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Sundance Adds New Films by Werner Herzog, Kenneth Lonergan, Kelly Reichardt, and Others to 2016 Slate

Sundance Adds New Films by Werner Herzog, Kenneth Lonergan, Kelly Reichardt, and Others to 2016 Slate

The 2016 Sundance Film Festival’s world premieres will include new films by Werner Herzog, John Carney, Kenneth Lonergan, Kelly Reichardt, Ira Sachs and many more leading lights of the indie cinema.

In addition to these arthouse stalwarts (see also: Liz Garbus, Joshua Marston, Spike Lee, D.A. Pennebaker), the festival will feature the debut of two highly anticipated television projects from independent filmmakers such as Steven Soderbergh, bringing further attention to the now-common crossover from film to TV.

Other highlights include the second and third features respectively from actors John Krasinski and Diego Luna, and the directorial debut of screenwriter and former Focus Features CEO James Schamus.

READ MORE: “Sundance Programmers Unveil, Discuss 2016 Competition, NEXT Lineups (EXCLUSIVE)”    

The Sundance programmers saw many surprises, said festival director John Cooper in a phone interview. He anticipates a robust acquisitions market this year with many unclaimed world premieres seeking homes. “It all comes back to the use of craft to bring the story out, that’s what talks for us,” he said. Just because it boasts a raft of stars doesn’t mean a new indie package will land a Sundance berth. 
Of note is the return of Sundance fave Todd Solondz with “Weiner Dog,” which marks “an interesting take on the world,” said Cooper, “so modern and fresh, always. This film has a sweeter approach to the world, but it’s still him.”
Whit Stillman (“Metropolitan”) is back with Jane Austen-style period piece “Love and Friendship,” among several period pictures this year, points out head programmer Trevor Groth: “That’s new.” Among them are Nate Parker’s Nat Turner competition entry “Birth of a Nation,” Maggie Greenwald’s “Sophie and the Rising Sun,” “Amy” director Asif Kapadia’s fiction feature “Ali & Nino,” and “Indignation,” Schamus’ adaptation of the Philip Roth novel set in the 50s at Winesburg College.
While all the numbers are not yet in (pending Berlin decisions and late additions), Cooper and Groth figure the balance of women filmmakers are about even with last year. 

Among the Spotlight selections are several Oscar contenders (“Embrace of the Serpent” and “Rams”) as well as 2016 release “The Lobster,” starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, and two Sony Pictures Classics fall festival debuts, Rebecca Miller’s delightful “Maggie’s Plan,” starring Greta Gerwig, Julianne Moore and Ethan Hawke in an unusual love triangle, and Don Cheadle’s directorial debut, jazz icon Miles Davis biopic “Miles Ahead.” 

Read the full list of Sundance 2016 Premieres, Documentary Premieres, Spotlight, Sundance Kids, and Special Events below.

READ MORE: “Sundance 2016 Celebrates 10 Years of New Frontier Program with Björk, Kendrick Lamar, and Immersive VR”


Agnus Dei / France, Poland (Director: Anne Fontaine,
Screenwriters: Sabrina N. Karine, Alice Vial, Pascal Bonitzer) — 1945 Poland:
Mathilde, a young French doctor, is on a mission to help World War II
survivors. When a nun seeks her assistance in helping several pregnant nuns in
hiding, who are unable to reconcile their faith with their pregnancies,
Mathilde becomes their only hope. Cast:
Lou de Laâge, Agata Kulesza, Agata Buzek, Vincent Macaigne, Joanna Kulig,
Katarzyna Dabrowska. World Premiere

Ali & Nino / United Kingdom (Director: Asif Kapadia,
Screenwriter: Christopher Hampton) — Muslim prince Ali and Georgian aristocrat
Nino have grown up in the Russian province of Azerbaijan. Their tragic love
story sees the outbreak of the First World War and the world’s struggle for
Baku’s oil. Ultimately they must choose to fight for their country’s
independence or for each other. Cast:
Adam Bakri, Maria Valverde, Mandy Patinkin, Connie Nielsen, Riccardo Scamarcio,
Homayoun Ershadi. World Premiere

Captain Fantastic / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Matt
Ross) — Deep in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to
raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is
forced to leave his paradise and re-enter society, beginning a journey that
challenges his idea of what it means to be a parent. Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Frank Langella, George MacKay, Kathryn Hahn,
Steve Zahn, Ann Dowd. World Premiere

Certain Women / U.S.A. (Director: Kelly Reichardt,
Screenwriter: Kelly Reichardt based on stories by Maile Meloy) — The lives of
three woman intersect in small-town America, where each is imperfectly blazing
a trail. Cast: Laura Dern, Kristen
Stewart, Michelle Williams, James Le Gros, Jared Harris, Lily Gladstone. World

