Sundance Film Festival 2015. Photo by: Acura / YouTube
Sundance Film Festival 2015. Photo by: Acura / YouTube

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Written by: Matthew McGuire
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The Sundance Film Festival has revealed their 2016 films and projects set for the Premieres, Spotlight, Sundance Kids, Sundance Short Films and special events.

Competition will be stark this year with a slew of international heavy hitters on board for the documentary and feature films within the Premiere category.

This year the festival will host 72 full-scale projects in Short Film. Documentarians, narrative, and animation specialists will feature their work in Utah this upcoming January.

“Our longstanding showcase of short films has become a home for audiences who love watching these rowdy, sweet, scary and surprising stories. In recent years shorts have taken on a bigger presence within the film and media industries, helping more and more people feel the power and potential of these short-on-time, big-on-ideas films.” – Mike Plante, Senior Programmer for the Sundance Film Festival

Browse through films and overviews written by the Sundance Institute covering the wide array of films set to screen at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

[av_content_slider heading=’Sundance Short Films’ columns=’1′ animation=’slide’ navigation=’arrows’ autoplay=’false’ interval=’5′ font_color=” color=”]
[av_content_slide title=’U.S. Narrative Short Film ‘ link=” linktarget=”]
Affections / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Bridey Elliott) — This comedy about isolation and loneliness follows a young woman who is adrift and seeking intimacy in the most unlikely places.

Catching Up / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Bill Crossland) — A physically disabled high school teacher seeks assistance from his cynical friend after falling in love with an able-bodied co-worker. This funny and dramatic examination of disability, sex, and love stars real people with disabilities.

Dirt / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Darius Clark Monroe) — Some things must die to live.

Dogwalker / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Kim Sherman) — This dark comedy adventure is the story of a young dog walker after the unexpected death of her favorite client.

Dolfun / U.S.A. (Director: Sebastian Silva, Screenwriters: Sebastian Silva, Trinidad Silva, Carlos Rossi) — What begins as a love story becomes an existential crisis when filmmaker Sebastian Silva flies to Miami to fulfill his lifelong dream of swimming with a dolphin.

Emperor of Time still image. Film by: Drew Christie
Emperor of Time still image. Film by: Drew Christie

Emperor of Time / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Drew Christie) — This is the story of the first motion pictures ever photographed, as told by the son of Eadweard Muybridge.

How to Lose Weight in 4 Easy Steps / U.S.A. (Director: Benjamin Berman, Screenwriter: Aaron Bleyaert) — Losing weight and getting fit has never been easier! Shed those unwanted pounds with these simple tricks your gym doesn’t want you to know about. You won’t believe what happens next!

Join the Club / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Eva Vives) — A writer’s dilemma of whether or not to join a professional networking club takes many interesting turns as it unfolds entirely during one therapy session.

Jungle / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Asantewaa Prempeh) — The lines between trust, betrayal, and forgiveness are intertwined for two Senegalese vendors as they try to make a living on the streets of New York City.

Killer / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Matt Kazman) — When Dusty masturbates for the first time, something terrible happens.

PARTNERS / U.S.A. (Director: Joey Ally, Screenwriters: Jen Tullock, Hannah Utt) — Work and life partners Kate and Leigh share everything, from their apartment to the bar they co-own. When a sex life slump forces them to reconsider their relationship, they must confront how intertwined their lives have become, to humorous ends.

A Reasonable Request / U.S.A. (Director: Andrew Laurich, Screenwriters: Gabriel Miller, Andrew Laurich) — A desperate son reconnects with his estranged father to ask an unspeakable favor that will change both of their lives forever.

So Good to See You / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Duke Merriman) — In this darkly comic take on the dual realities of friendship, a dinner party goes painfully sour when a voicemail, unknowingly recorded, exposes one couple’s true opinions of their old friends.

Solemates / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Bryce Dallas Howard) — Told from the perspective of shoes, this film tells the story of a couple’s journey through life—the ups, the downs, the passion, and the dedication it takes to share your life with the one you love.

Thunder Road / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Jim Cummings) — Officer Arnaud loved his mom.

Too Legit / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Frankie Shaw) — After becoming pregnant from a sexual assault on campus, a young woman goes on a journey to find out if the rape was “legitimate.” This film was inspired by the statements of Senator Todd Akin.

