( +4 hidden )
November 22, 2015 at 11:13 pm #198911
The first movies have been announced for Sundance! The following are apart of their Midnight movies selection:
From horror flicks to comedies to works that defy any genre, these unruly films will keep you on the edge of your seat and wide awake.
31 / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Rob Zombie) — Five friends are kidnapped on the day before Halloween and are held hostage in a terrifying place named Murder World. While trapped, they must play a violent game called 31, in which the mission is to survive 12 hours against a gang of evil clowns. Cast: Sheri Moon Zombie, Malcolm McDowell, Richard Brake, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Meg Foster. World Premiere
Antibirth / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Danny Perez) — In a desolate community full of drug-addled marines and rumors of kidnapping, a wild-eyed stoner named Lou wakes up after a crazy night of partying with symptoms of a strange illness and recurring visions. As she struggles to get a grip on reality, the stories of conspiracy spread. Cast: Natasha Lyonne, Chloë Sevigny, Mark Webber, Meg Tilly, Maxwell McCabe-Lokos. World Premiere
The Blackout Experiments / U.S.A. (Director: Rich Fox) — A group of friends discover the dark underworld of the ultra-scary, psychosexual horror experience called Blackout. But what starts as a thrill ride through the unknown becomes deeply personal, developing into an obsession that hijacks their lives and blurs the line between reality and paranoid fantasy. World Premiere
Carnage Park / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Mickey Keating) — The year is 1978. A team of wannabe crooks botch a small-town bank heist and flee with their hostage deep into the California desert, where they inexplicably find themselves in a harrowing fight for survival against a psychotic ex-military sniper. Cast: Ashley Bell, Pat Healy, Alan Ruck, Darby Stanchfield, James Landry Hébert, Larry Fessenden. World Premiere
The Greasy Strangler / U.S.A. (Director: Jim Hosking, Screenwriters: Jim Hosking, Toby Harvard) — When Big Ronnie and his son Brayden meet lone female tourist Janet on Big Ronnie’s Disco Walking Tour—the best and only disco walking tour in the city—a fight for Janet’s heart erupts between father and son, and the infamous Greasy Strangler is unleashed. Cast: Michael St. Michaels, Sky Elobar, Elizabeth De Razzo, Gil Gex, Jesse Keen, Joe David Walters. World Premiere
Outlaws and Angels / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: JT Mollner) — With a notorious bounty hunter closing in on their trail, a gang of cold-blooded outlaws invades the home of a seemingly innocent frontier family, where an unexpected game of cat and mouse ensues throughout the night, leading to seduction, role reversal, and ultimately bloody revenge. Cast: Chad Michael Murray, Francesca Eastwood, Luke Wilson, Teri Polo, Madisen Beaty, Nathan Russell. World Premiere
Trash Fire / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Richard Bates Jr.) — When Owen is forced to confront the past he’s been running from his whole adult life, he and his girlfriend, Isabel, become entangled in a horrifying web of lies, deceit, and murder. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll be scarred for life. Cast: Adrian Grenier, Angela Trimbur, AnnaLynne McCord, Fionnula Flanagan, Matthew Gray Gubler, Ray Santiago. World Premiere
Under the Shadow / United Kingdom, Jordan (Director and screenwriter: Babak Anvari) — Tehran, 1988: As the Iran-Iraq War rumbles into its eighth year, a mother and daughter are slowly torn apart by the bombing campaigns on the city coupled with the country’s bloody revolution. As they struggle to stay together amidst these terrors, a mysterious evil stalks through their apartment. Cast: Narges Rashidi, Avin Manshadi, Bobby Naderi, Ray Haratian, Arash Marandi. World Premiere
Yoga Hosers / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Kevin Smith) — Colleen Collette and Colleen McKenzie are teenage besties from Winnipeg who love yoga and live on their smartphones. But when these sophomores get invited to a senior party by the school hottie, the Colleens accidentally uncover an ancient evil buried beneath their Canadian convenience store. Cast: Lily-Rose Depp, Harley Quinn Smith, Johnny Depp, Justin Long, Austin Butler, Tyler Posey. World PremiereNovember 23, 2015 at 9:53 am #198913
Thanks Kyle…Natasha Lyonne is in two of these movies..Love her…Hope she goes to the festival.December 2, 2015 at 7:04 pm #198914
Sundance just announced its line up! Here they are:
Presenting the world premieres of 16 narrative feature films, the Dramatic Competition offers Festivalgoers a first look at groundbreaking new voices in American independent film.
