — When a woman in servitude in 1800s Georgia escapes the 55-acre confines of her captor, she discovers the shocking reality that exists beyond the treeline…it’s 1973. Inspired by true events. Cast: Keke Palmer, Common, Jonny Lee Miller, Gaius Charles. World Premiere.

blood / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Bradley Rust Gray, Producers: David Urrutia, Bradley Rust Gray, So Yong Kim, Elika Portnoy, Alex Orlovsky, Jonathon Komack Martin) — After the death of her husband, a young woman travels to Japan where she finds solace in an old friend. But when comforting turns to affection, she realizes she must give herself permission before she can fall in love again. Cast: Carla Juri, Takashi Ueno, Gustaf Skarsgård, Futaba Okazaki, Issey Ogata. World Premiere.

Cha Cha Real Smooth / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Cooper Raiff, Producers: Dakota Johnson, Ro Donnelly, Erik Feig, Jessica Switch, Cooper Raiff) — A directionless college graduate embarks on a relationship with a young mom and her teenage daughter while learning the boundaries of his new bar mitzvah party-starting gig. Cast: Dakota Johnson, Cooper Raiff, Vanessa Burghardt, Evan Assante, Brad Garrett, Leslie Mann. World Premiere.

Dual / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Riley Stearns, Producers: Nate Bolotin, Aram Tertzakian, Lee Kim, Riley Stearns, Nick Spicer, Maxime Cottray) — After receiving a terminal diagnosis, Sarah commissions a clone of herself to ease the loss for her friends and family. When she makes a miraculous recovery, her attempt to have her clone decommissioned fails, and leads to a court-mandated duel to the death. Cast: Karen Gillan, Aaron Paul, Beulah Koale. World Premiere.

Emergency / U.S.A. (Director: Carey Williams, Screenwriter: KD Davila, Producers: Marty Bowen, Isaac Klausner, John Fischer) — Ready for a night of partying, a group of Black and Latino college students must weigh the pros and cons of calling the police when faced with an unusual emergency. Cast: RJ Cyler, Donald Watkins, Sebastian Chacon, Sabrina CarpenterWorld Premiere. DAY ONE

Master / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Mariama Diallo, Producers: Joshua Astrachan, Brad Becker-Parton, Andrea Roa) — Three women strive to find their place at an elite New England university. As the insidious specter of racism haunts the campus in increasingly supernatural fashion, each fights to survive in this space of privilege. Cast: Regina Hall, Zoe Renee, Talia Ryder, Talia Balsam, Amber Gray. World Premiere.

Nanny / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Nikyatu Jusu, Producers: Nikkia Moulterie, Daniela Taplin Lundberg) — Aisha is an undocumented nanny working for a privileged couple in New York City. As she prepares for the arrival of the son she left behind in Senegal, a violent supernatural presence invades her reality, threatening the American dream she is painstakingly piecing together. Cast: Anna Diop, Michelle Monaghan, Sinqua Walls, Morgan Spector, Rose Decker, Leslie Uggams. World Premiere.

Palm Trees and Power Lines / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Jamie Dack, Screenwriter: Audrey Findlay, Producers: Leah Chen Baker, Jamie Dack) — Seventeen-year-old Lea spends her summer aimlessly tanning with her best friend, tiptoeing around her fragile mother, and getting stoned with a group of boys from school. This monotony is disrupted by an encounter with Tom, a man twice her age, who promises an alternative to Lea’s unsatisfying adolescent life. Cast: Lily McInerny, Jonathan Tucker, Gretchen Mol. World Premiere.

Watcher / U.S.A. (Director: Chloe Okuno, Screenwriter: Zack Ford, Producers: Roy Lee, Steven Schneider, Derek Dauchy, John Finemore, Aaron Kaplan, Mason Novick) — A young woman moves into a new apartment with her fiancé and is tormented by the feeling that she is being stalked by an unseen watcher in an adjacent building. Cast: Maika Monroe, Karl Glusman, Burn Gorman, Ciubuciu Bogdan Alexandru. World Premiere.

U.S. DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

World-premiere American documentaries that illuminate the ideas, people and events that shape the present day. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include Summer of Soul (or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), Boys State, Crip Camp: A Disability RevolutionAPOLLO 11, Knock Down The House, One Child Nation, American FactoryThree Identical Strangers and On Her Shoulders.

Aftershock / U.S.A. (Directors and Producers: Paula Eiselt, Tonya Lewis Lee) — Following the preventable deaths of their partners due to childbirth complications, two bereaved fathers galvanize activists, birth-workers and physicians to reckon with one of the most pressing American crises of our time – the U.S. maternal health crisis. World Premiere.

Descendant / U.S.A. (Director: Margaret Brown, Producers: Essie Chambers, Kyle Martin) — Clotilda, the last ship carrying enslaved Africans to the United States, arrived in Alabama 40 years after African slave trading became a capital offense. It was promptly burned, and its existence denied. After a century shrouded in secrecy and speculation, descendants of the Clotilda’s survivors are reclaiming their story. World Premiere.

The Exiles / U.S.A. (Directors: Ben Klein, Violet Columbus, Producers: Maria Chiu, Ben Klein, Violet Columbus) — Documentarian Christine Choy tracks down three exiled dissidents from the Tiananmen Square massacre, in order to find closure on an abandoned film she began shooting in 1989. World Premiere.

Fire Of Love / U.S.A. (Director: Sara Dosa, Producers: Shane Boris, Ina Fichman, Sara Dosa) — Intrepid scientists and lovers Katia & Maurice Krafft died in a volcanic explosion doing the very thing that brought them together: unraveling the mysteries of volcanoes by capturing the most explosive imagery ever recorded. A doomed love triangle between Katia, Maurice and volcanoes, told through their archival footage. World Premiere. DAY ONE

Free Chol Soo Lee / U.S.A. (Directors: Julie Ha, Eugene Yi, Producers: Su Kim, Jean Tsien, Sona Jo, Julie Ha, Eugene Yi) — After a Korean immigrant is wrongly convicted of a 1973 San Francisco Chinatown gang murder, Asian Americans unite as never before to free Chol Soo Lee. A former street hustler becomes the symbol for a landmark movement. But once out, he self-destructs, threatening the movement’s legacy and the man himself. World Premiere.