Verbatim: The Ferguson Case / U.S.A. (Director: Brett Weiner, Screenwriter: Grand Jury Transcript) — Unarmed black teenager Michael Brown was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Using court transcripts from the case, this short film juxtaposes the reenacted testimony of two key witnesses: Dorian Johnson and the police officer himself, Darren Wilson.
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[av_content_slide title=’International Narrative Short Films ‘ link=” linktarget=”]
Audition / Sweden (Director: Lovisa Sirén, Screenwriters: Lovisa Sirén, Peter Modestij) — Mika is auditioning male actors for her first feature, and they are all well-established alpha dogs in the film business. The situation turns more sour as their confidence in her reaches new lows.

Belladonna / Croatia (Director and screenwriter: Dubravka Turic) — Three women of different ages and backgrounds meet in an ophthalmologist’s waiting room. The mention of a tragedy that left one of them nearly blind suddenly bridges their differences and creates a possibility for closeness and connection.

Her Friend Adam / Canada (Director and screenwriter: Ben Petrie) — A boyfriend’s jealous impulse spirals out of control in 16 minutes of romantic doom.

It’s Not You / Canada (Director and screenwriter: Don McKellar) — Relationships can be an endless cycle of breakups.

Land Tides (Marea de Tierra) / Chile, France (Directors and screenwriters: Manuela Martelli, Amirah Tajdin) — Laura, a heartbroken teenager from Santiago, is on holiday in the southern Chilean archipelago, Chiloé, with her friends. As she wanders the lonely island seascapes, she encounters a group of women who are seaweed collectors and shares stories with them.

Maman(s) / France (Director and screenwriter: Maïmouna Doucouré ) — Life is disrupted for eight-year-old Aida when her father returns with a young Senegalese woman, Rama, whom he introduces as his second wife. Sensitive to her mother’s distress, Aida decides to get rid of the new visitor.

MeTube 2: August sings Carmina Burana / Austria (Director and screenwriter: Daniel Moshel) — After Elfie and her nerdy son August successfully proved themselves on their home webcam in MeTube 1, the odd pair venture onto the street to present the biggest, boldest, and sexiest operatic flash mob the internet has ever witnessed!

Mobilize / Canada (Director: Caroline Monnet) — Guided expertly by those who live on the land and are driven by the pulse of the natural world, this story takes us on an exhilarating journey from the far north to the urban south.

Over / United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: Jörn Threlfall) — What has happened in this quiet suburban neighborhood? Has there been a murder, a hit-and-run, an accident? The reality is both profound and deeply unexpected.

Peacock / Czech Republic (Director: Ondřej Hudeček, Screenwriters: Jan Smutny, Ondřej Hudeček) — A twisted queer romance set in picturesque 19th-century Bohemia tells the true story of the birth of one of the nation’s most influential writers, with suspense, laughter, violence, hope, nudity, sex, and a happy ending—mostly a happy ending.

Rate Me / United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: Fyzal Boulifa) — A portrait of a teenage escort named Coco.

Seide / Kyrgyzstan (Director and screenwriter: Elnura Osmonalieva) — Seide lives in a snowy mountain village with her humble family and her beloved horse. When she’s forced into an arranged marriage with a man from a wealthy family, she fights to save her horse from being slaughtered for food for the wedding.

Tuesday / Turkey, France (Director: Ziya Demirel, Screenwriters: Ziya Demirel, Buket Coşkuner) — This ordinary day of a teenage girl in Istanbul follows her encounters with three different men as she goes to school, plays basketball, and takes a bus home.
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[av_content_slide title=’Documentary Short Films’ link=” linktarget=”]
Another Kind of Girl / Jordan (Director: Khaldiya Jibawi) — Filmed during a media workshop for Syrian girls in Jordan’s Za’atari Refugee Camp, 17-year-old Khaldiya meditates on how the camp has opened up new horizons and given her a sense of courage that she lacked in Syria.

Bacon & God’s Wrath / Canada (Director: Sol Friedman) — A 90-year-old Jewish woman reflects on her life experiences as she prepares to try bacon for the first time.

Beneath the Embers (Bajo las Brasas) / Mexico (Directors and screenwriters: Verónica Jessamyn López Sainz, Andrea Fuentes Charles) — Isabel, a young woman from the Sierra mountains of Guanajuato, is motivated by the love of her family, and she has learned that she must sacrifice her present in order to valuetomorrow’s success and achieve her dreams.

