Brace yourself. In a break from previous years, when the lineup was divided up and revealed section by section over several days, the Sundance Film Festival has unveiled its entire feature program in a single announcement, touting 110 films — 99 of them world premieres — set to screen in Park City next month, where the festival will unspool from Jan. 18-28.
While that may sound like a lot of a movies, it’s actually a few smaller than the previous edition, which included 118 features, just as the pool of submissions shrunk slightly (to 3,901, down 4% from 4,068 a year earlier), although the difference will be more than compensated for by the addition of a new “Indie Episodic” TV section, to be announced next Monday.
In the meantime, there’s plenty to digest among the features, which cover a wide range of genres and styles, while demonstrating conversation-setting engagement with a number of contemporary themes, from police brutality (day one premiere “Blindspotting,” multi-perspective “Monsters and Men”) to sexual abuse (pedophilia survivor’s story “The Tale,” homosexual conversion therapy memoir “The Miseducation of Cameron Post”).
“One of the things we observed this year was the ongoing awareness — by audiences and the industry and the press — of the need for alternative voices and points of view in this medium,” observed festival director John Cooper. “That has long been a hallmark of independent film, but it’s really the increase in the number of personal stories [from those who didn’t have a voice before] that we’ve noticed the most over the last couple of years as we program the festival.”
This year’s edition includes films from 47 first-time directors, representing 29 countries, including two debuts from actors-turned-directors: Paul Dano’s “Wildlife” and Idris Elba’s “Yardie,” both adapted from novels, and Rupert Everett’s Oscar Wilde biopic “The Happy Prince” (not counting Ethan Hawke, whose third narrative feature, “Blaze,” is the actor-director’s first to debut at Sundance). But even Hawke isn’t the most experienced helmer in U.S. dramatic competition. That honor goes to Chile’s Sebastián Silva, whose “Tyrel” marks his sixth film to play Sundance.
Meanwhile, starrier films by veteran helmers land in the Premieres section, where the Zellner brothers offer their eccentric spin on the Western (starring Robert Pattinson and Mia Wasikowska), Claire McCarthy offers an alternate perspective on the Hamlet story in “Ophelia” (with Daisy Ridley in the title role), and Wash Westmoreland directs his first film following the death of life partner Richard Glatzer with “Colette” (featuring Keira Knightley as the novelist forced to publish under her husband’s name).
According to Cooper and Sundance director of programming Trevor Groth, such films offer especially rich roles for their leading ladies — a trend they observed across the selection, citing Maggie Gyllenhaal’s star turn in “The Kindergarten Teacher” (an English-language remake of the Israeli film) and Kiwi newcomer Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, the latest discovery of Debra Granik (who effectively launched Jennifer Lawrence’s career with “Winter’s Bone” eight years earlier at Sundance).
Among major international festivals, Sundance has long featured one of the most balanced lineups in terms of films directed by and starring women, though in light of recent revelations about sexual harassment in the independent film world (from the Harvey Weinstein bombshell to last year’s Casey Affleck controversy), Cooper and Sundance director of programming Trevor Groth are looking forward to the positive conversations on the subject at this year’s festival.
“I think the artists and the storytellers and the filmmakers have always been responsive and out in front of the issues facing our times and trying to engage with them,” Groth says. “Then, depending on what’s happening in the world and the zeitgeist, it’s the audience’s reaction to those issues that shifts. We felt that last year with Trump. We’re feeling it this year with a lot of the women’s issues, such as sexual assault.”
Strong women also play a prominent role on the documentary side, which will see the launch of new films about actress-cum-activist Jane Fonda, power attorney Gloria Allred, justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, pop icon Joan Jett, and British rapper M.I.A.
According to Cooper, it typically takes filmmakers about two years to react to current events, making it still a bit early for commentaries on the Trump presidency, whereas audiences can expect to see other movements addressed in diverse and provocative ways at this year’s festival. “I think Black Lives Matter had a real effect on us all, and you see many more films about the African-American experience in America, especially the male experience,” he says.
Likewise, the 2018 lineup features an unusually strong representation of LGBT characters — “The Catcher Was the Spy,” “The Happy Prince,” “Hearts Beat Loud,” “Skate Kitchen,” “White Rabbit” and Gus Van Sant’s “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot” — and even one film, “A Kid Like Jake,” from a trans director, Silas Howard.
The upcoming festival features a new screening venue, between the Holiday Village and the Yarrow (now called “Park Ave.”), where the Sports Authority store used to be. Sundance will use the basement of this new space to host most of its virtual reality program.
Sundance is also adding two new awards. The first, to be known as the “Festival Favorite award, will identify the single film from any category that most connects with audiences, to be announced after the festival. Also new is the “NEXT Innovator” prize, to be selected by a single luminary (this year’s award-giver soon to be revealed) to that person’s favorite film in the NEXT category.
The full lineup:
U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION
The 16 films in this section are all world premieres.
American Animals (Director and screenwriter: Bart Layton, Producers: Derrin Schlesinger, Katherine Butler, Dimitri Doganis, Mary Jane Skalski) — The unbelievable but mostly true story of four young men who mistake their lives for a movie and attempt one of the most audacious art heists in U.S. history. Cast: Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner, Jared Abrahamson, Ann Dowd, Udo Kier.
Blaze (Director: Ethan Hawke, Screenwriters: Ethan Hawke, Sybil Rosen, Producers: Jake Seal, John Sloss, Ryan Hawke, Ethan Hawke) — A reimagining of the life and times of Blaze Foley, the unsung songwriting legend of the Texas Outlaw Music movement; he gave up paradise for the sake of a song. Cast: Benjamin Dickey, Alia Shawkat, Josh Hamilton, Charlie Sexton.
Blindspotting (Director: Carlos Lopez Estrada, Screenwriters: Rafael Casal, Daveed Diggs, Producers: Keith Calder, Jess Calder, Rafael Casal, Daveed Diggs) — A buddy comedy in a world that won’t let it be one. Cast: Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal, Janina Gavankar, Jasmine Cephas Jones. DAY ONE
Burden (Director and screenwriter: Andrew Heckler, Producers: Robbie Brenner, Jincheng, Bill Kenwright) — After opening a KKK shop, Klansman Michael Burden falls in love with a single mom who forces him to confront his senseless hatred. After leaving the Klan and with nowhere to turn, Burden is taken in by an African-American reverend, and learns tolerance through their combined love and faith. Cast: Garrett Hedlund, Forest Whitaker, Andrea Riseborough, Tom Wilkinson, Usher Raymond.
Eighth Grade (Director and screenwriter: Bo Burnham, Producers: Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, Christopher Storer, Lila Yacoub) — Thirteen-year-old Kayla endures the tidal wave of contemporary suburban adolescence as she makes her way through the last week of middle school — the end of her thus far disastrous eighth grade year — before she begins high school. Cast: Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton.
