14 Must-See Films for the 2020 Sundance Film Festival

Don’t miss The Glorias, Worth, and more at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival taking place January 23 - February 2, 2020. These films were selected from a record high of 15,100 submissions, including 3,853 feature-length films.

FEATURES

  • Blast Beat / U.S.A. (Director: Esteban Arango, Screenwriters: Erick Castrillon & Esteban Arango, Producers: Charles D. King, Poppy Hanks, Erick Castrillon, Ty Walker) — From the festival: “After their family emigrates from Colombia during the summer of ‘99, a metalhead science prodigy and his deviant younger brother do their best to adapt to new lives in America.” Cast: Moises Arias, Mateo Arias, Daniel Dae Kim, Kali Uchis, Diane Guerrero, Wilmer Valderrama. World Premiere

  • Farewell Amor / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Ekwa Msangi, Producers: Huriyyah Muhammad, Sam Bisbee, Josh Penn) — From the festival: “Reunited after a 17 year separation, Walter, an Angolan immigrant, is joined in the U.S. by his wife and teenage daughter. Now absolute strangers sharing a one-bedroom apartment, they discover a shared love of dance that may help overcome the emotional distance between them.” Cast: Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Zainab Jah, Jayme Lawson, Joie Lee, Marcus Scribner, Nana Mensah. World Premiere

  • Never Rarely Sometimes Always / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Eliza Hittman, Producers: Adele Romanski, Sara Murphy) — From the festival: “An intimate portrayal of two teenage girls in rural Pennsylvania. Faced with an unintended pregnancy and a lack of local support, Autumn and her cousin Skylar embark on a brave, fraught journey across state lines to New York City.”Cast: Sidney Flanigan, Talia Ryder, Théodore Pellerin, Ryan Eggold, Sharon Van Etten. World Premiere

  • Nine Days / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Edson Oda, Producers: Jason Michael Berman, Mette Marie Kongsved, Matthew Lindner, Laura Tunstall, Datari Turner) — From the festival: “In a house distant from the reality we know, a reclusive man interviews prospective candidates—personifications of human souls—for the privilege that he once had: to be born.” Cast: Winston Duke, Zazie Beetz, Benedict Wong, Bill Skarsgård, Tony Hale, David Rysdahl. World Premiere

  • Save Yourselves! / U.S.A. (Directors and Screenwriters: Alex Huston Fischer, Eleanor Wilson, Producers: Kara Durrett, Mandy Tagger, Adi Ezroni) — From the festival: “A young Brooklyn couple head upstate to disconnect from their phones and reconnect with themselves. Cut off from their devices, they miss the news that the planet is under attack.” Cast: Sunita Mani, John Reynolds, Ben Sinclair, Johanna Day, John Early, Gary Richardson. World Premiere
  • Shirley / U.S.A. (Director: Josephine Decker, Screenwriter: Sarah Gubbins, Producers: Christine Vachon, David Hinojosa, Sue Naegle, Sarah Gubbins, Jeffrey Soros, Simon Horsman) — From the festival: “A young couple moves in with the famed author, Shirley Jackson, and her Bennington College professor husband, Stanley Hyman, in the hope of starting a new life but instead find themselves fodder for a psycho-drama that inspires Shirley's next novel.” Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Michael Stuhlbarg, Odessa Young, Logan Lerman. World Premiere

DOC

  • Whirlybird / U.S.A. (Director: Matt Yoka, Producers: Diane Becker, Matt Yoka) — From the festival: “Soaring above the chaotic spectacle of ‘80s and ‘90s Los Angeles, a young couple revolutionized breaking news with their brazen helicopter reporting. Culled from this news duo’s sprawling video archive is a poignant L.A. story of a family in turbulence hovering over a city unhinged.” World Premiere

NEXT

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.

