Here Are the Top 15 Stories from Sundance 2022 That Readers Loved Most, Ranked

Reviews, interviews, and a look at why one mega-star turned producer, that's what readers wanted (and got) from Sundance coverage this year.
FILE - The marquee of the Egyptian Theatre appears in Park City, Utah on  Jan. 28, 2021. The Sundance Film Festival is cancelling its in-person festival and reverting to an entirely virtual edition due to the current coronavirus surge. Festival organizers announced Wednesday, Jan 5, 2022, that the festival will start as scheduled on Jan. 20, but will shift online. Last year's Sundance was also held virtually because of the pandemic. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
The marquee of the Egyptian Theatre appears in Park City, Utah

This year’s Sundance Film Festival abandoned its plans for an in-person event due to rising COVID cases, but the latest edition still provided a rich selection of new films, television series, VR projects, and much more. And while IndieWire would have loved to be (literally) on the ground, we covered the festival from reviews to interviews, features to breaking news, and a truly delightful array of “in-studio” visits with some of our favorite talents.

For everything Sundance we’ve published over the past few days (and the weeks leading up to the festival) check this out,, but what did you really want to see out of Sundance? We’ve got a pretty good idea.

Our preview of hot sales titles (heavy on the genre films and documentaries) was of big interest and our top pick, Cooper Raiff’s “Cha Cha Real Smooth” sold to Apple for a hefty $15 million.

Also of interest: a look at why Jesse Eisenberg’s long-time friend and frequent co-star Emma Stone got into the producing fray to make his directorial debut, “When You Finish Saving the World.” The film premiered opening weekend and A24 will release it later this year.

When it came to reviews, the variety of films that people wanted to read about was thrilling. The number-one story of the festival is about as Sundance as it gets: a review of the Aubrey Plaza-starring crime thriller “Emily the Criminal,” which arrived at the festival with a ton of buzz and earned raves along the way. It’s still looking for distribution as of this writing, but we’re guessing not for long.

Other breakouts included the Rebecca Hall-starring “Resurrection,” Eisenberg’s “When You Finish Saving the World,” megachurch satire “Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul,” and Lena Dunham’s “secret” third film “Sharp Stick.”

Aubrey Plaza appears in Emily the Criminal by John Patton Ford, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Low Spark Films.All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or 'Courtesy of Sundance Institute.' Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.
“Emily the Criminal”Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Also popping: Reviews of two Searchlight titles, Mimi Cave’s “Fresh” and “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande” starring Emma Thompson; Shudder buy “Speak No Evil,” and Raiff’s “Cha Cha Real Smooth.”

Readers were also attracted to documentary reviews, including Amy Poehler’s Amazon Studios doc “Lucy and Desi,” as well a Ramin Bahrani’s “2nd Chance” and Nina Menke’s “Brainwashed”; both are seeking distribution.

At our virtual Sundance studio, the number-one chat was with the filmmakers behind Netflix Kanye West documentary “jeen-yuhs,” as they addressed swirling questions around the rapper and his demand for final cut. You can watch the rest of our studio interviews right here. Till next year!


1. ‘Emily the Criminal’ Review: Aubrey Plaza Is Riveting in a Pitch-Black Heist Thriller

2. ‘Lucy and Desi’ Review: Amy Poehler’s Affecting Documentary Understands Ball and Arnaz on an Emotional Level

3. ‘Resurrection’ Review: Rebecca Hall and Tim Roth Face Off in Impressively Deranged Psychological Thriller

4. ‘Fresh’ Review: Sebastian Stan Is Captivating as Charismatic Maniac in Sleek and Stylish Horror Debut

5. ‘Good Luck to You, Leo Grande’ Review: Emma Thompson Hires a Male Escort in a Touching and Sex-Positive Two-Hander

6. ‘When You Finish Saving the World’ Review: Dueling Narcissists Battle in Jesse Eisenberg’s Terrific Debut

7. ‘Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul’ Review: Megachurch Culture Gets a Biting Send-Up Straight from Heaven

8. ‘2nd Chance’ Review: A Jaw-Dropping but Unfocused Doc About the Man Who Shot Himself 192 Times

9. ‘Brainwashed’ Review: Nina Menkes’ Eye-Opening Documentary Will Forever Change How You Look at Films

10. Kanye West Demands Final Cut on ‘Jeen-Yuhs’ Netflix Doc, but Filmmakers Say His Camp Has Already Seen It

11. Life After ‘Zombieland’: Why Emma Stone Launched Producing Career with Jesse Eisenberg’s First Feature

12. ‘Speak No Evil’ Review: A Chilling Danish Horror Offering That’s the Opposite of Hygge

13. Sundance 2022: 15 Movies That Could Sell Big at a Festival Heavy with Genre Films and Docs

14. ‘Cha Cha Real Smooth’ Review: A Bar Mitzvah Party Starter Falls for Dakota Johnson in This Low-Key Charmer

15. ‘Sharp Stick’ Review: Lena Dunham’s Secret Film Is a Challenging Examination of Love and Sex

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