I Think We’re Alone Now (Director: Reed Morano, Screenwriter: Mike Makowsky, Producers: Fred Berger, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Fernando Loureiro, Roberto Vasconcellos, Peter Dinklage, Mike Makowsky) — The apocalypse proves a blessing in disguise for one lucky recluse — until a second survivor arrives with the threat of companionship. Cast: Peter Dinklage, Elle Fanning.
The Kindergarten Teacher (Director and screenwriter: Sara Colangelo, Producers: Celine Rattray, Trudie Styler, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Osnat Handelsman-Keren, Talia Kleinhendler) — Lisa Spinelli is a Staten Island teacher who is unusually devoted to her students. When she discovers one of her five-year-olds is a prodigy, she becomes fascinated with the boy, ultimately risking her family and freedom to nurture his talent. Based on the acclaimed Israeli film. Cast: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Parker Sevak, Rosa Salazar, Anna Barynishikov, Michael Chernus, Gael Garcia Bernal.
Lizzie (Director: Craig William Macneill, Screenwriter: Bryce Kass, Producers: Naomi Despres, Liz Destro) — Based on the 1892 murder of Lizzie Borden‘s family in Fall River, MA, this tense psychological thriller lays bare the legend of Lizzie Borden to reveal the much more complex, poignant and truly terrifying woman within, as well as her intimate bond with the family‘s young Irish housemaid, Bridget Sullivan. Cast: Chloë Sevigny, Kristen Stewart, Jamey Sheridan, Fiona Shaw, Kim Dickens, Denis O’Hare.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post (Director: Desiree Akhavan, Screenwriters: Desiree Akhavan, Cecilia Frugiuele, Producers: Cecilia Frugiuele, Jonathan Montepare, Michael B. Clark, Alex Turtletaub) — 1993: after being caught having sex with the prom queen, a girl is forced into a gay conversion therapy center. Based on Emily Danforth’s acclaimed and controversial coming-of-age novel. Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Sasha Lane, Forrest Goodluck, John Gallagher Jr., Jennifer Ehle.
Monster (Director: Anthony Mandler, Screenwriters: Radha Blank, Cole Wiley, Janece Shaffer, Producers: Tonya Lewis Lee, Nikki Silver, Aaron L. Gilbert, Mike Jackson, Edward Tyler Nahem) ― “Monster” is what the prosecutor calls 17-year-old honors student and aspiring filmmaker Steve Harmon. Charged with felony murder for a crime he says he did not commit, the film follows his dramatic journey through a complex legal battle that could leave him spending the rest of his life in prison. Cast: Kelvin Harrison Jr., Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Hudson, Rakim Mayers, Jennifer Ehle, Tim Blake Nelson.
Monsters and Men (Director and screenwriter: Reinaldo Marcus Green, Producers: Elizabeth Lodge Stepp, Josh Penn, Eddie Vaisman, Julia Lebedev, Luca Borghese) — This interwoven narrative explores the aftermath of a police killing of a black man. The film is told through the eyes of the bystander who filmed the act, an African-American police officer and a high-school baseball phenom inspired to take a stand. Cast: John David Washington, Anthony Ramos, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Chanté Adams, Nicole Beharie, Rob Morgan.
Nancy (Director and screenwriter: Christina Choe, Producers: Amy Lo, Michelle Cameron, Andrea Riseborough) — Blurring lines between fact and fiction, Nancy becomes increasingly convinced she was kidnapped as a child. When she meets a couple whose daughter went missing thirty years ago, reasonable doubts give way to willful belief – and the power of emotion threatens to overcome all rationality. Cast: Andrea Riseborough, J. Smith-Cameron, Steve Buscemi, Ann Dowd, John Leguizamo.
Sorry to Bother You (Director and screenwriter: Boots Riley, Producers: Nina Yang Bongiovi, Forest Whitaker, Charles King, George Rush, Jonathan Duffy, Kelly Williams) — In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, black telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success, which propels him into a macabre universe. Cast: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Steven Yeun, Jermaine Fowler, Armie Hammer, Omari Hardwicke.
The Tale (Director and screenwriter: Jennifer Fox, Producers: Oren Moverman, Lawrence Inglee, Laura Rister, Mynette Louie, Sol Bondy, Simone Pero) — An investigation into one woman’s memory as she‘s forced to re-examine her first sexual relationship and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive; based on the filmmaker’s own story. Cast: Laura Dern, Isabel Nelisse, Jason Ritter, Elizabeth Debicki, Ellen Burstyn, Common.
Tyrel (Director and screenwriter: Sebastian Silva, Producers: Jacob Wasserman, Max Born) — Tyler spirals out of control when he realizes he‘s the only black person attending a weekend birthday party in a secluded cabin. Cast: Jason Mitchell, Christopher Abbott, Michael Cera, Caleb Landry Jones, Ann Dowd.
Wildlife (Director: Paul Dano, Screenwriters: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Producers: Andrew Duncan, Alex Saks, Oren Moverman, Ann Ruark, Jake Gyllenhaal, Riva Marker) — Montana, 1960: A portrait of a family in crisis. Based on the novel by Richard Ford. Cast: Carey Mulligan, Ed Oxenbould, Bill Camp, Jake Gyllenhaal.
U.S. DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
The 16 films in this section are all world premieres.
Bisbee ’17 (Director and screenwriter: Robert Greene, Producers: Douglas Tirola, Susan Bedusa, Bennett Elliott) — An old mining town on the Arizona-Mexico border finally reckons with its darkest day: the deportation of 1200 immigrant miners exactly 100 years ago. Locals collaborate to stage recreations of their controversial past. Cast: Fernando Serrano, Laurie McKenna, Ray Family, Mike Anderson, Graeme Family, Richard Hodges.
Crime + Punishment (Director: Stephen Maing) — Over four years of unprecedented access, the story of a brave group of black and Latino whistleblower cops and one unrelenting private investigator who, amidst a landmark lawsuit, risk everything to expose illegal quota practices and their impact on young minorities.
Dark Money (Director and screenwriter: Kimberly Reed, Producer: Katy Chevigny) — “Dark money” contributions, made possible by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, flood modern American elections – but Montana is showing Washington D.C. how to solve the problem of unlimited anonymous money in politics.
The Devil We Know (Director: Stephanie Soechtig, Producers: Kristin Lazure, Stephanie Soechtig, Joshua Kunau, Carly Palmour) — Unraveling one of the biggest environmental scandals of our time, a group of citizens in West Virginia take on a powerful corporation after they discover it has knowingly been dumping a toxic chemical — now found in the blood of 99.7% of Americans — into the local drinking water supply. THE NEW CLIMATE
Hal (Director: Amy Scott, Producers: Christine Beebe, Jonathan Lynch, Brian Morrow) — Hal Ashby’s obsessive genius led to an unprecedented string of Oscar®-winning classics, including Harold and Maude, Shampoo and Being There. But as contemporaries Coppola, Scorsese and Spielberg rose to blockbuster stardom in the 1980s, Ashby’s uncompromising nature played out as a cautionary tale of art versus commerce.
