The 2020 Sundance Film Festival will take place January 23 through February 2 in Park City, Salt Lake City and at Sundance Mountain Resort.

This year the festival is expected to host close to 120,000 people and 1,300 accredited press, and more than 2,000 volunteers.

One of the biggest buzzworthy films set to premiere at Sundance this year is an emotional gripping tale known as Downhill.


Variety went behind the scenes for the making of Downhill. They noted that Downhill was a play on Ruben Ostlund’s film Force Majeure. Variety spoke with the actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus about production. “It was daunting, except to say that we never would have done it if we didn’t have Ruben’s blessing,” Louis-Dreyfus told Variety.

Watch a trailer for Downhill on YouTube starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrel.

The Social Dilemma

One of the recent additions in the Documentary Premiere category is a film known as The Social Dilemma. The festival organizers at the Sundance Film Festival noted:

Never before have a handful of tech designers had such control over the way billions of us think, act, and live our lives. Insiders from Google, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube reveal how these platforms are reprogramming civilization by exposing what’s hiding on the other side of your screen. 

The cast is made up of the following: Vincent Kartheiser, Skyler Gisondo, Kara Hayward.

The Social Dilemma is set for a world premiere and was produced by: Jeff Orlowski, Screenwriters: Vickie Curtis, Davis Coombe, Jeff Orlowski, Producer: Larissa Rhodes.

Social media continues to evolve with the privacy protection laws that have been recently passed in Europe and in California. The invasive and disturbing methods they use to try and manipulate their audiences to continue engaging with their products is extremely counterproductive for users. This film will help shine light on the dark side to social networks.


Ethan Hawke appears in Tesla by Michael Almereyda, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Cara Howe.
Ethan Hawke appears in Tesla by Michael Almereyda, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Cara Howe.

Tesla showcases the obstacles that Nikola Tesla face during his lifetime. The role of Nikola Tesla was played by Ethan Hawke. Additional cast members include: Kyle Maclachlan, Eve Hewson, Jim Gaffigan, Hannah Gross, Josh Hamilton.

Virtual Reality

Forward-thinking filmmakers will continue to showcase the immersive format of virtual reality at Sundance this year. The following film descriptions were provided by the Sundance organizers.

After the Fallout / Switzerland, U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Sam Wolson, Dominic Nahr) — In March 2011, an earthquake caused a tsunami and a meltdown at the Daiichi nuclear power plant. The devastating consequences filled the communities in Fukushima with fear of the intangible and split Japan in a distinct before and after.
Azibuye – The Occupation / South Africa (Lead Artists: Dylan Valley, Caitlin Robinson, Stephen Abbott, Key Collaborators: Ingrid Kopp, Steven Markovitz) ― When Masello and Evan, two homeless black artist/activists, break into an abandoned mansion in an affluent part of Johannesburg, they proclaim their occupation to be an artistic and political act in defiance of inequalities in land ownership in South Africa. Cast: Masello Motana, Evan Abrahamse.
Bembé / Cuba (Lead Artists: Marcos Louit, Patricia Diaz, Key Collaborators: Andy Ruiz, Alain López, Ernesto Collinet) ― Bembé is a Cuban tradition that encompasses elements of both Christianity and the African Yoruba, where the souls of dead slaves come to Earth and family, friends, and neighbors take part in a celebration lasting up to 7 days. Cast: Ernesto Collinet, Kalina Collinet, Katyleidy Collinet.
Flowers & a Switchblade / U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Nic Koller, Weston Morgan, Key Collaborators: Candice Lee, Bridget Peck) ― An everyday scene–a real-life conversation in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park–collaged together from hundreds of videos to form a fractured, hyper-stimulating, 360° Cubist world.
Go / Switzerland (Lead Artists: Sandro Zollinger, Roman Vital, Klaus Merz, Key Collaborator: Thomas Gassmann) ― Searching for stability in his life, Peter Thaler sets out on a hike in the Swiss mountains, from which he will never return. An unprecedented symbiosis of literature and virtual reality, telling a story of everyday and final farewells, and opening the door to eternity a tiny crack. Cast: Klaus Merz, Niramy Pathmanathan, Robert Vital, Regula Stüssi.
Hominidae / U.S.A. (Lead Artist: Brian Andrews, Key Collaborators: Brian Ferguson, Robert Steel, Kahra Scott-James) ― Against a landscape of X-ray imagery and wild anatomical reimagination, a mother and her children struggle for survival. This experience follows an Arachnid Hominid, an intelligent creature with human and spider physiology, from the birth of her children to her premature death in the teeth of her prey. Cast: Phyllis Griffin, Luis Mora, Emily Weems, Kidjie Boyer, Austin Daly, Oliver Angus.
tx-reverse 360° / Austria, Germany (Lead Artists: Martin Reinhart, Virgil Widrich, Key Collaborator: Siegfried Friedrich) ― What is behind the cinema screen? What if the auditorium dissolves and with it the familiar laws of cinema itself? As reality and cinema collide, viewers are drawn into a vortex where the familiar order of space and time seems to be suspended.
VR Free / Italy (Lead Artist: Milad Tangshir, Key Collaborators: Vito Martinelli, Stefano Sburlati) ― Exploring the nature of incarceration spaces by portraying slices of life inside a prison in Turin, Italy. The film also captures the reaction of several inmates during brief encounters with immersive videos of life outside of prison. Cast: Michele Romano, Albert Asllanaj, Cristian De Bonis. 

Get to know the filmmakers releasing projects at Sundance Film Festival 2020 on YouTube.