Chekhov / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Jack Dunphy) — I called my sister (who’s kind of a bitch, but also really cool) and secretly recorded her reading a love letter from this girl that just dumped me. The conversation went from funny to unbearably sad—hanging up was hard.

Entrapped / U.S.A. (Director: Razan Ghalayini) — The FBI claimed it exposed a dangerous group of men in a massive entrapment operation over an alleged plot to attack a U.S. Army base in New Jersey. But were they really terrorists?

Figure / Poland, Belgium (Director and screenwriter: Katarzyna Gondek) — A gigantic figure emerges from the snow and sits on a hill with spiders, saints, and bumper cars in this surreal tale about creating myths, religious kitsch, and the desire for greatness. Meet the world’s largest sacral miniature park resident.

Flower of a Thousand Colours / Belgium (Director: Karen Vazquez Guadarrama) — Flower of a Thousand Colours shows an intimate slice of the life of Emiliana, a loving mother who struggles every day with her rough environment—a Bolivian mining camp.

Jáaji Approx. / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Sky Hopinka) — Against landscapes that the artist and his father traversed, audio of the father in the Ho-Chunk language is transcribed using the International Phonetic Alphabet, which tapers off, narrowing the distance between recorder and recordings, new and traditional, memory and song.

I Am Yup’ik / U.S.A. (Directors: Daniele Anastasion, Nathan Golon) — A 16-year-old Yup’ik Eskimo leaves his tiny village and travels across the frozen tundra to compete in an all-Yup’ik basketball tournament and bring pride to his village.

Mining Poems or Odes / United Kingdom, Scotland (Director: Callum Rice) — Robert, an ex-shipyard welder from Govan, Glasgow, reflects on how his life experiences have influenced his newfound compulsion to write.

Peace in the Valley / U.S.A. (Directors and screenwriters: Michael Palmieri, Donal Mosher) — Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is home to both the largest outdoor Passion Play in the United States and an important vote on LGBT rights. This film follows the town’s inhabitants as they prepare for the historic vote.

Roast Battle / U.S.A. (Director: Jason Reitman) — The most bigoted room is the least bigoted room. Watch one night at the Comedy Store’s Roast Battle.

The Saint of Dry Creek / U.S.A. (Director: Julie Zammarchi) — Patrick Haggerty was a teenager in rural Dry Creek, Washington, in the late 1950s. Here, he remembers the day he first had a conversation with his father about being gay.

The Send-Off / U.S.A. (Directors: Ivete Lucas, Patrick Bresnan) — Emboldened by a giant block party on the evening of their high school prom, a group of students enters the night with the hope of transcending their rural town and the industrial landscape that surrounds them.

The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Mickey Duzyj) — Haru Urara, a Japanese racehorse, became a national icon after enduring a losing streak of epic proportions. Dubbed “The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere,” she was a symbol of perseverance and inspiration during a time of economic crisis.

Speaking is Difficult / U.S.A. (Director: AJ Schnack) — This film always begins in the present day. A scene of tragedy unfolds, accompanied by fear, chaos, and disbelief. As it rewinds into the past, retracing our memories, it tells a cumulative history that is both unbearable and inevitable.

Territory / United Kingdom (Director: Eleanor Mortimer) — This warm and lyrical film follows a group of unruly monkeys in Gibraltar and the people employed to control them with peashooters.

A Woman and Her Car / Canada (Director: Loïc Darses) — December 31, 2003: Lucie decides to write a letter to the man who abused her from the age of 8 to 12 years old and resolves to personally bring it to him, wherever he may be.
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[av_content_slide title=’New Frontier Short Films ‘ link=” linktarget=”]
Abendland (Hours, Years, Aeons) / Finland (Directors: IC-98: Patrik Söderlund, Visa Suonpää, Screenwriter: Patrik Söderlund) — In a twilight world long after the age of man, a twisted ecosystem centered around an overgrown fruit tree undergoes parasitic and geological transformations as hours, years, and eons pass.

Swimming in Your Skin Again / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Terence Nance) — This intensely musical film is about the spiritual anchorages of life in and around Miami. The story is drenched in the heat, spirit, and landscape of southern Florida.

Voyagers / Canada (Director and screenwriter: Santiago Menghini) — Travel along with the Voyager spacecrafts as they traverse the solar system on their planetary expedition, spanning over three decades.