“As You Are” / U.S.A. (Director: Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, Screenwriters: Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, Madison Harrison) — As You Are is the telling and retelling of a relationship between three teenagers as it traces the course of their friendship through a construction of disparate memories prompted by a police investigation. Cast: Owen Campbell, Charlie Heaton, Amandla Stenberg, John Scurti, Scott Cohen, Mary Stuart Masterson. World Premiere
“The Birth of a Nation” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Nate Parker) — Set against the antebellum South, this story follows Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner, accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. After witnessing countless atrocities against fellow slaves, Nat devises a plan to lead his people to freedom. Cast: Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Aja Naomi King, Jackie Earle Haley, Gabrielle Union, Mark Boone Jr. World Premiere
“Christine” / U.S.A. (Director: Antonio Campos, Screenwriter: Craig Shilowich) — In 1974, a female TV news reporter aims for high standards in life and love in Sarasota, Florida. Missing her mark is not an option. This story is based on true events. Cast: Rebecca Hall, Michael C. Hall, Maria Dizzia, Tracy Letts, J. Smith-Cameron. World Premiere
“Equity” / U.S.A. (Director: Meera Menon, Screenwriter: Amy Fox) — A female investment banker, fighting to get a promotion at her competitive Wall Street firm, leads a controversial tech IPO in the post-financial-crisis world, where regulations are tight but pressure to bring in big money remains high. Cast: Anna Gunn, James Purefoy, Sarah Megan Thomas, Alysia Reiner. World Premiere
“The Free World” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Jason Lew) — Following his release from a brutal stretch in prison for crimes he didn’t commit, Mo is struggling to adapt to life on the outside. When his world collides with Doris, a mysterious woman with a violent past, he decides to risk his newfound freedom to keep her in his life. Cast: Boyd Holbrook, Elisabeth Moss, Octavia Spencer, Sung Kang, Waleed Zuaiter. World Premiere
“Goat” / U.S.A. (Director: Andrew Neel, Screenwriters: David Gordon Green, Andrew Neel, Michael Roberts) — Reeling from a terrifying assault, a 19-year-old boy pledges his brother’s fraternity in an attempt to prove his manhood. What happens there, in the name of “brotherhood,” tests both the boys and their relationship in brutal ways. Cast: Nick Jonas, Ben Schnetzer, Virginia Gardner, Danny Flaherty, Austin Lyon. World Premiere
“The Intervention” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Clea DuVall) — A weekend getaway for four couples takes a sharp turn when one of the couples discovers the entire trip was orchestrated to host an intervention on their marriage. Cast: Melanie Lynskey, Cobie Smulders, Alia Shawkat, Clea DuVall, Natasha Lyonne, Ben Schwartz. World Premiere
“Joshy” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Jeff Baena) — Josh treats what would have been his bachelor party as an opportunity to reconnect with his friends. Cast: Thomas Middleditch, Adam Pally, Alex Ross Perry, Nick Kroll, Brett Gelman, Jenny Slate. World Premiere
“Lovesong” / U.S.A. (Director: So Yong Kim, Screenwriters: So Yong Kim, Bradley Rust Gray) — Neglected by her husband, Sarah embarks on an impromptu road trip with her young daughter and her best friend, Mindy. Along the way, the dynamic between the two friends intensifies before circumstances force them apart. Years later, Sarah attempts to rebuild their intimate connection in the days before Mindy’s wedding. Cast: Jena Malone, Riley Keough, Brooklyn Decker, Amy Seimetz, Ryan Eggold, Rosanna Arquette. World Premiere
“Morris from America” / U.S.A., Germany (Director and screenwriter: Chad Hartigan) — Thirteen-year-old Morris, a hip-hop loving American, moves to Heidelberg, Germany, with his father. In this completely foreign land, he falls in love with a local girl, befriends his German tutor-turned-confidant, and attempts to navigate the unique trials and tribulations of adolescence. Cast: Markees Christmas, Craig Robinson, Carla Juri, Lina Keller, Jakub GierszaÅ, Levin Henning. World Premiere
“Other People” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Chris Kelly) — A struggling comedy writer, fresh from breaking up with his boyfriend, moves to Sacramento to help his sick mother. Living with his conservative father and younger sisters, David feels like a stranger in his childhood home. As his mother worsens, he tries to convince everyone (including himself) he’s “doing okay.” Cast: Jesse Plemons, Molly Shannon, Bradley Whitford, Maude Apatow, Zach Woods, June Squibb. World Premiere. DAY ONE FILM