Complete Unknown / U.S.A. (Director: Joshua Marston,
Screenwriters: Joshua Marston, Julian Sheppard) — When Tom and his wife host a
dinner party to celebrate his birthday, one of their friends brings a date
named Alice. Tom is convinced he knows her, but she’s going by a different name
and a different biography—and she’s not acknowledging that she knows him. Cast: Rachel Weisz, Michael Shannon, Kathy
Bates, Danny Glover. World Premiere

Frank & Lola / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Matthew
Ross) — A psychosexual noir love story—set in Las Vegas and Paris—about love,
obsession, sex, betrayal, revenge and, ultimately, the search for redemption. Cast: Michael Shannon, Imogen Poots, Michael
Nyqvist, Justin Long, Emmanuelle Devos, Rosanna Arquette. World Premiere

The Fundamentals of Caring
/ U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter:
Rob Burnett) — Having suffered a tragedy, Ben becomes a caregiver to earn
money. His first client, Trevor, is a hilarious 18-year-old with muscular
dystrophy. One paralyzed emotionally, one paralyzed physically, Ben and Trevor
hit the road, finding hope, friendship, and Dot in this funny and touching inspirational
tale. Cast: Paul Rudd, Craig Roberts,
Selena Gomez, Jennifer Ehle, Megan Ferguson, Frederick Weller
. World Premiere. CLOSING NIGHT FILM

The Hollars / U.S.A. (Director: John Krasinski, Screenwriter:
Jim Strouse) — Aspiring New York City artist John Hollar returns to his Middle
America hometown on the eve of his mother’s brain surgery. Joined by his
girlfriend, eight months pregnant with their first child, John is forced to
navigate the crazy world he left behind. Cast:
John Krasinski, Anna Kendrick, Margo Martindale, Richard Jenkins, Sharlto
Copley, Charlie Day. World Premiere

Hunt for the Wilderpeople / New Zealand (Director and
screenwriter: Taika Waititi) — Ricky is a defiant young city kid who finds
himself on the run with his cantankerous foster uncle in the wild New Zealand
bush. A national manhunt ensues, and the two are forced to put aside their
differences and work together to survive in this heartwarming adventure comedy.
Cast: Julian Dennison, Sam Neill, Rima Te
Wiata, Rachel House, Oscar Kightley. World Premiere

Indignation / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: James Schamus)
— It’s 1951, and among the new arrivals at Winesburg College in Ohio are the
son of a kosher butcher from New Jersey and the beautiful, brilliant daughter
of a prominent alum. For a brief moment, their lives converge in this
emotionally soaring film based on the novel by Philip Roth. Cast: Logan Lerman, Sarah Gadon, Tracy
Letts, Linda Emond, Danny Burstein, Ben Rosenfield
. World Premiere

Little Men / U.S.A. (Director: Ira Sachs, Screenwriters:
Mauricio Zacharias & Ira Sachs) — When 13-year-old Jake’s grandfather dies, his family
moves back into their old Brooklyn home. There, Jake befriends Tony, whose
single Chilean mother runs the shop downstairs. As their friendship deepens,
however, their families are driven apart by a battle over rent, and the boys
respond with a vow of silence. Cast: Greg
Kinnear, Jennifer Ehle, Paulina Garcia, Theo Taplitz, Michael Barbieri. World

Love & Friendship / Ireland, France, Netherlands (Director
and screenwriter: Whit Stillman) — From Jane Austen’s novella, the beautiful
and cunning Lady Susan Vernon visits the estate of her in-laws to wait out
colorful rumors of her dalliances and to find husbands for herself and her
daughter. Two young men, handsome Reginald DeCourcy and wealthy Sir James
Martin, severely complicate her plans. Cast:
Kate Beckinsale, Chloë Sevigny,
Xavier Samuel, Emma
Greenwell, Tom Bennett, Stephen Fry. World Premiere

Manchester by the Sea / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Kenneth
Lonergan) — After his older brother passes away, Lee Chandler is forced to
return home to care for his 16-year-old nephew. There he is compelled to deal
with a tragic past that separated him from his family and the community where
he was born and raised. Cast: Casey
Affleck, Michelle Williams, Lucas Hedges, Kyle Chandler. World Premiere