Hale County This Morning, This Evening (Director: RaMell Ross, Screenwriter: Maya Krinsky, Producers: Joslyn Barnes, RaMell Ross, Su Kim) — An exploration of coming-of-age in the Black Belt of the American South, using stereotypical imagery to fill in the landscape between iconic representations of black men and encouraging a new way of looking, while resistance to narrative suspends conclusive imagining – allowing the viewer to complete the film.
Inventing Tomorrow (Director: Laura Nix, Producers: Diane Becker, Melanie Miller, Laura Nix) — Take a journey with young minds from around the globe as they prepare their projects for the largest convening of high school scientists in the world, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). Watch these passionate innovators find the courage to face the planet‘s environmental threats while navigating adolescence. THE NEW CLIMATE
Kailash (Director: Derek Doneen, Producers: Davis Guggenheim, Sarah Anthony) — As a young man, Kailash Satyarthi promised himself that he would end child slavery in his lifetime. In the decades since, he has rescued more than eighty thousand children and built a global movement. This intimate and suspenseful film follows one man‘s journey to do what many believed was impossible. DAY ONE
Kusama – Infinity (Director and screenwriter: Heather Lenz, Producers: Karen Johnson, Heather Lenz, Dan Braun, David Koh) — Now one of the world‘s most celebrated artists, Yayoi Kusama broke free of the rigid society in which she was raised, and overcame sexism, racism, and mental illness to bring her artistic vision to the world stage. At 88 she lives in a mental hospital and continues to create art.
The Last Race (Director: Michael Dweck, Producers: Michael Dweck, Gregory Kershaw) — A cinematic portrait of a small town stock car track and the tribe of drivers that call it home as they struggle to hold onto an American racing tradition. The avant-garde narrative explores the community and its conflicts through an intimate story that reveals the beauty, mystery and emotion of grassroots auto racing.
Minding the Gap (Director: Bing Liu, Producer: Diane Quon) — Three young men bond together to escape volatile families in their Rust Belt hometown. As they face adult responsibilities, unexpected revelations threaten their decade-long friendship.
On Her Shoulders (Director: Alexandria Bombach, Producers: Hayley Pappas, Brock Williams) — Nadia Murad, a 23-year-old Yazidi, survived genocide and sexual slavery committed by ISIS. Repeating her story to politicians and media, this ordinary girl finds herself thrust onto the world stage as the voice of her people. Away from the podium, she must navigate bureaucracy, fame and people’s good intentions.
The Price of Everything (Director: Nathaniel Kahn, Producers: Jennifer Blei Stockman, Debi Wisch, Carla Solomon) — With unprecedented access to pivotal artists and the white-hot market surrounding them, this film dives deep into the contemporary art world, holding a funhouse mirror up to our values and our times – where everything can be bought and sold.
Seeing Allred (Directors: Sophie Sartain, Roberta Grossman, Producers: Roberta Grossman, Sophie Sartain, Marta Kauffman, Robbie Rowe Tollin, Hannah KS Canter) — Gloria Allred overcame trauma and personal setbacks to become one of the nation‘s most famous women‘s rights attorneys. Now the feminist firebrand takes on two of the biggest adversaries of her career, Bill Cosby and Donald Trump, as sexual violence allegations grip the nation and keep her in the spotlight.
The Sentence (Director: Rudy Valdez, Producers: Sam Bisbee, Jackie Kelman Bisbee) — Cindy Shank, mother of three, is serving a 15-year sentence in federal prison for her tangential involvement with a Michigan drug ring years earlier. This intimate portrait of mandatory minimum drug sentencing’s devastating consequences, captured by Cindy’s brother, follows her and her family over the course of ten years.
Three Identical Strangers (Director: Tim Wardle, Producer: Becky Read) — New York,1980: three complete strangers accidentally discover that they’re identical triplets, separated at birth. The 19-year-olds‘ joyous reunion catapults them to international fame, but also unlocks an extraordinary and disturbing secret that goes beyond their own lives – and could transform our understanding of human nature forever.
WORLD CINEMA DRAMATIC COMPETITION
The 12 films in this section are world premieres unless otherwise specified.
And Breathe Normally (Iceland-Sweden-Belgium – Director and screenwriter: Ísold Uggadóttir, Producers: Skúli Malmquist, Diana Elbaum, Annika Hellström, Lilja Ósk Snorradóttir, Inga Lind Karlsdóttir) — At the edge of Iceland‘s Reykjanes peninsula, two women‘s lives will intersect — for a brief moment — while trapped in circumstances unforeseen. Between a struggling Icelandic mother and an asylum seeker from Guinea-Bissau, a delicate bond will form as both strategize to get their lives back on track. Cast: Kristín Thóra Haraldsdóttir, Babetida Sadja, Patrik Nökkvi Pétursson.
Butterflies (Turkey – Director and screenwriter: Tolga Karaçelik, Producers: Tolga Karaçelik, Diloy Gülün, Metin Anter) — In the Turkish village of Hasanlar, three siblings who neither know each other nor anything about their late father, wait to bury his body. As they start to find out more about their father and about each other, they also start to know more about themselves. Cast: Tolga Tekin, Bartu Kucukcaglayan, Tugce Altug, Serkan Keskin, Hakan Karsak.
Dead Pigs (China – Director and screenwriter: Cathy Yan, Producers: Clarissa Zhang, Jane Zheng, Zhangke Jia, Mick Aniceto, Amy Aniceto) — A bumbling pig farmer, a feisty salon owner, a sensitive busboy, an expat architect and a disenchanted rich girl converge and collide as thousands of dead pigs float down the river towards a rapidly-modernizing Shanghai, China. Based on true events. Cast: Vivian Wu, Haoyu Yang, Mason Lee, Meng Li, David Rysdahl.
The Guilty (Denmark – Director: Gustav Möller, Screenwriters: Gustav Möller, Emil Nygaard Albertsen, Producer: Lina Flint) — Alarm dispatcher Asger Holm answers an emergency call from a kidnapped woman; after a sudden disconnection, the search for the woman and her kidnapper begins. With the phone as his only tool, Asger enters a race against time to solve a crime that is far bigger than he first thought. Cast: Jakob Cedergren, Jessica Dinnage, Johan Olsen, Omar Shargawi.
Holiday (Denmark-Netherlands-Sweden – Director: Isabella Eklöf, Screenwriters: Isabella Eklöf, Johanne Algren, Producer: David B. Sørensen) — A love triangle featuring the trophy girlfriend of a petty drug lord, caught up in a web of luxury and violence in a modern dark gangster tale set in the beautiful port city of Bodrum on the Turkish Riviera. Cast: Victoria Carmen Sonne, Lai Yde, Thijs Römer.