“Southside With You” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Richard Tanne) — Southside With You is a chronicle of the summer afternoon in 1989 when the future president of the United States of America, Barack Obama, wooed his future First Lady on an epic first date across Chicago’s South Side. Cast: Tika Sumpter, Parker Sawyers, Vanessa Bell Calloway. World Premiere
“Spa Night” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Andrew Ahn) — A young Korean-American man works to reconcile his obligations to his struggling immigrant family with his burgeoning sexual desires in the underground world of gay hookups at Korean spas in Los Angeles. Cast: Joe Seo, Haerry Kim, Youn Ho Cho, Tae Song, Ho Young Chung, Linda Han. World Premiere
“Swiss Army Man” / U.S.A. (Directors and screenwriters: Daniel Scheinert, Daniel Kwan) — Hank, a hopeless man stranded in the wild, discovers a mysterious dead body. Together the two embark on an epic journey to get home. As Hank realizes the body is the key to his survival, this once-suicidal man is forced to convince a dead body that life is worth living. Cast: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead. World Premiere
“Tallulah” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Sian Heder) — A rootless young woman takes a toddler from a wealthy, negligent mother and passes the baby off as her own in an effort to protect her. This decision connects and transforms the lives of three very different women. Cast: Ellen Page, Allison Janney, Tammy Blanchard, Evan Jonigkeit, Uzo Aduba. World Premiere
“White Girl” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Elizabeth Wood) — Summer, New York City: A college student goes to extremes to get her drug dealer boyfriend out of jail. Cast: Morgan Saylor, Brian ‘Sene’ Marc, Justin Bartha, Chris Noth, India Menuez, Adrian Martinez. World Premiere
Sixteen world-premiere American documentaries that illuminate the ideas, people, and events that shape the present day.
“Audrie & Daisy” / U.S.A. (Directors: Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk) — After two high school girls in different towns are sexually assaulted by boys they consider friends, online bullying leads each girl to attempt suicide. Tragically, one dies. Assault in the social media age is explored from the perspectives of the girls and boys involved, as well as their torn-apart communities. World Premiere
“Author: The JT LeRoy Story” / U.S.A. (Director: Jeff Feuerzeig) — As the definitive look inside the mysterious case of 16-year-old literary sensation JT LeRoy—a creature so perfect for his time that if he didn’t exist, someone would have had to invent him—this is the strangest story about story ever told. World Premiere
“The Bad Kids” / U.S.A. (Directors: Keith Fulton, Lou Pepe) — At a remote Mojave Desert high school, extraordinary educators believe that empathy and life skills, more than academics, give at-risk students command of their own futures. This coming-of-age story watches education combat the crippling effects of poverty in the lives of these so-called “bad kids.” World Premiere
“Gleason” / U.S.A. (Director: Clay Tweel) — At the age of 34, Steve Gleason, former NFL defensive back and New Orleans hero, was diagnosed with ALS. Doctors gave him two to five years to live. So that is what Steve chose to do: Live—both for his wife and newborn son and to help others with this disease. World Premiere
“Holy Hell” / U.S.A. (Director: undisclosed) — Just out of college, a young filmmaker joins a loving, secretive, and spiritual community led by a charismatic teacher in 1980s West Hollywood. Twenty years later, the group is shockingly torn apart. Told through two decades of the filmmaker’s archival materials, this is their story. World Premiere
“How to Let Go of the World (and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change)” / U.S.A. (Director: Josh Fox) — Do we have a chance to stop the most destructive consequences of climate change, or is it too late? Academy Award-nominated director Josh Fox (Gasland) travels to 12 countries on six continents to explore what we have to let go of—and all of the things that climate can’t change. World Premiere
“Jim” / U.S.A. (Director: Brian Oakes) — The public execution of American conflict journalist James Foley captured the world’s attention, but he was more than just a man in an orange jumpsuit. Seen through the lens of his close childhood friend, Jim moves from adrenaline-fueled front lines and devastated neighborhoods of Syria into the hands of ISIS. World Premiere
