Check out the full Sundance Film Festival lineup below, including competition titles, premieres, short films, midnights, New Frontier picks and everything in between.
U.S. Dramatic Competition
Presenting the world premieres of 16 narrative feature films, the Dramatic Competition offers Festivalgoers a first look at groundbreaking new voices in American independent film.
“Band Aid” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Zoe Lister-Jones) — A couple who can’t stop fighting embark on a last-ditch effort to save their marriage: turning their fights into songs and starting a band. Cast: Zoe Lister-Jones, Adam Pally, Fred Armisen, Susie Essman, Hannah Simone, Ravi Patel. World Premiere
“Beach Rats” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Eliza Hittman) — An aimless teenager on the outer edges of Brooklyn struggles to escape his bleak home life and navigate questions of self-identity, as he balances his time between his delinquent friends, a potential new girlfriend, and older men he meets online. Cast: Harris Dickinson, Madeline Weinstein, Kate Hodge, Neal Huff. World Premiere
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“Brigsby Bear” / U.S.A. (Director: Dave McCary, Screenwriters: Kevin Costello, Kyle Mooney) — Brigsby Bear Adventures is a children’s TV show produced for an audience of one: James. When the show abruptly ends, James’s life changes forever, and he sets out to finish the story himself. Cast: Kyle Mooney, Claire Danes, Mark Hamill, Greg Kinnear, Matt Walsh, Michaela Watkins. World Premiere
“Burning Sands” / U.S.A. (Director: Gerard McMurray, Screenwriters: Christine Berg, Gerard McMurray) — Deep into a fraternity’s Hell Week, a favored pledge is torn between honoring a code of silence or standing up against the intensifying violence of underground hazing. Cast: Trevor Jackson, Alfre Woodard, Steve Harris, Tosin Cole, DeRon Horton, Trevante Rhodes. World Premiere
“Crown Heights” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Matt Ruskin) — When Colin Warner is wrongfully convicted of murder, his best friend, Carl King, devotes his life to proving Colin’s innocence. Adapted from This American Life, this is the incredible true story of their harrowing quest for justice. Cast: Keith Stanfield, Nnamdi Asomugha, Natalie Paul, Bill Camp, Nestor Carbonell, Amari Cheatom. World Premiere
“Golden Exits” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Alex Ross Perry) — The arrival of a young foreign girl disrupts the lives and emotional balances of two Brooklyn families. Cast: Emily Browning, Adam Horovitz, Mary-Louise Parker, Lily Rabe, Jason Schwartzman, Chloë Sevigny. World Premiere
“The Hero” / U.S.A. (Director: Brett Haley, Screenwriters: Brett Haley, Marc Basch) — Lee, a former Western film icon, is living a comfortable existence lending his golden voice to advertisements and smoking weed. After receiving a lifetime achievement award and unexpected news, Lee reexamines his past, while a chance meeting with a sardonic comic has him looking to the future. Cast: Sam Elliott, Laura Prepon, Krysten Ritter, Nick Offerman, Katharine Ross. World Premiere
“I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Macon Blair) — When a depressed woman is burglarized, she finds a new sense of purpose by tracking down the thieves, alongside her obnoxious neighbor. But they soon find themselves dangerously out of their depth against a pack of degenerate criminals. Cast: Melanie Lynskey, Elijah Wood, David Yow, Jane Levy, Devon Graye. World Premiere. DAY ONE FILM
“Ingrid Goes West” / U.S.A. (Director: Matt Spicer, Screenwriters: Matt Spicer, David Branson Smith) — A young woman becomes obsessed with an Instagram lifestyle blogger and moves to Los Angeles to try and befriend her in real life. Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Wyatt Russell, Billy Magnussen. World Premiere
“Landline” / U.S.A. (Director: Gillian Robespierre, Screenwriters: Elisabeth Holm, Gillian Robespierre) — Two sisters come of age in ‘90s New York when they discover their dad’s affair—and it turns out he’s not the only cheater in the family. Everyone still smokes inside, no one has a cell phone and the Jacobs finally connect through lying, cheating and hibachi. Cast: Jenny Slate, John Turturro, Edie Falco, Abby Quinn, Jay Duplass, Finn Wittrock. World Premiere
“Novitiate” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Maggie Betts) — In the early 1960s, during the Vatican II era, a young woman training to become a nun struggles with issues of faith, sexuality and the changing church. Cast: Margaret Qualley, Melissa Leo, Julianne Nicholson, Dianna Agron, Morgan Saylor. World Premiere
“Patti Cake$” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Geremy Jasper) — Straight out of Jersey comes Patricia Dombrowski, a.k.a. Killa P, a.k.a. Patti Cake$, an aspiring rapper fighting through a world of strip malls and strip clubs on an unlikely quest for glory. Cast: Danielle Macdonald, Bridget Everett, Siddharth Dhananjay, Mamoudou Athie, Cathy Moriarty. World Premiere
“Roxanne Roxanne” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Michael Larnell) — The most feared battle emcee in early-’80s NYC was a fierce teenager from the Queensbridge projects with the weight of the world on her shoulders. At age 14, hustling the streets to provide for her family, Roxanne Shanté was well on her way to becoming a hip-hop legend. Cast: Chanté Adams, Mahershala Ali, Nia Long, Elvis Nolasco, Kevin Phillips, Shenell Edmonds. World Premiere
“To The Bone” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Marti Noxon) — In a last-ditch effort to battle her severe anorexia, 20-year-old Ellen enters a group recovery home. With the help of an unconventional doctor, Ellen and the other residents go on a sometimes funny, sometimes harrowing journey that leads to the ultimate question—is life worth living? Cast: Lily Collins, Keanu Reeves, Carrie Preston, Lili Taylor, Alex Sharp, Liana Liberato. World Premiere
“Walking Out” / U.S.A. (Directors and screenwriters: Alex Smith, Andrew Smith) — A father and son struggle to connect on any level until a brutal encounter with a predator in the heart of the wilderness leaves them both seriously injured. If they are to survive, the boy must carry his father to safety. Cast: Matt Bomer, Josh Wiggins, Bill Pullman, Alex Neustaedter, Lily Gladstone. World Premiere
“The Yellow Birds” / U.S.A. (Director: Alexandre Moors, Screenwriters: David Lowery and R.F.I. Porto) — Two young men enlist in the army and are deployed to fight in the Iraq War. After an unthinkable tragedy, the returning soldier struggles to balance his promise of silence with the truth and a mourning mother’s search for peace. Cast: Tye Sheridan, Jack Huston, Alden Ehrenreich, Jason Patric, Toni Collette, Jennifer Aniston. World Premiere
U.S. Documentary Competition
Sixteen world-premiere American documentaries that illuminate the ideas, people and events that shape the present day.
