The 2016 Sundance Film Festival runs from January 21st through the 31st in Park City, Utah. The festival is a destination for both up-and-coming and veteran filmmakers, and has earned a reputation as a showcase for some of the most critically acclaimed and Oscar-worthy films of the year. This year, out of the 12,793 submissions they received, the Sundance committee has selected just over 200 feature length and short films to play at the festival. That’s a lot of films to go through in 10 days. Which is why this week, we’re bringing you a new curated list each day that highlights the films we think are worth checking out in Park City.
And don’t forget to check out our exclusive party and event grid!
Films included in the ‘Spotlight’ portion of the festival give Sundance the opportunity to share films that they love — films that have shown all over the world. In addition to film, the festival also has special events that show entertainment in other mediums. This year, there’s a focus on a lot of TV programs including Netflix originals, something new from J.J. Abrams and other series that explore timely issues. And if you have a hankering for something a little bit more bite-sized in terms of films, the Shorts Programs has an extensive list of shorts that can satisfy.
Synopsis: 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.
Director: Don Cheadle
Writers: Don Cheadle, Steven Baigelman
Cast: Don Cheadle, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Ewan McGregor, Lakeith Lee Stanfield, Michael Stuhlbarg
Why do we want to watch this film? By his pictures alone, Cheadle is slaying it as Miles Davis. Can’t wait to see if his physical appearance match his performance.
Synopsis: 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.
Director/writer: Jeremy Saulnier
Cast: Alia Shawkat, Anton Yelchin, Callum Turner, Imogen Poots, Joe Cole, Patrick Stewart
Why do we want to watch this film? It’s unsettling to see the noble actor who plays Professor X as a neo-Nazi, but based on the trailer, he is as terrifying as hell as one. We’re into it.
Synopsis: 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.
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Writers: Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou
Cast: Ben Whishaw, Colin Farrell, John C. Reilly, Lea Seydoux, Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz
Why do we want to watch this film? It’s the weirdest and most original story for a romantic comedy. Ever.
Synopsis: A young woman’s determination to have a child catapults her into a nervy love triangle with a heartthrob academic and his eccentric critical-theorist wife.
Director: Rebecca Miller
Writer: Rebecca Miller, based on a story by Karen Rinaldi
Cast: Bill Hader, Ethan Hawke, Greta Gerwig, Julianne Moore, Maya Rudolph, Travis Fimmel
Why do we want to watch this film? Because a Sundance Film Festival without a movie with Greta Gerwig is like a Christmas without Santa.
Synopsis: Political comedian W. Kamau Bell explores the racial subcultures of America. In this CNN original series premiere, he uses humor to challenge Klansmen who are looking to rebrand their message.
Executive producers: Ethan Berlin, Jimmy Fox, Star Price, W. Kamau Bell
Cast: W. Kamau Bell
Why do we want to watch this show? As crazy as the premise may seem, it’s a smart — and kind of risky — way of exploring racial issues in the KKK country.
Synopsis: 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.
Director: Ezra Edelman
Why do we want to watch this show? Ever since 1995, the world has been fascinated by the falling star that is OJ. With Ryan Murphy’s upcoming TV series and this, our fascination isn’t dwindling any time soon.
Synopsis: 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 premiering February 15, 2016, on Hulu.
Executive Producers: J.J. Abrams, Stephen King, Bridget Carpenter, Bryan Burk, Kevin Macdonald
Co-Executive Producers: Brian Nelson, Kathy Lingg, Quinton Peeples
Director: Kevin Macdonald
Screenwriter: Bridget Carpenter
Cast: Chris Cooper, Daniel Webber, George MacKay, James Franco, Josh Duhamel, Sarah Gadon
Why do we want to watch this show? The JFK assassination has been the topic of many movies and TV shows before, but not like this.
Synopsis: Amazon Prime Video presents 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.
Executive Producers: Alex Gibney, Kahane Cooperman
Showrunner: Kahane Cooperman
Directors: Alex Gibney, Blair Foster, Robert Pulcini, Ryan Miller, Shari Springer Berman, Steve James
Why do we want to watch this show? Not all of us have time to read The New Yorker. This is a nice alternative… but as they say, the magazine is ALWAYS better.
There are nine programs of shorts with about eight films in each. The variety of films feature original voices, both familiar and up-and-comers. Jason Reitman’s ROAST BATTLE puts us in the crossfire between two comedians during a night at the popular event that takes place at L.A.’s legendary Comedy Store. Brett Weiner sheds new light on one of the most debatable cases of the year in VERBATIM: THE FERGUSON CASE. Indie director Sebastian Silva gives us more of his unique storytelling in DOLFUN, where he tries to fulfill his lifelong dream of swimming with a dolphin.
Why do we want to watch these? Because short films can deliver as big of a punch as a feature film.
Dino-Ray Ramos | Staff Writer