Loveling (Brazil-Uruguay – Director: Gustavo Pizzi, Screenwriters: Gustavo Pizzi, Karine Teles, Producers: Tatiana Leite, Rodrigo Letier, Agustina Chiarino, Fernando Epstein) — On the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, Irene has only a few days to overcome her anxiety and renew her strength before sending her eldest son out into the world. Cast: Karine Teles, Otavio Muller, Adriana Esteves, Konstantinos Sarris, Cesar Troncoso. DAY ONE
Pity (Greece-Poland – Director: Babis Makridis, Screenwriters: Efthimis Filippou, Babis Makridis, Producers: Amanda Livanou, Christos V. Konstantakopoulos, Klaudia Śmieja, Beata Rzeźniczek) — The story of a man who feels happy only when he is unhappy: addicted to sadness, with such need for pity, that he‘s willing to do everything to evoke it from others. This is the life of a man in a world not cruel enough for him. Cast: Yannis Drakopoulos, Evi Saoulidou, Nota Tserniafski, Makis Papadimitriou, Georgina Chryskioti, Evdoxia Androulidaki.
The Queen of Fear (Argentina-Denmark – Directors: Valeria Bertuccelli, Fabiana Tiscornia, Screenwriter: Valeria Bertuccelli, Producers: Benjamin Domenech, Santiago Gallelli, Matias Roveda, Juan Vera, Juan Pablo Galli, Christian Faillace) — Only one month left until the premiere of The Golden Time, the long-awaited solo show by acclaimed actress Robertina. Far from focused on the preparations for this new production, Robertina lives in a state of continuous anxiety that turns her privileged life into an absurd and tumultuous landscape. Cast: Valeria Bertuccelli, Diego Velázquez, Gabriel Eduardo “Puma” Goity, Darío Grandinetti.
Rust (Brazil – Director: Aly Muritiba, Screenwriters: Aly Muritiba, Jessica Candal, Producer: Antônio Junior) — Tati and Renet were already trading pics, videos and music by their cellphones and on the last school trip they started making eye contact. However, what could be the beginning of a love story becomes an end. Cast: Giovanni De Lorenzi, Tifanny Dopke, Enrique Diaz, Clarissa Kiste, Duda Azevedo, Pedro Inoue.
Time Share (Tiempo Compartido) (Mexico-Netherlands – Director: Sebastián Hofmann, Screenwriters: Julio Chavezmontes, Sebastián Hofmann, Producer: Julio Chavezmontes) — Two haunted family men join forces in a destructive crusade to rescue their families from a tropical paradise, after becoming convinced that an American timeshare conglomerate has a sinister plan to take their loved ones away. Cast: Luis Gerardo Mendez, Miguel Rodarte, Andrés Almeida, Cassandra Ciangherotti, Monserrat Marañon, R.J. Mitte.
Un Traductor (Canada-Cuba – Directors: Rodrigo Barriuso, Sebastián Barriuso, Screenwriter: Lindsay Gossling, Producers: Sebastián Barriuso, Lindsay Gossling) — A Russian Literature professor at the University of Havana is ordered to work as a translator for child victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster when they are sent to Cuba for medical treatment. Based on a true story. Cast: Rodrigo Santoro, Maricel Álvarez, Yoandra Suárez.
Yardie (U.K. – Director: Idris Elba, Screenwriters: Brock Norman Brock, Martin Stellman, Producers: Gina Carter, Robin Gutch) — Jamaica, 1973. When a young boy witnesses his brother‘s assassination, a powerful Don gives him a home. Ten years later he is sent on a mission to London. He reunites with his girlfriend and their daughter, but then the past catches up with them. Based on Victor Headley’s novel. Cast: Aml Ameen, Shantol Jackson, Stephen Graham, Fraser James, Sheldon Shepherd, Everaldo Cleary.
WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
The 12 films in this section are world premieres unless otherwise specified.
Anote’s Ark (Canada – Director: Matthieu Rytz, Producers: Bob Moore, Mila Aung-Thwin, Daniel Cross, Shari Plummer, Shannon Joy) — How does a nation survive being swallowed by the sea? Kiribati, on a low-lying Pacific atoll, will disappear within decades due to rising sea levels, population growth, and climate change. This exploration of how to migrate an entire nation with dignity interweaves personal stories of survival and resilience. THE NEW CLIMATE
The Cleaners (Germany-Brazil – Directors: Moritz Riesewieck, Hans Block, Screenwriters: Moritz Riesewieck, Hans Block, Georg Tschurtschenthaler, Producers: Christian Beetz, Georg Tschurtschenthaler, Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, Fernando Dias, Mauricio Dias) — When you post something on the web, can you be sure it stays there? Enter a hidden shadow industry of digital cleaning, where the Internet rids itself of what it doesn’t like: violence, pornography and political content. Who is controlling what we see…and what we think?
Genesis 2.0 (Switzerland – Directors: Christian Frei, Maxim Arbugaev, Producer: Christian Frei) — On the remote New Siberian Islands in the Arctic Ocean, hunters search for tusks of extinct mammoths. When they discover a surprisingly well-preserved mammoth carcass, its resurrection will be the first manifestation of the next great technological revolution: genetics. It may well turn our world upside down.
Matangi / Maya / M.I.A. (Sri Lanka-U.K.-U.S. – Director: Stephen Loveridge, Producers: Lori Cheatle, Andrew Goldman, Paul Mezey) — Drawn from a never before seen cache of personal footage spanning decades, this is an intimate portrait of the Sri Lankan artist and musician who continues to shatter conventions.
Of Fathers and Sons (Germany-Syria-Lebanon – Director: Talal Derki, Producers: Ansgar Frerich, Eva Kemme, Tobias N. Siebert, Hans Robert Eisenhauer) — Talal Derki returns to his homeland where he gains the trust of a radical Islamist family, sharing their daily life for over two years. His camera focuses on Osama and his younger brother Ayman, providing an extremely rare insight into what it means to grow up in an Islamic Caliphate. (North American Premiere)
The Oslo Diaries (Israel-Canada – Directors and screenwriters: Mor Loushy, Daniel Sivan, Producers: Hilla Medalia, Ina Fichman) — In 1992, Israeli-Palestinian relations reached an all time low. In an attempt to stop the bloodshed, a group of Israelis and Palestinians met illegally in Oslo. These meetings were never officially sanctioned and held in complete secrecy. They changed the Middle East forever.
Our New President (Russia-U.S. – Director: Maxim Pozdorovkin, Producers: Maxim Pozdorovkin, Joe Bender) — The story of Donald Trump’s election told entirely through Russian propaganda. By turns horrifying and hilarious, the film is a satirical portrait of Russian media that reveals an empire of fake news and the tactics of modern-day information warfare. DAY ONE
A Polar Year (France – Director: Samuel Collardey, Screenwriters: Samuel Collardey, Catherine Paillé, Producer: Grégoire Debailly) — Anders leaves his native Denmark for a teaching position in rural Greenland. As soon as he arrives, he finds himself at odds with tightly-knit locals. Only through a clumsy and playful trial of errors can Anders shake his Euro-centric assumptions and embrace their snow-covered way of life. Cast: Anders Hvidegaard, Asser Boassen, Julius B. Nielsen, Tobias Ignatiussen, Thomasine Jonathansen, Gert Jonathansen.