“Casting JonBenet” / U.S.A., Australia (Director: Kitty Green) — The unsolved death of six-year-old American beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey remains the world’s most sensational child murder case. Over 15 months, responses, reflections and performances were elicited from the Ramsey’s Colorado hometown community, creating a bold work of art from the collective memories and mythologies the crime inspired. World Premiere
“Chasing Coral” / U.S.A. (Director: Jeff Orlowski) — Coral reefs around the world are vanishing at an unprecedented rate. A team of divers, photographers and scientists set out on a thrilling ocean adventure to discover why and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world. World Premiere. NEW CLIMATE
“City of Ghosts” / U.S.A. (Director: Matthew Heineman) — With unprecedented access, this documentary follows the extraordinary journey of “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently”—a group of anonymous citizen journalists who banded together after their homeland was overtaken by ISIS—as they risk their lives to stand up against one of the greatest evils in the world today. World Premiere
“Dina” / U.S.A. (Directors: Dan Sickles, Antonio Santini) — An eccentric suburban woman and a Walmart door- greeter navigate their evolving relationship in this unconventional love story. World Premiere
“Dolores” / U.S.A. (Director: Peter Bratt) — Dolores Huerta bucks 1950s gender conventions by co-founding the country’s first farmworkers’ union. Wrestling with raising 11 children, gender bias, union defeat and victory, and nearly dying after a San Francisco Police beating, Dolores emerges with a vision that connects her newfound feminism with racial and class justice. World Premiere
“The Force” / U.S.A. (Director: Pete Nicks) — This cinema verité look at the long-troubled Oakland Police Department goes deep inside their struggles to confront federal demands for reform, a popular uprising following events in Ferguson and an explosive scandal. World Premiere
“ICARUS” / U.S.A. (Director: Bryan Fogel) — When Bryan Fogel sets out to uncover the truth about doping in sports, a chance meeting with a Russian scientist transforms his story from a personal experiment into a geopolitical thriller involving dirty urine, unexplained death and Olympic Gold—exposing the biggest scandal in sports history. World Premiere
“The New Radical” / U.S.A. (Director: Adam Bhala Lough) — Uncompromising millennial radicals from the United States and the United Kingdom attack the system through dangerous technological means, which evolves into a high-stakes game with world authorities in the midst of a dramatically changing political landscape. World Premiere
“NOBODY SPEAK: Hulk Hogan, Gawker and Trials of a Free Press” / U.S.A. (Director: Brian Knappenberger) — The trial between Hulk Hogan and Gawker Media pitted privacy rights against freedom of the press, and raised important questions about how big money can silence media. This film is an examination of the perils and duties of the free press in an age of inequality. World Premiere
“Quest” / U.S.A. (Director: Jonathan Olshefski) — For over a decade, this portrait of a North Philadelphia family and the creative sanctuary offered by their home music studio was filmed with vérité intimacy. The family’s 10- year journey is an illumination of race and class in America, and it’s a testament to love, healing and hope. World Premiere
“STEP” / U.S.A. (Director: Amanda Lipitz) — The senior year of a girls’ high school step team in inner-city Baltimore is documented, as they try to become the first in their families to attend college. The girls strive to make their dancing a success against the backdrop of social unrest in their troubled city. World Premiere
“Strong Island” / U.S.A., Denmark (Director: Yance Ford) — Examining the violent death of the filmmaker’s brother and the judicial system that allowed his killer to go free, this documentary interrogates murderous fear and racialized perception, and re-imagines the wreckage in catastrophe’s wake, challenging us to change. World Premiere
“Trophy” / U.S.A. (Director: Shaul Schwarz, Co-Director: Christina Clusiau) — This in-depth look into the powerhouse industries of big-game hunting, breeding and wildlife conservation in the U.S. and Africa unravels the complex consequences of treating animals as commodities. World Premiere. NEW CLIMATE
“Unrest” / U.S.A. (Director: Jennifer Brea) — When Harvard PhD student Jennifer Brea is struck down at 28 by a fever that leaves her bedridden, doctors tell her it’s “all in her head.” Determined to live, she sets out on a virtual journey to document her story—and four other families’ stories—fighting a disease medicine forgot. World Premiere
“Water & Power: A California Heist” / U.S.A. (Director: Marina Zenovich) — In California’s convoluted water system, notorious water barons find ways to structure a state-engineered system to their own advantage. This examination into their centers of power shows small farmers and everyday citizens facing drought and a new, debilitating groundwater crisis. World Premiere. NEW CLIMATE
“Whose Streets?” / U.S.A. (Director: Sabaah Folayan, Co-Director: Damon Davis) — A nonfiction account of the Ferguson uprising told by the people who lived it, this is an unflinching look at how the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown inspired a community to fight back—and sparked a global movement. World Premiere. DAY ONE FILM
World Cinema Dramatic Competition
Twelve films from emerging filmmaking talents around the world offer fresh perspectives and inventive styles.
“Axolotl Overkill” / Germany (Director and screenwriter: Helene Hegemann) — Mifti, age 16, lives in Berlin with a cast of characters including her half-siblings; their rich, self-involved father; and her junkie friend Ophelia. As she mourns her recently deceased mother, she begins to develop an obsession with Alice, an enigmatic, and much older, white-collar criminal. Cast: Jasna Fritzi Bauer, Arly Jover, Mavie Hörbiger, Laura Tonke, Hans Löw, Bernhard Schütz. World Premiere
“Berlin Syndrome” / Australia (Director: Cate Shortland, Screenwriter: Shaun Grant) — A passionate holiday romance takes an unexpected and sinister turn when an Australian photographer wakes one morning in a Berlin apartment and is unable to leave. Cast: Teresa Palmer, Max Riemelt. World Premiere
“Carpinteros (Woodpeckers)” / Dominican Republic (Director and screenwriter: José María Cabral) — Julián finds love and a reason for living in the last place imaginable: the Dominican Republic’s Najayo Prison. His romance with fellow prisoner Yanelly must develop through sign language and without the knowledge of dozens of guards. Cast: Jean Jean, Judith Rodriguez Perez, Ramón Emilio Candelario. World Premiere
“Don’t Swallow My Heart, Alligator Girl!” / Brazil, Netherlands, France, Paraguay (Director and screenwriter: Felipe Bragança) — In this fable about love and memories, Joca is a 13-year-old Brazilian boy in love with an indigenous Paraguayan girl. To conquer her love, he must face the violent region’s war-torn past and the secrets of his elder brother, Fernando, a motorcycle cowboy. Cast: Cauã Reymond, Eduardo Macedo, Adeli Gonzales, Zahy Guajajara, Claudia Assunção, Ney Matogrosso. World Premiere
“Family Life” / Chile (Directors: Alicia Scherson, Cristián Jiménez, Screenwriter: Alejandro Zambra) — While house-sitting for a distant cousin, a lonely man fabricates the existence of a vindictive ex-wife withholding his daughter, in order to gain the sympathy of the single mother he has just met. Cast: Jorge Becker, Gabriela Arancibia, Blanca Lewin, Cristián Carvajal. World Premiere
“Free and Easy” / Hong Kong (Director: Jun Geng, Screenwriters: Jun Geng, Yuhua Feng, Bing Liu) — When a traveling soap salesman arrives in a desolate Chinese town, a crime occurs, and sets the strange residents against each other with tragicomic results. Cast: Gang Xu, Zhiyong Zhang, Baohe Xue, Benshan Gu, Xun Zhang. World Premiere
“My Happy Family” / Georgia (Directors: Nana & Simon, Screenwriter: Nana Ekvtimishvili) — Tbilisi, Georgia, 2016: In a patriarchal society, an ordinary Georgian family lives with three generations under one roof. All are shocked when 52-year-old Manana decides to move out from her parents’ home and live alone. Without her family and her husband, a journey into the unknown begins. Cast: Ia Shugliashvili, Merab Ninidze, Berta Khapava, Tsisia Qumsishvili, Giorgi Tabidze, Dimitri Oragvelidze. World Premiere
“God’s Own Country” / United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: Francis Lee) — Springtime in Yorkshire: isolated young sheep farmer Johnny Saxby numbs his daily frustrations with binge drinking and casual sex, until the arrival of a Romanian migrant worker, employed for the lambing season, ignites an intense relationship that sets Johnny on a new path. Cast: Josh O’Connor, Alec Secareanu, Ian Hart, Gemma Jones. World Premiere
“The Nile Hilton Incident” / Sweden (Director and screenwriter: Tarik Saleh) — In Cairo, weeks before the 2011 revolution, Police Detective Noredin is working in the infamous Kasr el-Nil Police Station when he is handed the case of a murdered singer. He soon realizes that the investigation concerns the power elite, close to the President’s inner circle. Cast: Fares Fares, Mari Malek, Mohamed Yousry, Yasser Ali Maher, Ahmed Selim, Hania Amar. World Premiere
“Pop Aye” / Singapore, Thailand (Director and screenwriter: Kirsten Tan) — On a chance encounter, a disenchanted architect bumps into his long-lost elephant on the streets of Bangkok. Excited, he takes his elephant on a journey across Thailand in search of the farm where they grew up together. Cast: Thaneth Warakulnukroh, Penpak Sirikul, Bong. World Premiere. DAY ONE FILM
“Sueño en otro idioma (I Dream in Another Language)” / Mexico (Director: Ernesto Contreras, Screenwriter: Carlos Contreras) — The last two speakers of a millennia-old language haven’t spoken in 50 years, when a young linguist tries to bring them together. Yet hidden in the past, in the heart of the jungle, lies a secret concerning the fate of the Zikril language. Cast: Fernando Álvarez Rebeil, Eligio Meléndez, Manuel Poncelis, Fátima Molina, Juan Pablo de Santiago, Hoze Meléndez. World Premiere
“The Wound” / South Africa (Director: John Trengove, Screenwriters: John Trengove, Thando Mgqolozana, Malusi Bengu) —Xolani, a lonely factory worker, travels to the rural mountains with the men of his community to initiate a group of teenage boys into manhood. When a defiant initiate from the city discovers his best-kept secret, a forbidden love, Xolani’s entire existence begins to unravel. Cast: Nakhane Touré, Bongile Mantsai, Niza Jay Ncoyini. World Premiere
World Cinema Documentary Competition
Twelve documentaries by some of the most courageous and extraordinary international filmmakers working today.