Mr. Pig / Mexico (Director: Diego Luna, Screenwriters: Augusto
Mendoza, Diego Luna) — On a mission to sell his last remaining prize hog and
reunite with old friends, an aging farmer abandons his foreclosed farm and
journeys to Mexico. After smuggling in the hog, his estranged daughter shows
up, forcing them to face their past and embark on an adventurous road trip
together. Cast: Danny Glover, Maya
Rudolph, José María Yazpik, Joel Murray, Angélica Aragón, Gabriela Araujo.
World Premiere

Sing Street / Ireland (Director and screenwriter: John Carney)
— A boy growing up in Dublin during the ’80s escapes his strained family life
and tough new school by starting a band to win the heart of a beautiful and
mysterious girl. Cast: Ferdia
Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton, Jack Reynor, Aidan Gillen, Mark McKenna. World

Sophie and the Rising Sun / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter:
Maggie Greenwald) — In a small Southern town in the autumn of 1941, Sophie’s
lonely life is transformed when an Asian man arrives under mysterious
circumstances. Their love affair becomes the lightning rod for long-buried
conflicts that erupt in bigotry and violence with the outbreak of World War ll.
Cast: Julianne Nicholson, Margo
Martindale, Lorraine Toussaint, Takashi Yamaguchi, Diane Ladd, Joel Murray.
World Premiere.

Wiener-Dog / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Todd Solondz) —
This film tells several stories featuring people who find their life inspired
or changed by one particular dachshund, who seems to be spreading comfort and
joy. Cast: Greta Gerwig, Kieran Culkin,
Danny DeVito, Ellen Burstyn, Julie Delpy, Zosia Mamet. World Premiere


Eat That Question—Frank Zappa in His Own Words / France, Germany (Director: Thorsten Schütte)
— This entertaining encounter with the premier of sonic avant-garde is acidic,
fun-poking, and full of rich and rare archival footage. This documentary bashes
favorite Zappa targets and dashes a few myths about the man himself. World Premiere

Film Hawk / U.S.A.
(Directors: JJ Garvine, Tai Parquet) — Trace Bob Hawk’s early years as the
young gay child of a Methodist minister to his current career as a consultant
on some of the most influential independent films of our time. World Premiere

LO AND BEHOLD, Reveries of the Connected World / U.S.A.
(Director: Werner Herzog) — Does the internet dream of itself? Explore the
horizons of the connected world. World Premiere

Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures / U.S.A. (Directors: Fenton
Bailey, Randy Barbato) — This examination of Robert Mapplethorpe’s outrageous
life is led by the artist himself, speaking with brutal honesty in a series of
rediscovered interviews about his passions. Intimate revelations from friends,
family, and lovers shed new light on this scandalous artist who ignited a
culture war that still rages on. World

Maya Angelou And Still I Rise / U.S.A.
(Directors: Bob Hercules, Rita Coburn Whack) — The remarkable story of Maya
Angelou — iconic writer, poet, actress and activist whose life has intersected
some of the most profound moments in recent American history. World Premiere

Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall / U.S.A.
(Director: Spike Lee) — Catapulted by the success of his first major solo
project, Off the Wall, Michael
Jackson went from child star to King of Pop. This film explores the seminal
album, with rare archival footage and interviews from those who were there and
those whose lives its success and legacy impacted. World Premiere

Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You / U.S.A. (Directors:
Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady) — How did a poor Jewish kid from Connecticut bring
us Archie Bunker and become one of the most successful television producers
ever? Norman Lear brought provocative subjects like war, poverty, and prejudice
into 120 million homes every week. He proved that social change was possible
through an unlikely prism: laughter. World

Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper / U.S.A.
(Director: Liz Garbus) — Gloria Vanderbilt and her son Anderson Cooper each
tell the story of their past and present, their loves and losses, and reveal
how some family stories have the tendency to repeat themselves in the most unexpected
ways. World Premiere

Resilience / U.S.A. (Director: James Redford) — This film
chronicles the birth of a new movement among pediatricians, therapists,
educators, and communities using cutting-edge brain science to disrupt cycles
of violence, addiction, and disease. These professionals help break the cycles
of adversity by daring to talk about the effects of divorce, abuse, and
neglect. World Premiere

Richard Linklater—dream is destiny / U.S.A. (Directors: Louis
Black, Karen Bernstein) — This is an unconventional look at a fiercely
independent style of filmmaking that arose in the 1990s from Austin, Texas,
outside the studio system. The film blends rare archival footage with journals,
exclusive interviews with Linklater on and off set, and clips from Slacker, Dazed and Confused, Boyhood,
and more. World Premiere

Under the Gun / U.S.A. (Director: Stephanie Soechtig) — The
Sandy Hook massacre was considered a watershed moment in the national debate on
gun control, but the body count at the hands of gun violence has only
increased. Through the lens of the victims’ families, as well as pro-gun
advocates, we examine why our politicians have failed to act. World Premiere

