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Sundance Celebrates TV With ‘Documentary Now,’ Plus New Shows from Gregg Araki and Nick Hornby

The festival continues its Indie Episodic program alongside some Special Events series that have distribution.

Bill Hader - "Documentary Now!"

“Documentary Now!”

Rhys Thomas/IFC

In only its second year of bringing independent television to Park City as part of its Indie Episodics section, Sundance has picked a dozen series that could include the next big TV hit. Among the announced independent shows include works by Nick Hornby, Richie Mehta, and Kyra Sedgwick, which range from comedies about start-ups to dating comedies about trans relationships to dramas about race. Sundance is also bringing in some other TV projects under its Special Events banner, including the newest season of IFC’s ongoing doc parody series “Documentary Now!” and Gregg Araki’s upcoming Starz series “Now Apocalypse,” executive produced by Steven Soderbergh.

The Special Events section will also play home to a brand new (and as yet untitled) documentary from Sundance regular Amy Berg, which tracks the creation of the Women’s March and what followed.

In an announcement, Sundance director of programming Kim Yutani said that “our newly-expanded programming team took in a full spectrum of human experience across genres and formats in creating this year’s Festival program. Following the success of last year’s inaugural Indie Episodic section, we’re immensely proud to showcase these stories told across installments, alongside several provocative, conversation-starting Special Events.”

The 2018 line-up included indie series that eventually found distribution: Starz took on Steve James’ “America to Me,” “This Close” made it to Sundance NOW, and “Mr. Inbetween” was picked up by FX. What happens with this year’s selections has yet to be determined, but check out the full listing below.

INDIE EPISODIC

“Bootstrapped” / U.S.A. (Creator: Danielle Uhlarik, Director: Stephanie Laing) — Best friends Madeline and Aimee are underdog entrepreneurs who launch a fashion and tech startup out of a garage in their hometown of Kansas City. The duo’s overly positive attitude convinces two other coders to join them on their broke-ass entrepreneurial journey to make BitchThatWouldLookBetterOnMe.Com a household name. Cast: Danielle Uhalrik, Maribeth Monroe, Sam Richardson, Kezii Curtis, Nancy Lenehan, Erika Alexander. World Premiere

“Delhi Crime Story” / India (Director and screenwriter: Richie Mehta) — Following the Delhi Police during their investigation of a horrific gang rape of a young woman on a bus in 2012. Based on actual events and case files. Cast: Shefali Shah, Rasika Dugal, Rajesh Tailang, Adil Hussain, Gopal Datt, Vinod Sherawat. World Premiere

“Delivery Girl” / U.S.A (Director and screenwriter: Kate Krieger) — Tricia is a woman struggling with her identity, living in a fiercely Catholic household leading a double life, selling drugs to make ends meet and carrying on an affair. She fights for the courage to embrace her future as the first of many delivery girls. Cast: Kate Krieger, Adam LeFevre, Liz Larsen, Joe Holt. World Premiere

“Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared” / United Kingdom (Creators and screenwriters: Becky Sloan, Joseph Pelling, Baker Terry) — In the small town community of Clayhill, roommates Red Guy, Yellow Guy and Duck live simple, uneventful lives – until Mayor Pigface disappears. Cast: Baker Terry, Joseph Pelling, Becky Sloan. World Premiere

“The Dress Up Gang” / United States (Creators: Robb Boardman, Cory Loykasek, Donny Divanian, Executive Producers: Dave Kneebone, Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim) — Donny, a responsible adult with the innocence and outlook of a child, relies on guidance and life advice from his friend Cory, the dad-like thirtysomething who has been crashing on his couch for quite some time. Cast: Donny Divanian, Cory Loykasek, Frankie Quinones, Andie MacDowell, Christian Duguay, Brent Weinbach. World Premiere

“Girls Weekend” / U.S.A. (Director: Kyra Sedgwick, Creator: Ali Liebegott) — When a queer daughter returns home to Las Vegas for a “girls weekend” with her estranged homophobic sister and people-pleasing mother, her gun-toting dad lets it slip that her mother’s cancer is back with a vengeance, forcing her to decide whether or not she can rejoin her family. Cast: Ali Liebegott, Linda Lavin, Amy Landecker, Ken Jenkens. World Premiere