Shirkers (Director and screenwriter: Sandi Tan, Producers: Sandi Tan, Jessica Levin, Maya Rudolph) — In 1992, teenager Sandi Tan shot Singapore’s first indie road movie with her enigmatic American mentor Georges – who then vanished with all the footage. Twenty years later, the 16mm film is recovered, sending Tan, now a novelist in Los Angeles, on a personal odyssey in search of Georges’ vanishing footprints.
This is Home (U.S.-Jordan – Director: Alexandra Shiva, Producer: Lindsey Megrue) This is an intimate portrait of four Syrian families arriving in Baltimore, Maryland and struggling to find their footing. With eight months to become self-sufficient, they must forge ahead to rebuild their lives. When the travel ban adds further complications, their strength and resilience are put to the test.
Westwood (U.K. – Director: Lorna Tucker, Producers: Eleanor Emptage, Shirine Best, Nicole Stott, John Battsek) — Dame Vivienne Westwood: punk, icon, provocateur and one of the most influential originators in recent history. This is the first film to encompass the remarkable story of one of the true icons of our time, as she fights to maintain her brand‘s integrity, her principles – and her legacy.
A Woman Captured (Hungary – Director and screenwriter: Bernadett Tuza-Ritter, Producers: Julianna Ugrin, Viki Réka Kiss, Erik Winker, Martin Roelly) — A European woman has been kept by a family as a domestic slave for 10 years – one of over 45 million victims of modern-day slavery. Drawing courage from the filmmaker’s presence, she decides to escape the unbearable oppression and become a free person. (North American Premiere)
The 10 films in this section are all world premieres.
306 Hollywood (U.S.-Hungary – Directors: Elan Bogarín, Jonathan Bogarín, Screenwriters: Jonathan Bogarín, Elan Bogarín, Nyneve Laura Minnear, Producers: Elan Bogarín, Jonathan Bogarín, Judit Stalter) — When two siblings undertake an archaeological excavation of their late grandmother‘s house, they embark on a magical-realist journey from her home in New Jersey to ancient Rome, from fashion to physics, in search of what life remains in the objects we leave behind. DAY ONE
A Boy, A Girl, A Dream. (Director: Qasim Basir, Screenwriters: Qasim Basir, Samantha Tanner, Producer: Datari Turner) — On the night of the 2016 Presidential election, Cass, an L.A. club promoter, takes a thrilling and emotional journey with Frida, a Midwestern visitor. She challenges him to revisit his broken dreams – while he pushes her to discover hers. Cast: Omari Hardwick, Meagan Good, Jay Ellis, Kenya Barris, Dijon Talton, Wesley Jonathan.
Clara’s Ghost (Director and screenwriter: Bridey Elliott, Producer: Sarah Winshall) — Set over the course of a single evening at the Reynolds‘ family home in Connecticut, Clara, fed up with the constant ribbing from her self-absorbed showbiz family, finds solace in and guidance from the supernatural force she believes is haunting her. Cast: Paula Niedert Elliott, Chris Elliott, Abby Elliott, Bridey Elliott, Haley Joel Osment, Isidora Goreshter.
An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn (U.K.-U.S. – Director: Jim Hosking, Screenwriters: Jim Hosking, David Wike, Producers: Sam Bisbee, Theodora Dunlap, Oliver Roskill, Emily Leo, Lucan Toh, Andy Starke) — Lulu Danger’s unsatisfying marriage takes a fortunate turn for the worse when a mysterious man from her past comes to town to perform an event called ‘An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn For One Magical Night Only.‘ Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Emile Hirsch, Jemaine Clement, Matt Berry, Craig Robinson.
Madeline’s Madeline (Director and screenwriter: Josephine Decker, Producers: Krista Parris, Elizabeth Rao) — Madeline got the part! She‘s going to play the lead in a theater piece! Except the lead wears sweatpants like Madeline‘s. And has a cat like Madeline‘s. And is holding a steaming hot iron next to her mother‘s face – like Madeline is. Cast: Helena Howard, Molly Parker, Miranda July, Okwui Okpokwasili, Felipe Bonilla, Lisa Tharps.
Night Comes On (Director: Jordana Spiro, Screenwriters: Jordana Spiro, Angelica Nwandu, Producers: Jonathan Montepare, Alvaro R. Valente, Danielle Renfrew Behrens) — Angel LaMere is released from juvenile detention on the eve of her 18th birthday. Haunted by her past, she embarks on a journey with her 10-year-old sister that could destroy their future. Cast: Dominique Fishback, Tatum Hall, John Earl Jelks, Max Casella, James McDaniel.
Search (Director: Aneesh Chaganty, Screenwriters: Aneesh Chaganty, Sev Ohanian, Producers: Timur Bekmambetov, Sev Ohanian, Adam Sidman, Natalie Qasabian) — After his 16-year-old daughter goes missing, a desperate father breaks into her laptop to look for clues to find her. A thriller that unfolds entirely on computer screens. Cast: John Cho, Debra Messing. World Premiere. WINNER: 2018 Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize.
Skate Kitchen (Director: Crystal Moselle, Screenwriters: Crystal Moselle, Ashlihan Unaldi, Producers: Lizzie Nastro, Izabella Tzenkova, Julia Nottingham, Matthew Perniciaro, Michael Sherman, Rodrigo Teixeira) — Camille’s life as a lonely suburban teenager changes dramatically when she befriends a group of girl skateboarders. As she journeys deeper into this raw New York City subculture, she begins to understand the true meaning of friendship as well as her inner self. Cast: Rachelle Vinberg, Dede Lovelace, Jaden Smith, Nina Moran, Ajani Russell, Kabrina Adams.
We the Animals (Director: Jeremiah Zagar, Screenwriters: Daniel Kitrosser, Jeremiah Zagar, Producers: Jeremy Yaches, Christina D. King, Andrew Goldman, Paul Mezey) — Us three, us brothers, us kings. Manny, Joel and Jonah tear their way through childhood and push against the volatile love of their parents. As Manny and Joel grow into versions of their father and Ma dreams of escape, Jonah, the youngest, embraces an imagined world all his own. Cast: Raul Castillo, Sheila Vand, Evan Rosado, Isaiah Kristian, Josiah Santiago.
White Rabbit (Director: Daryl Wein, Screenwriters: Daryl Wein, Vivian Bang, Producers: Daryl Wein, Vivian Bang) — A dramatic comedy following a Korean American performance artist who struggles to be authentically heard and seen through her multiple identities in modern Los Angeles. Cast: Vivian Bang, Nana Ghana, Nico Evers-Swindel, Tracy Hazas, Elizabeth Sung, Michelle Sui.
