Saturday, March 2, 2024

The 2024 Sundance Film Festival Adds “The Greatest Night In Pop” To The Feature Film Program & Reveals The Beyond Film Lineup

Today, the nonprofit Sundance Institute announced the addition of the documentary “The Greatest Night in Pop” to the 2024 Sundance Film Festival film program and the lineup for the Festival’s Beyond Film programming. In addition to the three annual series — Power of Story, Cinema Café presented by Audible, and The Big Conversation — this year’s lineup also includes a New Frontier conversation about artificial intelligence and special 40th Edition Celebration events. With the exception of Power of Story, the sole ticketed event, all Beyond Film events are free and open to the public. Supplementing the Festival experience, Beyond Film provides a community hub for Festivalgoers through artist conversations, talks with filmmakers and experts across the fields of art and science, and audience discourse. The events will take place in person from January 19th–26th, 2024, with select Beyond Film offerings available beginning January 25th, 2024, to audiences across the country on the online Festival Platform. Other in-person and online events announced today include talks hosted by Festival partners and Sundance Collab, the digital arm of Sundance Institute that provides an online learning platform and community space for creators. 

The Festival will take place January 18th–28th, 2024, in person in Park City and Salt Lake City, with a selection of titles available online nationwide from January 25–28, 2024. This year marks the 40th edition of the Festival, bringing together audiences in Utah and beyond to celebrate Sundance’s rich history of supporting engaging new stories and groundbreaking independent artists. Single film tickets go on sale January 11th at 10 a.m. MT. 

“We’re thrilled to be adding to our program a special screening of The Greatest Night in Pop, taking us behind the scenes of how “We Are the World” came together, followed by a conversation with Lionel Richie, filmmaker Bao Nguyen, and producer Julia Nottingham,” said Kim Yutani, Sundance Film Festival Director of Programming. “Our robust film lineup will be rounded out by a wide range of conversations touching upon themes in the programming and featuring some of today’s most inspiring creators and leaders.”

Beyond Film speakers will include artists from films screening in the 2024 Festival, including seven Soderbergh (Director, Presence), Jesse Eisenberg (Writer-Director and Actor, A Real Pain), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Writer-Director and Actor, Rob Peace), Sue Bird (Subject, Sue Bird: In The Clutch), Dee Rees (Writer-Director, Pariah), Lucy Lawless (Director, Never Look Away), André Holland (Actor, Exhibiting Forgiveness), Debra Granik (Director, Conbody VS Everybody), Jay Ellis (Actor, Freaky Tales), and Nzingha Stewart (Director, Me/We). This year’s programming will also include a conversation within the Festival’s New Frontier section, which champions artists practicing at the crossroads of film, art, performance, and new media technology. Titled New Frontier: Let’s Rebrand Artificial Intelligence!, the conversation will feature Rashaad Newsome (Lead Artist, Being (the Digital Griot)) and New Frontier alumni, including Navid Khonsari (Block PartyHero, Revolution 1979), Ari Melenciano (Computational Anthropology), and Sandra Rodriguez (CHOM5KY vs. CHOMSKY). See the schedule below for the full lineup.

With the upcoming Festival marking the 40th edition, acclaimed artist alumni will return for the occasion. As previously announced, a talk titled Power of Story: Four Decades of Taking Chances about the legacy of independent storytelling will feature Miguel ArtetaRichard LinklaterDawn Porter, and Christine Vachon. Additionally, audiences can test their Sundance Film Festival knowledge at Sundance Trivia: The 40th Edition

“Our Beyond Film programming is a crucial and inspiring part of the Sundance Film Festival experience,” said Ania Trzebiatowska, Beyond Film Program Curator. “Especially this year, as we celebrate our 40th edition, these events enable audiences to go beyond the screens — whether you’re watching in theaters here in person or online from home — to meaningfully connect with artists and their stories. It’s during these intimate conversations that audiences can discover themes across our Festival Program and hear from artists themselves about the vitality of independent storytelling, the interwovenness of art, science, and culture, and so much more.”

For admission to Cinema Café, The Big Conversation, and New Frontier and 40th Edition Celebration events, arrive at least 30 minutes early, as seating is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. Upon arrival, present your Festival ID QR code on your mobile device for entry. You can access your Festival ID by logging in to your free Festival account and going to “My Schedule.” (Important: Festival tickets and Festival IDs serve different functions. Both can be retrieved as QR codes using the mobile app.) Note: Power of Story is a paid ticketed event, so it will require a digital ticket for entry. Beginning January 25th at 8 a.m. MT, select Beyond Film recordings will be available online, and events in the following days will be uploaded throughout the remainder of the Festival. For more on how to access online Beyond Film offerings, visit the How to Fest page on our website. 

