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Saturday, February 24, 2024

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The 2024 Sundance Film Festival Lineup

Today the nonprofit Sundance Institute announced the 82 films, eight episodic titles, and a New Frontier interactive experience selected for the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. 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 25th–28th, 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. In-Person Ticket Packages and Passes and Online Ticket Packages and Passes are currently on sale and single film tickets go on sale January 11th at 10 a.m. MT.

To kick things off, the Festival will begin at noon MT on January 18th with premieres in Park City, showcasing the range of offerings in this year’s lineup across categories. Adding to the festivities, on the evening of January 18th, the Institute will host the Opening Night Gala: Celebrating 40 Years Presented by Chase Sapphire®. The fundraiser will benefit the year round artist support work of the Sundance Institute.

Films will debut in Park City starting January 18th, with additional showings in Park City and Salt Lake City over the course of the Festival. Select titles also become available online beginning January 25, including all Competition titles (U.S. Dramatic, U.S. Documentary, World Cinema Dramatic, World Cinema Documentary, and NEXT), as well as additional selections from the feature, episodic, and shorts programs. Audiences can experience the curated online selection exclusively via festival.sundance.org. The online program, as noted below per listing, will allow fans of independent storytelling across the country to enjoy a sampling of the Festival lineup from wherever they are. The short film selections and 40th edition programming for the 2024 Sundance Film Festival will be announced on December 12th.

“From the first edition in 1985, Sundance Film Festival has aimed to provide a space to gather, celebrate, and engage with risk-taking artists that are committed to bringing their independent visions to audiences — the Festival remains true to that goal to this day,” said Robert Redford, Sundance Institute Founder and President. “It continues to evolve, but its legacy of showcasing bold work that starts necessary conversations continues with the 2024 program.”

“The Institute takes great pride in the role the Festival plays in advancing our mission to support artists creating audacious work,” said Joana Vicente, Sundance Institute CEO. “This year is especially significant as we look back on our history of showcasing stories that surprise and delight, spark empathy and reflection, and honor our shared humanity. We’re all thrilled for this opportunity to celebrate the power of storytelling as we gather in January to introduce captivating works from acclaimed filmmakers and discover more new voices.”

“Sundance’s passion and power shines through its programming. Curation is Sundance’s secret sauce and we’re energized by the range of films, stories, and artists we’ve watched and selected from around the world,” said Eugene Hernandez, Director, Sundance Film Festival and Public Programming. “This Festival has had a vital history of first impressions: introductions to new talent, new friends, new worlds — our commitment to our artists and our audiences is fundamental to our work. Our programming team, lead by Kim Yutani, has curated 11 days of exciting new voices and stories for the many audiences we serve whether they’re joining us in Utah or experiencing the Festival offerings from afar. Sundance 2024 will be a special year for discovery and community.”

“While we don’t set out to program the Festival with a defined theme in mind, it became apparent this year that our slate’s biggest strength is how it showcases the vitality of independent storytelling,” said Kim Yutani, Sundance Film Festival Director of Programming. “Our program is tightly curated and covers a broad cross section of form, perspective, and genre that we’re looking forward to sharing with audiences. These titles are inventive and they beautifully represent the kind of groundbreaking work we’ve sought to amplify at Sundance throughout our history.”

The full slate of works announced today includes 82 feature-length films representing 24 countries. The 2024 program is composed of 40 of 101 (40%) feature film directors who are first-time feature filmmakers, and 11 of the feature films and projects announced today were supported by Sundance Institute in development through direct granting or residency labs.

World premieres make up 85, or 94%, of the Festival’s 90 feature films and episodic programs announced today.

Also announced today is the winner of the 2024 Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize, an annual award given to an artist with the most outstanding depiction of science and technology in a feature film. This year the prize has gone to Love Me, screening in the U.S. Dramatic Competition category.

The Sundance Film Festival is an artist program of the Sundance Institute, a nonprofit that has impacted thousands of artists every year plus thousands more through its public programming. 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.

These films were selected from a record number of 17,435 submissions from 153 countries or territories, including 4,410 feature-length films. Of these feature film submissions, 1,679 were from the U.S., and 2,741 were international. The eight episodic projects were selected from 573 submissions and there were 385 New Frontier submissions. Director demographics are available in an editor’s note below.

U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION
The U.S. Dramatic Competition offers Festivalgoers a first look at the world premieres of groundbreaking new voices in American independent film. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include “Fair Play,” “Nanny,” “CODA,” “Passing,” “Minari,” “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” “The Farewell,” “Clemency,” “Eighth Grade,” and “Sorry to Bother You.”

Between the Temples / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Nathan Silver, Screenwriter: C. Mason Wells, Producers: Tim Headington, Theresa Steele Page, Nate Kamiya, Adam Kersh, Taylor Hess) — A cantor in a crisis of faith finds his world turned upside down when his grade school music teacher reenters his life as his new adult bat mitzvah student. Cast: Jason Schwartzman, Carol Kane, Dolly de Leon, Caroline Aaron, Robert Smigel, Madeline Weinstein. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Dìdi (弟弟) / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Sean Wang, Producers: Carlos López Estrada, Josh Peters, Valerie Bush) — In 2008, during the last month of summer before high school begins, an impressionable 13-year-old Taiwanese American boy learns what his family can’t teach him: how to skate, how to flirt, and how to love your mom. Cast: Izaac Wang, Joan Chen, Shirley Chen, Chang Li Hua. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Exhibiting Forgiveness / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Titus Kaphar, Producers: Stephanie Allain, Derek Cianfrance, Jamie Patricof, Sean Cotton) — Utilizing his paintings to find freedom from his past, a Black artist on the path to success is derailed by an unexpected visit from his estranged father, a recovering addict desperate to reconcile. Together, they learn that forgetting might be a greater challenge than forgiving. Cast: André Holland, John Earl Jelks, Andra Day, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Good One / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: India Donaldson, Producers: Diana Irvine, Graham Mason, Wilson Cameron) — On a weekend backpacking trip in the Catskills, 17-year-old Sam contends with the competing egos of her father and his oldest friend. Cast: Lily Collias, James Le Gros, Danny McCarthy. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

In The Summers / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Alessandra Lacorazza, Producers: Alexander Dinelaris, Rob Quadrino, Fernando Rodriguez-Vila, Lynette Coll, Sergio Lira, Cristóbal Güell) — On a journey that spans across the formative years of their lives, two sisters navigate their loving but volatile father during their yearly summer visits to his home in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Cast: René Pérez Joglar, Sasha Calle, Lío Mehiel, Leslie Grace, Emma Ramos, Sharlene Cruz. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Love Me / U.S.A. (Directors and Screenwriters: Sam Zuchero, Andy Zuchero, Producers: Kevin Rowe, Luca Borghese, Ben Howe, Shivani Rawat, Julie Goldstein) — Long after humanity’s extinction, a buoy and a satellite meet online and fall in love. Cast: Kristen Stewart, Steven Yeun. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Ponyboi / U.S.A. (Director: Esteban Arango, Screenwriter: River Gallo, Producers: Mark Ankner, River Gallo, Adel “Future” Nur, Trevor Wall) — Unfolding over the course of Valentine’s Day in New Jersey, a young intersex sex worker must run from the mob after a drug deal goes sideways, forcing him to confront his past. Cast: River Gallo, Dylan O’Brien, Victoria Pedretti, Murray Bartlett, Indya Moore. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

A Real Pain / U.S.A., Poland (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Jesse Eisenberg, Producers: Dave McCary, Ali Herting, Emma Stone, Jennifer Semler, Ewa Puszczyńska) — Mismatched cousins David and Benji reunite for a tour through Poland to honor their beloved grandmother. The adventure takes a turn when the pair’s old tensions resurface against the backdrop of their family history. Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Kieran Culkin, Will Sharpe, Jennifer Grey, Kurt Egyiawan. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Stress Positions / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Theda Hammel, Producers: Brad Becker-Parton, John Early, Stephanie Roush, Allie Jane Compton, Greg Nobile) — Terry Goon is keeping strict quarantine in his ex-husband’s Brooklyn brownstone while caring for his nephew — a 19-year-old model from Morocco named Bahlul — bedridden in a full leg cast after an electric scooter accident. Unfortunately for Terry, everyone in his life wants to meet the model. Cast: John Early, Qaher Harhash, Theda Hammel, Amy Zimmer, Faheem Ali, John Roberts. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Suncoast / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Laura Chinn, Producers: Jeremy Plager, Francesca Silvestri, Kevin Chinoy, Oly Obst) — A teenager who, while caring for her brother along with her audacious mother, strikes up an unlikely friendship with an eccentric activist who is protesting one of the most landmark medical cases of all time. Inspired by a semi-autobiographical story. Cast: Laura Linney, Woody Harrelson, Nico Parker. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

U.S. DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
The U.S. Documentary Competition offers Festivalgoers a first look at world premieres of nonfiction American films illuminating the ideas, people, and events that shape the present day. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include “Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project,” “Navalny,” “Fire of Love,” “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised),” “Boys State,” “Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution,” “APOLLO 11,” “Knock Down the House,” “One Child Nation,” “American Factory,” “Three Identical Strangers,” and “On Her Shoulders.”