“The Good Postman” / Finland, Bulgaria (Director: Tonislav Hristov) — In a small Bulgarian village troubled by the ongoing refugee crisis, a local postman runs for mayor—and learns that even minor deeds can outweigh good intentions. North American Premiere
“In Loco Parentis” / Ireland, Spain (Directors: Neasa Ní Chianáin, David Rane) — John and Amanda teach Latin, English and guitar at a fantastical stately home-turned-school. Nearly 50-year careers are drawing to a close for the pair who have become legends with the mantra: “Reading! ’Rithmetic! Rock ’n’ roll!” But for pupil and teacher alike, leaving is the hardest lesson. North American Premiere
“It’s Not Yet Dark” / Ireland (Director: Frankie Fenton) — This is the incredible story of Simon Fitzmaurice, a young filmmaker who becomes completely paralyzed from motor neurone disease but goes on to direct an award- winning feature film through the use of his eyes. International Premiere
“Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower” / U.S.A. (Director: Joe Piscatella) — When the Chinese Communist Party backtracks on its promise of autonomy to Hong Kong, teenager Joshua Wong decides to save his city. Rallying thousands of kids to skip school and occupy the streets, Joshua becomes an unlikely leader in Hong Kong and one of China’s most notorious dissidents. World Premiere
“Last Men in Aleppo” / Denmark (Directors: Feras Fayyad, Steen Johannessen) — After five years of war in Syria, Aleppo’s remaining residents prepare themselves for a siege. Khalid, Subhi and Mahmoud, founding members of The White Helmets, have remained in the city to help their fellow citizens—and experience daily life, death, struggle and triumph in a city under fire. World Premiere
“Machines” / India, Germany, Finland (Director: Rahul Jain) — This intimate, observant portrayal of the rhythm of life and work in a gigantic textile factory in Gujarat, India, moves through the corridors and bowels of the enormously disorienting structure—taking the viewer on a journey of dehumanizing physical labor and intense hardship. North American Premiere. NEW CLIMATE
“Motherland” / U.S.A., Philippines (Director: Ramona Diaz) — The planet’s busiest maternity hospital is located in one of its poorest and most populous countries: the Philippines. There, poor women face devastating consequences as their country struggles with reproductive health policy and the politics of conservative Catholic ideologies. World Premiere
“Plastic China” / China (Director: Jiu-liang Wang) — Yi-Jie, an 11-year-old girl, works alongside her parents in a recycling facility while dreaming of attending school. Kun, the facility’s ambitious foreman, dreams of a better life. Through the eyes and hands of those who handle its refuse, comes an examination of global consumption and culture. International Premiere. NEW CLIMATE
“RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked The World” / Canada (Director: Catherine Bainbridge) — This powerful documentary about the role of Native Americans in contemporary music history—featuring some of the greatest music stars of our time—exposes a critical missing chapter, revealing how indigenous musicians helped shape the soundtracks of our lives and, through their contributions, influenced popular culture. World Premiere
“Tokyo Idols” / United Kingdom, Canada (Director: Kyoko Miyake) — This exploration of Japan’s fascination with girl bands and their music follows an aspiring pop singer and her fans, delving into the cultural obsession with young female sexuality and the growing disconnect between men and women in hypermodern societies. World Premiere
“WINNIE” / France (Director: Pascale Lamche) — While her husband served a life sentence, paradoxically kept safe and morally uncontaminated, Winnie Mandela rode the raw violence of apartheid, fighting on the front line and underground. This is the untold story of the mysterious forces that combined to take her down, labeling him a saint, her, a sinner. World Premiere
“The Workers Cup” / United Kingdom (Director: Adam Sobel) — Inside Qatar’s labor camps, African and Asian migrant workers building the facilities of the 2022 World Cup compete in a football tournament of their own. World Premiere. DAY ONE FILM
Pure, bold works distinguished by an innovative, forward-thinking approach to storytelling populate this program. Digital technology paired with unfettered creativity promises that the films in this section will shape a “greater” next wave in American cinema. Presented by Adobe.
“Columbus” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Kogonada) — Casey lives with her mother in a little-known Midwestern town haunted by the promise of modernism. Jin, a visitor from the other side of the world, attends to his dying father. Burdened by the future, they find respite in one another and the architecture that surrounds them. Cast: John Cho, Haley Lu Richardson, Parker Posey, Rory Culkin, Michelle Forbes. World Premiere
“Dayveon” / U.S.A. (Director: Amman Abbasi, Screenwriters: Amman Abbasi, Steven Reneau) — In the wake of his older brother’s death, 13-year-old Dayveon spends the sweltering summer days roaming his rural Arkansas town. When he falls in with a local gang, he becomes drawn to the camaraderie and violence of their world. Cast: Devin Blackmon, Kordell “KD” Johnson, Dontrell Bright, Chasity Moore, Lachion Buckingham, Marquell Manning. World Premiere. DAY ONE FILM
“Deidra & Laney Rob a Train” / U.S.A. (Director: Sydney Freeland, Screenwriter: Shelby Farrell) — Two teenage sisters start robbing trains to make ends meet after their single mother’s emotional meltdown in an electronics store lands her in jail. Cast: Ashleigh Murray, Rachel Crow, Tim Blake Nelson, David Sullivan, Danielle Nicolet, Sasheer Zamata. World Premiere
“A Ghost Story” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: David Lowery) — This is the story of a ghost and the house he haunts. Cast: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, Will Oldham, Sonia Acevedo, Rob Zabrecky, Liz Franke. World Premiere
“Gook” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Justin Chon) — Eli and Daniel, two Korean-American brothers who own a struggling women’s shoe store, have an unlikely friendship with 11-year-old Kamilla. On the first day of the 1992 L.A. riots, the trio must defend their store—and contemplate the meaning of family, their personal dreams and the future. Cast: Justin Chon, Simone Baker, David So, Curtiss Cook Jr., Sang Chon, Ben Munoz. World Premiere
“L.A. Times” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Michelle Morgan) — In this classically styled comedy of manners set in Los Angeles, sophisticated thirtysomethings try to determine whether ideal happiness exists in coupledom or if the perfectly suited couple is actually just an urban myth. Cast: Michelle Morgan, Dree Hemingway, Jorma Taccone, Kentucker Audley, Margarita Levieva, Adam Shapiro. World Premiere
“Lemon” / U.S.A. (Director: Janicza Bravo, Screenwriters: Janicza Bravo, Brett Gelman) — A man watches his life unravel after he is left by his blind girlfriend. Cast: Brett Gelman, Judy Greer, Michael Cera, Nia Long, Shiri Appleby, Fred Melamed. World Premiere
“Menashe” / U.S.A. (Director: Joshua Z Weinstein, Screenwriters: Joshua Z Weinstein, Alex Lipschultz, Musa Syeed) — Within Brooklyn’s ultra-orthodox Jewish community, a widower battles for custody of his son. A tender drama performed entirely in Yiddish, the film intimately explores the nature of faith and the price of parenthood. Cast: Menashe Lustig. World Premiere
“Person to Person” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Dustin Guy Defa) — A record collector hustles for a big score while his heartbroken roommate tries to erase a terrible mistake, a teenager bears witness to her best friend’s new relationship and a rookie reporter, alongside her demanding supervisor, chases the clues of a murder case involving a life-weary clock shop owner. Cast: Abbi Jacobson, Michael Cera, Tavi Gevinson, Philip Baker Hall, Bene Coopersmith, George Sample III. World Premiere
“Thoroughbred” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Cory Finley) — Two teenage girls in suburban Connecticut rekindle their unlikely friendship after years of growing apart. In the process, they learn that neither is what she seems to be—and that a murder might solve both of their problems. Cast: Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Anton Yelchin, Paul Sparks, Francie Swift, Kaili Vernoff. World Premiere
A showcase of world premieres of some of the most highly anticipated narrative films of the coming year.