I Didn’t See You There / U.S.A. (Director: Reid Davenport, Producer: Keith Wilson) — Spurred by the spectacle of a circus tent that goes up outside his Oakland apartment, a disabled filmmaker launches into an unflinching meditation on freakdom, (in)visibility, and the pursuit of individual agency. World Premiere.

The Janes / U.S.A. (Directors: Tia Lessin, Emma Pildes, Producers: Emma Pildes, Daniel Arcana, Jessica Levin) — In the spring of 1972, police raided an apartment on Chicago’s South Side. Seven women were arrested. The accused were part of a clandestine network. Using code names, blindfolds and safe houses, they built an underground service for women seeking safe, affordable, illegal abortions. They called themselves JANE. World Premiere.

Jihad Rehab / U.S.A. (Director: Meg Smaker, Producers: Meg Smaker, Bryan Storkel) — A group of Al-Qaeda members are transferred from Guantanamo to a secretive rehabilitation center for Islamic extremists. World Premiere.

TikTok, Boom. / U.S.A. (Director: Shalini Kantayya, Producers: Ross M. Dinerstein. Shalini Kantayya, Danni Mynard) — With TikTok now crowned the world’s most downloaded app, these are the personal stories of a cultural phenomenon, told through an ensemble cast of Gen-Z natives, journalists and experts alike. This film seeks to answer, ‘why is an app, best known for people dancing, the target of so much controversy?’ World Premiere.

WORLD CINEMA DRAMATIC COMPETITION

Ten films from emerging filmmaking talents around the world offer fresh perspectives and inventive styles. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include Hive, Luzzu, The Souvenir, The Guilty, Monos, YardieThe Nile Hilton Incident and Second Mother.

Brian And Charles / U.K. (Director: Jim Archer, Screenwriters: David Earl, Chris Hayward, Producer: Rupert Majendie)  — A story of friendship, love, and letting go. And a 7ft tall robot that eats cabbages. A comedy shot in documentary format. Cast: David Earl, Chris Hayward, Louise Brealey, Jamie Michie, Lowri Izzard, Mari Izzard. World Premiere.

The Cow Who Sang A Song Into The Future / Chile/France/U.S.A/Germany (Director and Screenwriter: Francisca Alegría, Screenwriters: Fernanda Urrejola, Manuela Infante, Producers: Tom Dercourt, Alejandra García)  — Cecilia and her children travel to her aging father’s dairy farm after he has a heart attack. Back in her childhood home, Cecilia is met by her mother, a woman dead for many years, whose presence brings to life a painful past chorused by the natural world around them. Cast: Leonor Varela, Mia Maestro, Alfredo Castro, Marcial Tagle, Enzo Ferrada, Luis Dubó. World Premiere.

Dos Estaciones / Mexico (Director and Screenwriter: Juan Pablo González, Screenwriters: Ana Isabel Fernández, Ilana Coleman, Producers: Jamie Gonçalves, Ilana Coleman, Bruna Haddad, Makena Buchanan)  — In the bucolic hills of Mexico’s Jalisco highlands, iron-willed businesswoman Maria Garcia fights the impending collapse of her tequila factory. Cast: Teresa Sánchez, Tatín Vera, Rafaela Fuentes, Manuel García-Rulfo. World Premiere.

Gentle / Hungary (Directors: Anna Eszter Nemes, László Csuja, Screenwriters: László Csuja, Anna Eszter Nemes, Producers: András Muhi, Gábor Ferenczy)  — Edina, a female bodybuilder, is ready to sacrifice everything for the dream she shares with Adam, her partner and trainer: to win the world championship. The odd love she finds on her way there makes her see the difference between her dreams and her true self. Cast: Eszter Csonka, György Turós, Csaba Krisztik. World Premiere.

Girl Picture / Finland (Director: Alli Haapasalo, Screenwriters: Ilona Ahti, Daniela Hakulinen, Producers: Leila Lyytikäinen, Elina Pohjola)  — Mimmi, Emma and Rönkkö are girls at the cusp of womanhood, trying to draw their own contours. In three consecutive Fridays two of them experience the earth moving effects of falling in love, while the third goes on a quest to find something she’s never experienced before: pleasure. Cast: Aamu Milonoff, Eleonoora Kauhanen, Linnea Leino. World Premiere.

Klondike / Ukraine/Turkey (Director and Screenwriter: Maryna Er Gorbach, Producers: Maryna Er Gorbach, Mehmet Bahadir Er, Sviatoslav BulakovskyI)  — The story of a Ukrainian family living on the border of Russia – Ukraine during the start of war. Irka refuses to leave her house even as the village gets captured by armed forces. Shortly after they find themselves at the center of an air crash catastrophe on July 17, 2014. Cast: Oxana Cherkashyna, Sergey Shadrin, Oleg Scherbina, Oleg Shevchuk, Artur Aramyan, Evgenij Efremov. World Premiere.

Leonor Will Never Die / Philippines (Director and Screenwriter: Martika Ramirez Escobar, Producers: Monster Jimenez, Mario Cornejo)  — Fiction and reality blur when Leonor, a retired filmmaker, falls into a coma after a television lands on her head, compelling her to become the action hero of her unfinished screenplay. Cast: Sheila Francisco, Bong Cabrera, Rocky Salumbides, Anthony Falcon. World Premiere.

Marte Um (Mars One) / Brazil (Director and Screenwriter: Gabriel Martins, Producer: Thiago Macêdo Correia)  — In Brazil, a lower-middle-class Black family of four tries to keep their spirits up and their dreams going in the months that follow the election of a right-wing president, a man who represents everything they are not. Cast: Rejane Faria, Carlos Francisco, Camilla Souza, Cícero Lucas. World Premiere. DAY ONE

Utama / Bolivia/Uruguay/France (Director and Screenwriter: Alejandro Loayza Grisi, Producers: Santiago Loayza Grisi, Federico Moreira, Marcos Loayza, Jean-Baptiste Bailly-Maitre)  — In the Bolivian highlands, an elderly Quechua couple has been living the same daily life for years. When an uncommon long drought threatens their entire way of life, Virginio and his wife Sisa face the dilemma of resisting or being defeated by the environment and time itself. Cast: Jose Calcina, Luisa Quispe, Santos Choque. World Premiere.