As We Speak / U.S.A. (Director and Producer: J.M. Harper, Producers: Sam Widdoes, Peter Cambor, Sam Bisbee) — Bronx rap artist Kemba explores the growing weaponization of rap lyrics in the United States criminal justice system and abroad — revealing how law enforcement has quietly used artistic creation as evidence in criminal cases for decades. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Daughters / U.S.A. (Directors: Angela Patton, Natalie Rae, Producers: Lisa Mazzotta, Justin Benoliel, Mindy Goldberg, Sam Bisbee, Kathryn Everett, Laura Choi Raycroft) — Four young girls prepare for a special Daddy Daughter Dance with their incarcerated fathers, as part of a unique fatherhood program in a Washington, D.C., jail. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

EVERY LITTLE THING / Australia (Director: Sally Aitken, Producers: Bettina Dalton, Oli Harbottle, Anna Godas) — Amid the glamour of Hollywood, Los Angeles, a woman finds herself on a transformative journey as she nurtures wounded hummingbirds, unraveling a visually captivating and magical tale of love, fragility, healing, and the delicate beauty in tiny acts of greatness. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

FRIDA / U.S.A., Mexico (Director: Carla Gutiérrez, Producers: Katia Maguire, Sara Bernstein, Justin Wilkes, Loren Hammonds, Alexandra Johnes) — An intimately raw and magical journey through the life, mind, and heart of iconic artist Frida Kahlo. Told through her own words for the very first time — drawn from her diary, revealing letters, essays, and print interviews — and brought vividly to life by lyrical animation inspired by her unforgettable artwork. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Gaucho Gaucho / U.S.A., Argentina (Directors and Producers: Michael Dweck, Gregory Kershaw, Producers: Cameron O’Reilly, Christos V. Konstantakopoulos, Matthew Perniciaro) — A celebration of a community of Argentine cowboys and cowgirls, known as Gauchos, living beyond the boundaries of the modern world. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Love Machina / U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Peter Sillen, Producer: Brendan Doyle) — Futurists Martine and Bina Rothblatt commission an advanced humanoid AI named Bina48 to transfer Bina’s consciousness from a human to a robot in an attempt to continue their once-in-a-galaxy love affair for the rest of time. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Porcelain War / U.S.A., Ukraine (Director and Screenwriter: Brendan Bellomo, Director: Slava Leontyev, Producers and Screenwriters: Aniela Sidorska, Paula DuPré Pesmen, Producers: Camilla Mazzaferro, Olivia Ahnemann) — Under roaring fighter jets and missile strikes, Ukrainian artists Slava, Anya, and Andrey choose to stay behind and fight, contending with the soldiers they have become. Defiantly finding beauty amid destruction, they show that although it’s easy to make people afraid, it’s hard to destroy their passion for living. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Skywalkers: A Love Story / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Jeff Zimbalist, Producers: Maria Bukhonina, Tamir Ardon, Chris Smith, Nick Spicer) — To save their career and relationship, a daredevil couple journey across the globe to climb the world’s last super skyscraper and perform a bold acrobatic stunt on the spire. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Sugarcane / U.S.A., Canada (Director: Julian Brave NoiseCat, Director and Producer: Emily Kassie, Producer: Kellen Quinn) — An investigation into abuse and missing children at an Indian residential school ignites a reckoning on the nearby Sugarcane Reserve. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Union / U.S.A. (Directors: Stephen Maing, Brett Story, Producers: Samantha Curley, Mars Verrone) — The Amazon Labor Union (ALU) — a group of current and former Amazon workers in New York City’s Staten Island — takes on one of the world’s largest and most powerful companies in the fight to unionize. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

WORLD CINEMA DRAMATIC COMPETITION
These narrative feature films from emerging talent around the world offer fresh perspectives and inventive styles. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include “Scrapper,” “Mami Wata,” “Brian and Charles,” “Hive,” “Luzzu,” “The Souvenir,” “The Guilty,” “Monos,” “Yardie,” “The Nile Hilton Incident,” and “Second Mother.”

Brief History of a Family / China, France, Denmark, Qatar (Director and Screenwriter: Jianjie Lin, Producers: Ying Lou, Yue Zheng, Yiwen Wang) — A middle-class family’s fate becomes intertwined with their only son’s enigmatic new friend in post one-child policy China, putting unspoken secrets, unmet expectations, and untended emotions under the microscope. Cast: Feng Zu, Keyu Guo, Xilun Sun, Muran Lin. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Girls Will Be Girls / India, France, Norway (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Shuchi Talati, Producers: Richa Chadha, Claire Chassagne) — In a strict boarding school nestled in the Himalayas, 16-year-old Mira discovers desire and romance. But her sexual, rebellious awakening is disrupted by her mother who never got to come of age herself. Cast: Preeti Panigrahi, Kani Kusruti, Kesav Binoy Kiron. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Handling the Undead / Norway (Director and Screenwriter: Thea Hvistendahl, Screenwriter: John Ajvide Lindqvist, Producers: Kristin Emblem, Guri Neby) — On a hot summer day in Oslo, the newly dead awaken. Three families faced with loss try to figure out what this resurrection means and if their loved ones really are back. Based on the book by John Ajvide Lindqvist. Cast: Renate Reinsve, Bjørn Sundquist, Bente Børsum, Anders Danielsen Lie, Bahar Pars. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

In the Land of Brothers / Iran, France, Netherlands (Directors, Screenwriters, and Producers: Raha Amirfazli, Alireza Ghasemi, Producers: Adrien Barrouillet, Frank Hoeve, Charles Meresse, Emma Binet, Arya Ghamavian) — Three members of an extended Afghan family start their lives over in Iran as refugees, unaware they face a decades-long struggle ahead to be “at home.” Cast: Hamideh Jafari, Bashir Nikzad, Mohammad Hosseini. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Layla / U.K. (Director and Screenwriter: Amrou Al-Kadhi, Producer: Savannah James-Bayly) — When Layla, a struggling Arab drag queen, falls in love for the first time, they lose and find themself in a transformative relationship that tests who they really are. Cast: Bilal Hasna, Louis Greatorex, Safiyya Ingar, Darkwah, Terique Jarrett, Sarah Agha. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Malu / Brazil (Director and Screenwriter: Pedro Freire, Producers: Tatiana Leite, Sabrina Garcia, Leo Ribeiro, Roberto Berliner) — Malu — a mercurial, unemployed actress living with her conservative mother in a precarious house in a Rio de Janeiro slum — tries to deal with her strained relationship with her own adult daughter while surviving on memories of her glorious artistic past. Cast: Yara de Novaes, Carol Duarte, Juliana Carneiro da Cunha, Átila Bee. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Reinas / Switzerland, Peru, Spain (Director and Screenwriter: Klaudia Reynicke, Screenwriter and Producer: Diego Vega, Producers: Britta Rindelaub, Thomas Reichlin, Daniel Vega, Valérie Delpierre) — Surrounded by social and political chaos in Lima during the summer of 1992, Lucia, Aurora, and their mother, Elena, plan to leave and seek opportunities in the United States. Their farewell involves reconnecting with their estranged father, Carlos, adding turbulence to the regrets, hopes, and fears of their emotional departure. Cast: Abril Gjurinovic, Luana Vega, Jimena Lindo, Gonzalo Molina, Susi Sánchez. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Sebastian / U.K., Finland, Belgium (Director and Screenwriter: Mikko Mäkelä, Producer: James Watson) — Max, a 25-year-old aspiring writer living in London, begins a double life as a sex worker in order to research his debut novel. Cast: Ruaridh Mollica, Hiftu Quasem, Ingvar Sigurdsson, Jonathan Hyde, Leanne Best, Lara Rossi. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Sujo / Mexico, U.S.A., France (Directors, Screenwriters, and Producers: Astrid Rondero, Fernanda Valadez, Producers: Diana Arcega, Jewerl Keats Ross, Virginie Devesa, Jean-Baptiste Bailly-Maitre) — When a cartel gunman is killed, he leaves behind Sujo, his beloved 4-year-old son. The shadow of violence surrounds Sujo during each stage of his life in the isolated Mexican countryside. As he grows into a man, Sujo finds that fulfilling his father’s destiny may be inescapable. Cast: Juan Jesús Varela, Yadira Pérez, Alexis Varela, Sandra Lorenzano, Jairo Hernández, Kevin Aguilar. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Veni Vidi Vici / Austria (Director and Screenwriter: Daniel Hoesl, Producer: Ulrich Seidl) — The Maynards and their children lead an almost perfect billionaire family life. Amon is a passionate hunter, but doesn’t shoot animals, as the family’s wealth allows them to live totally free from consequences. Cast: Laurence Rupp, Ursina Lardi, Olivia Goschler. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
These nonfiction feature films from emerging talent around the world showcase some of the most courageous and extraordinary filmmaking today. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include “The Eternal Memory,” “20 Days in Mariupol,” “All That Breathes,” “Flee,” “Honeyland,” “Sea of Shadows,” “Shirkers,” “This Is Home,” “Last Men in Aleppo,” and “Hooligan Sparrow.”

Agent of Happiness / Bhutan, Hungary (Director and Producer: Arun Bhattarai, Director: Dorottya Zurbó, Producers: Noémi Veronika Szakonyi, Máté Artur Vincze) — Amber is one of the many agents working for the Bhutanese government to measure people’s happiness levels among the remote Himalayan mountains. But will he find his own along the way? World Premiere. Available online for Public.