“Beatriz at Dinner” / U.S.A. (Director: Miguel Arteta, Screenwriter: Mike White) — Beatriz, an immigrant from a poor town in Mexico, has drawn on her innate kindness to build a career as a health practitioner. Doug Strutt is a cutthroat, self-satisfied billionaire. When these two opposites meet at a dinner party, their worlds collide and neither will ever be the same. Cast: Salma Hayek, John Lithgow. World Premiere
“Before I Fall” / U.S.A. (Director: Ry Russo-Young, Screenwriter: Maria Maggenti) — Samantha Kingston has everything. Then, everything changes. After one fateful night, she wakes up with no future at all. Trapped into reliving the same day over and over, she begins to question just how perfect her life really was. Cast: Zoey Deutch, Halston Sage, Logan Miller, Kian Lawley, Elena Kampouris, Diego Boneta. World Premiere
“The Big Sick” / U.S.A. (Director: Michael Showalter, Screenwriters: Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani) — Based on the real-life courtship: Pakistan-born comedian Kumail and grad student Emily fall in love, but they struggle as their cultures clash. When Emily contracts a mysterious illness, Kumail must navigate the crisis with her parents and the emotional tug-of-war between his family and his heart. Cast: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Anupam Kher. World Premiere
“Call Me by Your Name” / Italy, France (Director: Luca Guadagnino, Screenwriters: James Ivory, Luca Guadagnino) — The sensitive and cultivated Elio, only child of the American-Italian-French Perlman family, is facing another lazy summer at his parents’ villa in the beautiful and languid Italian countryside when Oliver, an academic who has come to help with Elio’s father’s research, arrives. Cast: Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Esther Garrel, Victoire Du Bois. World Premiere
“The Discovery” / U.S.A. (Director: Charlie McDowell, Screenwriters: Charlie McDowell, Justin Lader) — In a world where the afterlife has just been scientifically proven—resulting in millions of people taking their own lives to “get there”—comes this love story. Cast: Jason Segel, Rooney Mara, Robert Redford, Jesse Plemons, Riley Keough, Ron Canada. World Premiere
“Fun Mom Dinner” / U.S.A. (Director: Alethea Jones, Screenwriter: Julie Rudd) — Four women, whose kids attend the same preschool class, get together for a “fun mom dinner.” When the night takes an unexpected turn, these unlikely new friends realize they have more in common than just marriage and motherhood. Together, they reclaim a piece of the women they used to be. Cast: Katie Aselton, Toni Collette, Bridget Everett, Molly Shannon, Adam Scott, Adam Levine. World Premiere
“The Incredible Jessica James” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Jim Strouse) — Jessica James, an aspiring NYC playwright, is struggling to get over a recent breakup. She sees a light at the end of the tunnel when she meets the recently divorced Boone. Together, they discover how to make it through the tough times while realizing they like each other—a lot. Cast: Jessica Williams, Chris O’Dowd, Keith Stanfield, Noël Wells. World Premiere. CLOSING NIGHT FILM
“The Last Word” / U.S.A. (Director: Mark Pellington, Screenwriter: Stuart Ross Fink) — Harriett is a retired businesswoman who tries to control everything around her. When she decides to write her own obituary, a young journalist takes up the task of finding out the truth, resulting in a life-altering friendship. Cast: Shirley MacLaine, Amanda Seyfried, Anne Heche, Thomas Sadoski, Philip Baker Hall. World Premiere
“Manifesto” / Germany (Director and screenwriter: Julian Rosefeldt) — Can history’s art manifestos apply to contemporary society? An homage to the twentieth century’s most impassioned artistic statements and innovators, from Futurists and Dadaists to Pop Art, Fluxus, Lars von Trier and Jim Jarmusch, this series of reenactments performed by Cate Blanchett explores these declarations’ performative components and political significance. Cast: Cate Blanchett. World Premiere
“Mudbound” / U.S.A. (Director: Dee Rees, Screenwriters: Virgil Williams, Dee Rees) — In the post– World War II South, two families are pitted against a barbaric social hierarchy and an unrelenting landscape as they simultaneously fight the battle at home and the battle abroad. This epic pioneer story is about friendship, heritage and the unending struggle for and against the land. Cast: Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell, Mary J. Blige, Garrett Hedlund, Jonathan Banks. World Premiere
“The Polka King” / U.S.A. (Director: Maya Forbes, Screenwriters: Maya Forbes, Wally Wolodarsky) — Based on the remarkable true story of the world’s only known Polka Ponzi scheme, this mix of comedy and tragedy is about Jan Lewan, a polish immigrant who believed in the American Dream. But with big dreams came big mistakes for the man who became the “King of Pennsylvania Polka.” Cast: Jack Black, Jenny Slate, Jason Schwartzman, Jacki Weaver, J.B. Smoove. World Premiere
“Rebel in the Rye” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Danny Strong) — This portrait of the life and mind of reclusive author J.D. Salinger goes from the bloody front lines of World War II to his early rejections and the PTSD-fueled writer’s block that led to his iconic novel, The Catcher in the Rye. Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Kevin Spacey, Sarah Paulson, Zoey Deutch, Hope Davis, Victor Garber. World Premiere
“Rememory” / U.S.A., Canada (Director: Mark Palansky, Screenwriters: Michael Vukadinovich, Mark Palansky) — A visionary inventor found dead. A machine that can record people’s memories. A man haunted by the past. This noir mystery explores the ways in which memory defines the present. Cast: Peter Dinklage, Julia Ormond, Martin Donovan, Anton Yelchin, Henry Ian Cusick, Evelyne Brochu. World Premiere
“Sidney Hall” / U.S.A. (Director: Shawn Christensen, Screenwriters: Shawn Christensen, Jason Dolan) — Over the course of 12 years, and three stages of life, Sidney Hall falls in love, writes the book of a generation and then disappears without a trace. Cast: Logan Lerman, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler, Michelle Monaghan, Nathan Lane, Margaret Qualley. World Premiere
“Where is Kyra?” / U.S.A. (Director: Andrew Dosunmu, Screenwriters: Andrew Dosunmu, Darci Picoult) — Pushed to the brink after losing her job, a woman struggles to survive. As the months pass and her troubles deepen, she embarks on a perilous and mysterious journey that threatens to usurp her life. Cast: Michelle Pfeiffer, Kiefer Sutherland. World Premiere
“Wilson” / U.S.A. (Director: Craig Johnson, Screenwriter: Daniel Clowes) — Wilson, a lonely, neurotic and hilariously honest middle-aged misanthrope, reunites with his estranged wife and gets a shot at happiness when he learns he has a teenage daughter he has never met. In his uniquely outrageous and slightly twisted way, he sets out to connect with her. Cast: Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern, Judy Greer. World Premiere
“Wind River” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Taylor Sheridan) — An FBI agent teams with the town’s veteran game tracker to investigate a murder that occurred on a Native American reservation. Cast: Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Jon Bernthal. World Premiere
Renowned filmmakers and films about far-reaching subjects comprise this section highlighting our ongoing commitment to documentaries.
“500 YEARS” / U.S.A. (Director: Pamela Yates) — From a historic genocide trial to the overthrow of a president, the sweeping story of mounting resistance played out in Guatemala’s recent history is told through the actions and perspectives of the majority indigenous Mayan population, who now stand poised to reimagine their society. World Premiere
“Cries from Syria” / U.S.A., Syria, Czech Republic (Director: Evgeny Afineevsky) — This documentary attempts to recontextualize the European migrant crisis and ongoing hostilities in Syria, through eyewitness and participant testimony. Children and parents recount the revolution, civil war, air strikes, atrocities and ongoing humanitarian aid crises, in a portrait of recent history and the consequences of violence. World Premiere
“Give Me Future: Major Lazer in Cuba” / U.S.A., Cuba (Director: Austin Peters) — In the spring of 2016, global music sensation Major Lazer performed a free concert in Havana, Cuba—an unprecedented show that drew an audience of almost half a million. This concert documentary evolves into an exploration of youth culture in a country on the precipice of change. World Premiere
“Legion of Brothers” / U.S.A. (Director: Greg Barker) — Afghanistan, immediately post-9/11: Small teams of Green Berets arrive on a series of secret missions to overthrow the Taliban. What happens next is equal parts war origin story and cautionary tale, illuminating the nature and impact of 15 years of constant combat, with unprecedented access to U.S. Special Forces. World Premiere
“Oklahoma City” / U.S.A. (Director: Barak Goodman) — The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in April 1995 is the worst act of domestic terrorism in American history; this documentary explores how a series of deadly encounters between American citizens and federal law enforcement—including the standoffs at Ruby Ridge and Waco—led to it. World Premiere
“Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman” / U.S.A. (Directors: Susan Froemke, John Hoffman, Beth Aala) — From the Montana Rockies to the wheat fields of Kansas and the Gulf of Mexico, families who work the land and sea are crossing political divides to find unexpected ways to protect the natural resources vital to their livelihoods. These are the new heroes of conservation, deep in America’s heartland. World Premiere. NEW CLIMATE
“TAKE EVERY WAVE: The Life of Laird Hamilton” / U.S.A. (Director: Rory Kennedy) — This is the remarkable story of an American icon who changed the sport of big wave surfing forever. Transcending the surf genre, this in- depth portrait of a hard-charging athlete explores the fear, courage and ambition that push a man to greatness— and the cost that comes with it. World Premiere
“Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities” / U.S.A. (Director: Stanley Nelson) — A haven for Black intellectuals, artists and revolutionaries—and path of promise toward the American dream— Black colleges and universities have educated the architects of freedom movements and cultivated leaders in every field. They have been unapologetically Black for 150 years. For the first time ever, their story is told. World Premiere
“This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous” / U.S.A. (Director: Barbara Kopple) — Are there limits to your love for your family? One family’s acceptance is tested when a champion diver, destined for the Olympics, announces he’s transitioning into a woman—and invites his YouTube followers along for every moment. It’s a story about unconditional love and finding the courage to be yourself. World Premiere
“Untitled Lucy Walker / Buena Vista Social Club Documentary” / U.S.A., United Kingdom, Cuba (Director: Lucy Walker) — The musicians of the Buena Vista Social Club exposed the world to Cuba’s vibrant culture with their landmark 1997 album. Now, against the backdrop of Cuba’s captivating musical history, hear the band’s story as they reflect on their remarkable careers and the extraordinary circumstances that brought them together. World Premiere
From horror and comedy to works that defy genre classification, these films will keep you wide awake, even at the most arduous hour.