Yúyú still image. Film by: Marc Johnson
Yúyú still image. Film by: Marc Johnson

YúYú / France (Director and screenwriter: Marc Johnson) — Beekeeper Shé Zuŏ Bīn performs a “rite of spring,” in which queen bees are placed on his body and then summon worker bees. He stands still, covered by bees, allowing the buzzing to dominate all and become a protective shield.
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[av_content_slide title=’Midnight Shorts’ link=” linktarget=”]
Boniato / U.S.A. (Directors: Andres Meza-Valdes, Diego Meza-Valdes, Eric Mainade, Screenwriters: Andres Meza-Valdes, Eric Mainade) — An illegal migrant worker decides it’s time to move on from picking crops and find a better job. Little does she know, insidious supernatural forces have a different plan for her. Some borders aren’t meant to be crossed.

The Chickening / U.S.A., Canada (Directors and screenwriters: Nick DenBoer, Davy Force) — All pork and no chicken makes Jack a dull boy. Luckily, Jack gets a new job as senior chief night manager at Charbay’s Chicken World and Restaurant Resort, the world’s largest fast-food entertainment complex; however, things quickly get very clucked.

Dinner with Family with Brett Gelman and Brett Gelman’s Family / U.S.A. (Director: Jason Woliner, Screenwriters: Brett Gelman, Jason Woliner) — Brett Gelman throws his parents a dinner and tribute for their 40th anniversary with the help of legendary actors Tony Roberts and Patti LuPone. The evening soon unravels into a mind-melting comedic orgy of psychological torture and family dysfunction.

Fuckkkyouuu / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Eddie Alcazar) — With the ability to travel in time, a girl finds love and comfort by connecting with her past self. Eventually faced with rejection, she struggles with her identity, and as time folds onto itself only one of them can remain.

Manoman / United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: Simon Cartwright) — When Glen attends primal scream class, he releases something from deep within that knows no limits.

The Pound Hole / U.S.A. (Directors: Daniel Scheinert, Daniel Kwan, Screenwriters: Daniel Weidenfeld, Doug Lussenhop) — During a night at the strangest club on earth, DJ Douggpound learns the very real dangers of texting while DJing.

The Procedure / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Calvin Lee Reeder) — A man is captured and forced to endure a strange experiment.

The Puppet Man / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Jacqueline Castel) — A supernatural killer stalks a young woman and her friends in a seedy, neon-lit dive bar in this short film featuring horror legend John Carpenter.
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[av_content_slide title=’Animated Short Films ‘ link=” linktarget=”]
Bob Dylan Hates Me / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Caveh Zahedi) — Independent filmmaker Caveh Zahedi meets his childhood idol.

A Coat Made Dark / Ireland (Director and screenwriter: Jack O’Shea) — Two burglars strike it rich after stealing a mysterious coat. So begins this darkly comic tale, in which Midnight, an anthropomorphized dog, and his human servant Peter, struggle for power, courtesy of the coat.

Deer Flower / South Korea, U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Kangmin Kim) — Dujung, an elementary school student, goes to a farm in the suburbs with his parents. While his parents believe the expensive and rare specialty from the farm will strengthen their son’s body, Dujung suffers side effects.

Edmond / United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: Nina Gantz) — Edmond’s impulse to love and be close to others is strong—maybe too strong. As he stands by a lake contemplating his options, he reflects on his defining moments in search of the origin of his desires.

Glove / U.S.A. (Directors: Alexa Haas, Bernardo Britto, Screenwriter: Bernardo Britto) — The true story of a glove that’s been floating in space since 1968.

The Grandfather Drum / Canada (Director and screenwriter: Michelle Derosier) — As the balance of the world turns upside down for the Anishinabek people, the elder Naamowin builds a healing drum to save his grandson and his people.

The Itching / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Dianne Bellino) — In this parable, a shy wolf tries to connect with a group of hip, party-loving bunnies but finds her body is in revolt.

Life Smartphone / China (Director and screenwriter: Chenglin Xie) — The phenomenon of increasing smartphone addiction can be attributed to today’s cutting-edge technology. Staring at glowing screens instead of exploring the vast expanse of life, people are gradually alienating themselves from the richness, depth, and loveliness of life.

Limbo Limbo Travel / France, Hungary (Directors and screenwriters: Zsuzsanna Kreif, Borbála Zétényi) — In a country where men seem more interested in their electronic gadgets than their peers, a group of lonely and disillusioned women take the Limbo Limbo bus. Off to a far exotic country, they hope to find happiness.