The 15 films in this section are all world premieres.
Beirut (Director: Brad Anderson, Screenwriter: Tony Gilroy, Producers: Mike Weber, Tony Gilroy, Shivani Rawat, Monica Levinson) — A U.S. diplomat flees Lebanon in 1972 after a tragic incident at his home. Ten years later, he is called back to war-torn Beirut by CIA operatives to negotiate for the life of a friend he left behind. Cast: Jon Hamm, Rosamund Pike, Shea Whigham, Dean Norris.
The Catcher Was a Spy (Director: Ben Lewin, Screenwriter: Robert Rodat, Producers: Kevin Frakes, Tatiana Kelly, Buddy Patrick, Jim Young) — The true story of Moe Berg – professional baseball player, Ivy League graduate, attorney who spoke nine languages – and a top-secret spy for the OSS who helped the U.S. win the race against Germany to build the atomic bomb. Cast: Paul Rudd, Mark Strong, Sienna Miller, Jeff Daniels, Guy Pearce, Paul Giamatti.
Colette (U.K. – Director: Wash Westmoreland, Screenwriters: Wash Westmoreland, Richard Glatzer, Producers: Pamela Koffler, Christine Vachon, Elizabeth Karlsen, Stephen Woolley) — A young country woman marries a famous literary entrepreneur in turn-of-the-century Paris: At her husband’s request, Colette pens a series of bestselling novels published under his name. But as her confidence grows, she transforms not only herself and her marriage, but the world around her. Cast: Keira Knightley, Dominic West, Fiona Shaw, Denise Gough, Elinor Tomlinson, Aiysha Hart.
Come Sunday (Director: Joshua Marston, Screenwriter: Marcus Hinchey, Producers:Ira Glass, AlissaShipp, Julie Goldstein, James Stern, Lucas Smith, Cindy Kirven) — Internationally-renowned pastor Carlton Pearson — experiencing a crisis of faith — risks his church, family and future when he questions church doctrine and finds himself branded a modern-day heretic. Based on actual events. Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Danny Glover, Condola Rashad, Jason Segel, Lakeith Stanfield, Martin Sheen.
Damsel (Directors and screenwriters: David Zellner, Nathan Zellner, Producers: Nathan Zellner, Chris Ohlson, David Zellner) — Samuel Alabaster, an affluent pioneer, ventures across the American Frontier to marry the love of his life, Penelope. As Samuel, a drunkard named Parson Henry and a miniature horse called Butterscotch traverse the Wild West, their once-simple journey grows treacherous, blurring the lines between hero, villain and damsel. Cast: Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, David Zellner, Robert Forster, Nathan Zellner, Joe Billingiere.
Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot (Director: Gus Van Sant, Screenwriters: Gus Van Sant (screenplay), John Callahan (biography), Producers: Charles-Marie Anthonioz, Mourad Belkeddar, Steve Golin, Nicolas Lhermitte) — John Callahan has a talent for off-color jokes…and a drinking problem. When a bender ends in a car accident, Callahan wakes permanently confined to a wheelchair. In his journey back from rock bottom, Callahan finds beauty and comedy in the absurdity of human experience. Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara, Jack Black.
Futile and Stupid Gesture (Director: David Wain, Screenwriters: John Aboud, Michael Colton, Producers: Peter Principato, Jonathan Stern) — The story of comedy wunderkind Doug Kenney, who co-created the National Lampoon, Caddyshack, and Animal House. Kenney was at the center of the 70‘s comedy counter- culture which gave birth to Saturday Night Live and a whole generation’s way of looking at the world. Cast: Will Forte, Martin Mull, Domhnall Gleeson, Matt Walsh, Joel McHale, Emmy Rossum.
The Happy Prince (Germany-Belgium-Italy – Director and screenwriter: Rupert Everett) — The last days of Oscar Wilde—and the ghosts haunting them—are brought to vivid life. His body ailing, Wilde lives in exile, surviving on the flamboyant irony and brilliant wit that defined him as the transience of lust is laid bare and the true riches of love are revealed. Cast: Colin Firth, Emily Watson, Colin Morgan, Edwin Thomas, Rupert Everett.
Hearts Beat Loud (Director: Brett Haley, Screenwriters: Brett Haley, Marc Basch, Producers: Houston King, Sam Bisbee, Sam Slater) — In Red Hook, Brooklyn, a father and daughter become an unlikely songwriting duo in the last summer before she leaves for college. Cast: Nick Offerman, Kiersey Clemons, Ted Danson, Sasha Lane, Blythe Danner, Toni Collette.
Juliet, Naked (U.K. – Director: Jesse Peretz, Screenwriters: Tamara Jenkins, Jim Taylor, Phil Alden Robinson, Evgenia Peretz, Producers: Judd Apatow, Barry Mendel, Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa, Jeffrey Soros) — Annie is the long-suffering girlfriend of Duncan, an obsessive fan of obscure rocker Tucker Crowe. When the acoustic demo of Tucker’s celebrated record from 25 years ago surfaces, its release leads to an encounter with the elusive rocker himself. Based on the novel by Nick Hornby. Cast: Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke, Chris O’Dowd.
A Kid Like Jake (Director: Silas Howard, Screenwriter: Daniel Pearle, Producers: Jim Parsons, Todd Spiewak, Eric Norsoph, Paul Bernon, Rachel Song) — As married couple Alex and Greg navigate their roles as parents to a young son who prefers Cinderella to G.I. Joe, a rift grows between them, one that forces them to confront their own concerns about what‘s best for their child, and each other. Cast: Claire Danes, Jim Parsons, Octavia Spencer, Priyanka Chopra, Ann Dowd, Amy Landecker.
Ophelia (U.K. – Director: Claire McCarthy, Screenwriter: Semi Chellas, Producers: Daniel Bobker, Sarah Curtis, Ehren Kruger, Paul Hanson) — A mythic spin on Hamlet through a lens of female empowerment: Ophelia comes of age as lady-in-waiting for Queen Gertrude, and her singular spirit captures Hamlet’s affections. As lust and betrayal threaten the kingdom, Ophelia finds herself trapped between true love and controlling her own destiny. Cast: Daisy Ridley, Naomi Watts, Clive Owen, George MacKay, Tom Felton, Devon Terrell.
Puzzle (Director: Marc Turtletaub, Screenwriter: Oren Moverman, Producers: Peter Saraf, Wren Arthur, Guy Stodel) — Agnes, taken for granted as a suburban mother, discovers a passion for solving jigsaw puzzles which unexpectedly draws her into a new world – where her life unfolds in ways she could never have imagined. Cast: Kelly Macdonald, Irrfan Khan, David Denman, Bubba Weiler, Austin Abrams, Liv Hewson.