“Kate Plays Christine” / U.S.A. (Director: Robert Greene) — This psychological thriller follows actor Kate Lyn Sheil as she prepares to play the role of Christine Chubbuck, a Florida television host who committed suicide on air in 1974. Christine’s tragic death was the inspiration for Network, and the mysteries surrounding her final act haunt Kate and the production. World Premiere
“Kiki” / U.S.A., Sweden (Director: Sara Jordenö) — Through a strikingly intimate and visually daring lens, Kiki offers a riveting, complex insight into a safe space created and governed by LGBTQ youths of color, who are demanding happiness and political power. The film is an exciting coming-of-age story about agency, resilience, and the transformative art form of voguing. World Premiere
“Life, Animated” / U.S.A. (Director: Roger Ross Williams) — Owen Suskind, an autistic boy who could not speak for years, slowly emerged from his isolation by immersing himself in Disney animated movies. Using these films as a roadmap, he reconnects with his loving family and the wider world in this emotional coming-of-age story. World Premiere
“Newtown” / U.S.A. (Director: Kim A. Snyder) — After joining the ranks of a growing club no one wants to belong to, the people of Newtown, Connecticut, weave an intimate story of resilience. This film traces the aftermath of the worst mass shooting of schoolchildren in American history as the traumatized community finds a new sense of purpose. World Premiere
“NUTS!” / U.S.A. (Director: Penny Lane) — The mostly true story of Dr. John Romulus Brinkley, an eccentric genius who built an empire with his goat-testicle impotence cure and a million-watt radio station. Animated reenactments, interviews, archival footage, and one seriously unreliable narrator trace his rise from poverty to celebrity and influence in 1920s America. World Premiere
“Suited” / U.S.A. (Director: Jason Benjamin) — Bindle & Keep, a Brooklyn tailoring company, makes custom suits for a growing legion of gender-nonconforming clients. World Premiere
“Trapped” / U.S.A. (Director: Dawn Porter) — American abortion clinics are in a fight for survival. Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws are increasingly being passed by states that maintain they ensure women’s safety and health, but as clinics continue to shut their doors, opponents believe the real purpose of these laws is to outlaw abortion. World Premiere
“Uncle Howard” / U.S.A., United Kingdom (Director: Aaron Brookner) — Howard Brookner’s first film, “Burroughs: The Movie,” captured the cultural revolution of downtown New York City in the early ’80s. Twenty-five years after his promising career was cut short by AIDS, his nephew sets out to discover Howard’s never-before-seen films to create a cinematic elegy about his childhood idol. World Premiere
“Weiner” / U.S.A. (Directors: Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg) — With unrestricted access to Anthony Weiner’s New York City mayoral campaign, this film reveals the human story behind the scenes of a high-profile political scandal as it unfolds, and offers an unfiltered look at how much today’s politics is driven by an appetite for spectacle. World Premier
Twelve films from emerging filmmaking talents around the world offer fresh perspectives and inventive styles.
“Belgica” / Belgium, France, Netherlands (Director: Felix van Groeningen, Screenwriters: Felix van Groeningen, Arne Sierens) — In the midst of Belgium’s nightlife scene, two brothers start a bar and get swept up in its success. Cast: Stef Aerts, Tom Vermeir, Charlotte Vandermeersch, Hélène De Vos. World Premiere. DAY ONE FILM
“Between Sea and Land” / Colombia (Directors: Manolo Cruz, Carlos del Castillo, Screenwriter: Manolo Cruz) — Alberto, who suffers from an illness that binds him into a body that doesn’t obey him, lives with his loving mom, who dedicates her life to him. His sickness impedes him from achieving his greatest dream of knowing the sea, despite one being located just across the street. Cast: Manolo Cruz, Vicky Hernandéz, Viviana Serna, Jorge Cao, Mile Vergara, Javier Sáenz. World Premiere
“Brahman Naman” / United Kingdom, India (Director: Q, Screenwriter: S. Ramachandran) — When Bangalore University’s misfit quiz team manages to get into the national championships, they make an alcohol-fueled, cross-country journey to the competition, determined to defeat their arch-rivals from Calcutta while all desperately trying to lose their virginity. Cast: Shashank Arora, Tanmay Dhanania, Chaitanya Varad, Vaiswath Shankar, Sindhu Sreenivasa Murthy, Sid Mallya. World Premiere