Pombo Loves You / United Kingdom (Director: Steve Warne, Screenwriter: Josh Blaaberg) — A distant father is forced to confront a heroic but troubled past life as ’80s TV character Pombo.

Shiny still image. Film by: Daniel Cloud Campos. Photo by: Spencer Susser
Shiny still image. Film by: Daniel Cloud Campos. Photo by: Spencer Susser

Shiny / U.S.A. (Directors: Spencer Susser, Daniel Cloud Campos) — A damsel in distress gets undressed when a man from the Midwest puts to rest a world that’s obsessed with “the priceless,” also known as “the shiny.”

Waves ’98 / Lebanon (Director and screenwriter: Ely Dagher) — Disillusioned with life in the suburbs of segregated Beirut, Omar’s discovery lures him into the city. Immersed into a world that is close yet isolated, he loses track and finds himself struggling to keep his attachments and sense of home.
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Complete Unknown.
Film by: Joshua Marston
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[av_content_slide title=’Premieres ‘ link=” linktarget=”]
A showcase of world premieres of some of the most highly anticipated narrative films of the coming year.

Agnus Dei / France, Poland (Director: Anne Fontaine, Screenwriters: Sabrina N. Karine, Alice Vial, Pascal Bonitzer) — 1945 Poland: Mathilde, a young French doctor, is on a mission to help World War II survivors. When a nun seeks her assistance in helping several pregnant nuns in hiding, who are unable to reconcile their faith with their pregnancies, Mathilde becomes their only hope. Cast: Lou de Laâge, Agata Kulesza, Agata Buzek, Vincent Macaigne, Joanna Kulig, Katarzyna Dabrowska. World Premiere

Ali & Nino / United Kingdom (Director: Asif Kapadia, Screenwriter: Christopher Hampton) — Muslim prince Ali and Georgian aristocrat Nino have grown up in the Russian province of Azerbaijan. Their tragic love story sees the outbreak of the First World War and the world’s struggle for Baku’s oil. Ultimately they must choose to fight for their country’s independence or for each other. Cast: Adam Bakri, Maria Valverde, Mandy Patinkin, Connie Nielsen, Riccardo Scamarcio, Homayoun Ershadi. World Premiere

Captain Fantastic / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Matt Ross) — Deep in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and re-enter society, beginning a journey that challenges his idea of what it means to be a parent. Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Frank Langella, George MacKay, Kathryn Hahn, Steve Zahn, Ann Dowd. World Premiere

Certain Women / U.S.A. (Director: Kelly Reichardt, Screenwriter: Kelly Reichardt based on stories by Maile Meloy) — The lives of three woman intersect in small-town America, where each is imperfectly blazing a trail. Cast: Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams, James Le Gros, Jared Harris, Lily Gladstone. World Premiere

Complete Unknown still image. Directed by: Joshua Marston. Photo by: Jeong Park
Complete Unknown still image. Directed by: Joshua Marston. Photo by: Jeong Park

Complete Unknown / U.S.A. (Director: Joshua Marston, Screenwriters: Joshua Marston, Julian Sheppard) — When Tom and his wife host a dinner party to celebrate his birthday, one of their friends brings a date named Alice. Tom is convinced he knows her, but she’s going by a different name and a different biography—and she’s not acknowledging that she knows him. Cast: Rachel Weisz, Michael Shannon, Kathy Bates, Danny Glover. World Premiere

Frank & Lola / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Matthew Ross) — A psychosexual noir love story—set in Las Vegas and Paris—about love, obsession, sex, betrayal, revenge and, ultimately, the search for redemption. Cast: Michael Shannon, Imogen Poots, Michael Nyqvist, Justin Long, Emmanuelle Devos, Rosanna Arquette. World Premiere


The Fundamentals of Caring
/ U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Rob Burnett) — Having suffered a tragedy, Ben becomes a caregiver to earn money. His first client, Trevor, is a hilarious 18-year-old with muscular dystrophy. One paralyzed emotionally, one paralyzed physically, Ben and Trevor hit the road, finding hope, friendship, and Dot in this funny and touching inspirational tale. Cast: Paul Rudd, Craig Roberts, Selena Gomez, Jennifer Ehle, Megan Ferguson, Frederick Weller. World Premiere. CLOSING NIGHT FILM