The Battle for Laikipia / Kenya, U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Daphne Matziaraki, Director: Peter Murimi, Producer: Toni Kamau) — Unresolved historical injustices and climate change raise the stakes in a generations-old conflict between Indigenous pastoralists and white landowners in Laikipia, Kenya, a wildlife conservation haven. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Black Box Diaries / Japan, U.S.A., U.K. (Director and Producer: Shiori Ito, Producers: Eric Nyari, Hanna Aqvilin) — Journalist Shiori Ito embarks on a courageous investigation of her own sexual assault in an improbable attempt to prosecute her high-profile offender. Her quest becomes a landmark case in Japan, exposing the country’s outdated judicial and societal systems. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Eternal You / Germany, U.S.A. (Directors: Hans Block, Moritz Riesewieck, Producers: Christian Beetz, Georg Tschurtschenthaler) — Startups are using AI to create avatars that allow relatives to talk with their loved ones after they have died. An exploration of a profound human desire and the consequences of turning the dream of immortality into a product. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Ibelin / Norway (Director: Benjamin Ree, Producer: Ingvil Giske) — Mats Steen, a Norwegian gamer, died of a degenerative muscular disease at the age of 25. His parents mourned what they thought had been a lonely and isolated life, when they started receiving messages from online friends around the world. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

IGUALADA / Colombia, U.S.A., Mexico (Director: Juan Mejía Botero, Producers: Juan E. Yepes, Daniela Alatorre, Sonia Serna) — In one of Latin America’s most unequal countries, Francia Márquez, a Black Colombian rural activist, challenges the status quo with a presidential campaign that reappropriates the derogatory term “Igualada” — someone who acts as if they deserve rights that supposedly don’t correspond to them — and inspires a nation to dream. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Never Look Away / New Zealand (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Lucy Lawless, Screenwriters and Producers: Matthew Metcalfe, Tom Blackwell) — New Zealand–born groundbreaking CNN camerawoman Margaret Moth risks it all to show the reality of war from inside the conflict, staring down danger and confronting those who perpetuate it. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

A New Kind of Wilderness / Norway (Director: Silje Evensmo Jacobsen, Producer: Mari Bakke Riise) — In a forest in Norway, a family lives an isolated lifestyle in an attempt to be wild and free, but a tragic event changes everything, and they are forced to adjust to modern society. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Nocturnes / India, U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Anirban Dutta, Director: Anupama Srinivasan) — In the dense forests of the Eastern Himalayas, moths are whispering something to us. In the dark of night, two curious observers shine a light on this secret universe. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Soundtrack to a Coup d’Etat / Belgium, France, Netherlands (Director and Screenwriter: Johan Grimonprez, Producers: Daan Milius, Rémi Grellety) — In 1960, United Nations: the Global South ignites a political earthquake, musicians Abbey Lincoln and Max Roach crash the Security Council, Nikita Khrushchev bangs his shoe denouncing America’s color bar, while the U.S. dispatches jazz ambassador Louis Armstrong to the Congo to deflect attention from its first African post-colonial coup. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

NEXT
Pure, bold works distinguished by an innovative, forward-thinking approach to storytelling populate this program. Unfettered creativity promises that the films in this section will shape the greater next wave in American cinema. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include “KOKOMO CITY,” “A Love Song,” “RIOTSVILLE, USA,” “The Infiltrators,” “Searching,” “Skate Kitchen,” “A Ghost Story,” and “Tangerine.” NEXT is presented by Adobe.

Desire Lines / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Jules Rosskam, Screenwriter: Nate Gualtieri, Producers: André Pérez, Amy E. Powell, Brittani Ward) — Past and present collide when an Iranian American trans man time-travels through an LGBTQ+ archive on a dizzying and erotic quest to unravel his own sexual desires. Cast: Theo Germaine, Aden Hakimi. World Premiere. Documentary. Available online for Public.

Kneecap / Ireland, U.K. (Director and Screenwriter: Rich Peppiatt, Producers: Jack Tarling, Trevor Birney) — There are 80,000 native Irish speakers in Ireland. 6,000 live in the North of Ireland. Three of them became a rap group called Kneecap. This anarchic Belfast trio becomes the unlikely figurehead of a civil rights movement to save the mother tongue. Cast: Liam Óg Ó hAnnaidh, Naoise Ó Cairealláin, JJ Ó Dochartaigh, Michael Fassbender, Josie Walker, Simone Kirby). World Premiere. Fiction. Available online for Public.

Little Death / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Jack Begert, Screenwriter: Dani Goffstein, Producers: Darren Aronofsky, Andy S. Cohen, Dylan Golden, Brendan Naylor, Sam Canter, Noor Alfallah) — A middle-aged filmmaker on the verge of a breakthrough. Two kids in search of a lost backpack. A small dog a long way from home. Cast: David Schwimmer, Gaby Hoffmann, Dominic Fike, Talia Ryder, Jena Malone, Sante Bentivoglio. World Premiere. Fiction. Available online for Public.

REALM OF SATAN / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Scott Cummings, Producers: Caitlin Mae Burke, Pacho Velez, Molly Gandour) — An experiential portrait depicting Satanists in both the everyday and in the extraordinary as they fight to preserve their lifestyle: magic, mystery, and misanthropy. Cast: Peter Gilmore, Peggy Nadramia, Blanche Barton. World Premiere. Documentary. Available online for Public.

Seeking Mavis Beacon / U.S.A. (Director and Writer: Jazmin Renée Jones, Producer: Guetty Felin) — Launched in the late ’80s, educational software Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing taught millions globally, but the program’s Haitian-born cover model vanished decades ago. Two DIY investigators search for the unsung cultural icon, while questioning notions of digital security, AI, and Black representation in the digital realm. World Premiere. Documentary. Available online for Public.

Tendaberry / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Haley Elizabeth Anderson, Producers: Carlos Zozaya, Matthew Petock, Zachary Shedd, Hannah Dweck, Theodore Schaefer, Daniel Patrick Carbone) — When her boyfriend goes back to Ukraine to be with his ailing father, 23-year-old Dakota anxiously navigates her precarious new reality, surviving on her own in New York City. Cast: Kota Johan, Yuri Pleskun. World Premiere. Fiction. Available online for Public.

PREMIERES
This showcase of world premieres presents highly anticipated films on a variety of subjects, in both fiction and nonfiction. Fiction films that have screened in Premieres include “Past Lives,” “Passages,” “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande,” “Promising Young Woman,” “Kajillionaire,” “The Report,” “Late Night,” and “The Big Sick.” Past documentary films include “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie,” “Invisible Beauty,” “The Dissident, “Lucy and Desi,” “On the Record,” and “Miss Americana.”

The American Society of Magical Negroes / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Kobi Libii, Producers: Julia Lebedev, Eddie Vaisman, Angel Lopez) — A young man, Aren, is recruited into a secret society of magical Black people who dedicate their lives to a cause of utmost importance: making white people’s lives easier. Cast: Justice Smith, David Alan Grier, An-Li Bogan, Drew Tarver, Rupert Friend, Nicole Byer. World Premiere. Fiction.

And So It Begins / U.S.A., Philippines (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Ramona S. Diaz) — Amidst the traditional pomp and circumstance of Filipino elections, a quirky people’s movement rises to defend the nation against deepening threats to truth and democracy. In a collective act of joy as a form of resistance, hope flickers against the backdrop of increasing autocracy. World Premiere. Documentary. Available online for Public.

DEVO / U.K., U.S.A. (Director: Chris Smith, Producers: Chris Holmes, Anita Greenspan, Danny Gabai) — Born in response to the Kent State massacre, new wave band Devo took their concept of “de-evolution” from cult following to near–rock star status with groundbreaking 1980 hit “Whip It” while preaching an urgent social commentary. World Premiere. Documentary.

A Different Man / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Aaron Schimberg, Producers: Christine Vachon, Vanessa McDonnell, Gabriel Mayers) — Aspiring actor Edward undergoes a radical medical procedure to drastically transform his appearance. But his new dream face quickly turns into a nightmare, as he loses out on the role he was born to play and becomes obsessed with reclaiming what was lost. Cast: Sebastian Stan, Renate Reinsve, Adam Pearson. World Premiere. Fiction.

Freaky Tales / U.S.A. (Directors, Screenwriters, and Producers: Ryan Fleck, Anna Boden, Producers: Poppy Hanks, Jelani Johnson) — In 1987 Oakland, a mysterious force guides The Town’s underdogs in four interconnected tales: Teen punks defend their turf against Nazi skinheads, a rap duo battles for hip-hop immortality, a weary henchman gets a shot at redemption, and an NBA All-Star settles the score. Basically another day in the Bay. Cast: Pedro Pascal, Jay Ellis, Normani Kordei Hamilton, Dominique Thorne, Ben Mendelsohn, Ji-Young Yoo. World Premiere. Fiction.

Ghostlight / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Kelly O’Sullivan, Director and Producer: Alex Thompson, Producers: Pierce Cravens, Chelsea Krant, Ian Keiser, Eddie Linker, Alex Wilson) — When a construction worker unexpectedly joins a local theater’s production of Romeo and Juliet, the drama onstage starts to mirror his own life. Cast: Keith Kupferer, Dolly de Leon, Katherine Mallen Kupferer, Tara Mallen. World Premiere. Fiction.

Girls State / U.S.A. (Directors and Producers: Amanda McBaine, Jesse Moss) — Teenage girls from wildly different backgrounds across Missouri navigate a week-long immersive experiment in American democracy, build a government from the ground up, and reimagine what it means to govern. World Premiere. Documentary.

Look Into My Eyes / U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Lana Wilson, Producer: Kyle Martin) — A group of New York City psychics conduct deeply intimate readings for their clients, revealing a kaleidoscope of loneliness, connection, and healing. World Premiere. Documentary.

Luther: Never Too Much / U.S.A. (Director: Dawn Porter, Producers: Trish D Chetty, Ged Doherty, Jamie Foxx, Datari Turner, Leah Smith) — Luther Vandross started his career supporting David Bowie, Roberta Flack, Bette Midler, and more. His undeniable talent earned platinum records and accolades, but he struggled to break out beyond the R&B charts. Intensely driven, he overcame personal and professional challenges to secure his place amongst the greatest vocalists in history. World Premiere. Documentary.

My Old Ass / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Megan Park, Producers: Tom Ackerley, Margot Robbie, Josey McNamara, Steven Rales) — The summer before college, bright-yet-irreverent Elliott comes face-to-face with her older self during a mushroom trip. The encounter spurs a funny and heartfelt journey of self-discovery and first love as Elliott prepares to leave her childhood home. Cast: Maisy Stella, Percy Hynes White, Maddie Ziegler, Kerrice Brooks, Aubrey Plaza. World Premiere. Fiction.

The Outrun / U.K., Germany (Director and Screenwriter: Nora Fingscheidt, Screenwriter: Amy Liptrot, Producers: Sarah Brocklehurst, Dominic Norris, Jack Lowden, Saoirse Ronan) — After living life on the edge in London, Rona attempts to come to terms with her troubled past. She returns to the wild beauty of Scotland’s Orkney Islands — where she grew up — hoping to heal. Adapted from the bestselling memoir by Amy Liptrot. Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Paapa Essiedu, Stephen Dillane, Saskia Reeves. World Premiere. Fiction.