SPECIAL SCREENINGS

The Greatest Night in Pop / U.K., U.S.A. (Director: Bao Nguyen, Producers: Julia Nottingham, Lionel Richie, Bruce Eskowitz, Larry Klein, Harriet Sternberg, George Hencken) — In 1985, 46 music icons, including Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Cyndi Lauper, Diana Ross, and Stevie Wonder, came together for the most star-studded recording session in history. This is the untold story of the legendary global pop song “We Are the World” — which very nearly didn’t happen. World Premiere.

Following the film, there will be an extended conversation with director Bao Nguyen, producer Julia Nottingham, and producer and subject Lionel Richie.

BEYOND FILM LINEUP

POWER OF STORY
The Sundance Film Festival’s Power of Story looks to deepen public engagement with the art of storytelling, delve into cinema culture, and celebrate artists whose work propels and reinvents the form as we know it. 

Power of Story: Four Decades of Taking Chances
Tuesday, January 23, 3–4:30 p.m.
Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St.

With this conversation, we look back at the legacy of independent storytelling and the Sundance Film Festival over the course of four decades. A group of artists reflect on their work and careers, the empowering nature of risk-taking, and the importance of negotiating creative freedom. We want to talk about the past as we contemplate the future of storytelling and explore how revolutionary narrative experiences can reshape culture through artistic discovery, emerging media, and the reassertion of independence. 

Featuring: Miguel Arteta (Beatriz at Dinner), Richard Linklater (Hit ManGod Save Texas: Hometown Prison), Dawn Porter (Luther: Never Too Much), Christine Vachon (A Different Man)
Moderated by Eugene Hernandez 

CINEMA CAFÉ
Friday January 19th–Thursday, January 25th, 2024
Filmmaker Lodge, 550 Main St.

This series of informal chats brings together special guests for thought-provoking encounters. Previous Cinema Café guests have included Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Tessa Thompson, Jane Campion, Dave Grohl, Eugenio Derbez, Lena Dunham, Norman Lear, Kumail Nanjiani, Zazie Beetz, Saoirse Ronan, Spike Lee, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Radha Blank, Ira Glass, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bassem Youssef, Charlie Kaufman, Ice-T, Nick Hornby, Winston Duke, Samantha Power, Steve Coogan, Roger Corman, D. Smith, and many others. 

Cinema Café is presented by Audible

Cinema Café: Sue Bird (Sue Bird: In The Clutch) and Jay Ellis (Freaky Tales)
Friday, January 19, 11 a.m.–noon

Cinema Café: André Holland (Exhibiting Forgiveness) and Steven Soderbergh (Presence
Moderated by Aisha Harris (NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour
Saturday, January 20th, 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Cinema Café: Jesse Eisenberg (A Real Pain) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Rob Peace)
Sunday, January 21, noon–12:45 p.m.

Cinema Café: Carla Gutiérrez (FRIDA), Lucy Lawless (Never Look Away), and Lana Wilson (Look Into My Eyes)
Tuesday, January 23, 11 a.m.–noon

Cinema Café: Episodic Storytellers
Mark Duplass (Penelope), Mel Eslyn (Penelope), Steve James (City So Real), and Nzingha Stewart (Me/We)
Wednesday, January 24, 11 a.m.–noon
Cinema Café: Debra Granik (Conbody VS Everybody) and Dee Rees (Pariah)
Thursday, January 25, 11 a.m.–noon

THE BIG CONVERSATION

The Big Conversation tackles science, art, culture, and the movements that are fueling the imaginations of today’s independent artists. A compelling selection of speakers discusses topics centered on the themes of this year’s program and explores broader trends in art and culture around the world. In considering how artists — through their practice and their work — make meaning of the world, we’re reminded that it’s the big conversation that connects us to the big ideas.

The Big Conversation: Screen of Consciousness 
Monday, January 22, 11 a.m.–noon
Filmmaker Lodge, 550 Main St.

Amid a groundswell of public fascination with AI, our guest filmmakers and scientists consider the science and technology of machine learning and the range of imaginative, dystopian, and sometimes prophetic narratives that storytellers have put forth in exploring it. For all of cinema’s android apocalypse scenarios, films like HerAfter YangMoonMarjorie Prime, and this year’s Love Me offer artful, philosophical perspectives on AI (as a technology, a tool, a companion), the emotional connection humans build with it, and the complexities of sentience and consciousness.

Supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Featuring: Andy Zuchero (Love Me) and Sam Zuchero (Love Me) and others
Moderated by Dr. Heather Berlin (Associate Clinical Professor, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai) 

The Big Conversation: First Steps, First Films
Wednesday, January 24, 2–3 p.m.
Filmmaker Lodge, 550 Main St.

In a session geared toward emerging artists, we explore career-building and forging a creative identity. Although the landscape of independent storytelling continues to evolve dramatically and the nature of opportunity shifts, the path to starting a career, getting a first project off the ground, forming meaningful collaborations, and finding a personal storytelling voice has never been easy to navigate. A small group of remarkable filmmakers discuss how they’ve done just that. 

Featuring: Carlos López Estrada (Dìdi (弟弟)) and others

NEW FRONTIER: LET’S REBRAND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE!
Sunday, January 21, 2–3:30 p.m.
Filmmaker Lodge, 550 Main St.

Technology is simply and fundamentally a human expression formed by the values held by its designer. New Frontier alumni artists and creative technologists who have been working on the vanguard of design and technology for decades come together to interrogate the profile of so-called AI technologies in popular culture, share their creative practice, and ask, “What do we need this powerful tech to do for us right now?” Do we need to rebrand artificial intelligence altogether?

Featuring: Navid Khonsari (Block PartyHeroRevolution 1979), Ari Melenciano(Computational Anthropology), Rashaad Newsome (Being (the Digital Griot)), Sandra Rodriguez (CHOM5KY vs. CHOMSKY)
Moderated by Amelia Winger-Bearskin (Banks Chair of AI and the Arts at the University of Florida, Digital Worlds Institute, New Frontier Story Lab, and IDP alumna)

SUNDANCE TRIVIA: THE 40TH EDITION
Thursday, January 25, 2–3 p.m.
Filmmaker Lodge, 550 Main St.

Four Decades of history; one trivial hour. How well do you know your Sundance history? Who’s had the most features at Sundance? Name this 2017 film: “I mean, I told you not to go into that house.” Did the 1989 program really include Zadar! Cow From Hell? If you think your knowledge of Sundance history is laughable, try our ragtag assembly of comedians, filmmakers, and Festival veterans when we put them to the test.

FILM CHURCH
Friday, January 26, 2–3:30 p.m.
Filmmaker Lodge, 550 Main St.

What could be more divine than 11 days of film-watching? Finish off your Sundance Film Festival experience by sharing a near-spiritual occasion with a group of film lovers who also happen to be world-renowned filmmakers. Come confess your likes and dislikes in a highly nondenominational setting. Joining us for this sermon will be a variety of special guests, including former Sundance Film Festival director John Cooper, Zoe Lister-Jones (How It Ends), our inaugural critic-at-large, and a few filmmakers who took home awards that morning. All will be forgiven.

Hosted by Eugene Hernandez and Kim Yutani
SUNDANCE COLLAB

For over 40 years, Sundance Institute has supported and championed independent artists because we believe their stories and perspectives are essential to a thriving, informed, and connected society. As a program of Sundance Institute, Sundance Collab provides an unparalleled, open, inclusive digital destination and experience where independent global creators have a safe space to learn and grow as artists, share their stories, and connect with one another. Sign up today at collab.sundance.org.

FILMMAKER MEETUP AND PANEL: MAKING YOUR FIRST FEATURE FILM
Presented by Canon U.S.A., Inc. and Sundance Collab
Monday, January 22nd, 9:30–11 a.m. 
Canon Creative Studio, 528 Main St.

Join Sundance Collab for a candid panel with Festival filmmakers Sean Wang (Dìdi (弟弟)), Josh Margolin (Thelma), and Julian Brave NoiseCat and Emily Kassie (Sugarcane) about the process of making their first feature film. Following the discussion, we invite attendees to stay for coffee, snacks, and casual networking.

Featuring: Sean Wang (Dìdi (弟弟)), Josh Margolin (Thelma), Julian Brave NoiseCat, and Emily Kassie (Sugarcane)
Moderated by Patty West (Sundance Institute)

What do you think of this announcement? Are you planning on attending Sundance this year? Will you be attending in-person or online? Please check out the full Sundance lineup here and let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or on our Twitter account.

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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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