The Hollars / U.S.A. (Director: John Krasinski, Screenwriter: Jim Strouse) — Aspiring New York City artist John Hollar returns to his Middle America hometown on the eve of his mother’s brain surgery. Joined by his girlfriend, eight months pregnant with their first child, John is forced to navigate the crazy world he left behind. Cast: John Krasinski, Anna Kendrick, Margo Martindale, Richard Jenkins, Sharlto Copley, Charlie Day. World Premiere

Hunt for the Wilderpeople / New Zealand (Director and screenwriter: Taika Waititi) — Ricky is a defiant young city kid who finds himself on the run with his cantankerous foster uncle in the wild New Zealand bush. A national manhunt ensues, and the two are forced to put aside their differences and work together to survive in this heartwarming adventure comedy. Cast: Julian Dennison, Sam Neill, Rima Te Wiata, Rachel House, Oscar Kightley. World Premiere

Indignation / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: James Schamus) — It’s 1951, and among the new arrivals at Winesburg College in Ohio are the son of a kosher butcher from New Jersey and the beautiful, brilliant daughter of a prominent alum. For a brief moment, their lives converge in this emotionally soaring film based on the novel by Philip Roth. Cast: Logan Lerman, Sarah Gadon, Tracy Letts, Linda Emond, Danny Burstein, Ben Rosenfield. World Premiere

Little Men / U.S.A. (Director: Ira Sachs, Screenwriter: Mauricio Zacharias) — When 13-year-old Jake’s grandfather dies, his family moves back into their old Brooklyn home. There, Jake befriends Tony, whose single Chilean mother runs the shop downstairs. As their friendship deepens, however, their families are driven apart by a battle over rent, and the boys respond with a vow of silence. Cast: Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Ehle, Paulina Garcia, Theo Taplitz, Michael Barbieri. World Premiere

Love & Friendship / Ireland, France, Netherlands (Director and screenwriter: Whit Stillman) — From Jane Austen’s novella, the beautiful and cunning Lady Susan Vernon visits the estate of her in-laws to wait out colorful rumors of her dalliances and to find husbands for herself and her daughter. Two young men, handsome Reginald DeCourcy and wealthy Sir James Martin, severely complicate her plans.Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Chloë Sevigny, Xavier Samuel, Emma Greenwell, Tom Bennett, Stephen Fry. World Premiere

Manchester by the Sea / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Kenneth Lonergan) — After his older brother passes away, Lee Chandler is forced to return home to care for his 16-year-old nephew. There he is compelled to deal with a tragic past that separated him from his family and the community where he was born and raised.Cast: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Lucas Hedges, Kyle Chandler. World Premiere

Mr. Pig / Mexico (Director: Diego Luna, Screenwriters: Augusto Mendoza, Diego Luna) — On a mission to sell his last remaining prize hog and reunite with old friends, an aging farmer abandons his foreclosed farm and journeys to Mexico. After smuggling in the hog, his estranged daughter shows up, forcing them to face their past and embark on an adventurous road trip together. Cast: Danny Glover, Maya Rudolph, José María Yazpik, Joel Murray, Angélica Aragón, Gabriela Araujo. World Premiere

Sing Street / Ireland (Director and screenwriter: John Carney) — A boy growing up in Dublin during the ’80s escapes his strained family life and tough new school by starting a band to win the heart of a beautiful and mysterious girl. Cast: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton, Jack Reynor, Aidan Gillen, Mark McKenna. World Premiere

Sophie and the Rising Sun still image. Photo by: Jackson Lee Davis. Directed by: Maggie Greenwald
Sophie and the Rising Sun still image. Photo by: Jackson Lee Davis. Directed by: Maggie Greenwald

Sophie and the Rising Sun / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Maggie Greenwald) — In a small Southern town in the autumn of 1941, Sophie’s lonely life is transformed when an Asian man arrives under mysterious circumstances. Their love affair becomes the lightning rod for long-buried conflicts that erupt in bigotry and violence with the outbreak of World War ll. Cast: Julianne Nicholson, Margo Martindale, Lorraine Toussaint, Takashi Yamaguchi, Diane Ladd, Joel Murray. World Premiere. SALT LAKE CITY GALA FILM

Wiener-Dog / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Todd Solondz) — This film tells several stories featuring people who find their life inspired or changed by one particular dachshund, who seems to be spreading comfort and joy. Cast: Greta Gerwig, Kieran Culkin, Danny DeVito, Ellen Burstyn, Julie Delpy, Zosia Mamet. World Premiere
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[av_content_slide title=’Premiere Documentaries ‘ link=” linktarget=”]
Renowned filmmakers and films about far-reaching subjects comprise this section highlighting our ongoing commitment to documentaries.