Power / U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Yance Ford, Producers: Sweta Vohra, Jess Devaney, Netsanet Negussie) — Driven to maintain social order, policing in the United States has exploded in scope and scale over hundreds of years. Now, American policing embodies one word: power. World Premiere. Documentary.

Presence / U.S.A. (Director: Steven Soderbergh, Screenwriter: David Koepp, Producers: Julie M. Anderson, Ken Meyer) — A family moves into a suburban house and becomes convinced they’re not alone. Cast: Lucy Liu, Chris Sullivan, Callina Liang, Julia Fox, Eddy Maday, West Mulholland. World Premiere. Fiction.

Rob Peace / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Producers: Antoine Fuqua, Rebecca Hobbs, Kat Samick, Jeffrey Soros, Andrea Calderwood, Alex Kurtzman.) — Robert Peace grew up in an impoverished section of Newark and later graduated from Yale with degrees in molecular biophysics and biochemistry while on scholarship. Peace led a dual life in academia and research while also earning six figures selling marijuana. Based on Jeff Hobbs’ bestselling biography. Cast: Jay Will, Mary J. Blige, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Camila Cabello, Michael Kelly, Mare Winningham. World Premiere. Fiction. Available online for Public.

Sasquatch Sunset / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: David Zellner, Director and Producer: Nathan Zellner, Producers: Lars Knudsen, Tyler Campellone, George Rush, Jesse Eisenberg) — A year in the life of a singular family. Cast: Riley Keough, Jesse Eisenberg, Christophe Zajac-Denek, Nathan Zellner. World Premiere. Fiction.

Sue Bird: In The Clutch / U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Sarah Dowland, Producers: Emily Singer Chapman, Svetlana Zill) — In her 21-year professional career, WNBA basketball legend Sue Bird has won five Olympic gold medals and become the most successful point guard to ever play the game. Alongside her fiancée, U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe, Sue confronts her next challenge: retiring from the only life she’s ever known. World Premiere. Documentary.

Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story / U.K., U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Ian Bonhôte, Director and Screenwriter: Peter Ettedgui, Producers: Lizzie Gillett, Robert Ford) — Never-before-seen home movies and extraordinary personal archives reveal how Christopher Reeve went from unknown actor to iconic movie star as the ultimate screen superhero. He learned the true meaning of heroism as an activist after suffering a tragic accident that left him quadriplegic and dependent on a ventilator to breathe. World Premiere. Documentary. Salt Lake Opening Film

Thelma / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Josh Margolin, Producers: Zoë Worth, Chris Kaye, Nicholas Weinstock, Benjamin Simpson, Karl Spoerri, Viviana Vezzani) — When 93-year-old Thelma Post gets duped by a phone scammer pretending to be her grandson, she sets out on a treacherous quest across the city to reclaim what was taken from her. Cast: June Squibb, Fred Hechinger, Richard Roundtree, Parker Posey, Clark Gregg, Malcolm McDowell. World Premiere. Fiction. Available online for Public.

Will & Harper / U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Josh Greenbaum, Producers: Rafael Marmor, Will Ferrell, Jessica Elbaum, Christopher Leggett) — When Will Ferrell finds out his close friend of 30 years is coming out as a trans woman, the two decide to embark on a cross-country road trip to process this new stage of their relationship in an intimate portrait of friendship, transition, and America. World Premiere. Documentary.

Winner / U.S.A., Canada (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Susanna Fogel, Screenwriter: Kerry Howley, Producers: Amanda Phillips, Shivani Rawat, Julie Goldstein, Scott Budnick, Ameet Shukla) — Reality Winner is a brilliant young misfit from a Texas border town who finds her morals challenged while serving as an NSA contractor. A sarcastic, gun-lovin, vegan, yogi, and CrossFit fanatic, Reality is an unconventional whistleblower who ends up being prosecuted for exposing Russia’s hacking of the 2016 election. Cast: Emilia Jones, Connie Britton, Zach Galifianakis, Kathryn Newton, Danny Ramirez. World Premiere. Fiction.

MIDNIGHT
From horror flicks and wild comedies to chilling thrillers and works that defy any genre, these films will keep you wide awake and on the edge of your seat. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include “Infinity Pool,” “Talk to Me,” “FRESH,” “Hereditary,” “Mandy,” “Relic,” “Assassination Nation,” and “The Babadook.”

I Saw the TV Glow / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Jane Schoenbrun, Producers: Emma Stone, Dave McCary, Ali Herting, Sam Intili, Sarah Winshall) — Teenager Owen is just trying to make it through life in the suburbs when his classmate introduces him to a mysterious late-night TV show — a vision of a supernatural world beneath their own. In the pale glow of the television, Owen’s view of reality begins to crack. Cast: Justice Smith, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Ian Foreman, Helena Howard, Fred Durst, Danielle Deadwyler. World Premiere. Fiction.

In A Violent Nature / Canada (Director and Screenwriter: Chris Nash, Producers: Peter Kuplowsky, Shannon Hanmer) — The enigmatic resurrection, rampage, and retribution of an undead monster in a remote wilderness. Cast: Ry Barrett, Andrea Pavlovic, Lauren Taylor. World Premiere. Fiction.

It’s What’s Inside / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Greg Jardin, Producers: William Rosenfeld, Kate Andrews, Jason Baum, Raúl Domingo) — A pre-wedding party descends into an existential nightmare when an estranged friend shows up with a mysterious suitcase. Cast: Brittany O’Grady, James Morosini, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Gavin Leatherwood, Reina Hardesty, Nina Bloomgarden. World Premiere. Fiction.

Kidnapping Inc. / Haiti, France, Canada (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Bruno Mourral, Screenwriter and Producer: Gilbert Jr. Mirambeau, Screenwriter: Jasmuel Andri, Producers: Samuel Chauvin, Yanick Letourneau, Gaëthan Chancy) — Tasked with what appears to be a simple abduction for hire, two hapless kidnappers find out that it’s anything but and end up in the middle of a political conspiracy. Cast: Jasmuel Andri, Rolaphton Mercure, Anabel Lopez, Ashley Laraque, Gessica Geneus, Patrick Joseph. World Premiere. Fiction.

Krazy House / Netherlands (Directors and Screenwriters: Steffen Haars, Flip van der Kuil, Producer: Maarten Swart) — When Russian workers in Bernie’s house turn out to be wanted criminals, Bernie has to man up and save his ’90s sitcom family. Cast: Nick Frost, Alicia Silverstone, Jan Bijvoet, Gaite Jansen, Walt Klink, Kevin Connolly. World Premiere. Fiction. Available online for Public.

Love Lies Bleeding / U.S.A., U.K. (Director and Screenwriter: Rose Glass, Producers: Andrea Cornwell, Oliver Kassman — Reclusive gym manager Lou falls hard for Jackie, an ambitious bodybuilder headed through town to Las Vegas in pursuit of her dream. But their love ignites violence, pulling them deep into the web of Lou’s criminal family. Cast: Kristen Stewart, Katy O’Brian, Ed Harris, Dave Franco, Jena Malone, Anna Baryshnikov. World Premiere. Fiction.

The Moogai / Australia (Director and Screenwriter: Jon Bell, Producers: Kristina Ceyton, Samantha Jennings, Mitchell Stanley) — A young Aboriginal couple bring home their second baby. What should be a joyous time takes a sinister turn as the mother starts seeing a malevolent spirit she is convinced is trying to take her baby. Cast: Shari Sebbens, Meyne Wyatt, Tessa Rose, Jahdeana Mary, Clarence Ryan, Bella Heathcote. World Premiere. Fiction.

Your Monster / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Caroline Lindy, Producers: Kayla Foster, Shannon Reilly, Melanie Donkers, Kira Carstensen) — After her life falls apart, soft-spoken actress Laura Franco finds her voice again when she meets a terrifying, yet weirdly charming, monster living in her closet. Cast: Melissa Barrera, Tommy Dewey, Meghann Fahy, Edmund Donovan, Kayla Foster. World Premiere. Fiction.

EPISODIC
Our Episodic section was created specifically for bold stories told in multiple episodes, with an emphasis on independent perspectives and innovative storytelling. Past projects that have premiered within this category include “Willie Nelson and Family,” “OJ: Made in America,” “Wild Wild Country,” “The Jinx,” “Bring on the Dancing Horses,” “Work in Progress,” “State of the Union,” “Gentefied,” “Wu Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men,” and “Quarter Life Poetry.”

Better Angels: The Gospel According To Tammy Faye / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Dana Adam Shapiro, Executive Producers: Elton John, David Furnish, Danny Gabai, Alexander Moore, Hellen Rollins, Peter Rollins, Screenwriter: Helen Rollins) — As told by her family, friends, and enemies, the meteoric rise, scandalous fall, and unlikely resurrection of Tammy Faye, the “First Lady of the Electric Church,” poses an increasingly relevant question: How did we get the story so wrong? World Premiere. Documentary. Four-part limited series, screening parts one and two.

Conbody VS Everybody / U.S.A. (Director and Executive Producer: Debra Granik, Executive Producers: Anne Rosellini, Victoria Stewart, Jeff Skoll, Diane Weyermann, Joslyn Barnes, Jonathan Scheuer) — Taking place over eight years, Coss Marte builds ConBody, a gym inspired by workouts he developed while in prison. Committed to employing trainers who were formerly incarcerated, Coss creates a community fighting to break the cycle of recidivism while navigating society’s many obstacles to reentry. World Premiere. Documentary. Six-part limited series, screening two episodes. Available online for Public.

God Save Texas / U.S.A. — Three directors offer their unique and personal perspectives on their home state of Texas, creating vivid portraits of a state that mirrors the United States’ past, present, and future. Inspired by the book God Save Texas: A Journey Into the Soul of the Lone Star State by Lawrence Wright. World Premiere. Documentary. Anthology series.