Untitled Debra Granik Project (Director: Debra Granik, Screenwriters: Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini, Producers: Anne Harrison, Linda Reisman, Anne Rosellini) — A father and daughter live a perfect but mysterious existence in Forest Park, a beautiful nature reserve near Portland, Oregon, rarely making contact with the world. A small mistake tips them off to authorities sending them on an increasingly erratic journey in search of a place to call their own. Cast: Ben Foster, Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, Jeff Korber, Dale Dickey.
What They Had (Director and screenwriter: Elizabeth Chomko, Producers: Keith Kjarval, Bill Holderman, Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa, Alex Saks, Andrew Duncan) — Bridget returns home to Chicago at her brother‘s urging to deal with her mother‘s Alzheimer‘s and her father‘s reluctance to let go of their life together. Cast: Hilary Swank, Michael Shannon, Blythe Danner, Robert Forster.
The 13 films in this section are all world premieres.
Bad Reputation (Director: Kevin Kerslake, Screenwriter: Joel Marcus, Producers: Peter Afterman, Carianne Brinkman) — A look at the life of Joan Jett, from her early years as the founder of The Runaways and first meeting collaborator Kenny Laguna in 1980 to her enduring presence in pop culture as a rock ’n’ roll pioneer.
Believer (Director: Don Argott, Producers: Heather Parry, Sheena M. Joyce, Robert Reynolds) — Imagine Dragons‘ Mormon frontman Dan Reynolds is taking on a new mission to explore how the church treats its LGBTQ members. With the rising suicide rate amongst teens in the state of Utah, his concern with the church‘s policies sends him on an unexpected path for acceptance and change.
Chef Flynn (Director: Cameron Yates, Producer: Laura Coxson) — Ten-year-old Flynn transforms his living room into a supper club, using his classmates as line cooks and serving a tasting menu foraged from his neighbors‘ backyards. With sudden fame, Flynn outgrows his bedroom kitchen and mother’s camera, and sets out to challenge the hierarchy of the culinary world.
The Game Changers (Director: Louie Psihoyos, Screenwriters: Mark Monroe, Joseph Pace, Producers: Joseph Pace, James Wilks) — James Wilks, an elite special forces trainer and winner of The Ultimate Fighter, embarks on a quest for the truth in nutrition and uncovers the world’s most dangerous myth.
Generation Wealth (Director: Lauren Greenfield, Producers: Lauren Greenfield, Frank Evers) — Lauren Greenfield‘s postcard from the edge of the American Empire captures a portrait of a materialistic, image-obsessed culture. Simultaneously personal journey and historical essay, the film bears witness to the global boom–bust economy, the corrupted American Dream and the human costs of late stage capitalism, narcissism and greed. DAY ONE
Half the Picture (Director: Amy Adrion, Producers: Amy Adrion, David Harris) — At a pivotal moment for gender equality in Hollywood, successful women directors tell the stories of their art, lives and careers. Having endured a long history of systemic discrimination, women filmmakers may be getting the first glimpse of a future that values their voices equally.
Jane Fonda in Five Acts (Director: Susan Lacy, Producers: Susan Lacy, Jessica Levin, Emma Pildes) — Girl next door, activist, so-called traitor, fitness tycoon, Oscar winner: Jane Fonda has lived a life of controversy, tragedy and transformation – and she’s done it all in the public eye. An intimate look at one woman’s singular journey.
King In The Wilderness (Director: Peter Kunhardt, Producers: George Kunhardt, Teddy Kunhardt) — From the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 to his assassination in 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. remained a man with an unshakeable commitment to nonviolence in the face of an increasingly unstable country. A portrait of the last years of his life.
Quiet Heroes (Director: Jenny Mackenzie, Co-Directors: Jared Ruga, Amanda Stoddard, Producers: Jenny Mackenzie, Jared Ruga, Amanda Stoddard) — In Salt Lake City, Utah, the socially conservative religious monoculture complicated the AIDS crisis, where patients in the entire state and intermountain region relied on only one doctor. This is the story of her fight to save a maligned population everyone else seemed willing to just let die.
RBG (Directors and producers: Betsy West, Julie Cohen) — An intimate portrait of an unlikely rock star: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. With unprecedented access, the filmmakers show how her early legal battles changed the world for women. Now this 84-year-old does push-ups as easily as she writes blistering dissents that have earned her the title ―Notorious RBG.‖
Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind (Director: Marina Zenovich, Producers: Alex Gibney, Shirel Kozak) — This intimate portrait examines one of the world‘s most beloved and inventive comedians. Told largely through Robin‘s own voice and using a wealth of never-before-seen archive, the film takes us through his extraordinary life and career and reveals the spark of madness that drove him.
Studio 54 (Director: Matt Tyrnauer, Producers: Matt Tyrnauer, John Battsek, Corey Reeser) — Studio 54 was the pulsating epicenter of 1970s hedonism: a disco hothouse of beautiful people, drugs, and sex. The journeys of Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell — two best friends from Brooklyn who conquered New York City — frame this history of the “greatest club of all time.”
Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (Director: Morgan Neville, Producers: Caryn Capotosto, Nicholas Ma) — Fred Rogers used puppets and play to explore complex social issues: race, disability, equality and tragedy, helping form the American concept of childhood. He spoke directly to children and they responded enthusiastically. Yet today, his impact is unclear. Have we lived up to Fred’s ideal of good neighbors? SALT LAKE CITY OPENING NIGHT FILM
The seven films in this section are all world premieres unless otherwise specified.
Arizona (Director: Jonathan Watson, Screenwriter: Luke Del Tredici, Producers: Dan Friedkin, Bradley Thomas, Ryan Friedkin, Danny McBride, Brandon James) — Set in the midst of the 2009 housing crisis, this darkly comedic story follows Cassie Fowler, a single mom and struggling realtor whose life goes off the rails when she witnesses a murder. Cast: Danny McBride, Rosemarie DeWitt, Luke Wilson, Lolli Sorenson, Elizabeth Gillies, Kaitlin Olson.
Assassination Nation (Director and screenwriter: Sam Levinson, Producers: David Goyer, Anita Gou, Kevin Turen, Aaron L. Gilbert, Matthew J. Malek) — This is a one-thousand-percent true story about how the quiet, all-American town of Salem absolutely lost its mind. Cast: Odessa Young, Suki Waterhouse, Hari Nef, Abra, Bill Skarsgard, Bella Thorne.
Mandy (Belgium-U.S. – Director: Panos Cosmatos, Screenwriters: Panos Cosmatos, Aaron Stewart-Ahn, Producers: Daniel Noah, Josh Waller, Elijah Wood, Nate Bolotin, Adrian Politowski) — Pacific Northwest. 1983 AD. Outsiders Red Miller and Mandy Bloom lead a loving and peaceful existence. When their pine-scented haven is savagely destroyed by a cult led by the sadistic Jeremiah Sand, Red is catapulted into a phantasmagoric journey filled with bloody vengeance and laced with fire. Cast: Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache, Olwen Fouéré, Richard Brake, Bill Duke.