Unlocking the Cage / U.S.A. (Directors: Chris Hegedus, Donn
Alan Pennebaker) — Follow animal rights lawyer Steven Wise in his unprecedented
challenge to break down the legal wall that separates animals from humans. By
filing the first lawsuit of its kind, Wise seeks to transform a chimpanzee from
a “thing” with no rights to a “person” with basic legal
protection. World Premiere


Cemetery of Splendor / Thailand (Director and screenwriter: Apichatpong
Weerasethakull) — A lonesome middle-aged housewife tends to a soldier with
sleeping sickness and falls into a hallucination that triggers strange dreams,
phantoms, and romance. Cast: Jenjira Pongpas,
Banlop Lomnoi, Jarinpattra Rueangram.

Embrace of the Serpent / Colombia (Director: Ciro Guerra,
Screenwriters: Ciro Guerra, Jacques Toulemonde Vidal) — This blistering, poetic
story is inspired by the original journals of scientists Theodor Koch-Grünberg
and Richard Evans Schultes, who meet lone survivor Karamakate, an Amazonian
shaman. Over 40 years, they develop a friendship while traveling through the
Colombian Amazon in search of the sacred, psychedelic yakruna plant. Cast: Jan Bijvoet, Brionne Davis, Antonio
Bolivar, Nilbio Torres, Miguel Dionisio Ramos.

Green Room / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Jeremy Saulnier)
— This wickedly fun horror-thriller tells a story about the owner of a neo-Nazi
club who squares off against an unsuspecting but resilient young punk band
after they witness a horrific act of violence. Cast: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, Callum
Turner, Patrick Stewart.

Land of Mine / Denmark (Director and screenwriter: Martin Zandvliet)
— At the end of World War II, a group of young German POWs captured by the
Danish army are forced to defuse and clear landmines from the Danish coastline
with no training. Inspired by real events, the film exposes the untold story of
one tragic moment in Denmark’s history. Cast:
Roland Møller, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, Louis Hofmann, Joel Basman, Emil Belton,
Oskar Belton. U.S. Premiere

The Lobster / Ireland, United Kingdom, Greece, France (Director:
Yorgos Lanthimos, Screenwriters: Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou) — In a dystopian
near future, single people are obliged to find a mate in 45 days or else be
transformed into an animal of their choice and be released into the woods. Cast: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw,
Léa Seydoux, John C. Reilly, Olivia Colman.

Maggie’s Plan / U.S.A. (Director: Rebecca Miller,
Screenwriters: Rebecca Miller, based on a story by Karen Rinaldi) — A young
woman’s determination to have a child catapults her into a nervy love triangle
with a heart-throb academic and his eccentric critical-theorist wife. Cast: Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke, Julianne
Moore, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Travis Fimmel.

Miles Ahead / U.S.A. (Director: Don Cheadle, Screenwriters: Don
Cheadle, Steven Baigelman) — Inspired by events in Miles Davis’s life, this is
a wildly entertaining, impressionistic, no-holds-barred portrait of one of
twentieth-century music’s creative geniuses. Cast: Don Cheadle, Ewan McGregor, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Lakeith Lee
Stanfield, Michael Stuhlbarg

Rams / Iceland (Director and screenwriter: Grímur Hákonarson) —
In a remote Icelandic farming valley, two brothers who haven’t spoken in 40
years have to come together to save what’s dearest to them—their sheep. Cast: Sigurður Sigurjónsson, Theodór

Viva / Ireland (Director: Paddy Breathnach, Screenwriter: Mark
O’Halloran) — In contemporary Cuba, a father and son struggle to escape from
each other’s expectations, duty, and the burden of past sins. Cast: Héctor Medina, Jorge Perugorría, Luis
Alberto García


The Eagle Huntress / U.S.A. (Director: Otto Bell) — Step aside,
Daenerys and Katniss—Aisholpan is a real-life role model on an epic journey in
a faraway world. Follow this 13-year-old nomadic Mongolian girl as she battles
to become the first female to hunt with a golden eagle in 2,000 years of
male-dominated history. World Premiere

Little Gangster / Netherlands (Director: Arne Toonen,
Screenwriter: Lotte Tabbers) — Rik Boskamp wants a life where he’s not
constantly bullied. When he and his family move, the people in their new town
think his father is a Mafia boss, and everybody treats them with respect—until
a bully from Rikkie’s past turns up. How long can he keep up his lie? Cast: Thor Braun, Henry Van Loon, Rene Van
‘T Hof, Meral Polat, Fedja Van Huêt, Maas Bronkhuyzen. North American Premiere