God Save Texas: Hometown Prison (Director and Executive Producer: Richard Linklater, Executive Producers: Lawrence Wright, Alex Gibney, Peter Berg, Michael Lombardo, Elizabeth Rogers) — Huntsville, Texas, known as “Prison City,” sits at the heart of an expansive prison industrial complex. Yet, for many residents, these prisons exist in another realm, disconnected from their lives. Richard Linklater revisits his hometown to explore its diverse inhabitants, painting a vibrant portrait that encapsulates the essence of Texas.

God Save Texas: The Price of Oil (Director: Alex Stapleton, Executive Producers: Lawrence Wright, Alex Gibney, Richard Linklater, Peter Berg, Michael Lombardo, Stacey Offman) – As the world’s energy capital, Houston is a city that manufactures both its prominence and demise. Alex Stapleton explores the industry’s impact on her family, who arrived as enslaved people in the 1830’s, built thriving communities, and now must cope with the human costs of Texas’ biggest money-maker.

God Save Texas: La Frontera (Director: Iliana Sosa, Executive Producers: Lawrence Wright, Alex Gibney, Richard Linklater, Peter Berg, Michael Lombardo, Richard Perello) — Iliana Sosa examines how “nepantla,” an embrace of in-betweenness, characterizes relations to both her Mexican heritage and her hometown of El Paso, Texas. An exploration revealing how the city’s humanity and unique hybridity catalyzed unity, nurturing healing in the aftermath of a devastating mass shooting in 2019.

LOLLA: THE STORY OF LOLLAPALOOZA / U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Michael John Warren, Producers: James Lee Hernandez, Brian Lazarte, Brian Levy, Mat Whittington, Daniel Gibbs) — In the summer of ’91, the Lollapalooza music festival was born. What started as a farewell tour for the band Jane’s Addiction rose from the underground to launch a cultural movement and change music forever. World Premiere. Documentary. Three-part limited series, screening parts one and two. Available online for Public.

The Synanon Fix / U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Rory Kennedy, Producer and Screenwriter: Mark Bailey, Producers: Alexandra Korba, Keven McAlester, Screenwriter: Jeff Swimmer) — Exploring the rise and fall of the Synanon organization — through the eyes of the members who lived it — from its early days as a groundbreaking drug rehabilitation program to its later descent into what many consider a cult. World Premiere. Documentary. Four-part series, screening parts one and two.

Episodic Pilot Showcase:

Me/We / U.S.A. (Director and Executive Producer: Nzingha Stewart, Executive Producers and Screenwriters: Rob McElhenney, Keyonna Taylor, Executive Producers: Jackie Cohn, Nick Frenkel, Jermaine Johnson) — Amaria “Yaya” Jones, an argumentative teenager with a passion for dance, must plead her case to her overprotective brother in hopes of winning his blessing to walk to school with her first crush. Yaya’s story is a celebration of life. Cast: Camryn Jones, Victor Musoni, Anji White, Travis Wolfe Jr., Nadirah Bost, Mike Sampson. World Premiere. Fiction.

La Mesías / Spain (Directors, Screenwriters, and Executive Producers: Javier Calvo, Javier Ambrossi, Executive Producers: Domingo Corral, Susana Herreras, Fran Araújo) — Siblings Enric and Irene have a dark childhood, unbearable memories, and a toxic relationship with their mother. They live outside their family sect and are now far from the reach of their mother, yet not completely free. Cast: Roger Casamajor, Macarena García, Lofla Dueñas, Carmen Machi, Ana Rujas, Albert Pla, Amaia, Biel Rossell, Cecilia Roth. International Premiere. Fiction.

Penelope / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Executive Producer: Mel Eslyn, Screenwriter and Executive Producer: Mark Duplass, Executive Producers: Jay Duplass, Shuli Harel) — Feeling out of place in modern society, a 16-year-old is drawn into the unknown wilderness, where she begins forming a new life for herself. Cast: Megan Stott, Austin Abrams. World Premiere. Fiction.

SPOTLIGHT
The Spotlight program is a tribute to the cinema we love, presenting films that have played throughout the world. Films that have played in this category in recent years include “Joyland,” “The Worst Person in the World,” “The Biggest Little Farm,” “Birds of Passage,” “The Rider,” “Ida,” and “The Lobster.” Spotlight is presented by Audible.

àma Gloria / France (Director and Screenwriter: Marie Amachoukeli, Producer: Bénédicte Couvreur) — Six-year-old Cléo loves her nanny, Gloria, more than anything. When Gloria must return to Cape Verde to care for her own children, the two must make the most of their last summer together. Cast: Louise Mauroy-Panzani, Ilça Moreno Zego, Abnara Gomes Varela, Fredy Gomes Tavares, Arnaud Rebotini, Domingos Borges Almeida. U.S. Premiere. Fiction.

Hit Man / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Richard Linklater, Producer and Screenwriter: Glen Powell, Producers: Mike Blizzard, Jason Bateman, Michael Costigan) — A strait-laced professor discovers his hidden talent as a fake hit man. He meets his match in a client who steals his heart and ignites a powder keg of deception, delight, and mixed-up identities. Inspired by an unbelievable true story. Cast: Glen Powell, Adria Arjona, Austin Amelio, Retta, Sanjay Rao. Fiction.

How to Have Sex / U.K. (Director and Screenwriter: Molly Manning Walker, Producers: Ivana MacKinnon, Emily Leo, Konstantinos Kontovrakis) — Three British teenage girls go on a rite-of-passage holiday, drinking, clubbing, and hooking up in what should be the best summer of their lives. As they dance their way across the sun-drenched streets of Malia, they find themselves navigating the complexities of sex, consent, and self-discovery. Cast: Mia McKenna-Bruce, Samuel Bottomley, Shaun Thomas, Lara Peake, Enva Lewis, Laura Ambler. U.S. Premiere. Fiction.

The Mother of All Lies / Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar (Director and Producer: Asmae El Moudir) — On a handmade set re-creating her Casablanca neighborhood, a young Moroccan filmmaker enlists family and friends to help unearth the troubling lies built into her childhood. Documentary. Available online for Public.

FAMILY MATINEE
Geared towards our youngest independent-film fans, this section of the Festival is programmed for children and adolescents. Films that have played in this category in recent years include “Blueback,” “The Elephant Queen,” “Science Fair,” “My Life as a Zucchini,” “The Eagle Huntress,” and “Shaun the Sheep.”

Out of My Mind / U.S.A. (Director: Amber Sealey, Screenwriter: Daniel Stiepleman, Producers: Peter Saraf, Robert Kessel, Dan Angel, Michael B. Clark) — Melody Brooks is navigating sixth grade as a nonverbal wheelchair user who has cerebral palsy. With the help of some assistive technology and her devoted, exuberant allies, Melody shows that what she has to say is more important than how she says it. Cast: Phoebe-Rae Taylor, Rosemarie DeWitt, Luke Kirby, Michael Chernus, Courtney Taylor, Judith Light. World Premiere. Fiction.

10 Lives / U.K. (Director and Screenwriter: Christopher Jenkins, Screenwriters: Karen Wengrod, Ken Cinnamon, Producers: Guy Collins, Sean Feeney, Yann Zenou, Adrian Politowski, Martin Metz) — A pampered cat takes for granted the lucky hand he has been dealt after he is rescued and loved by Rose, a kind-hearted and passionate student. When he loses his ninth life, fate steps in to set him on a transformative journey. Cast: Mo Gilligan, Simone Ashley, Sophie Okonedo, Dylan Llewellyn, Zayn Malik, Bill Nighy. World Premiere. Fiction.

SPECIAL SCREENINGS
One-of-a-kind moments highlight new independent works that add to the unique Festival experience.

War Game / U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Jesse Moss, Director: Tony Gerber, Producers: Todd Lubin, Jack Turner, Mark DiCristofaro, Jessica Grimshaw, Nick Shumaker) — A bipartisan group of U.S. defense, intelligence, and elected policymakers spanning five presidential administrations participate in an unscripted role-play exercise in which they confront a political coup backed by rogue members of the U.S. military, in the wake of a contested presidential election. World Premiere. Documentary.

NEW FRONTIER
New Frontier champions artists practicing at the crossroads of film, art, performance, and new media technology. This year, the section focuses on the powerful rise of AI, the role of artists on the rapidly changing landscape of technologies, and empowering narrative agency and sustainable creative practice through design.

Being (the Digital Griot) / U.S.A. (Lead Artist: Rashaad Newsome) — In this innovative participatory experience, Being, an artificial intelligence digital griot, asks the audience to engage in unifying and challenging discussions. It features a soundscape and movement informed by a dataset from Black communities, theorists, poets, and activists, including bell hooks, Paulo Freire, Dazié Grego-Sykes, and Cornel West.

Eno / U.S.A., U.K. (Director: Gary Hustwit) — Visionary musician and artist Brian Eno — known for producing David Bowie, U2, Talking Heads, among many others; pioneering the genre of ambient music; and releasing over 40 solo and collaboration albums — reveals his creative processes in this groundbreaking generative documentary: a film that’s different every time it’s shown. World Premiere.

U.S. FICTION SHORT FILMS
Bay of Herons
/ U.S.A. (Director: Jared James Lank) — Calling on the strength of his ancestors, a young Mi’kmaq man reflects on the pain of bearing witness to the destruction of his homelands. Available online for Public.