“It’s Not About Jimmy Keene” / U.S.A. (Creator: Caleb Jaffe, Executive Producers: Jim Frohna, Diana Kunce) — The police shooting of an unarmed black teen reveals deep divisions within a mixed-race family. Ivan, the youngest sibling, stalked by visions of Jimmy Keene’s floating corpse, is torn between opposing worldviews of his two older sisters. Cast: Caleb Jaffe, Roger Guenveur Smith, Gabrielle Maiden, Okwui Okpokwasili, Ayana Peters, David Warshofsky. World Premiere

“Maggie” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Sasha Gordon) — A darkly comedic series about a struggling new mom who ditches her dreary postpartum group for the stand-up comedy class next door. In the pilot episode, Maggie struggles with inappropriate fantasies about her live-in nanny. Cast: Christine Woods, David Walton, Maddison Ridley, Veronica Mosey, Dina Hashem, Jon Bander. World Premiere

“Quarter Life Poetry” / U.S.A. (Creator: Samantha Jayne, Arturo Perez Jr., Screenwriter: Samantha Jayne) — Poems for the young, broke and hangry. Cast: Samantha Jayne, Tori Ward, Meredith Thomas, Hailey Harris, Samantha Dockser, Tyler Haines. World Premiere

“State of the Union” / United Kingdom (Creator: Nick Hornby, Director: Stephen Frears) — Every week before their weekly marital therapy session, estranged couple Tom and Louise meet at a pub to try and get their story straight for the therapist. With each successive episode, we piece together how their lives were, what drew them together and what has started to pull them apart. Cast: Rosamund Pike, Chris O’Dowd. World Premiere

“Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men” / U.S.A. (Director: Sacha Jenkins, Executive Producers: Peter J Scalettar, Peter Bittenbender, Chris Gary) — The cultural history of Wu-Tang Clan; artists who escape the poverty, violence, and oppression of their neighborhoods through music. They encounter wild success and heartbreak along the way to becoming the most recognized musical movement in the world — all while walking the tightrope that links business with brotherhood. Cast: All members of the Wu-Tang Clan. World Premiere

“Work In Progress” / U.S.A. (Creators and screenwriters: Abby McEnany, Tim Mason) — After her therapist dies mid-session and she begins to date a trans man, Abby is forced to re-evaluate her life choices, her dating options and whether or not to confront the woman responsible for ‘ruining her life’: SNL’s Julia Sweeney. Cast: Abby McEnany, Theo Germaine, Karin Anglin, Celeste Pechous, Julia Sweeney, Alison Gates. World Premiere

SPECIAL EVENTS

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

“Documentary Now! Season 52 Preview” / The documentary series returns. Celebrate the art of nonfiction storytelling as the creators of Documentary Now! present two new films: “Waiting for the Artist,” starring Cate Blanchett and Fred Armisen, and “Original Cast Album: Co-op”, starring John Mulaney, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Alex Brightman, Paula Pell, Richard Kind, and Taran Killam. Post screenings, they will share their insights into these two episodes from the upcoming season and about the game of paying loving homage to documentary filmmaking.

Untitled Amy Berg Documentary / U.S.A. (Director: Amy Berg, Producers: Amy Berg, Paul McGuire, Ruchi Mital, Joy Gorman Wettels) — While the 2016 election catalyzed the Women’s March and a new era of feminist activism, Tamika Mallory and Erika Andiola have been fighting for their communities for decades. Their stories expose the fundamental connection between personal and political and raise the question: what’s intersectionality and can it save the world? World Premiere

“Lorena” / U.S.A. (Executive Producers: Joshua Rofé, Steven J Berger, Jordan Peele, Win Rosenfeld, Thomas Lesinski, Jenna Santoianni) — 25 years after the notorious case of John and Lorena Bobbitt, this groundbreaking series re-investigates the story that made international headlines and helped birth a 24-hour news cycle, exploring vital moral issues and the missed opportunity for a national discussion about domestic violence and sexual assault within this American scandal. World Premiere

“Now Apocalypse” / U.S.A. (Director: Gregg Araki, Executive Producers: Gregg Araki, Gregory Jacobs, Steven Soderbergh) — Ulysses and his friends are trying to navigate Los Angeles, as they pursue love, sex and fame. Between dating app adventures, Ulysses grows increasingly troubled as foreboding dreams make him paranoid — or maybe he’s just smoking too much weed. Cast: Avan Jogia, Kelli Berglund, Beau Mirchoff, Roxane Mesquida. World Premiere

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