Snowtime! / Canada (Directors: Jean-François Pouliot, François
Brisson, Screenwriters: Normand Canac-Marquis, Paul Risacher) — To amuse
themselves during their winter break from school, the kids in a small village
have a massive snowball fight. But what starts out as pure youthful fun and
enthusiasm deteriorates into a more serious conflict as the children learn the
role that love and friendship play in their lives. Cast: Sandra Oh, Ross Lynch, Angela Gallupo, Lucinda Davis, Don Shepherd,
Sonja Ball. North American Premiere


11.22.63 / U.S.A. (Director: Kevin Macdonald, Screenwriter:
Bridget Carpenter, Executive Producers: J.J. Abrams, Stephen King, Kevin
Macdonald, Bridget Carpenter, Bryan Burk) — On November 22, 1963, three shots
rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy was killed, and the world changed. What
if you could change it back? Take a journey to find out in this genre-busting,
epic new nine-hour event series. The Festival will debut the two-hour premiere
of the series, followed by
an extended Q&A. Cast: James Franco,
Sarah Gadon, Daniel Webber, George MacKay, Josh Duhamel, Chris Cooper. World

Behind the Scenes of Anomalisa / U.S.A. (Directors:
Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson, Screenwriter: Charlie Kaufman) — Michael
Stone—husband, father and respected author—is crippled by the mundanity of his
life. On a business trip, he checks into the Fregoli Hotel. He’s amazed to
discover a possible escape from his desperation in an unassuming woman, who may
or may not be the love of his life. The Festival will present a screening of the film followed by a
Q&A with the creators. Separately, they will speak on a Festival panel
explaining their creative process and how they brought their extraordinary film
to life. Cast: Jennifer Jason
Leigh, Tom Noonan, David Thewlis.

Chelsea Does / U.S.A. (Director: Eddie Schmidt) — This
four-part documentary series features Chelsea Handler as she explores topics of
personal and universal fascination: marriage, racism, Silicon Valley, and
drugs. The Festival will
premiere one installment of the series with clips from the other three
installments, followed by an extended Q&A with Chelsea Handler,
Director Eddie Schmidt, and Executive Producer Morgan Neville. World Premiere

The Girlfriend Experience / U.S.A. (Directors and screenwriters:
Lodge Kerrigan, Amy Seimetz, Executive Producers: Steven Soderbergh, Philip
Fleishman, Lodge Kerrigan, Amy Seimetz, Gary Marcus, Jeff Cuban) — Law student
Christine Reade is introduced to the world of transactional relationships in
this original anthology series. Providing “The Girlfriend Experience”
(an emotional and sexual relationship offered at a high price) gives Christine
a rush of control and intimacy, but she soon finds herself juggling two very
different lives. The Festival will premiere four episodes of the series,
followed by an extended Q&A. Cast:
Riley Keough, Paul Sparks, Mary Lynn Rajskub, James Gilbert, Kate Lyn Sheil.
World Premiere

The New Yorker Presents / U.S.A. (Executive Producers: Alex Gibney,
Kahane Cooperman, Showrunner: Kahane Cooperman) — A groundbreaking new series
that brings America’s most award-winning magazine, The New Yorker, to the screen with documentaries, short narrative
films, comedy, poetry, animation, and cartoons from the hands of acclaimed
filmmakers and artists. The
Festival will premiere the first two episodes of the series, followed by an
extended Q&A. World Premiere

O.J.: Made in America / U.S.A. (Director: Ezra Edelman) — This
is the story of O.J. Simpson, one of the most polarizing people of the
twentieth century, and the city in which he lived for much of his life, Los
Angeles. The film explores Simpson’s rise and fall, centered around two of
America’s greatest fixations—race and celebrity. The Festival will premiere the full 7.5-hour documentary,
followed by an extended Q&A. World

The Skinny / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Jessie Kahnweiler)
— Follow feminist and wannabe YouTube star Jessie as she struggles to live,
love, and get over her bulimia. The Festival will premiere six 10-minute episodes,
followed by an extended Q&A with Kahnweiler. Cast: Jessie Kahnweiler, Illeana Douglas, Spencer Hill, Ryan Pinkston,
Megan Ferguson, Sadie Calvano
. World

Shades of America
/ U.S.A. (Executive Producers: Jimmy Fox, W. Kamau
Bell, Star Price) — Political comedian W. Kamau Bell explores the racial
subcultures of America. In this original series premiere, he uses humor to
challenge Klansmen looking to rebrand their message. The screening will include
an extended Q&A. World Premiere    

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