Boi de Conchas (The Shell Covered Ox)
/ U.S.A., Brazil (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Daniel Barosa, Producers: Nikolas Maciel, Bruno Alfano) — While mourning her missing sister, Rayane balances helping her fisherman father and practicing for the school’s music festival — provided she doesn’t become an ox first, a misfortune assailing several teenagers in the area. Cast: Bebé Salvego, Daniela Dams, Walter Balthazar, Bianca Melo, Giulia Sposito, Kaique Martins De Paula, Kyuja Ohanna, Maitê Dias, Tainara Corrêa, and Thiago Klein. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Border Hopper
/ U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Nico Casavecchia, Screenwriter: Mercedes Arturo, Producers: Blaine Morris, Robin Spears, Gabriela Ortega) — When a Latinx filmmaker is offered a dream job abroad, she discovers a supernatural way to navigate the U.S. immigration system and get the coveted travel permit she needs. But what seems like a magic solution soon shows unexpected consequences. Cast: Gabriela Ortega, Santiago Reyes MacAllister. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

BUST
/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Angalis Field, Screenwriters: Angalis Field, Eliza Barry Callahan, Producer: Drake Burnette) — A trans cop with the New York City Police Department goes undercover to make a drug bust. Cast: Lux Pascal, Nicky DeMarie. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Didn’t Think I’d See You Here
/ U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Dylan Guerra, Producers: Yaron Lotan, Laura Dupper) — Rory thinks there’s a ghost haunting his shower and decides to investigate its origin. But when he goes to a party and meets a romantic interest, his spectral mystery begins to unravel. Cast: Yaron Lotan, Holly Settoon, Marquis Rodriguez, Jose Useche. Available online for Public.

Dream Creep
/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Carlos A.F. Lopez, Producers: Megan Leonard, Bobby McHugh, Jonathan Caso, Zeus Kontoyannis) — A couple awakens in the night to sounds emanating from an unlikely orifice. Cast: Ian Edlund, Sidney Jayne Hunt. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Flail
/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Ben Gauthier, Screenwriter: Allie Levitan, Producers: Jack Forbes, Maddie Thomas) — It’s her boss’s birthday, and Allie is trying as hard as she can. Cast: Allie Levitan, David Brown, Natalie Rotter-Laitman, Isabella Gerasole, Krista Levitan. Available online for Public.

Grace
/ U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Natalie Jasmine Harris, Producers: Samiyah Wardlaw, Julia Kennelly, Latavia Young, Morgan B. Powell) — Sixteen-year-old Grace prepares for her baptism in the rural 1950s South. When she learns she must repent before the ritual, she begins to question the budding romantic feelings she has toward her best friend, Louise. Cast: Jordan Rayanna Wells, Alexis Cofield, Mikayla LaShae Bartholomew, C L Simpson, JeVon Blackwell. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

guts
/ U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Margaux Susi, Screenwriter: Jan Rosenberg, Producers: Grayson Propst, Angela Giarratana) — Desperate for help, a woman in recovery asks an unlikely stranger on a dinner date. Cast: Kate Burton, Angela Giarratana. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

The Heart
/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Malia Ann, Producer: Ayesha Nadarajah) — A lonely man grieves the death of his mother after an argument about groceries and an odd request in her will.Cast: Tunde Adebimpe, LaTonya Borsay. Available online for Public.

The Looming
/ U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Masha Ko, Producers: Caroline Gluck, Andrey Nikolaev, Kolten Horner) — When a virtual home assistant speaker, Luna, picks up the strange noise Chester has heard in his house, he realizes that it may not be a symptom of dementia.Cast: Joseph Lopez, Kolten Horner, Brianne Buishas, Alyssa Nicole. Available online for Public.

The Looming Cloud
/ U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Matthew Tyler, Producer: Connie Shi) — Three siblings return home after their mother’s death and face their most daunting task: figuring out how to post about it on social media. Cast: Mitzi Akaha, Jason Amerling, Connie Shi. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

The Lost Season
/ U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Kelly Sears) — Winter is over. Continue watching. Cast: Skinner Myers. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Pasture Prime / U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Diffan Sina Norman, Screenwriter and Producer: Carolyn Purnell) — A widow falls for a younger man she meets at the Cowboy Church. Cast: Gail Cronauer, Patrick Kirton, Chris Alan Evans, Susan Kirton, Joshua Ogden-Davis. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Pathological
/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Alison Rich, Producers: Bridgett Greenberg, Ingrid Haas, Avtar Khalsa, Peter Principato, Todd Ruhnau) — A woman who’s a pathological liar wakes up one day to discover her lies have become true. Cast: Alison Rich, Meaghan Rath, Luke Cook, Adam Lustick, Heather Pasternak, George Kareman. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

The Rainbow Bridge
/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Dimitri Simakis, Producers: Suki-Rose, Michael Scott) — Tina and her elderly dog MeeMoo discover a clinic promising human-to-pet communication. However, two sinister doctors uncover a bond between them so strong, it transcends time and space. They might be the key to something greater, but at what cost? Cast: Thu Tran, Heather Lawless, James Urbaniak, David Brown, Fat Tony. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Say Hi After You Die
/ U.S.A. (Director: Kate Jean Hollowell, Screenwriters: Kate Jean Hollowell, Ruby Caster, Producer: Miranda Kahn) — A grieving woman believes her deceased best friend has come back to visit her… as a port-a-potty. Cast: Kate Jean Hollowell, Ruby Caster, George Basil. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

SHÉ (SNAKE)
/ U.S.A., U.K. (Director and Screenwriter: Renee Zhan, Producer: Jesse Romain) —Fei is the top violinist in her elite youth orchestra. When another Chinese violinist arrives to challenge her place, Fei’s internal demons take external form. They whisper to her, urging her to be the best, no matter the cost. Cast: Xiaonan Wang, Alina Lew, Simon Paisley Day, Elizabeth Chan, Leslie Ching, Grace Fan. U.S. Premiere. Available online for Public.

Thirstygirl
/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Alexandra Qin, Producers: Brooke Goldman, Alexandra Qin) — On a road trip with her younger sister, Charlie struggles to hide a secret sex addiction. Cast: Samantha Ahn, Claire Dunn. Available online for Public.

INTERNATIONAL FICTION SHORT FILMS
Basri & Salma in a Never-Ending Comedy
/ Indonesia (Director and Screenwriter: Khozy Rizal, Producers: John Badalu, Sue Turley) — A married couple who own an Odong-Odong spend their days entertaining other people’s children. Between relatives, self-doubt, and an explosive confrontation, they uncover why they have not been blessed with a child. Cast: Arham Rizky Saputra, Rezky Chik, Hj. Sugiati, Alghifari Jasin, Alif Anggara, Sri Eka Putri. Available online for Public.

Bold Eagle
/ Philippines (Director and Screenwriter: Whammy Alcazaren, Producer: Alemberg Ang) — Trapped at home with hallucinogenic drugs and his talking cat, an “alter” anonymously performs lascivious acts on the Internet, seeking refuge in the strong arms of strange men, hoping to masturbate his way to true happiness. Cast: Brian, Monty, Gio Gahol, Ricky Davao.

Bye Bye, Bowser
/ Austria (Director: Jasmin Baumgartner, Screenwriter: Lorenz Uhl, Producer: Dominic Spitaler) — Luna rebels against the indifference of her artsy friends by writing a punk song about Laugo, the construction worker from across the street. Will the clashing worlds of affluent neglect and working life lead to the collapse of their romance? Cast: Luna Jordan, Laurence Hadschieff. North American Premiere. Available online for Public.

Dreams like paper boats
/ Haiti (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Samuel Frantz Suffren) — Edouard and his daughter live with a cassette received from his wife in the United States, a long time ago. After years of absence, what can we expect from a distant love? Cast: Kenny Laguerre, Zaraina Ruth-Amma Suffren, Clorette Jacinthe. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Essex Girls
/ U.K. (Director: Yero Timi-Biu, Screenwriter: Busayo Ige, Producers: Angela Moneke, Simon Hatton) — After an incident at her high school pulls her into the orbit of the only other Black girl in her year, “Essex Girl” Bisola is plunged into a journey to discover a whole new side of herself. Cast: Busayo Ige, Corinna Brown, Maisie Smith, Adrianna Bertola, Krysstina Frempong, Rebecca Dike. Available online for Public.

Lea Tupu’anga / Mother Tongue
/ New Zealand (Director: Vea Mafile’o, Screenwriter: Luciane Buchanan, Producers: Alex Lovell, Eldon Booth) — A young speech therapist disconnected from her Tongan heritage lies about her Tongan language skills to get a job. Out of her depth, she must find a way to communicate or risk her patient’s life. Cast: Luciane Buchanan, Albert Rounds, Mikey Falesiu, Michael Koloi, Elizabeth Thomson. World Premiere.

The Masterpiece
/ Spain (Director and Producer: Alex Lora Cercos, Screenwriter and Producer: Lluis Quilez, Screenwriter: Alfonso Amador, Producers: Sandra Travé, Josemari Martínez, Néstor López) — Leo and Diana, a wealthy couple, meet Salif and Yousef, two scrap dealers, at a recycle center. Offering them more junk, Diana invites them to their mansion, but the immigrants actually might be the ones with something she wants. Cast: Daniel Grao, Babou Cham, Melina Matthews, Adam Nourou, Guido Grao. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Phoebe
/ Greece, Cyprus (Director and Screenwriter: Vaggelio Soumeli, Producers: Janine Teerling, Marios Piperides, Romana Lobach, Paul Typaldos) — Having been recently discharged from rehab, 26-year-old Phoebe takes her young son on a road trip that will determine their future. Cast: Athina Pavlou Benazi, Nikolas Drosopoulos, Orestis Raissis. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Pisko the Crab Child is in Love
/ Japan (Director and Screenwriter: Makoto Nagahisa, Producer: Yasuo Suzuki) — Pisko’s father is a crab while her mother is human. Pisko falls in love with her teacher but is heartbroken when he leaves her because she is half-crab. Pisko finally finds love and companionship with her friend Kubokayo. Cast: Aiko Kano, Saya, Maki Fukuda, Kanta Sato. U.S. Premiere. Available online for Public.

Shalal
/ Iran (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Amir Ali Sisipour, Producer: Rostam Sisipour) — Mehran and his mother, Ziba, don’t have shadows, so they use a black fur to catch the shadows of people and drink them. One day, Mehran decides to catch someone’s shadow alone. Cast: Masomeh Emamai, Amir Reza Sisipour, Javad Ansari, Fataneh Imani. Available online for Public.

