One of the most exciting events in Park City is the very festival that made it such a hot spot on the map of the American West: the Sundance Film Festival. Ever since it was founded in 1978, the Sundance Film Festival has brought amazing lineups of independent films to Park City, and has been able to launch the careers of acclaimed directors such as Quentin Tarantino, Paul Thomas Anderson, Darren Aronofsky, and many, many others. This year will likely prove to be no different, as there is already an amazing group of films that we canâ€™t wait to see, along with many sleeper hits that we probably couldnâ€™t have expected! Hereâ€™s some of the films we canâ€™t wait to catch at Sundance…
Jeremy Saulnier released his premiere feature film, Blue Ruin, at Sundance in 2013. The film was an emotional tour-de-force, and an incredible addition to the longstanding American tradition of the revenge film. This year, he looks to be aiming for another home run with his punk-music thriller, Green Room, about a band who witnesses a gang of white supremacists commit a murder, and thus must defend themselves as witnesses. The film features Patrick Stewart as the leader of the white supremacist gang. If that isnâ€™t enough for you (and if it isnâ€™t, whatâ€™s wrong with you?), then the film also has a talented bunch of actors, including Imogen Poots, Anton Yelchin, and Alia Shawkat, as the rock band being hunted.
For 20 years, Kelly Reichardt has been writing and directing some of the most emotionally resonant and haunting dramas in American cinema. With a knack for casting incredible actors (some of them in their first roles, such as Michelle Williams), Reichardt has always been a director whose next project we have anxiously awaited, especially since her highly anxious film Night Moves in 2014. Now her next project, Certain Women, is coming to this yearâ€™s Sundance Film Festival. Featuring talent such as the aforementioned Michelle Williams, Laura Dern, and Kristen Stewart (in a much needed return to a smaller film), this is certainly one to look out for.
Under the Shadow
Every year at Sundance brings a batch of films from incredibly talented first-time directors. Sometimes these films have a tendency to slip through the cracks, while other times they become the talk of the festival. Our pick for the sleeper hit of 2016â€™s Sundance Film Festival is the Iranian horror film, Under the Shadow, directed by Babak Anvari. If you havenâ€™t been keeping up, Iranâ€™s film industry has been exporting some terrific work, lately, despite their overly oppressive governmentâ€™s attempt to restrict content and impose moral latitude on the artistry of their citizens. In fact, this might actually make their films better. The plot is described thusly, â€œAs a mother and daughter struggle to cope with the terrors of the post-revolution, war torn Tehran of the 80s, a mysterious evil begins to haunt their home.â€ All we can say is that we canâ€™t wait to see it!