“78/52” / U.S.A. (Director: Alexandre Philippe) — An unprecedented look at the iconic shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, the “man behind the curtain,” and the screen murder that profoundly changed the course of world cinema. World Premiere
“Bad Day for the Cut” / Northern Ireland (Director: Chris Baugh, Screenwriters: Chris Baugh, Brendan Mullin) — A middle-aged Irish farmer, who still lives at home with his mother, sets off on a mission of revenge when the old lady is murdered. Cast: Nigel O’Neill, Susan Lynch, Józef Pawłowski, Stuart Graham, Anna Próchniak, Ian McElhinney. World Premiere
“Bitch” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Marianna Palka) — A woman snaps under crushing life pressures and assumes the psyche of a vicious dog. Her philandering, absentee husband is forced to become reacquainted with his four children and sister-in-law as they attempt to keep the family together during this bizarre crisis. Cast: Jason Ritter, Jaime King, Marianna Palka, Brighton Sharbino, Rio Mangini, Kingston Foster. World Premiere
“Bushwick” / U.S.A. (Directors: Cary Murnion, Jonathan Milott, Screenwriters: Nick Damici, Graham Reznick) — Lucy emerges from a Brooklyn subway to find that her neighborhood is under attack by black-clad military soldiers. An ex-Marine corpsman, Stupe, reluctantly helps her fight for survival through a civil war, as Texas attempts to secede from the United States of America. Cast: Dave Bautista, Brittany Snow, Angelic Zambrana, Jeremie Harris, Myra Lucretia Taylor, Arturo Castro. World Premiere
“Killing Ground” / Australia (Director and screenwriter: Damien Power) — Ian and Samantha arrive at an isolated campsite to find an SUV and a tent—with no sign of the occupants. The discovery of a distressed child wandering in the woods unleashes a terrifying chain of events that will test the young couple’s breaking point. Cast: Aaron Pedersen, Ian Meadows, Harriet Dyer, Aaron Glenane. International Premiere
“Kuso” / U.S.A. (Director: Steven Ellison, Screenwriters: Steven Ellison, David Firth, Zach Fox) — Broadcasting through a makeshift network of discarded televisions, this story is tangled up in the aftermath of Los Angeles’s worst earthquake nightmare. Travel between screens and aftershocks into the twisted lives of the survived. Cast: Iesha Coston, Zack Fox, Hannibal Buress, The Buttress, Tim Heidecker, Mali Matsuda. World Premiere
“The Little Hours” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Jeff Baena) — A young servant fleeing from his master takes refuge at a dysfunctional convent in medieval Tuscany. Cast: Alison Brie, Dave Franco, Kate Micucci, Aubrey Plaza, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon. World Premiere
“XX” / U.S.A. (Directors and screenwriters: Annie Clark, Karyn Kusama, Roxanne Benjamin, Jovanka Vukovik) — This all-female horror anthology features four dark tales from four fiercely talented women. Cast: Natalie Brown, Melanie Lynskey, Breeda Wool, Christina Kirk. World Premiere
The Spotlight program is a tribute to the cinema we love from throughout the past year.
“Colossal” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Nacho Vigalondo) — An unapologetic party girl dreams of a fresh start only to discover a mysterious and fantastical connection between herself and a city-wrecking monster on the other side of the globe. Cast: Anne Hathaway, Dan Stevens, Jason Sudeikis, Tim Blake Nelson, Austin Stowell.
“Frantz” / France, Germany (Director: François Ozon, Screenwriters: François Ozon, Philippe Piazzo) — In a small German town after World War I, Anna mourns daily at the grave of her fiancé, Frantz, killed in battle in France. One day a young Frenchman, Adrien, also lays flowers at the grave. His presence, so soon after the German defeat, ignites passions. Cast: Pierre Niney, Paula Beer, Ernst Stötzner, Marie Gruber, Johann von Bülow, Anton von Lucke.
“Lady Macbeth” / United Kingdom (Director: William Oldroyd, Screenwriter: Alice Birch) — Rural England, 1865: Katherine is stifled by her loveless marriage to a bitter man and his unforgiving family. When she embarks on a passionate affair with a stableman from the estate, the force unleashed inside her is so powerful that she will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Cast: Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis, Paul Hilton, Naomi Ackie, Christopher Fairbank. U.S. Premiere
“Look and See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry“/ U.S.A. (Directors: Laura Dunn, Jef Sewell) — This cinematic portrait of the changing landscapes and shifting values of rural America in the era of industrial agriculture is seen through the mind’s eye of farmer and writer Wendell Berry. NEW CLIMATE
“Raw” / France (Director and screenwriter: Julia Ducournau) — When a young vegetarian undergoes a carnivorous hazing ritual at vet school, she develops an unbidden taste for meat, with unexpected consequences. Cast: Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf, Rabah Nait Oufella, Laurent Lucas, Joana Preiss.
“Sami Blood” / Sweden (Director and screenwriter: Amanda Kernell) — Elle Marja, 14, is a reindeer-breeding Sámi girl. Exposed to race biology examinations at her boarding school and the racism of the 1930s, she starts dreaming of another life—one that demands she become someone else and break all ties with her family and culture. Cast: Lene Cecilia Sparrok, Mia Sparrok, Maj-Doris Rimpi, Olle Sarri, Hanna Alström, Malin Crépin. U.S. Premiere
“Their Finest” / United Kingdom (Director: Lone Scherfig, Screenwriter: Gaby Chiappe) — During the 1940 London Blitz, untried screenwriter Catrin struggles to find her voice amidst war, as she and a makeshift cast work under fire to create a film to lift the nation’s spirits—and inspire America to join the war. Cast: Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, Bill Nighy, Jack Huston, Jake Lacy, Jeremy Irons. U.S. Premiere
This section of the Festival is especially for our youngest independent film fans. Programmed in cooperation with Utah Film Center, which presents the annual Tumbleweeds Film Festival, Utah’s premiere film festival for children and youth.
“The Mars Generation” / U.S.A. (Director: Michael Barnett) — Aspiring teenage astronauts reveal that a journey to Mars is closer than you think.The science, politics and philosophy of mankind’s future journey to Mars are examined in this fascinating film. Told by teens who will be the first to walk on the Red Planet, as well as experts pushing boundaries of technology and innovation, Mars is revealed to be closer than you think. World Premiere. SALT LAKE CITY OPENING NIGHT FILM
“My Life as a Zucchini” / Switzerland, France (Director: Claude Barras, Screenwriter: Céline Sciamma) — After his mother’s death, Zucchini is befriended by a police officer, Raymond, who accompanies him to a foster home filled with other orphans his age. There, with the help of his newfound friends, Zucchini eventually learns to trust and love as he searches for a new family of his own. World Premiere (English Version)
“RED DOG: True Blue” / Australia (Director: Kriv Stenders, Screenwriter: Daniel Taplitz) — When 11-year-old Mick is shipped off to his grandfather’s cattle station in Australia’s remote Pilbara, he prepares himself for a life of dull hardship but instead finds myth, adventure and a friendship with a scrappy, one-of-a-kind pup that will change his life forever. Cast: Levi Miller, Bryan Brown, Hanna Mangan-Lawrence, Thomas Cocquerel, Jason Isaacs. North American Premiere
New Frontier Films and Performances
“18 Black Girls / Boys Ages 1-18 Who Have Arrived at the Singularity and are Thus Spiritual Machines: $X in an edition of $97 Quadrillion” / U.S.A. (Artist: Terence Nance) — In this pair of performances, the artist Googles the phrase “one-year-old black boy” and “one-year-old black girl,” ascending in age to 18, allowing Google’s “popular searches” algorithm to populate what words will follow.
“Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?” / U.S.A. (Artist: Travis Wilkerson) — This documentary murder mystery about the artist’s own family is a Southern Gothic torn apart and reassembled. Journeying straight into the black heart of a family and country, this multimedia performance explores a forgotten killing by the artist’s great- grandfather—a white Southern racist—of a black man in lower Alabama. Cast: Travis Wilkerson.
“World Without End (No Reported Incidents)” / U.S.A., United Kingdom (Artist: Jem Cohen) — Close observations around Southend-on-Sea, a small English town along the Thames estuary, reveal not only everyday streets, everyday birds, unflagging tides, mud and sky, but also prize-winning Indian curries, an encyclopedic universe of hats and a nearly lost world of proto-punk music.
New Frontier Installations
“Full Turn” / Switzerland (Artist: Benjamin Muzzin) — This installation explores the notion of the third dimension with the desire to get out of the usual frame of a flat screen. The rotation of two tablets creates a three- dimensional, animated sequence that can be seen at 360 degrees, unlike any other type of display.
“Heartcorps: Riders of the Storyboard” / U.S.A. (Artist: dandypunk, Key Collaborators: Darin Basile, Jo Cattell) — Follow the story of Particle, a two-dimensional light being, as you walk through the pages of a giant, immersive comic book. Hand-drawn illustrations come to life around you using projection- mapping technology, while high-level Cirque du Soleil performers interact with animated characters in this “digital light poem.” Cast: Ekenah Claudin, Elon Höglund, Youssef El Toufali, Jenni Gamas.
“Heroes” / U.S.A. (Artist: Melissa Painter, Key Collaborators: Tim Dillon, Thomas Wester, Jason Schugardt, Laura Gorenstein Miller) — The setting: An extravagant movie palace where silent films were shown. One dance— fiercely athletic and romantic—invites you inside. The story comes off the screen, putting you into your body and challenging you to move, navigate heroic shifts in perspective and scale and reach out to touch the experience. Cast: Helios Dance Theater, Stephanie Maxim, Chris Stanley, Melissa Sandvig.
“The Holographic Brain: The Next Stage In Human Evolution” / U.S.A. (Artist: Daniella Segal) Evolution of the human brain began with the development of stone tools, which allowed early humans to manipulate their environment. From stone axe to supercomputer, the brain’s evolution has been guided by tools and evolved into the most complicated object in the known universe.
“NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism” / U.S.A. (Artists: Carmen Aguilar y Wedge, Ashley Baccus-Clark, Ece Tankal, Nitzan Bartov) — A three-part exploration of black women and the roles they play in technology, society and culture — including speculative products, immersive experiences and neurocognitive impact research. Using fashion, cosmetics and the economy of beauty as entry points the project illuminates issues of privacy, transparency, identity and perception.
“Pleasant Places” / United Kingdom (Artist: Davide Quayola) — A return to, and a modern elaboration upon, Vincent Van Gogh’s Provence landscapes, this series of digital paintings interrogates and reframes concepts of representation and perception through image manipulation and augmented reality. Using bucolic and contemplative images, juxtaposed with raw data visualization, this project suggests alternate modes of visual synthesis.
“Synesthesia Suit: Rez Infinite and Crystal Vibes“/ Japan (Artists: Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Ayahiko Sato, Kouta Minamizawa) — Experience a multisensory climax with pounding beats and stringed instruments in acclaimed PlayStation 4/PS VR game Rez Infinite, or feel vibrations of candy-colored psychedelic sound rippling through the Crystal Vibes universe. Audiovisual and vibrotactile textures combine to push the frontiers of technology-mediated sensory experience.
“ASTEROIDS!” / U.S.A. (Artist: Eric Darnell) — From the director of Madagascar comes Baobab’s VR animation. Journey the cosmos aboard the spaceship of Mac and Cheez, an alien duo so mission-focused they forget what’s important in life. It’s up to you to show them what really matters. Cast: Eric Darnell.
“Chasing Coral: The VR Experience” / U.S.A. (Artist: Jeff Orlowski) Zackary Rago, a passionate scuba diver and researcher, documented the unprecedented 2016 coral bleaching event at Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef with this exclusive underwater VR experience. NEW CLIMATE
The Ocean Agency / XL Catlin Seaview Survey / Aaron Spence
“Chocolate” / U.S.A. (Artist: Tyler Hurd) — This VR music video experience for the song “Chocolate” by Giraffage sets you in a cat-centric world of sparkling, colorful chrome with a tribe of people doing a ritualistic dance just for you, their robot god, to provide them with their precious resource, cute lil’ chrome kitties.
“Dear Angelica” / U.S.A. (Artist: Saschka Unseld, Screenwriters: Saschka Unseld, Angela Petrella, Wesley Allsbrook, Max Planck, Ryan Thomas) — This project is a journey through the magical and dreamlike ways we remember lost ones and, even though they are gone, what remains of the ones we loved. Cast: Geena Davis, Mae Whitman.
“Hue” / U.S.A. (Artist: Nicole McDonald, Key Collaborators: Nicole McDonald, Rob Auten, Jessica Hundley) — This is an immersive and visually driven interactive film about a man who has lost the ability to see color. Participants reawaken the protagonist’s sense of wonder and imagination through empathetic action as color and connection return to his world view. Cast: Benedikt Negro.
“If Not Love” / U.S.A. (Artist: Rosemarie Troche) — A conflicted Christian man carries out a mass shooting. In his past: a same-sex hookup and self-loathing. What if events had unfolded differently? What if his partner had convinced him to face himself? Could that simple act change the course of history? Cast: Zachary Booth, Mitchell Winter.
“Life of Us” / U.S.A. (Artists: Chris Milk, Aaron Koblin, Screenwriters: McKenzie Stubbert, Jona Dinges, Megan Ellison) — A shared VR journey that tells the complete story of the evolution of life on Earth.
“Melting Ice” / U.S.A. (Artist: Danfung Dennis) — We take viewers on a transcendent exploration into the devastating consequences of climate change on Greenland’s ice sheet. Stand under collapsing glaciers, next to raging rivers of ice melt and witness rising sea levels—all visceral warnings of our planet’s future. Cast: Dr. Konrad Steffen. NEW CLIMATE
“Mindshow” / U.S.A. (Artists: Gil Baron, Jonnie Ross, Adam Levin, Key Collaborators: Jonnie Ross, Gil Baron) — Make VR cartoons with your body and voice. Teleport into different characters, and act out all the parts. Create with your friends by passing scenes back and forth, then share your shows in VR and on social media. Cast: Dana Gould.
“Miyubi” / Canada (Artists: Félix Lajeunesse, Paul Raphaël, Key Collaborator: Owen Burke) — Experience love and obsolescence as a Japanese toy robot, gifted to a child in the home of a fractured family in 1982 suburban America. Cast: Jeff Goldblum, P.J. Byrne, Emily Bergl, Owen Vaccaro, Richard Riehle, Ted Sutherland.
“Tree” / U.S.A. (Artists: Milica Zec, Winslow Porter) — This virtual experience transforms you into a rainforest tree. With your arms as the branches and body as the trunk, you experience the tree’s growth from a seedling to its fullest form and witness its fate firsthand. NEW CLIMATE
“Orbital Vanitas” / Australia (Artist: Shaun Gladwell) This virtual reality experience presents a surreal sci-fi mystery and meditation on death. Initially placed in Earth’s orbit, participants soon notice an enigmatic form floating toward them. What takes place next makes perfect use of the VR format.
“Out of Exile: Daniel’s Story” / U.S.A. (Artist: Nonny de la Peña) — In August 2014, Daniel Ashley Pierce’s family verbally and physically accosted him before kicking him out of the house because they disapproved of his sexuality. Built directly around audio Daniel recorded from that encounter, this project includes thoughts of hope and triumph from Daniel and three other LGBTQ youth. Cast: Daniel Ashley Pierce, Kyle Wills, Julene Renee, Cyntia Domenzain, Angel VanStark, Phoebe VanCleefe.