You Won’t Be Alone / Australia (Director and Screenwriter: Goran Stolevski, Producers: Kristina Ceyton, Sam Jennings)  — In an isolated mountain village in 19th century Macedonia, a young feral witch accidentally kills a peasant. She assumes the peasant’s shape to see what life is like in her skin, igniting a deep-seated curiosity to experience life inside the bodies of others. Cast: Noomi Rapace, Anamaria Marinca, Alice Englert, Carloto Cotta, Félix Maritaud, Sara Klimoska. World Premiere.

WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

Ten documentaries by some of the boldest filmmakers working around the world today. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include Flee, Honeyland, Sea of ShadowsShirkers, This Is HomeLast Men in Aleppo and Hooligan Sparrow.

All That Breathes / India, U.K. (Director and Producer: Shaunak Sen, Producers: Aman Mann, Teddy Leifer) — Against the darkening backdrop of Delhi’s apocalyptic air and escalating violence, two brothers devote their lives to protect one casualty of the turbulent times: the bird known as the Black Kite. World Premiere.

Calendar Girls / Sweden (Directors, Screenwriters and Producers: Maria Loohufvud, Love Martinsen) — A coming-of-golden-age look at Florida’s most dedicated dance team for women over 60, shaking up the outdated image of “the little old lady,” and calling for everyone to dance their hearts out, while they still can. World Premiere.

A House Made of Splinters / Denmark (Director: Simon Lereng Wilmont, Producer: Monica Hellström) — In Eastern Ukraine, follow the daily life of children and staff in a special kind of home: an institution for children who have been removed from their homes while awaiting court custody decisions. Staff do their best to make the time children have there safe and supportive. World Premiere.

Midwives / Myanmar (Director: Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing, Producers: Bob Moore, Ulla Lehman, Mila Aung-Thwin, Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing) — Two midwives work side-by-side in a makeshift clinic in Myanmar. World Premiere.

The Mission / Finland (Director and Screenwriter: Tania Anderson, Producers: Isabella Karhu, Juho-Pekka Tanskanen) — A revelation of the inner lives of young LDS missionaries, as they leave their homes for the first time and embark upon the most emotionally, physically and psychologically challenging period of their life. World Premiere.

Nothing Compares / Ireland, U.K. (Director: Kathryn Ferguson, Producers: Eleanor Emptage, Michael Mallie) — The story of Sinéad O’Connor’s phenomenal rise to worldwide fame and subsequent exile from the pop mainstream. Focusing on Sinéad’s prophetic words and deeds from 1987 to 1993, the film reflects on the legacy of this fearless trailblazer through a contemporary feminist lens. World Premiere.

Sirens / U.S.A., Lebanon (Director, Screenwriter and Producer: Rita Baghdadi, Producer: Camilla Hall) — On the outskirts of Beirut, Lilas and Shery, co-founders and guitarists of the Middle East’s first all-female metal band, wrestle with friendship, sexuality and destruction in their pursuit of becoming thrash metal rock stars. World Premiere.

Tantura / Israel (Director and Screenwriter: Alon Schwarz, Screenwriter and Producer: Shaul Schwarz. Producer: Maiken Baird) — In 1948, the State of Israel was established and war broke out. Hundreds of Palestinian villages were destroyed with their inhabitants killed or exiled. The film focuses on one village: Tantura, bringing to light Israel’s founding myth and its society’s inability to come to terms with its dark past. World Premiere. DAY ONE

The Territory / Brazil/Denmark/United States (Director: Alex Pritz, Producers: Will N. Miller, Sigrid Dyekjær, Lizzie Gillett, Anonymous) — When a network of Brazilian farmers seizes a protected area of the Amazon rainforest, a young Indigenous leader and his mentor must fight back in defense of the land and an uncontacted group living deep within the forest. World Premiere.

We Met in Virtual Reality / U.K. (Director, Screenwriter and Producer: Joe Hunting) — Filmed entirely inside the world of VR, this vérité documentary captures the excitement and surprising intimacy of a burgeoning cultural movement, demonstrating the power of online connection in an isolated world. World Premiere.

NEXT

Pure, bold works distinguished by an innovative, forward-thinking approach to storytelling populate this program. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include The InfiltratorsSearchingSkate KitchenA Ghost Story and Tangerine. NEXT is presented by Adobe.

The Cathedral / Italy, U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Ricky D’Ambrose, Producer: Graham Swon) — An only child’s account of an American family’s rise and fall over two decades. Cast: Brian d’Arcy James, Monica Barbaro, Mark Zeisler, Geraldine Singer, William Bednar-Carter. North American Premiere. Fiction.

Every Day In Kaimukī / U.S.A. (Director: Alika Tengan, Screenwriters: Naz Kawakami, Alika Tengan. Producers: Jesy Odio, Chapin Hall, Alika Tengan, Naz Kawakami) — A young man is determined to give his life meaning outside of Kaimukī, the small Hawaiian town where he grew up, even if it means leaving everything he’s ever known and loved behind. Cast: Naz Kawakami, Rina White, Holden Mandrial-Santos. World Premiere. Fiction.

Framing Agnes / Canada, U.S.A. (Director: Chase Joynt, Producers: Samantha Curley, Shant Joshi, Chase Joynt) — After discovering case files from a 1950s gender clinic, a cast of transgender actors turn a talk show inside out to confront the legacy of a young trans woman forced to choose between honesty and access. World Premiere. Documentary.

A Love Song / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Max Walker-Silverman, Producers: Dan Janvey, Jesse Hope, Max Walker-Silverman) — Two childhood sweethearts, now both widowed, share a night by a lake in the mountains. A love story for those who are alone. Cast: Dale Dickey, Wes Studi, Michelle Wilson, Benja K. Thomas, John Way, Marty Grace Dennis. World Premiere. Fiction. DAY ONE

Mija / U.S.A. (Director: Isabel Castro, Producers: Tabs Breese, Isabel Castro, Yesenia Tlahuel) — Doris Muñoz is a young, ambitious music manager whose undocumented family depends on her ability to launch pop stars. When she loses her biggest client, Doris hustles to discover new talent and finds Jacks, another daughter of immigrants for whom “making it” isn’t just a dream: it’s a necessity. World Premiere. Documentary. 