Eat that Question - Frank Zappa in His Own Words still image. Photo by: ABC Australia. Directed by: Thorsten Schütte
Eat that Question – Frank Zappa in His Own Words still image. Photo by: ABC Australia. Directed by: Thorsten Schütte

Eat That Question—Frank Zappa in His Own Words / France, Germany (Director: Thorsten Schütte) — This entertaining encounter with the premier of sonic avant-garde is acidic, fun-poking, and full of rich and rare archival footage. This documentary bashes favorite Zappa targets and dashes a few myths about the man himself. World Premiere

Film Hawk / U.S.A. (Directors: JJ Garvine, Tai Parquet) — Trace Bob Hawk’s early years as the young gay child of a Methodist minister to his current career as a consultant on some of the most influential independent films of our time. World Premiere

LO AND BEHOLD, Reveries of the Connected World / U.S.A. (Director: Werner Herzog) — Does the internet dream of itself? Explore the horizons of the connected world. World Premiere

Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures / U.S.A. (Directors: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato) — This examination of Robert Mapplethorpe’s outrageous life is led by the artist himself, speaking with brutal honesty in a series of rediscovered interviews about his passions. Intimate revelations from friends, family, and lovers shed new light on this scandalous artist who ignited a culture war that still rages on. World Premiere

Maya Angelou And Still I Rise / U.S.A. (Directors: Bob Hercules, Rita Coburn Whack) — The remarkable story of Maya Angelou — iconic writer, poet, actress and activist whose life has intersected some of the most profound moments in recent American history. World Premiere

Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall / U.S.A. (Director: Spike Lee) — Catapulted by the success of his first major solo project, Off the Wall, Michael Jackson went from child star to King of Pop. This film explores the seminal album, with rare archival footage and interviews from those who were there and those whose lives its success and legacy impacted. World Premiere

Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You / U.S.A. (Directors: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady) — How did a poor Jewish kid from Connecticut bring us Archie Bunker and become one of the most successful television producers ever? Norman Lear brought provocative subjects like war, poverty, and prejudice into 120 million homes every week. He proved that social change was possible through an unlikely prism: laughter. World Premiere. DAY ONE FILM

Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper / U.S.A. (Director: Liz Garbus) — Gloria Vanderbilt and her son Anderson Cooper each tell the story of their past and present, their loves and losses, and reveal how some family stories have the tendency to repeat themselves in the most unexpected ways. World Premiere

Resilience / U.S.A. (Director: James Redford) — This film chronicles the birth of a new movement among pediatricians, therapists, educators, and communities using cutting-edge brain science to disrupt cycles of violence, addiction, and disease. These professionals help break the cycles of adversity by daring to talk about the effects of divorce, abuse, and neglect. World Premiere

Richard Linklater—dream is destiny / U.S.A. (Directors: Louis Black, Karen Bernstein) — This is an unconventional look at a fiercely independent style of filmmaking that arose in the 1990s from Austin, Texas, outside the studio system. The film blends rare archival footage with journals, exclusive interviews with Linklater on and off set, and clips from Slacker, Dazed and Confused, Boyhood, and more.World Premiere

Under the Gun / U.S.A. (Director: Stephanie Soechtig) — The Sandy Hook massacre was considered a watershed moment in the national debate on gun control, but the body count at the hands of gun violence has only increased. Through the lens of the victims’ families, as well as pro-gun advocates, we examine why our politicians have failed to act. World Premiere

Unlocking the Cage / U.S.A. (Directors: Chris Hegedus, Donn Alan Pennebaker) — Follow animal rights lawyer Steven Wise in his unprecedented challenge to break down the legal wall that separates animals from humans. By filing the first lawsuit of its kind, Wise seeks to transform a chimpanzee from a “thing” with no rights to a “person” with basic legal protection. World Premiere
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Regardless of where these films have played throughout the world, the Spotlight program is a tribute to the cinema we love.

Cemetery of Splendor / Thailand (Director and screenwriter: Apichatpong Weerasethakull) — A lonesome middle-aged housewife tends to a soldier with sleeping sickness and falls into a hallucination that triggers strange dreams, phantoms, and romance. Cast: Jenjira Pongpas, Banlop Lomnoi, Jarinpattra Rueangram.