“The Sky is a Gap” / U.S.A. (Artist: Rachel Rossin) — The viewer is allowed to precisely move time with space by the use of a positionally tracked headset. Existing in the physical and virtual realms, the installation depicts a pyroclastic explosion inspired by Zabriskie Point, where the scene’s progress is physically mapped to the participant’s forward and backward movement.
“Through You” / U.S.A. (Artists: Saschka Unseld, Lily Baldwin) — Dance is used to inhabit a common mortal story of love born, lived, lost, burned and seemingly gone forever—only to be found again. Cast: Joanna Kotze, Amari Cheatom, Marni Thomas Wood.
“Zero Days VR” / U.S.A. (Artists: Scatter, Yasmin Elayat, Elie Zananiri, Key Collaborators: Yasmin Elayat, Alexander Porter) — A clandestine mission hatched by the U.S. and Israel to sabotage an underground Iranian nuclear facility is told from the perspective of Stuxnet, the world’s first cyberweapon, and a key NSA informant. Audiences experience the high stakes of cyber warfare inside the invisible world of computer viruses. Cast: Joanne Tucker, Eric Chien, Liam O’Murchu, Ralph Langner, Olli Heinonen, David Sanger.
U.S. Narrative Short Films
“American Paradise” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Joe Talbot) — A desperate man in Trump’s America tries to shift his luck with the perfect crime. Inspired by true events.
“Black Holes” / U.S.A., France (Directors and screenwriters: David Nicolas, Laurent Nicolas) — Dave is about to lead the first mission to Mars when he’s teamed up with a sentient melon, who claims to be the reincarnation of a fashion designer, upstaging his big moment and driving him to the brink of madness.
“Cecile on the Phone” / U.S.A. (Director: Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Screenwriters: Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Ellen Greenberg) — Overwhelmed by doubt and confusion after her ex-boyfriend’s return to New York, Cecile embarks on a series of telephone conversations that serve only to distract her from the one conversation she really needs to have.
“Come Swim” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Kristen Stewart) — This is a diptych of one man’s day, half impressionist and half realist portraits.
“GOOD CRAZY” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Rosa Salazar) — A complex chick deals with a vanilla beau, a shitty brunch and a dead coyote all in a Los Angeles day. There’s batshit crazy and then there’s good crazy—she fits somewhere in between.
“Hardware” / U.S.A. (Director: Stephen Jacobson, Screenwriters: Ellen Stringer, Stephen Jacobson) — An amateur electronic-drum enthusiast travels to a housewares trade show looking to strike up the perfect business partnership. When things don’t go as planned, he finds himself at the mercy of the electronic drumbeat playing in his head.
“Hold On” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Christine Turner) — A young man is left to care for his grandmother one morning.
“Hot Seat” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Anna Kerrigan) — Teenaged Andrea uses a male stripper to gain the respect and admiration of cool girl Daphne in this exploration of coming-of-age sexuality and teen girls’ complex relationships, based on a true story.
“I Know You from Somewhere” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Andrew Fitzgerald) — A young woman incurs the wrath of the internet after she inadvertently becomes a viral sensation.
“Kaiju Bunraku” / U.S.A. (Directors: Lucas Leyva, Jillian Mayer, Screenwriter: Lucas Leyva) — Here’s a day in the life of a husband and wife living in a world of giant monsters.
“Laps” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Charlotte Wells) — On a routine morning, a woman on a crowded New York City subway is sexually assaulted in plain sight.
“LostFound” / U.S.A. (Director: Shakti Bhagchandani, Screenwriters: Shakti Bhagchandani, Emre Gulcan) — This story portrays a day in the life of a woman in the Nation of Islam.
“Lucia, Before and After” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Anu Valia) — After traveling 200 miles, a young woman waits out Texas’s state-mandated 24-hour waiting period before her abortion can proceed.
“New Neighbors” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: E.G. Bailey) — How far will a mother go to protect her children?
“Night Shift” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Marshall Tyler) — Get a glimpse into a day in the life of a bathroom attendant in a Los Angeles nightclub.
“Rubber Heart” / U.S.A. (Director: Lizzy Sanford, Screenwriters: Lizzy Sanford, Anna Cordell) — After a painful dry spell, a woman attempts to have a one-night stand.
“Shinaab” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Lyle Corbine) — A young Anishinaabe man struggles with his place in the inner city of Minneapolis.
“Toru” / U.S.A. (Directors and screenwriters: Jonathan Minard, Scott Rashap) — An infant’s life is transformed by a new technology.
International Narrative Short Films
“5 Films About Technology” / Canada (Director and screenwriter: Peter Huang) — Take a satirical look at the dumber side of technology.
“And so we put goldfish in the pool.” / Japan (Director and screenwriter: Makoto Nagahisa) — One summer day, 400 goldfish were found in the swimming pool of a secondary school. This is a story about the four 15-year-old girls who put them there.
“And The Whole Sky Fit in The Dead Cow’s Eye” / Chile, U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Francisca Alegría) — Emeteria is visited by the ghost of her patrón, Teodoro. She believes he has come to take her to the afterlife—but he has more devastating news.
“Dadyaa – The Woodpeckers of Rotha” / Nepal, France (Directors and screenwriters: Pooja Gurung, Bibhusan Basnet) — Atimaley and Devi’s village is haunted by memories. When a dear friend leaves the village without saying goodbye, the old couple faces a dilemma: keep living with the memories or leave the village for good?
“Dawn of the Deaf” / United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: Rob Savage) — When a strange sound wipes out the hearing population, a small group of deaf people must band together to survive.
“Dear Mr. Shakespeare” / United Kingdom (Director: Shola Amoo, Screenwriter: Phoebe Boswell) — An exploration of Shakespeare’s intentions when writing Othello explores the play’s racial themes in historical and contemporary settings, and draws wider parallels between immigration and blackness in the UK today.
“The Geneva Convention” / France (Director and screenwriter: Benoit Martin) — As Hakim is waiting for the bus after class, he is caught in a vendetta between teenagers. He’s not exactly keen to be involved, but can he avoid it?
“HEAT” / Poland (Directors and screenwriters: Agata Trzebuchowska, Mateusz Pacewicz) — A young boy does an unusual favor for a friend, assuming his identity to visit his senile grandmother. The woman takes him for a walk, and tells him about the biggest mystery of her life.
“Kao Shi (A Test)” / China (Director and screenwriter: Zuxiang Zhao) — In a small-town high school, days before the college entrance exam, teacher Chen Jun finds out that the father of his most promising student has died in a mining accident. Telling him—or not—bears heavy consequences.
“MappaMundi” / Austria (Director and screenwriter: Bady Minck) — Through the eyes of cosmic cartographers, the viewer takes an accelerated voyage through 950 million years of Earth history and 15,000 years of human cartography.
“Mare Nostrum” / France, Syrian Arab Republic (Directors: Rana Kazkaz, Anas Khalaf, Screenwriter: Rana Kazkaz) — On a Mediterranean shore, a Syrian father makes a decision that puts his daughter’s life at risk.
“Pedro” / Portugal (Directors and screenwriters: André Santos, Marco Leão) — Pedro gets home at dawn. Before the young boy falls asleep, his lonely mother drags him to the beach.
“Slapper” / Australia (Director: Luci Schroder, Screenwriters: Luci Schroder, Sam West) — A broke and rebellious teen navigates a suburban wasteland, hustling money for the morning-after pill—before it’s too late.
“What Tears Us Apart” / France (Director and screenwriter: Wei Hu) — A Chinese couple visits the daughter they gave up for adoption 30 years ago. While meeting the French adoptive parents, language barriers become apparent and the birth mother’s hidden emotions rise to the surface.
Documentary Short Films
“Alone” / U.S.A. (Director: Garrett Bradley) — This investigation into the layers of mass incarceration and its shaping of the modern black American family is seen through the eyes of a single mother in New Orleans, Louisiana.
“Bayard & Me” / U.S.A. (Director: Matt Wolf) — Walter Naegle’s boyfriend, Bayard Rustin, was a famous civil rights activist 30 years Walter’s senior. In the 1980s, Bayard decided to adopt Walter for legal protection. This love story is about a time when gay marriage was inconceivable.
“Close Ties” / Poland (Director: Zofia Kowalewska) — Barbara and Zdzislaw will soon celebrate their 45th anniversary—despite their constant bickering, and the fact that Zdzislaw spent eight of those years living with another woman. This is a portrait of a relationship that, somewhat inexplicably, perseveres.