RIOTSVILLE, USA / U.S.A. (Director: Sierra Pettengill, Producers: Sara Archambault, Jamila Wignot) — Welcome to Riotsville, a fictional town built by the U.S. military. Using footage shot by the media and government, the film explores the militarization of the police and the reaction of a nation to the uprisings of the late ’60s, creating a counter-narrative to a critical moment in American history. World Premiere. Documentary. 

Something In The Dirt / U.S.A. (Directors: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, Screenwriter: Justin Benson, Producers: David Lawson, Aaron Moorhead, Justin Benson)  — When neighbors John and Levi witness supernatural events in their Los Angeles apartment building, they realize documenting the paranormal could inject some fame and fortune into their wasted lives. An ever-deeper, darker rabbit hole, their friendship frays as they uncover the dangers of the phenomena, the city, and each other. Cast: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead. World Premiere. Fiction.

PREMIERES

A showcase of world premieres of some of the most highly anticipated fiction and nonfiction films of the coming year. Documentaries that have screened in Premieres include The Dissident, On the Record, and Miss Americana, and past fiction features include Kajillionaire, Promising Young Woman, The Report, Late Night, and The Big Sick.

2nd Chance / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Ramin Bahrani, Producers: Daniel Turcan, Johnny Galvin, Charles Dorfman, Ramin Bahrani, Jacob Grodnik) — Bankrupt pizzeria owner Richard Davis invented the modern-day bulletproof vest. To prove that it worked, he shot himself 192 times. He launched a multi-million-dollar company and became a cult figure among police. Davis’ rise and fall reveals a man of contradictions and the nature of power and impunity in America. World Premiere. Documentary.

AM I OK? / U.S.A. (Directors: Stephanie Allynne, Tig Notaro, Screenwriter: Lauren Pomerantz, Producers: Jessica Elbaum, Will Ferrell, Erik Feig, Dakota Johnson, Ro Donnelly, Lauren Pomerantz) — Lucy and Jane have been best friends for most of their lives and think they know everything there is to know about each other. But when Jane announces she’s moving to London, Lucy reveals a long-held secret. As Jane tries to help Lucy, their friendship is thrown into chaos. Cast: Dakota Johnson, Sonoya Mizuno, Jermaine Fowler, Kiersey Clemons, Molly Gordon, Sean Hayes. World Premiere. Fiction.

Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power / U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Nina Menkes) — Based on Nina Menkes’ acclaimed talk “Sex & Power: The Visual Language of Cinema”, a mesmerizing journey into how shot design intersects with the twin epidemics of sexual abuse/ assault and employment discrimination against women. Containing over 175 film clips, will unalterably change the way we view and make movies. World Premiere. Documentary.

Call Jane / U.S.A. (Director: Phyllis Nagy, Screenwriters: Hayley Schore, Roshan Sethi, Producers: Robbie Brenner, David Wulf, Kevin McKeon, Lee Broda, Claude Amadeo, Michael D’Alto) — Chicago, 1968: after having a life-saving secret abortion, a suburban housewife seeks to give women access to healthy and safe abortions through an underground collective of women known as “Jane.” Cast: Elizabeth Banks, Sigourney Weaver, Chris Messina, Kate Mara, Wunmi Mosaku, Cory Michael Smith. World Premiere. Fiction.

DOWNFALL: The Case Against Boeing / U.S.A. (Director: Rory Kennedy, Screenwriters: Mark Bailey, Keven McAlester, Producers: Rory Kennedy, Mark Bailey, Sara Bernstein, Justin Wilkes, Keven McAlester, Amanda Rohlke) — An investigation of the two Boeing 737 MAX crashes that killed 346 people, exploring both the root causes and the human cost. At once a chilling portrait of a crumbling corporate culture and a fierce indictment of Wall Street’s corrupting influence. World Premiere. Documentary.

Emily the Criminal / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: John Patton Ford, Producers: Tyler Davidson, Aubrey Plaza, Drew Sykes) — Down on her luck and saddled with debt, Emily gets involved in a credit card scam that pulls her into the criminal underworld of Los Angeles, ultimately leading to deadly consequences. Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Theo Rossi, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Gina Gershon. World Premiere. Fiction. 

FINAL CUT / France (Director and Screenwriter: Michel Hazanavicius, Producers: John Penotti, Noëmie Devide, Alain de la Mata, Brahim Chioua, Michel Hazanavicius, Vincent Maravalr) — Things go badly for a small film crew shooting a low-budget zombie movie when they are attacked by real zombies. Cast: Romain Duris, Bérénice Bejo, Grégory Gadebois, Finnegan Oldfield, Matilda Lutz, Raphaël Quenard. World Premiere. Fiction.

God’s Country / U.S.A. (Director: Julian Higgins, Screenwriters: Shaye Ogbonna, Julian Higgins, Producers: Miranda Bailey, Halee Bernard, Julian Higgins, Amanda Marshall) — When a grieving college professor confronts two hunters she catches trespassing on her property, she’s drawn into an escalating battle of wills with catastrophic consequences. Cast: Thandiwe Newton, Jeremy Bobb, Joris Jarsky, Jefferson White, Kai Lennox, Tanaya Beatty. World Premiere. Fiction.

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande / U.K. (Director: Sophie Hyde, Screenwriter: Katy Brand, Producers: Debbie Gray, Adrian Politowski) — Nancy Stokes, a retired school teacher, is yearning for some adventure, and some sex. Good sex. And she has a plan: she hires a young sex worker named Leo Grande. Cast: Emma Thompson, Daryl McCormack. World Premiere. Fiction.

Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Adamma Ebo, Producers: Daniel Kaluuya, Adanne Ebo, Rowan Riley, Amandla Crichlow, Jesse Burgum, Matthew Cooper) — In the aftermath of a huge scandal, Trinitie Childs, the first lady of a prominent Southern Baptist megachurch, attempts to help her pastor husband, Lee-Curtis Childs, rebuild their congregation. Cast: Regina Hall, Sterling K. Brown. World Premiere. Fiction.

jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy / U.S.A. (Directors: Clarence “Coodie” Simmons, Chike Ozah, Producers: Coodie Simmons, Chike Ozah, Leah Thomas) — Kanye West in three acts. The story beyond the iconic music, an intimate and empathetic chronicle featuring never-before-seen footage from 21 years in the life of a captivating figure. World Premiere. Documentary.

La Guerra Civil / U.K. (Director: Eva Longoria Bastón, Producers: Eva Longoria Bastón, Grant Best, Bernardo Ruiz, Ben Spector, Andrea Cordoba) — The epic rivalry between iconic boxers Oscar De La Hoya and Julio César Chávez in the 1990s sparked a cultural divide between Mexican nationals and Mexican-Americans. A chronicle of a battle that was more than a boxing rivalry, and examines a fascinating slice of the Latino experience in the process. World Premiere. Documentary. DAY ONE

Living / U.K. (Director: Oliver Hermanus, Screenwriter: Kazuo Ishiguro, Producers: Stephen Woolley, Elizabeth Karlsen) — In 1952 London, veteran civil servant Williams has become a small cog in the bureaucracy of rebuilding England post-WWII. As endless paperwork piles up on his desk, he learns he has a fatal illness. Thus begins his quest to find some meaning in his life before it slips away. Cast: Bill Nighy, Aimee Lou Wood, Alex Sharp, Tom Burke. World Premiere. Fiction. 

Lucy and Desi / U.S.A (Director: Amy Poehler, Producers: Michael Rosenberg, Justin Wilkes, Nigel Sinclair, Jeanne Elfant Festa, Amy Poehler, Mark Monroe) — Lucille Ball had an immense influence on the creation of TV syndication, as she rose to become a true entrepreneur and multi-faceted mogul. Through interviews and archival, a tribute to one of the greatest trailblazers in comedy and entertainment. World Premiere. Documentary. 

SALT LAKE CITY OPENING NIGHT

My Old School / U.K. (Director: Jono McLeod, Producers: John Archer, Olivia Lichtenstein) — The astonishing true story of Scotland’s most notorious imposter. It’s 1993 and 16 year old Brandon is the new kid in school. Soon he’s top of the class, acing exams and even taking the lead in the school musical. He’s the model pupil, until he’s unmasked… Cast: Alan Cumming. World Premiere. Documentary.

The Princess / U.K. (Director: Ed Perkins, Producers: Simon Chinn, Jonathan Chinn) — Princess Diana’s story is told exclusively through contemporaneous archive creating a bold and immersive narrative of her life and death. Turning the camera back on ourselves, it also illuminates the profound impact she had and how the public’s attitude to the monarchy was, and still is, shaped by these events. World Premiere. Documentary. DAY ONE

Resurrection / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Andrew Semans, Producers: Tory Lenosky, Alex Scharfman, Drew Houpt, Lars Knudsen, Tim Headington, Lia Buman) — Margaret’s life is in order. She is capable, disciplined, and successful. Soon, her teenage daughter, who Margaret raised by herself, will be going off to a fine university, just as Margaret had intended. Everything is under control. That is, until David returns, carrying with him the horrors of Margaret’s past. Cast: Rebecca Hall, Tim Roth, Grace Kaufman, Michael Esper, Angela Wong Carbone. World Premiere. Fiction.

Sharp Stick / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Lena Dunham, Producers: Lena Dunham, Michael P. Cohen, Kevin Turen, Katia Washington) — Sarah Jo is a naive 26-year-old living on the fringes of Hollywood with her mother (longing for money) and sister (longing for exposure). She just longs to be seen. When she begins an affair with her older employer, she is thrust into an education on sexuality, loss and power. Cast: Kristine Froseth, Jon Bernthal, Scott Speedman, Lena Dunham, Taylour Paige, Jennifer Jason Leigh. World Premiere. Fiction.

To The End / U.S.A. (Director: Rachel Lears, Producers: Sabrina Schmidt Gordon) — Stopping the climate crisis is a question of political courage, and the clock is ticking. Over three years of turbulence and crisis, four remarkable young women of color fight for a Green New Deal, and ignite a historic shift in US climate politics. World Premiere. Documentary. 

We Need to Talk About Cosby / U.S.A. (Director: W. Kamau Bell, Producers: Andrew Fried, Katie A. King, Geraldine L. Porras, Dane Lillegard, Sarina Roma, Jordan Wynn) — Can you separate the art from the artist? Should you even try? While there are many people about whom we could ask those questions, none pose a tougher challenge than Bill Cosby. World Premiere. Documentary.

When You Finish Saving the World / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Jesse Eisenberg, Producers: Ali Herting, Dave McCary, Emma Stone) — Evelyn and her oblivious son Ziggy seek out replacements for each other as Evelyn desperately tries to parent an unassuming teenager at her shelter, while Ziggy fumbles through his pursuit of a brilliant young woman at school. Cast: Julianne Moore, Finn Wolfhard. World Premiere. Fiction. DAY ONE

MIDNIGHT

From horror and comedy to works that defy genre classification, these films will keep you wide awake, even at the most arduous hour. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include Hereditary, Mandy, RelicAssassination Nation, and The Babadook.

Babysitter / Canada (Director: Monia Chokri, Screenwriter: Catherine Léger, Producers: Martin Paul-Hus, Catherine Léger, Pierre-Marcel Blanchot, Fabrice Lambot) — After a sexist joke goes viral, Cédric loses his job and embarks on a therapeutic journey to free himself from sexism and misogyny. His girlfriend Nadine is exasperated by his narcissistic introspection, until they hire a mysterious and liberated babysitter to help shake things up. Cast: Patrick Hivon, Monia Chokri, Nadia Tereszkiewcz, Steve Laplante, Hubert Proulx. World Premiere. Fiction.