Never Goin’ Back (Director and screenwriter: Augustine Frizzell, Producers: Toby Halbrooks, Liz Cardenas , James Johnston, David Lowery) — Jessie and Angela, high school dropout BFFs, are taking a week off to chill at the beach. Too bad their house got robbed, rent‘s due, they‘re about to get fired and they‘re broke. Now they’ve gotta avoid eviction, stay out of jail and get to the beach, no matter what!!! Cast: Maia Mitchell, Cami Morrone, Kyle Mooney, Joel Allen, Kendal Smith, Matthew Holcomb.
Piercing (Director and screenwriter: Nicolas Pesce, Producers: Josh Mond, Antonio Campos, Schuyler Weiss, Jake Wasserman) — In this twisted love story, a man seeks out an unsuspecting stranger to help him purge the dark torments of his past. His plan goes awry when he encounters a woman with plans of her own. A playful psycho-thriller game of cat-and-mouse based on Ryu Murakami‘s novel. Cast: Christopher Abbott, Mia Wasikowska, Laia Costa, Marin Ireland, Maria Dizzia, Wendell Pierce.
Revenge (France – Director and screenwriter: Coralie Fargeat, Producers: Marc-Etienne Schwartz, Jean-Yves Robin, Marc Stanimirovic) — Three wealthy married men get together for their annual hunting game in a desert canyon. This time, one of them has brought along his young mistress, who quickly arouses the interest of the other two. Things get dramatically out of hand as a hunting game turns into a ruthless manhunt. Cast: Matilda Lutz, Kevin Janssens, Vincent Colombe, Guillaume Bouchede, Jean-Louis Tribes. (Utah Premiere)
Summer of ’84 (Canada-U.S. – Directors: Francois Simard, Anouk Whissell, Yoann Whissell, Screenwriters: Matt Leslie, Stephen J. Smith, Producers: Shawn Williamson, Jameson Parker, Matt Leslie, Van Toffler, Cody Zwieg) — Summer, 1984: a perfect time to be a carefree 15-year-old. But when neighborhood conspiracy theorist Davey Armstrong begins to suspect his police officer neighbor might be the serial killer all over the local news, he and his three best friends begin an investigation that soon turns dangerous. Cast: Graham Verchere, Judah Lewis, Caleb Emery, Cory Grüter-Andrew, Tiera Skovbye, Rich Sommer.
This section represents a collection of half a dozen films that have already premiered at other festivals.
Beast (U.K. – Director and screenwriter: Michael Pearce, Producers: Ivana MacKinnon, Lauren Dark, Kristian Brodie ) — In a small island community, a troubled young woman falls for a mysterious outsider who empowers her to escape from her oppressive family. When he comes under suspicion for a series of brutal murders, she learns what she‘s capable of as she defends him at all costs. Cast: Jessie Buckley, Johnny Flynn, Trystan Gravelle, Geraldine James, Charley Palmer Rothwell. (U.S. Premiere)
The Death of Stalin (France-U.K.-Belgium – Director: Armando Iannucci, Screenwriters: Armando Iannucci, David Schneider, Ian Martin, Producers: Yann Zenou, Laurent Zeitoun, Nicolas Duval Adassovsky, Kevin Loader) — The internal political landscape of 1950‘s Soviet Russia through a darkly comic lens. In the days following Stalin‘s collapse, his core ministers tussle for control; some want positive change, others have more sinister motives. Their one common trait? They‘re all just desperately trying to remain alive. Cast: Steve Buscemi, Jeffrey Tambor, Andrea Riseborough, Rupert Friend, Olga Kurylenko, Jason Isaacs. (U.S. Premiere)
Foxtrot (Israel – Director and screenwriter: Samuel Maoz, Producers: Michael Weber, Viola Fügen, Eitan Mansuri, Cedomir Kolar, Marc Baschet, Michel Merkt) — Michael and Dafna are devastated when army officials show up at their home, announcing the death of their son Jonathan. While his sedated wife rests, Michael spirals into a whirlwind of anger only to experience one of life’s unfathomable twists, which rivals his son’s surreal military experiences. Cast: Lior Ashkenazi, Sarah Adler, Yonatan Shiray.
I Am Not a Witch (U.K. – Director and screenwriter: Rungano Nyoni, Producers: Juliette Grandmont, Emily Morgan) — After a minor incident, nine-year old Shula is exiled to a witch camp where she is told that if she escapes, she’ll be transformed into a goat. As she navigates through her new life, she must decide whether to accept her fate or risk the consequences of seeking freedom. Cast: Margaret Mulubwa, Henry B.J. Phiri, Nancy Mulilo, Margaret Sipaneia. (U.S. Premiere)
The Rider (Director and screenwriter: Chloé Zhao, Producers: Chloé Zhao, Bert Hamelinck, Sacha Ben Harroche, Mollye Asher) — After a tragic riding accident, young cowboy and rising rodeo circuit star Brady Jandreau is told that his competition days are over. In an attempt to regain control of his fate, Brady undertakes a search for new identity and tries to redefine his idea of manhood in America’s heartland. Cast: Brady Jandreau, Tim Jandreau, Lily Jandreau, Lane Scott, Cat Clifford. (Utah Premiere)
Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken! (Director: Morgan Spurlock, Screenwriters: Jeremy Chilnick, Morgan Spurlock, Producers: Keith Calder, Jessica Calder, Spencer Silna, Nicole Barton, Jeremy Chilnick, Matthew Galkin) — Muckraking filmmaker Morgan Spurlock reignites his battle with the food industry – this time from behind the register – as he opens his own fast food restaurant. (U.S. Premiere)
The three films in this section are world premieres unless otherwise indicated.
Lu Over the Wall (Japan – Director: Masaaki Yuasa, Screenwriters: Reiko Yoshida, Masaaki Yuasa, Producer: Eunyoung Choi) — Kai is a lonely teenage boy who lives in a small fishing village. One day, he meets and befriends Lu, a fun-loving mermaid whose singing is hypnotic to all who hear it. But the townspeople have always thought that mermaids bring disaster. (Premiere of new English-dubbed version)
Science Fair (Directors: Cristina Costantini, Darren Foster, Producers: Cristina Costantini, Darren Foster, Jeffrey Plunkett) — Nine high school students from around the globe navigate rivalries, setbacks, and of course, hormones, on their journey to compete at the international science fair. Facing off against 1,700 of the smartest, quirkiest teens from 78 different countries, only one will be named Best in Fair.
White Fang (Director: Alexandre Espigares, Screenwriters: Dominique Monfery, Philippe Lioret, Serge Frydman, Producers: Jeremie Fajner, Clement Calvet, Peter Saraf, Marc Turtletaub) — An updated reimagining of Jack London’s classic novel, this thrilling tale of kindness, survival and the twin majesties of the animal kingdom and mankind traces the loving and magnificent hero White Fang, whose intense curiosity leads him on the adventure of a lifetime. Cast: Rashida Jones, Nick Offerman, Eddie Spears, Paul Giamatti.