The Stag
/ Taiwan (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: An Chu, Producer: Tzu-Yuan Wang) — At a deer farm in Changhua County, a middle-aged man is asked to cut off a stag’s antlers in front of his two kids. Cast: Yung-He Chen, Wei-Jen Chen, Si-Kai Chen. International Premiere. Available online for Public.

Terra Mater
/ Rwanda (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Kantarama Gahigiri) — Technology and waste in our lands, systems, and bones. Here she stands, confidently, like a goddess surrounded by endless mountains of plastic, stench, and rare earths. She cannot help but wonder, where is the space for healing? Cast: Cheryl Isheja. Available online for Public.

Viaje de Negocios
/ Mexico (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Gerardo Coello Escalante, Producers: Amandine Thomas, Nahim Abuxapqui, Rodrigo Solano) — Daniel arrives at school wearing brand-new sneakers from America, gifted to him by his father. When he sees another boy wearing the same sneakers, he begins to suspect that their shoes are the key to a terrible secret. Cast: Rodrigo Mota, Pablo Torres, Gerardo Saldaña, Lila Urbina. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Voice Ever
/ France (Directors and Screenwriters: Céline Perreard, Pauline Archange, Producer: Anne Luthaud) — Over the course of an evening, Romane, Sarah, Emmanuel, and Boris connect on Voice Ever, a new dating app where you choose your date based on their voice. Their weaknesses and vulnerabilities will surface in their desire to meet. Cast: Alexandra Desloires, Kelly Bellacci, Vincent Pasdermadjian, Xavier Lacaille, Maya Raad, Edith Baldy. North American Premiere. Available online for Public.

ANIMATION SHORT FILMS
27
/ France, Hungary (Director and Screenwriter: Flóra Anna Buda, Producers: Emmanuel-Alain Raynal, Pierre Baussaron, Gábor Osváth, Péter Benjámin Lukács) — Alice is 27 years old today. Even though she is suffocating a bit, she still lives with her parents and tends to live in her dreams to escape her dreary everyday life. Available online for Public.

Baigal Nuur – Lake Baikal
/ Canada, Germany (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Alisi Telengut) — The formation of Lake Baikal in Siberia is reimagined, featuring the voice of a Buryat woman who can still recall some words in her endangered Buryat language (a Mongolian dialect). U.S. Premiere.

The Bleacher
/ U.S.A. (Directors and Screenwriters: Nicole Daddona, Adam Wilder, Producer: Zeus Kontoyannis) — The disappearance of her sock at a local laundromat sends a fragile Rita over the edge. Hellbent on finding it, she searches deep and gets sucked into a washing machine, entering an otherworldly cycle from which she may never escape. Cast: Kate Micucci, Ben Sinclair, Sky Elobar.World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Bug Diner
/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Phoebe Jane Hart) — A dissatisfied marriage, a secret crush, and workplace fantasies come to a head in a diner run by a mole with a hot ass. Cast: Jacob Levy, Phoebe Hart. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Dona Beatriz Ñsîmba Vita
/ Brazil (Director and Screenwriter: Catapreta, Producer: Miriam Rolim) — Kimpa Vita fulfills the prophetic mission of leading her people in a racist and unequal society. Set in contemporary Brazil and inspired by the true story of Kimpa Vita, a 17th-century Congolese religious leader. North American Premiere. Available online for Public.

Drago
/ U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Daniel Zvereff) — A young boy’s dream of becoming a doctor is challenged when war forces him and his mother to flee their village and start a new life in New York City. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Larry
/ U.S.A. (Directors: Takeshi Murata, Christopher Rutledge, Screenwriter: Takeshi Murata) — A dog loses its grasp of shape and time while balling like Shaq. Available online for Public.

Martyr’s Guidebook
/ Poland (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Maks Rzontkowski) — Tony is the ultimate good guy, sometimes to a fault. From nabbing the smallest slice of cake in grade school to guiding lost strangers in the city, his kindness knows no bounds. He also lives with an angel. Cast: Maks Rzontkowski, Julia Woronowicz, Jaś Dąbrówka. International Premiere. Available online for Public.

Matta and Matto
/ Switzerland (Directors and Screenwriters: Bianca Caderas, Kerstin Zemp, Producer: Joder von Rotz) — In a time when all interpersonal closeness is forbidden, the hourly hotel Vaip offers wondrous rooms where guests snuggle up to devices built with great skill and let themselves fall into the perfect illusion of human touch. Cast: Bianca Caderas, Kerstin Zemp, Etienne Mory, Amélie Cochet, Danay Gijzen, Martine Ulmer. North American Premiere. Available online for Public.

Miisufy
/ Estonia (Director: Liisi Grünberg, Screenwriter and Producer: Aurelia Aasa) — Digital pet cat Miisu gets tired of her owner and starts to revolt. Inspired by Tamagotchi — observing the world through the eyes of digital pets. Cast: Maria Ehrenberg. Available online for Public.

NONFICTION SHORT FILMS
14 Paintings
/ China (Director and Producer: Dongnan Chen, Producers: Jiaqing Lin, Chongjun Li, Jisong Li, Heying Chen) — A field study of 14 paintings from China’s Dafen village, as the government rebrands the copy-painting district as a hub for original art. North American Premiere. Available online for Public.

ALOK
/ U.S.A. (Director: Alex Hedison) — A compelling portrait of Alok Vaid-Menon, acclaimed nonbinary author, poet, comedian, and public speaker. Executive-produced by Jodie Foster. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Bob’s Funeral
/ U.S.A (Director, Screenwriter, Animator, and Producer: Jack Dunphy) — Searching for the root of generational trauma, the director sneaks a camera into his estranged grandfather’s funeral. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Ekbeh
/ U.S.A. (Director: Mariah Eli Hernandez-Fitch) — While learning to make gumbo, the creator shares personal stories about their grandparents as a way to honor and preserve their Indigenous history and life.  Available online for Public.

Merman
/ U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Sterling Hampton IV, Producer: Monica Lawless) — A 58-year-old Black Queer man speaks the truth about his life as an emergency nurse, a leather enthusiast, husband, and civil rights advocate. Available online for Public.

Object 817
/ Belgium (Director and Screenwriter: Olga Lucovnicova, Producers: Frederik Nicolai, Annabel Verbeke) — A poetic journey to the heart of the Ural, where the discovery of an alien creature uncovers a haunting secret. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Salone Love
/ U.S.A., U.K., Sierra Leone (Director: Tajana Tokyo, Producers: Tabs Breese, India Wadsworth) — A scrapbook of opinions and advice about love in Sierra Leone. Available online for Public.

The Smallest Power
/ Iran (Director and Producer: Andy Sarjahani, Producer: Daniel Lombroso) — During the Woman, Life, Freedom uprising in Iran, in the aftermath of the murder of Jina Mahsa Amini, a medical resident finds her voice when the chaos in the streets comes to her hospital floor. Available online for Public.

To Be Invisible
/ U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Myah Overstreet) — Every week for the past three years, Alexis and Kellie have stood outside Durham County’s child welfare agency, demanding the return of their children. Together, they embark on a journey to bring their children home. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

Winding Path
/ U.S.A. (Directors: Alexandra Lazarowich, Ross Kauffman, Producer: Robin Honan) — Eastern Shoshone MD-PhD student Jenna Murray spent summers on the Wind River Indian Reservation helping her grandpa anyway she could. When he suddenly dies, she must find a way to heal before realizing her dream of a life in medicine. World Premiere. Available online for Public.

40TH EDITION CELEBRATION SCREENINGS & EVENTS
Rediscover classic works of independent cinema as the Sundance Film Festival celebrates its 40th edition and the breadth, diversity, artistic resonance, and cultural impact of four decades of independent storytelling. The 40th Edition Celebration Screenings & Events section brings archival screenings back into focus as part of the Sundance Film Festival for audiences to explore and rediscover the films that have shaped the heritage of both Sundance Institute and independent storytelling. The program is rounded out with special events and conversations with artists across the decades. 

Napoleon Dynamite
/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Jared Hess, Producers: Sean Covel, Chris Wyatt, Screenwriter: Jerusha Hess) — From rural Preston, Idaho, comes Napoleon Dynamite, a new kind of hero with moon boots and some sweet moves. When his friend Pedro decides to run for class president, Napoleon finds goals outside of being a star milk-tasting judge to help him triumph over adversity. Cast: Jon Heder, Aaron Ruell, Jon Gries, Efren Ramirez, Haylie Duff, Tina Majorino, Diedrich Bader.

Since its premiere at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Dramatic Competition almost 20 years ago, Napoleon Dynamite’s quirky humor and offbeat characters have sustained a lasting impact on pop culture, proliferating endless references in popular media and a steadfast following. The film’s brand-new restoration will debut at the upcoming Festival. The original 35mm cut negative was digitally scanned at a 4K resolution by Disney and Searchlight Pictures. All color and restoration work was also performed at 4K resolution, which was approved by the director, Jared Hess.

“Returning to Sundance with Napoleon Dynamite feels like a homecoming. When it premiered at the festival 20 years ago, we never anticipated the incredible reaction it would receive,” said Napoleon Dynamite writer-director Jared Hess. “It’s always been a very personal film for Jerusha and me, so the love affair it’s had with audiences all these years continues to delight us. To commemorate its 20th anniversary, we are thrilled to screen this newly restored version of Napoleon Dynamite. The restoration team did an amazing job bringing to life new details from the original film’s negative that we’d never seen before. We can’t wait to share it!”

  • Park City screening on Wednesday, January 24 at 7:00 p.m. followed by a conversation with screenwriter Jerusha Hess, actor Jon Heder, and more.

The Babadook / Australia (Director and Screenwriter: Jennifer Kent, Producers: Kristina Ceyton, Kristian Moliere) — A single mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son’s fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her. Cast: Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall, Hayley McElhinney, Barbara West, Ben Winspear, Noah Wiseman.