FRESH / U.S.A. (Director: Mimi Cave, Screenwriter: Lauryn Kahn, Producers: Adam McKay, Kevin Messick, Maeve Cullinane) — The horrors of modern dating seen through one young woman’s defiant battle to survive her new boyfriend’s unusual appetites. Cast: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Sebastian Stan, Jojo T. Gibbs, Charlotte Le Bon, Andrea Bang, Dayo Okeniyi. World Premiere. Fiction. DAY ONE

Hatching / Finland (Director: Hanna Bergholm, Screenwriter: Ilja Rautsi, Producers: Mika Ritalahti, Nico Ritalahtit) — While desperately trying to please her demanding mother, a young gymnast discovers a strange egg. She tucks it away and keeps it warm, but when it hatches, what emerges shocks everyone. Cast: Jani Volanen, Siiri Solalinna, Sophia Heikkilä, Saija Lentonen, Reino Nordin, Oiva Ollila. World Premiere. Fiction.

Meet Me In The Bathroom / U.K. (Directors: Dylan Southern, Will Lovelace, Producers: Vivienne Perry, Sam Bridger, Marisa Clifford, Thomas Benski, Danny Gabai, Suroosh Alvi) — An immersive journey through the New York music scene of the early 2000s. Set against the backdrop of 9/11, the film tells the story of how a new generation kickstarted a musical rebirth for New York City that reverberated around the world. Inspired by the book by Lizzy Goodman. World Premiere. Documentary.

PIGGY / Spain (Director and Screenwriter: Carlota Pereda, Producers: Merry Colomer, David Atlan-Jackson) — Sara deals with constant teasing from girls in her small town. But it comes to an end when a stranger kidnaps her tormentors. Sara knows more than she’s saying and must decide between speaking up and saving the girls or saying nothing to protect the strange man who spared her. Cast: Laura Galán. World Premiere. Fiction.

Speak No Evil / Denmark (Director and Screenwriter: Christian Tafdrup, Screenwriter: Mads Tafdrup, Producer: Jacob Jarek) — A Danish family visits a Dutch family they met on a holiday. What was supposed to be an idyllic weekend slowly starts unraveling as the Danes try to stay polite in the face of unpleasantness. Cast: Morten Burian, Sidsel Siem Koch, Fedja van Huêt, Karina Smulders, Liva Forsberg, Marius Damslev. World Premiere. Fiction.

SPOTLIGHT

The Spotlight section is a tribute to the cinema we love from throughout the past year. Films that have played in this category in recent years include The Biggest Little Farm, Birds of Passage, The Rider, Ida and The Lobster.

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.

Happening / France (Director and Screenwriter: Audrey Diwan, Screenwriter: Alice Girard, Producers: Edouard Weil, Alice Girard)  — France, 1963. Anne is a bright student with a promising future. But when she falls pregnant, she sees the opportunity to escape the constraints of her social background disappearing. With final exams approaching and her belly growing, Anne resolves to act, even if she must risk prison to do so. Cast: Anamaria Vartolomei, Kacey Mottet-Klein, Luana Bajrami, Louise Chevillotte, Pio Marmai. Fiction.

Neptune Frost / U.S.A./Rwanda (Directors: Anisia Uzeyman, Saul Williams, Screenwriter: Saul Williams, Producers: Ezra Miller, Stephen Hendel, Dave Guenette, Maria Judice) —  In an otherworldly e-waste dump camp, a subversive hacking collective attempts a takeover of the authoritarian regime exploiting the region’s natural resources — and its people. When an intersex runaway and an escaped coltan miner find each other through cosmic forces, their connection sparks glitches within the greater divine circuitry. Cast: Cheryl Isheja, Elvis Ngabo “Bobo”, Bertrand Ninteretse “Kaya Free”, Eliane Umuhire, Rebecca Muciyo, Trésor Niyongabo. Fiction.

Three Minutes – A Lengthening / Netherlands (Director and Screenwriter: Bianca Stigter, Producer: Floor Onrust) — Three minutes of footage are the only moving images known of the Jewish inhabitants of Nasielsk in Poland before the Holocaust. An examination of that film — in color, random, full of life — reveals historical and personal dimensions. Narrated by Helena Bonham Carter. Documentary.

The Worst Person in the World / Norway (Director: Joachim Trier, Screenwriter: Eskil Vogt, Joachim Trier, Producer: Thomas Robsahm, Andrea Berentsen Ottmar) — Four years in the life of Julie, a young woman who navigates the troubled waters of her love life and struggles to find her career path, leading her to take a realistic look at who she really is. Cast: Renate Reinsve, Anders Danielsen Lie, Herbert Nordrum. Fiction. DAY ONE

KIDS

This section of the Festival is especially for our youngest independent film fans. Programmed in cooperation with Utah Film Center, which presents the annual Tumbleweeds Film Festival, Utah’s premiere film festival for children and youth. Films that have played in this category in recent years include The Elephant Queen, Science Fair, My Life as a Zucchini, The Eagle Huntress and Shaun the Sheep.

Maika / Vietnam (Director and Screenwriter: Ham Tran, Producers:Jenni Trang Le, Duy Ho, Anderson Le, Bao Nguyen) — After a meteor falls to earth, 8-year-old Hung meets an alien girl from the planet Maika, searching for her lost friend. As Hung helps her otherworldly friend search, the alien inadvertently helps Hung make new friends and heal a broken heart. But danger lurks everywhere… Cast: Phu Truong, Diep Anh Tru, Tin Tin, Ngoc Tuong, Kim Nha. World Premiere. Fiction.

Summering / U.S.A. (Director: James Ponsoldt, Screenwriters: Benjamin Percy, James Ponsoldt, Producers: Peter Block, P. Jennifer Dana) — During their last days of summer and childhood — the weekend before middle school begins — four girls struggle with the harsh truths of growing up and embark on a mysterious adventure. World Premiere. Fiction.

SPECIAL SCREENINGS featuring extended conversations following the screening, to allow audiences and storytellers to connect more deeply.

LAST FLIGHT HOME / U.S.A. (Director: Ondi Timoner, Producers: Ondi Timoner, David Turner) — An examination of Eli Timoner’s intentional death and his family’s emotional turmoil as they grapple with his decision to end his own life. The family journeys back through Eli’s remarkable, painful life to discover what true love looks like and help him shed shame he’s carried for forty years. World Premiere. Documentary.