“Deer Squad: The Movie” / U.S.A. (Directors: Pipus Larsen, Kenneth Gug, Scott J. Ross) — Kelvin Peña, a charismatic 17-year-old from rural Pennsylvania, shares his story of going viral after befriending a group of wild deer in his backyard.
“The Diver” / Mexico (Director and screenwriter: Esteban Arrangoiz) — Julio César Cu Cámara is the chief diver in the Mexico City sewer system. His job is to repair pumps and dislodge garbage that flows into the gutters to maintain the circulation of sewage waters. NEW CLIMATE
“Fish Story” / United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: Charlie Lyne) — Behind a fishy tale lies this search for the truth.
“Hairat” / Ethiopia (Director and screenwriter: Jessica Beshir) — This is a visual and lyrical exploration of the nightly ritual between a man in Eastern Ethiopia and his feral companions.
“Legal Smuggling with Christine Choy” / U.S.A. (Director: Lewie Kloster) — Academy Award–nominated documentary filmmaker Christine Choy undergoes an adventure of wild proportions when she accidentally smuggles cigarettes.
“My Father’s Tools” / Canada (Director: Heather Condo) — Stephen continues producing traditional baskets to honor his father and thus finds peace in his studio as he connects with the man who taught him the craft.
“Project X” / U.S.A. (Directors: Laura Poitras, Henrik Moltke) — A top secret handbook takes viewers on an undercover journey to the site of a hidden partnership. Based on NSA documents, this film reveals the inner workings of a windowless skyscraper in Manhattan.
“The Rabbit Hunt” / U.S.A. (Director: Patrick Bresnan) — On the weekends during the harvest season, 17-year-old Chris and his family hunt rabbits in the sugarcane fields of the Florida Everglades.
“Ten Meter Tower” / Sweden (Directors: Maximilien Van Aertryck, Axel Danielson) — People who have never been up a 10-meter diving tower must choose whether to jump or climb down in this entertaining study of people in a vulnerable position.
“Tough” / United Kingdom (Director: Jennifer Zheng) — New light is shed on childhood cultural misunderstandings when a Chinese mother and her British-born daughter speak as adults for the first time. Some things can only be understood with maturity.
“Visions of an Island” / U.S.A. (Director: Sky Hopinka) — Indigenous and foreign presences coexist on an Alaskan island in the center of the Bering Sea. NEW CLIMATE
“Waiting for Hassana” / Nigeria (Director: Ifunanya Maduka) — In 2014, 276 teenaged girls came together for exams in Chibok, Nigeria—by dawn, nearly all had disappeared, and their school was burned to the ground. Jessica, an escapee, shares her haunting account of a friendship violently interrupted by Boko Haram.
“White Riot: London” / United Kingdom (Director: Rubika Shah) — In 1977, immigration divides Britain. What happens when a punk fanzine challenges the status quo?
Midnight Short Films
“Do No Harm” / New Zealand (Director and screenwriter: Roseanne Liang) — 3:00 a.m., 1980s Hongjing: In an aging private hospital, a single-minded surgeon is forced to break her physician’s oath when violent gangsters storm in to stop a crucial operation.
“Fucking Bunnies” / Finland (Director: Teemu Niukkanen, Screenwriters: Antti Toivonen, Teemu Niukkanen) — Raimo’s comfortable, middle-class bubble is burst when a Satan-worshipping sex cult moves in next door.
“Hot Winter: A film by Dick Pierre” / U.S.A. (Director: Jack Henry Robbins, Screenwriters: Jack Henry Robbins, Nunzio Randazzo) — One of the first films in American cinema to address climate change, “Hot Winter: A film by Dick Pierre” was also a hardcore porno. All sex scenes have been removed as to not distract from the conscious message. NEW CLIMATE
“A Nearly Perfect Blue Sky” (Un ciel bleu presque parfait) / France (Director and screenwriter: Quarxx) — You might think that Simon lives a monotonous life, but you would be wrong—contrary to appearances, he doesn’t live alone among the ruins of an old farm. Between kidnapper and guardian angel, he never takes his eyes off his roommate.
“Pussy” / Poland (Director and screenwriter: Renata Gasiorowska) — Alone at home one evening, a young girl decides to have a solo pleasure session—but not everything goes according to plan.
“The Robbery” / U.S.A. (Director: Jim Cummings, Screenwriters: Jim Cummings, Dustin Hahn) — Crystal robs a liquor store—it goes pretty OK.
“Summer’s Puke Is Winter’s Delight” / Japan (Director and screenwriter: Sawako Kabuki) — Painful events become memories over time. Still, we vomit and eat again. Life is eco.
Animated Short Films
“The Bald Future” / France (Director and screenwriter: Paul Cabon) — Being a bald man sucks. Knowing you’ll become one is worse.
“Black Holes” / U.S.A., France (Directors and screenwriters: David Nicolas, Laurent Nicolas) — Dave is about to lead the first mission to Mars when he’s teamed up with a sentient melon, who claims to be the reincarnation of a fashion designer, upstaging his big moment and driving him to the brink of madness.
“Broken – The Women’s Prison at Hoheneck” / Germany (Directors: Volker Schlecht, Alexander Lahl, Screenwriters: Alexander Lahl, Max Mönch) — This animated documentary about Hoheneck, the main women’s prison in former East Germany, is based on original interviews with former inmates. It’s a film about political imprisonment, forced labor, and enormous profits on both sides of the Iron Curtain.
“Drawn & Recorded: Teen Spirit” / U.S.A. (Director: Drew Christie, Screenwriters: Drew Christie, Bill Flanagan) — The story behind one of the most iconic songs ever written, animated in the style of a pop-up book.
“How’s your prostate?” / France (Directors: Jeanne Paturle, Cécile Rousset, Screenwriters: Jeanne Paturle, Cécile Rousset, Cécile Mille) — One friend tells the other about the very strange time when, beside a swimming pool, she learned about her father’s prostate, his erectile function and his nighttime fantasies.
“It’s a Date” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Zachary Zezima) — This film explores miscommunication, perceptions and vulnerability in the modern world. Everyone is an alien at first.
“Jonas and the Sea” / Netherlands (Director: Marlies Van der Wel, Screenwriters: Ruben Picavet, Marlies Van der Wel) — Jonas has dreamed of living in the sea all his life, but it’s impossible. Or is it?
“The Laughing Spider” / Japan (Director: Keiichi Tanaami) — The early childhood memory of aerial attacks leaves a lasting impression, with strong stimulus and disquiet.
“Nighthawk” / Slovenia, Croatia (Director: Spela Cadez, Screenwriters: Gregor Zorc, Spela Cadez) — Attempting to remove an unresponsive badger from a dark road, a police patrol soon realizes that the animal is not dead but rather dead drunk. Things take an even stranger turn when the creature wakes up.
“Nutag – Homeland” / Canada (Director and screenwriter: Alisi Telengut) — This hand-painted visual poem explores the ideas of diaspora, homeland and the mass deportations of the Kalmyk people during World War II.
“Summer Camp Island” / U.S.A., South Korea (Director and screenwriter: Julia Pott) — Oscar and his best friend, Hedgehog, just got dropped off at summer camp. Once the parents leave the island, the strangeness lurking beneath the surface is revealed—aliens exist, horses become unicorns and there are monsters under the bed.
“Trumpet Man” / Hong Kong (Director and screenwriter: Emily Wong) — A turntable springs out a woman named Avocado; her instinct creates a man called Soul. Passion swings both, and an uncertain madness strikes Soul heavily. Seeds of passion breed conflict among five men, eventually leading Soul to a deeper understanding of life.
“Victor & Isolina” / U.S.A. (Director: William Caballero) — Creatively visualized through 3D printing, two elderly Latinos embark on a resonating he said/she said account of the events that led them to live separately after more than 50 quirky and stressful years together.
For the 2017 festival, 113 feature-length films were selected, representing 31 countries and 36 first-time filmmakers, including 19 in competition. These films were selected from 13,782 submissions including 4,068 feature-length films and 8,985 short films. Of the feature film submissions, 2,005 were from the U.S. and 2,063 were international. Ninety-five feature films at the festival will be world premieres. In 2016, the Festival drew 46,600 attendees, generated $143.3 million in economic activity for the state of Utah, and supported 1,400 local jobs.
The 2017 Sundance Film Festival runs from January 19 – 29 in Park City, Utah.