  • Black Bear / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Lawrence Michael Levine, Producers: Julie Christeas, Jonathan Blitstein, Richard J Bosner, Aubrey Plaza, Lawrence Michael Levine, Sophia Takal) — From the festival: “At a remote lake house, a filmmaker plays a calculated game of desire and jealousy in the pursuit of a work of art that blurs the boundaries between autobiography and invention.” Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Christopher Abbott, Sarah Gadon. World Premiere

  • Summertime / U.S.A. (Director: Carlos López Estrada, Screenwriters: Dave Harris, 27 Get Lit Poets, Producers: Kimberly Stuckwisch, Jeffrey Soros, Alisa Tager, Simon Horsman, Diane Luby Lane) — From the festival: “In the heat of the summer, the lives of 25 strangers collide. A love letter to Los Angeles written and performed by a collective of young spoken word poets.” Cast: 25 Get Lit Poets. World Premiere

PREMIERES

A showcase of world premieres of some of the most highly anticipated narrative films of the coming year. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include The Report, Late Night, The Big Sick and Call Me By Your Name.

  • The Glorias / U.S.A. (Director: Julie Taymor, Screenwriters: Julie Taymor, Sarah Ruhl, Producers: Alex Saks, Lynn Hendee) — From the festival: “An equal rights crusader, journalist and activist: Gloria Steinem embodies these and more. From her role in the revolutionary women's rights movement to her travels throughout the U.S. and around the world, Steinem has made an everlasting mark on modern history. A nontraditional chronicle of a trailblazing life.” Cast: Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander, Bette Midler, Janelle Monae, Timothy Hutton, Lorraine Toussaint. World Premiere
  • Worth / U.S.A. (Director: Sara Colangelo, Screenwriter: Max Borenstein) — From the festival: “Kenneth Feinberg, a powerful D.C. lawyer appointed Special Master of the 9/11 Fund, fights off the cynicism, bureaucracy, and politics associated with administering government funds and, in doing so, discovers what life is worth. Based on true events.” Cast: Michael Keaton, Stanley Tucci, Amy Ryan, Tate Donovan, Talia Balsam, Laura Benanti. World Premiere

MIDNIGHT

From horror and comedy to works that defy genre classification, these films will keep you wide awake, even at the most arduous hour.

  • Scare Me / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Josh Ruben, Producers: Alex Bach, Daniel Powell, Josh Ruben) — From the festival: “During a power outage, two strangers tell scary stories. The more Fred and Fanny commit to their tales, the more the stories come to life in the dark of a Catskills cabin. The horrors of reality manifest when Fred confronts his ultimate fear: Fanny is the better storyteller.”Cast: Aya Cash, Josh Ruben, Chris Redd, Rebecca Drysdale. World Premiere

SPECIAL EVENTS

One-of-a-kind moments highlighting new independent works that add to the unique Festival experience. Past projects that have played in this category include Lorena, Now Apocalypse, Wild Wild Country and Top of the Lake.

  • Love Fraud / U.S.A. (Directors: Rachel Grady, Heidi Ewing, Executive Producer: Vinnie Malhotra, Amy Goodman Kass, Rachel Grady, Heidi Ewing) — From the festival: "Bigamy. Identity theft. Fraud. For the last 20 years Richard Scott Smith has used the internet and his dubious charms to prey upon unsuspecting women in search of love–conning them out of their money and dignity. But now his victims ban together and seek sweet revenge." World Premiere
  • McMillions / U.S.A. (Directors: James Lee Hernandez, Brian Lazarte, Executive Producers: Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson, Archie Gips) — From the festival: "McMillions is the definitive, real-life account of the McDonald's Monopoly game scam, which defrauded the American public throughout the 1990s, as told by the “prize winners," criminals, government officials, and FBI agents, whom eventually took the crime ring down." World Premiere

The festival will host screenings in Park City, Salt Lake City and at Sundance Mountain Resort. The Sundance Film Festival is Sundance Institute’s flagship public program, widely regarded as the largest American independent film festival and attended by more than 120,000 people and 1,300 accredited press, and powered by more than 2,000 volunteers last year.

Visit Sundance.org for the full list of films and more information about this year’s festival.

GreenSlate
12 December 2019

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