FROM THE COLLECTION

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, Sundance Institute partnered with UCLA Film & Television Archive in 1997 to form the Sundance Institute Collection at UCLA and preserves independent films supported by Sundance Institute. The Collection has grown to over 4,000 holdings representing nearly 2,300 titles. 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.

Just Another Girl on the I.R.T. / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Leslie Harris, Producers: Leslie Harris, Erwin Wilson) — A Brooklyn young woman, smart, witty, and confident, is not just another teenager on the NYC subway. Determined to make it out of her neighborhood and become a doctor, she confronts adversity while navigating challenging waters to achieve her dreams and goals… Cast: William Badget, Chequita Jackson, Ebony Jerido, Ariyan Johnson, Kevin Thigpen, Jerad Washington. 1993 Sundance Film Festival – winner of the Special Jury Prize for Outstanding Achievement in a First Feature.

Digitally restored from the original 16mm A/B negatives, and a new DCP created in collaboration between Sundance Institute, the Academy Film Archive, and UCLA Film & Television Archive.

INDIE EPISODIC PROGRAM

A dedicated showcase for emerging creators of independently produced content for episodic platforms. Past projects that have premiered within this category include Work in Progress, State of the Union, Gentefied, Wu Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men and Quarter Life Poetry. The Indie Episodic Program is presented by DoorDash.

Bring on the Dancing Horses / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Michael Polish, Producers: Kate Bosworth, Michael Polish) — An assassin is out to complete her list of targets and exact her own brand of justice. Cast: Kate Bosworth, Jasper Polish, Lance Henriksen, Happy Anderson, DJ Qualls, Thomas Francis Murphy. World Premiere. Fiction.

Chiqui / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Carlos Cardona, Producers: Daniel Fermín Pfeffer, Sophia de Baun) — It’s 1987. Chiqui and Carlos immigrate from Colombia to the United States 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. Cast: Brigitte Silva, Sebastián Beltranini, Catherine French, Gregg Prosser. World Premiere. Fiction.

CULTURE BEAT / U.S.A. (Directors: Andre Hyland, Kitao Sakurai, Screenwriters: Andre Hyland, Kitao Sakurai, Eric Andre, Producers: Eric Andre, Kitao Sakurai, Andre Hyland) — A show that investigates high culture institutions through the lowbrow lens of various characters. The 2021 love child of Da Ali G Show and Anthony Bourdain: No ReservationsCast: Andre Hyland. World Premiere. Documentary.

The Dark Heart / Sweden (Director: Gustav Möller, Screenwriter: Oskar Söderlund, Producers: Anna Carlsten, Caroline Landerberg) — Sweden: in a mythological landscape, search parties roam through forests of spruce, secret conversations are whispered in open fields, and verbal duels fought on narrow country roads. A story of family feuds, inheritances and forbidden love. Cast: Aliette Opheim, Clara Christiansson Drake, Gustav Lindh, Peter Andersson. World Premiere. Fiction. 

Instant Life / U.S.A. (Directors: Mark Becker, Aaron Schock, Producers: Mark Becker, Aaron Schock, Julie Gaynin) — Destitute without electricity and running water, Yolanda Signorelli Von Braunhut has lost control of her late husband Harold’s iconic Amazing Live Sea Monkeys novelty. Yet she alone knows their secret formula, and from her crumbling estate on the Potomac, Yolanda wages legal and existential battles to fully win them back. World Premiere. Documentary. 

My Trip to Spain / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Theda Hammel, Producers: Allie Jane Compton, John Early) — Alexis, a successful trans woman, is heading to Spain to get some cosmetic surgery. She has asked her embittered old friend Charlie to housesit while she’s away. During the handoff, he tries his best to convince her to cancel, while simultaneously pursuing a sexual liaison with her brooding gardener Bruno. Cast: John Early, Theda Hammel, Gordon Landenberger. World Premiere. Fiction. 

NEW FRONTIER

The 2022 edition of the Festival’s New Frontier section will be a fully biodigital showcase, presented simultaneously on a bespoke WebXR spatialized virtual venue, The Spaceship, that has touchpoints in a newly conceived, free-to-access venue in Park City, The Craft. Ticketed New Frontier performances will also be presented in Park City’s iconic Egyptian Theatre, with simultaneous presentations on The Spaceship.

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

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

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

32 Sounds / U.S.A. (Lead Artist: Sam Green) — An immersive documentary and sensory film experience that explores the elemental phenomenon of sound and its power to bend time, cross borders, and profoundly shape our perception of the world around us. The film will be presented in its “live cinema” form, featuring live music and live narration. World Premiere.  DAY ONE

Atua / New Zealand (Lead Artists: Tanu Gago, Jermaine Dean, Key Collaborators: Kat Lintott, Carthew Neal, Nacoya Anderson) — Reimagining the realm of Pacific gods in this sculptural AR experience. Claiming space for gender diverse communities impacted by colonial contact, to see themselves reflected as vital to their cultural heritage and an intrinsic part of the cosmos. World Premiere.

Child of Empire / U.K. (Lead Artists: Sparsh Ahuja, Erfan Saadati, Stephen Stephenson, Omi Zola Gupta, Key Collaborators: Sam Dalyrmple, Saadia Gardezi, Jayosmita Ganguly) — Experience the largest forced migration in human history, the 1947 Partition of India and Pakistan. Embody the childhood memories of two survivors, as they reflect on their journeys across a divided homeland. World Premiere.

Cosmogony / Switzerland (Lead Artists: Gilles Jobin, Susana Panadés Diaz, Camilo de Martino, Tristan Siodlak, Key Collaborator: Pierre-Igor Berthet) — A live digital performance in which 3 dancers are motion captured in Geneva and projected remotely in real time. North American Premiere.

Diagnosia / U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Mengtai Zhang, Lemon Guo, Producers: Mengtai Zhang, Lemon Guo, Yue Huang) — In this VR experience, the director locks us inside his teenage memories of being incarcerated in a military-operated internet addiction camp in Beijing in 2007, where internet addiction and other youth issues were treated as severe mental disorders, and sometimes by violent means. North American Premiere.