Embrace of the Serpent / Colombia (Director: Ciro Guerra, Screenwriters: Ciro Guerra, Jacques Toulemonde Vidal) — This blistering, poetic story is inspired by the original journals of scientists Theodor Koch-Grünberg and Richard Evans Schultes, who meet lone survivor Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman. Over 40 years, they develop a friendship while traveling through the Colombian Amazon in search of the sacred, psychedelic yakruna plant. Cast: Jan Bijvoet, Brionne Davis, Antonio Bolivar, Nilbio Torres, Miguel Dionisio Ramos.

Green Room / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Jeremy Saulnier) — 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. Cast: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, Callum Turner, Patrick Stewart.

Land of Mine / Denmark (Director and screenwriter: Martin Zandvliet) — At the end of World War II, a group of young German POWs captured by the Danish army are forced to defuse and clear landmines from the Danish coastline with no training. Inspired by real events, the film exposes the untold story of one tragic moment in Denmark’s history. Cast: Roland Møller, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, Louis Hofmann, Joel Basman, Emil Belton, Oskar Belton. U.S. Premiere

The Lobster / Ireland, United Kingdom, Greece, France (Director: Yorgos Lanthimos, Screenwriters: Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou) — 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. Cast: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw, Léa Seydoux, John C. Reilly, Olivia Colman.

Maggie’s Plan / U.S.A. (Director: Rebecca Miller, Screenwriters: Rebecca Miller, based on a story by Karen Rinaldi) — A young woman’s determination to have a child catapults her into a nervy love triangle with a heart-throb academic and his eccentric critical-theorist wife. Cast: Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke, Julianne Moore, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Travis Fimmel.

Miles Ahead / U.S.A. (Director: Don Cheadle, Screenwriters: Don Cheadle, Steven Baigelman) — 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. Cast: Don Cheadle, Ewan McGregor, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Lakeith Lee Stanfield, Michael Stuhlbarg.

Rams / Iceland (Director and screenwriter: Grímur Hákonarson) — In a remote Icelandic farming valley, two brothers who haven’t spoken in 40 years have to come together to save what’s dearest to them—their sheep. Cast: Sigurður Sigurjónsson, Theodór Júlíusson.

Viva / Ireland (Director: Paddy Breathnach, Screenwriter: Mark O’Halloran) — In contemporary Cuba, a father and son struggle to escape from each other’s expectations, duty, and the burden of past sins. Cast: Héctor Medina, Jorge Perugorría, Luis Alberto García.
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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 Eagle Huntress / U.S.A. (Director: Otto Bell) — Step aside, Daenerys and Katniss—Aisholpan is a real-life role model on an epic journey in a faraway world. Follow this 13-year-old nomadic Mongolian girl as she battles to become the first female to hunt with a golden eagle in 2,000 years of male-dominated history. World Premiere

Little Gangster / Netherlands (Director: Arne Toonen, Screenwriter: Lotte Tabbers) — Rik Boskamp wants a life where he’s not constantly bullied. When he and his family move, the people in their new town think his father is a Mafia boss, and everybody treats them with respect—until a bully from Rikkie’s past turns up. How long can he keep up his lie? Cast: Thor Braun, Henry Van Loon, Rene Van ‘T Hof, Meral Polat, Fedja Van Huêt, Maas Bronkhuyzen. North American Premiere

Snowtime! / Canada (Directors: Jean-François Pouliot, François Brisson, Screenwriters: Normand Canac-Marquis, Paul Risacher) — To amuse themselves during their winter break from school, the kids in a small village have a massive snowball fight. But what starts out as pure youthful fun and enthusiasm deteriorates into a more serious conflict as the children learn the role that love and friendship play in their lives. Cast: Sandra Oh, Ross Lynch, Angela Gallupo, Lucinda Davis, Don Shepherd, Sonja Ball. North American Premiere

Snowtime! still image.Photo by: Singing Frog Studio. Directed by: Jean-Francois Pouliot and Francois Brisson
Snowtime! still image.Photo by: Singing Frog Studio. Directed by: Jean-Francois Pouliot and Francois Brisson

 

 

 

 

 

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Acura at Sundance Film Festival

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2015 Sundance Film Festival Atmosphere Day 8.
Photo by: Jemal Countess
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Scope out tickets for the 2016 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
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Sundance Film Festival News

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