Friday, February 3, 2023

Additions To The 2023 Sundance Film Festival Lineup

Today the nonprofit Sundance Institute announced an additional five world premiere feature films, plus four award-winning feature films from previous Festivals, to the 2023 Sundance Film Festival lineup. The 2023 Festival will take place January 19th–29th, 2023, in person in Park City, Salt Lake City, and the Sundance Resort, along with a selection of films available online across the country January 24th–29th, 2023. Single Film Tickets for in-person and online go on sale January 12th at 10 a.m. MT. 

The latest feature films world premiering at the upcoming Festival include: “Beyond Utopia,” playing in the U.S. Documentary Competition section; “Earth Mama,” “Flora and Son,” and “Past Lives,” playing in the Premieres section; and “Stephen Curry: Underrated,” playing in the Special Screenings section. 

Returning to the Festival as Encore Special Screenings are “CODA” (2021 Sundance Film Festival), “Klondike” (2022 Sundance Film Festival), “Navalny” (2022 Sundance Film Festival), and “Summer of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” (2021 Sundance Film Festival). This will be the first time these Sundance award winners will screen in person at the Festival in Park City. Encore Special Screenings will screen January 25–27, with many of the filmmakers in attendance for post-screening Q&A’s. 

“These five new films round out our program in an exciting and emotional way. They are cinematic experiences that delight, entertain, and keep us on the edge of our seats. The works introduce us to new voices, along with directors we’re excited to welcome back to the Festival,” said Kim Yutani, Sundance Film Festival Director of Programming. “Having four encore films play in Utah is truly a homecoming. While they reached audiences around the world, wherever they were, this year they will return to fuel the energy and excitement at the heart of the Sundance community.”

The Sundance Film Festival is an artist program of the Sundance Institute. Proceeds earned through Festival ticket sales go to uplifting and developing emerging artists on a year-round basis through focused labs, direct grants, fellowships, residencies, and more.

Today’s additions add to the 2023 Festival slate, where 110 feature-length films will screen representing 28 countries, and 45 of 124 (36%) feature film directors are first-time feature filmmakers. 17 of the feature films and projects were supported by Sundance Institute in development through direct granting or residency labs. 

98, or 89%, of the Festival’s 110 feature films will be world premieres. Director demographics are available in an editor’s note below.

The latest additions to the 2023 Sundance Film Festival by section are:

U.S. DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION 

Beyond Utopia / U.S.A. (Director: Madeleine Gavin, Producers: Jana Edelbaum, Rachel Cohen, Sue Mi Terry) — Hidden camera footage augments this perilous high-stakes journey as we embed with families attempting to escape oppression, ultimately revealing a world most of us have never seen. World Premiere. Available online.

PREMIERES

Earth Mama / U.S.A (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Savanah Leaf, Producers: Cody Ryder, Shirley O’Connor, Medb Riordan, Sam Bisbee) — A pregnant single mother with two children in foster care embraces her Bay Area community as she fights to reclaim her family. Cast: Tia Nomore, Erika Alexander, Doechii, Sharon Duncan Brewster, Dominic Fike, Bokeem Woodbine. World Premiere. Fiction. 

Flora and Son / U.S.A, Ireland (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: John Carney, Producers: Anthony Bregman, Peter Cron, Rebecca O’Flanagan, Robert Walpole) — Single mom Flora is at war with her teenage son, petty thief Max. Encouraged by the police to find Max a hobby, she rescues a beat-up guitar from a dumpster and finds that one person’s trash can be a family’s salvation. Cast: Eve Hewson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Orén Kinlan, Jack Reynor. World Premiere. Fiction. 

Past Lives / U.S.A (Director and Screenwriter: Celine Song, Producers: Christine Vachon, Pamela Koffler, David Hinojosa) — Nora and Hae Sung, two deeply connected childhood friends, are wrest apart after Nora’s family emigrates from South Korea. Two decades later, they are reunited in New York for one fateful week as they confront notions of destiny and love, and the choices that make a life. Cast: Greta Lee, Teo Yoo, John Magaro. World Premiere. Fiction. 

SPECIAL SCREENINGS

Stephen Curry: Underrated / U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Peter Nicks, Producers: Ryan Coogler, Erick Peyton) — Stephen Curry is one of the most influential, dynamic, and unexpected players in the history of basketball. Intimate cinematic video, archival footage, and on-camera interviews reveal Curry’s rise from an undersized college player to a four-time NBA champion. World Premiere. Documentary.

ENCORE SPECIAL SCREENINGS

CODA / U.S.A, France (Director and Screenwriter: Siân Heder, Producers: Philippe Rousselet, Fabrice Gianfermi, Patrick Wachsberger) — As a CODA – Child of Deaf Adults – Ruby is the only hearing person in her deaf family. When the family’s fishing business is threatened, Ruby finds herself torn between pursuing her love of music and her fear of abandoning her parents. Cast: Emilia Jones, Eugenio Derbez, Troy Kotsur, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Daniel Durant, Marlee Matlin. World Premiered in the 2021 Sundance Film Festival’s U.S. Dramatic Competition section, where it won the U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic, Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic, and U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Ensemble Cast

Klondike / Ukraine, Turkey (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Maryna Er Gorbach, Producers: 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 Premiered in the 2022 Sundance Film Festival’s World Cinema Dramatic Competition section, where it won the Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic. 

Navalny / U.S.A. (Director: Daniel Roher, Producers: Odessa Rae, Diane Becker, Melanie Miller, Shane Boris) — Anti-authoritarian Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny recovers in Berlin after nearly being poisoned to death with the nerve agent Novichok. He makes shocking discoveries about his assassination attempt and bravely decides to return home – whatever the consequences. World Premiered in the 2022 Sundance Film Festival’s U.S. Documentary Competition section, where it won Festival Favorite and the Audience Award: U.S. Documentary

Summer of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) / U.S.A. (Director: Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Producers: David Dinerstein, Robert Fyvolent, Joseph Patel) — An epic event that celebrated Black history, culture, and fashion shines a light on the importance of history and the healing power of music during times of unrest. World Premiered in the 2021 Sundance Film Festival’s U.S. Documentary Competition section, where it won the U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary and Audience Award: U.S. Documentary. 

What do you think of these new additions to the Sundance lineup? Which films excite you the most? We will be back at a later date to rank our most anticipated titles from the festival. Stay tuned for more from Next Best Picture and be sure to visit the Sundance Film Festival website for more information on the festival as we get closer.

Matt Neglia
Matt Negliahttps://nextbestpicture.com/
Obsessed about the Oscars, Criterion Collection and all things film 24/7. Critics Choice Member.

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