Flat Earth VR / Brazil (Lead Artist: Lucas Rizzotto) VR is known as the ultimate empathy machine that lets users experience others’ perspectives. But what happens when those perspectives are delusional? Experience the ultimate flat-earther fantasy: ascend into the stars and prove all globe-earthers wrong by taking photos of the planet as it truly is: flat like a pancake. World Premiere.

Gondwana / Australia (Lead Artists: Ben Joseph Andrews, Emma Roberts, Key Collaborators: Lachlan Sleight, Michelle Brown, The Convoy) — A durational VR experience that runs over 24 hours, and a constantly-evolving virtual ecosystem chronicling the possible futures of the world’s oldest tropical rainforest, the Daintree. Powered by climate data, each showing is unrepeatable and speculative, a meditation on time, change and loss in an irreplaceable landscape. World Premiere.

On the Morning You Wake (To the End of the World) / U.K. (Lead Artists: Dr. Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio, Mike Brett, Steve Jamison, Arnaud Colinart, Pierre Zandrowicz, Key Collaborators: Jo-Jo Ellison, Bobby Krlic)  — On a regular Saturday morning in January 2018, as Hawaiian citizens went about their daily routines, the entire state population received an SMS from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, which read: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” World Premiere.

Seven Grams / France (Lead Artist: Karim Ben Khelifa, Key Collaborators: TT Hernandez, Quentin Noirfalisse)  — An entirely new way for people to understand the human cost that went into producing their smartphones. This project brings the Democratic Republic of Congo’s tragic mining industry straight to the smartphone that its mineral resources helped make, via an app on both IOS and Android systems.  North American Premiere.

Suga’- A Live Virtual Dance Performance / U.S.A. (Lead Artist: Valencia James, Key Collaborators: Thomas Wester, Simon Boas)  — An immersive experience that features live dance performance as volumetric video in social virtual reality space. The performance weaves together movement, family stories, and cultural heritage to imagine virtual environments as a site for healing and reclamation of spaces that were historically filled with pain and injustice.

Surrogate / U.S.A. (Lead Artist: Lauren Lee McCarthy, Key Collaborators: Dorothy R. Santos, David Leonard, Stefanie Tam) — How do we relate to the future while living in a world in crisis? Amidst climate change, inequity, and pandemic, it’s no longer possible to view ourselves as separate from past and future. How much control should we have over a birthing person’s body, and a life before it’s born? North American Premiere.

The Inside World / U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Jennifer McCoy, Kevin McCoy, Key Collaborators: Annie J. Howell, Peter Rostovsky)  — The city of Las Vegas is now operated by artificial intelligence. Fourteen AI “Managers” handle every sector of the city. The problem is, one of them is secretly human… Digital Art NFTs meet gameplay in this community driven mystery. World Premiere.

The State of Global Peace / U.S.A (Lead Artists: Daanish Masood Alavi, Key Collaborators: Igal Nassima, Erica Newman) — The prime minister of a fictitious country – played by you – is about to deliver a speech at a virtual UN General Assembly in the near future. A group of students hijacks the security system and takes over the screens, asking to have a dialogue. World Premiere. 

They Dream in My Bones – Insemnopedy II / France (Lead Artist: Faye Formisano, Key Collaborators: Ludovic De Oliveira, Lilou-Magali Robert, Cindy Coutant)  — Immersed on virtual veils, this VR360 experience tells the story of Roderick Norman, a researcher in onirogenetics, the science he founded, which makes it possible to extract dreams from an unidentified skeleton at the frontier of gender and the human.  North American Premiere.

This Is Not A Ceremony / Canada (Lead Artist: Ahnahktsipiitaa (Colin Van Loon), Key Collaborators: Olivier Leroux, James Monkman, Jessica Dymond) — Darkly humorous and occasionally caustic, this cinematic VR experience offers insights into the struggles and conflicts of growing up an Indigenous man. World Premiere. 

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, Southwest Airlines®, Unity Technologies, University of Utah Health, White Claw Hard Seltzer; Media Sponsors – The Atlantic, IndieWire, Los Angeles Times, NPR, Shadow and Act, Variety, 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.

F9: Fast and Furious 9

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Nothing like Sunday evening entertainment. Often, a fan of the Fast and Furious franchise, I spied F9: Fast and Furious 9 and quickly realized, I had missed this one in theatres due to COVID. F9 is an action thriller pushing the envelope with dynamic camera work.

 

No matter how fast you are, no one outruns their past.

F9 is the ninth chapter in the Fast & Furious Saga, which has endured for two decades and has earned more than $5 billion around the world.

Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto is leading a quiet life off the grid with Letty and his son, little Brian, but they know that danger always lurks just over their peaceful horizon. This time, that threat will force Dom to confront the sins of his past if he’s going to save those he loves most. His crew joins together to stop a world-shattering plot led by the most skilled assassin and high-performance driver they’ve ever encountered: a man who also happens to be Dom’s forsaken brother, Jakob (John Cena, the upcoming The Suicide Squad).

F9 sees the return of Justin Lin as director, who helmed the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth chapters of the series when it transformed into a global blockbuster. The action hurtles around the globe—from London to Tokyo, from Central America to Edinburgh, and from a secret bunker in Azerbaijan to the teeming streets of Tbilisi. Along the way, old friends will be resurrected, old foes will return, history will be rewritten, and the true meaning of family will be tested like never before.

 

 

The film stars returning cast members Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jordana Brewster, and Sung Kang, with Oscar® winner Helen Mirren, with Kurt Russell and Oscar® winner Charlize Theron. F9 also features Grammy-winning superstar Cardi B as new franchise character Leysa, a woman with a connection to Dom’s past, and a cameo by Reggaeton sensation Ozuna.

F9 is produced by Neal H. Moritz p.g.a., Vin Diesel p.g.a., Justin Lin p.g.a., Jeff Kirschenbaum p.g.a., Joe Roth, Clayton Townsend p.g.a., and Samantha Vincent. Universal Pictures presents an Original Film/One Race Films/Perfect Storm production in association with Roth/Kirschenbaum Films, a Justin Lin film. http://www.thefastsaga.com

Available for purchase on multiple streaming services and VOD.

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

Larry Gleeson at the Hollywood Drive-in Cinema