The Babadook premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival in the Midnight section, where it was acquired by IFC Midnight. The film’s skillful exploration of motherhood and grief, coupled with its innovative approach to the psychological horror genre, earned The Babadook widespread critical acclaim and cemented a loyal following.  

“I definitely have some distance on Babadook now, after ten years. The film feels like an old friend, one that changed my life in many ways,” said The Babadook director Jennifer Kent. “Sundance was such a huge part of that change. I look forward to ‘coming home’ to the place where it all began, and to the festival that has given me and ‘Mister B’ so much.”

  • Park City screening on Thursday, January 25 at 10:30 p.m. followed by a conversation with director Jennifer Kent and more.


Mississippi Masala
/ U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Mira Nair, Producer: Michael Nozik, Screenwriter: Sooni Taraporevala) — During 1972 in Greenwood, Mississippi, Mina, whose Indian family was forced to flee Uganda, meets Demetrius, a carpet cleaner in Indian-owned Patel Motels. Their passionate romance exposes the rifts and commonalities between the Indian and Black communities. Cast: Sarita Choudhury, Charles S. Dutton, Joe Seneca, Roshan Seth, Sharmila Tagore, Denzel Washington.

With an interracial relationship at its center, and Indian American filmmaker Mira Nair at its helm, Mississippi Masala explored the intersecting issues of racism, colorism, and displacement with extraordinary nuance at a time when these types of stories were scarce. The film screened in the 1992 Sundance Film Festival at the Opening Night in Park City. Mississippi Masala’s 4K digital restoration, which will screen at the upcoming Festival, was undertaken by Janus Film and the Criterion Collection and supervised by director Mira Nair and cinematographer Ed Lachman.

“Welcome to black and brown skins in the same frame, to my 30-year-old but still radical film,Mississippi Masala! We gathered movie stars from all across the world to tell this tale of Idi Amin’s expulsion of Asians from Uganda in 1972 and their prickly embrace into the Mississippi Delta. This was a movie that went missing, until I tracked the only print available to a music store in Nashville, Tennessee. The owner turned out to be a major fan and sold me back the rights of the film for one dollar,” said director Mira Nair. “What you’re about to see is a beautiful 4K restoration undertaken by Criterion and supervised by legendary cinematographer Ed Lachman and myself.”

  • Park City screening on Wednesday, January 24 at 3:15 p.m. followed by a conversation with director Mira Nair and more.


Go Fish
/ U.S.A. (Director, Producer, and Screenwriter: Rose Troche, Screenwriter: Guinevere Turner) — Max is a young woman looking for romance. After a failed date, she discovers that some of life’s best surprises come when you don’t judge a book by its cover. Cast: V.S. Brodie, T. Wendy McMillan, Migdalia Melendez, Anastasia Sharp, Guinevere Turner.

Despite almost three decades of queer storytelling that have come since its premiere at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Dramatic Competition, Go Fish remains just as resonant today. A pioneering work in lesbian cinema, the film helped pave the way for more authentic portrayals of LGBTQ+ characters and stories. Go Fish was digitally restored by the Academy Film Archive and UCLA Film & Television Archive in conjunction with Sundance Institute in 4K from the original 16mm A/B camera negatives and 35mm magnetic soundtrack. The restoration was funded by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Amazon MGM Studios, Frameline, Sundance Institute, and UCLA Film & Television Archive. To address the specific preservation risks posed to independent film, Sundance Institute partnered with the UCLA Film & Television Archive in 1997 to form the Sundance Institute Collection at UCLA and preserve independent films supported by the Institute.

“I am so honored that these organizations have come together to restore Go Fish on the eve of its 30th anniversary,” said Go Fish director, writer, and producer Rose Troche. “The Sundance Film Festival helped launch Go Fish into the zeitgeist of Queer culture and I will be forever grateful. This restoration will allow Go Fish to live on for a new generation.”

  • Park City screening on Wednesday, January 24 at 12:00 p.m. followed by a conversation with director Rose Troche, producer John Pierson, and more.


The Times of Harvey Milk
/ U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Rob Epstein, Producer: Richard Schmiechen) — Documenting Harvey Milk’s rise from neighborhood activist to a symbol of gay political achievement, followed by his assassination at San Francisco’s City Hall and the subsequent Dan White trial and aftermath.

By memorializing the remarkable life and political career of LGBTQ+ advocate Harvey Milk, The Times of Harvey Milk played a pivotal role in influencing public opinion and discourse on gay rights. The documentary received widespread acclaim, indicated by its 1985 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. It also received the Special Jury Prize (Documentary) at Sundance’s very first festival in 1985, where it screened in the U.S. Documentary Competition. The film’s digital restoration, which will screen at the upcoming Festival, was completed by Janus Films and the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

“Back in 1985, when The Times of Harvey Milk screened at the first Sundance Film Festival, Frederick Wiseman, D.A. Pennebacker, and Barbara Kopple were on the jury,” said The Times of Harvey Milk director and producer Robert Epstein. “Being in the Festival was a reward in itself, but receiving a special jury award from these legends was a young filmmaker’s dream come true. Sundance has been an important part of my life and career ever since. How great to be returning with The Times of Harvey Milk as part of the 40th edition celebration.”

  • Park City screening on Thursday, January 25 at 12:15 p.m. followed by a conversation with director Robert Epstein and more.


DIG! XX
/ U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Ondi Timoner, Producer: David Timoner) — Looking at the collision of art and commerce through the eyes of two dueling rock bands — The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre — over the past 27 years. DIG! XX is the 20th anniversary extended edition of the rock documentary DIG!, which adds new narration by The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Joel Gion and features 35+ minutes of never-before-seen footage.

DIG! premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Documentary Competition, where it ultimately won the Grand Jury Prize in the documentary category. DIG! XX, which will premiere at the upcoming Festival, is not only a digitally enhanced, remixed, and remastered version of DIG!, but also a special 20th anniversary new edit of the film culled from 2,500 hours of footage, shot over seven years, and brought to you by the original sibling team, Ondi & David Timoner.

“Twenty years ago, we had 2,500 hours of footage and a five-hour cut, so a lot of really great stuff hit the cutting room floor,” said DIG! XX director and producer Ondi Timoner. “A lot of those tapes are over a quarter-century old, so if we wanted to share more of this crazy story, it was now or never. We added an additional 35 minutes of carefully selected gems and a view inside The Brian Jonestown Massacre through a new narration by Joel Gion, the band’s tambourine player, which counterbalances the original narration by The Dandy Warhols’ frontman, Courtney Taylor. Now fans can watch the story through the eyes of both bands and follow them through to today, while reflecting back on DIG!’s impact on them and our culture.”

  • Park City screening on Tuesday, January 23 at 8:30 p.m. followed by a conversation with director Ondi Timoner, producer David Timoner, and The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Joel Gion.


Pariah
/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Dee Rees, Producer: Nekisa Cooper) — When forced to choose between losing her best friend or destroying her family, a Brooklyn teenager juggles conflicting identities and endures heartbreak in a desperate search for sexual expression. Cast: Adepero Oduye, Pernell Walker, Kim Wayans, Charles Parnell, Aasha Davis.

Pariah first premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival as a short film. It later returned to the 2011 Festival as a feature film premiering in the U.S. Documentary Competition, where it received an Excellence in Cinematography Award. Director Dee Rees workshopped Pariah in the Sundance Institute’s Directors and Screenwriters Labs and received three separate Institute grants to support production of the film. After opening to critical acclaim, Pariah, a young Black lesbian’s coming-of-age story, quickly became part of the LGBTQ+ film canon.

“I’m moved and excited to be coming back to where it all began and celebrating this special anniversary with the Institute,” said Pariah director Dee Rees. “From the lab advisors, to the fellows, to the audiences, Sundance was that magically supportive and generous community that enabled Pariah to be born in the world and it’s always a joyous, heady feeling to return.”

  • Park City screening on Friday, January 26 at 6:45 p.m followed by a conversation with director Dee Rees.


Three Seasons
/ Vietnam (Director, Producer, and Screenwriter: Tony Bui, Producers: Jason Kliot, Joana Vicente) — Although the hearts, goals, and desires are different for everyone in a culturally-shifting Ho Chi Minh City, four individuals paint a vivid picture of the past, present, and future of a city eking into a new era. Cast: Don Duong, Zoe Bui, Tran Manh Cuong, Nguyen Huu Duoc, Ngoc Hiep, Harvey Keitel.

Director Tony Bui workshopped Three Seasons at the 1996 Sundance Institute’s Screenwriters and Directors Labs. Just three years later, Three Seasons went on to premiere at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Dramatic Competition, where the film received widespread acclaim, earning the Excellence in Cinematography Award, and became the first feature film to win both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award. The version screening in the upcoming Festival is a new digital restoration in 4K from the original 35mm camera negative and original master 4-track stereo.

“After 25 years, Three Seasons comes full circle back to Sundance where it originally premiered,” said Three Seasons director, producer, and screenwriter Tony Bui. “The long and emotional journey to restore the film isn’t just about preserving the film, but about bringing it back to life to share this timeless story of love, loss, and healing after the Vietnam War for generations to come.”

  • Park City screening on Thursday, January 25 at 7:00 p.m. followed by a conversation with director Tony Bui, producers Jason Kliot and Joana Vicente, and more.


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 (Chuck & Buck), Richard Linklater (Boyhood), Dawn Porter (Gideon’s Army), Christine Vachon (Past Lives)

The 40th Edition Short Film Show with Mark & Jay Duplass
Tuesday, January 23, 7:30 p.m.
Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St.

An eclectic mixtape of short films that have screened at Sundance over its four-decade history, curated by Sundance programmers and hosted by short film alums Mark and Jay Duplass. We welcome filmmakers back to celebrate their shorts as part of this surprise screening.  

Since the early days of the festival and the Rogues Gallery program of short films, throughout its almost 40 years of history, the Festival has always supported short films, providing a platform for both established and new filmmakers to connect with audiences in live action, animation and non-fiction shorts.

So what do you think of the 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 including more additions to the lineup.

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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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