“A Good Wife” / Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia (Director: Mirjana Karanovic, Screenwriters: Mirjana Karanovic, Stevan Filipovic, Darko Lungulov) — When 50-year-old Milena finds out about the terrible past of her seemingly ideal husband, while simultaneously learning of her own cancer diagnosis, she begins an awakening from the suburban paradise she has been living in. Cast: Mirjana Karanovic, Boris Isakovic, Jasna Djuricic, Bojan Navojec, Hristina Popovic, Ksenija Marinkovic. World Premiere
“Halal Love (and Sex)” / Lebanon, Germany, United Arab Emirates (Director and screenwriter: Assad Fouladkar) — Four tragic yet comic interconnected stories come together in this film, which follows devout Muslim men and women as they try to manage their love lives and desires without breaking any of their religion’s rules. Cast: Darine Hamze, Rodrigue Sleiman, Zeinab Khadra, Hussein Mokadem, Mirna Moukarzel, Ali Sammoury. International Premiere
“The Lure” / Poland (Director: Agnieszka Smoczynska, Screenwriter: Robert Bolesto) — Two mermaid sisters, who end up performing at a nightclub, face cruel and bloody choices when one of them falls in love with a beautiful young man. Cast: Marta Mazurek, Michalina Olszanska, Jakub Gierszal, Kinga Preis, Andrzej Konopka, Zygmunt Malanowicz. International Premiere
“Male Joy, Female Love” / China (Director and screenwriter: Yao Huang) — Portrays an unlimited cycle of love stories. Cast: Nan Yu, Daizhen Ying, Xiaodong Guo, Yi Sun. World Premiere
“Mammal” / Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands (Director: Rebecca Daly, Screenwriters: Rebecca Daly, Glenn Montgomery) — After Margaret, a divorcée living in Dublin, loses her teenage son, she develops an unorthodox relationship with Joe, a homeless youth. Their tentative trust is threatened by his involvement with a violent gang and the escalation of her ex-husband’s grieving rage. Cast: Rachel Griffiths, Barry Keoghan, Michael McElhatton. World Premiere
“Mi Amiga del Parque” / Argentina, Uruguay (Director: Ana Katz, Screenwriters: Ana Katz, Inés Bortagaray) — Running away from a bar without paying the bill is just the first adventure for Liz (mother to newborn Nicanor) and Rosa (supposed mother to newborn Clarisa). This budding friendship between nursing mothers starts with the promise of liberation but soon ends up being a dangerous business. Cast: Julieta Zylberberg, Ana Katz, Maricel Álvarez, Mirella Pascual, Malena Figó, Daniel Hendler. International Premiere
“Much Ado About Nothing” / Chile (Director: Alejandro Fernández, Screenwriters: Alejandro Fernández, Jerónimo Rodríguez) — An upper-class kid gets in trouble with the one percent. Cast: Agustín Silva, Alejandro Goic, Luis Gnecco, Paulina García, Daniel Alcaino, Augusto Schuster. World Premiere
“Sand Storm” / Israel (Director and screenwriter: Elite Zexer) — When their entire lives are shattered, two Bedouin women struggle to change the unchangeable rules, each in her own individual way. Cast: Lamis Ammar, Ruba Blal-Asfour, Hitham Omari, Khadija Alakel, Jalal Masrwa. World Premiere
“Wild” / Germany (Director and screenwriter: Nicolette Krebitz) — An anarchist young woman breaks the tacit contract with civilization and fearlessly decides on a life without hypocrisy or an obligatory safety net. Cast: Lilith Stangenberg, Georg Friedrich. World Premiere
Twelve documentaries by some of the most courageous and extraordinary international filmmakers working today. Eleven documentaries are listed below, and a twelfth will be announced in the weeks ahead.
“All These Sleepless Nights” / Poland (Director: Michal Marczak) — What does it mean to be truly awake in a world that seems satisfied to be asleep? Kris and Michal push their experiences of life and love to a breaking point as they restlessly roam the streets of Warsaw in search for answers. World Premiere
“A Flag Without a Country” / Iraq (Director: Bahman Ghobadi) — This documentary follows the very separate paths of singer Helly Luv and pilot Nariman Anwar from Kurdistan, both in pursuit of progress, freedom, and solidarity. Both individuals are a source of strength to their society, which perpetually deals with the harsh conditions of life, war, and ISIS attacks. North American Premiere
“Hooligan Sparrow” / China, U.S.A. (Director: Nanfu Wang) — Traversing southern China, a group of activists led by Ye Haiyan, a.k.a. Hooligan Sparrow, protest a scandalous incident in which a school principal and a government official allegedly raped six students. Sparrow becomes an enemy of the state, but detentions, interrogations and evictions can’t stop her protest from going viral. World Premiere
“The Land of the Enlightened” / Belgium (Director: Pieter-Jan De Pue) — A group of Kuchi children in Afghanistan dig out old Soviet mines and sell the explosives to child workers in a lapis lazuli mine. When not dreaming of an Afghanistan after the American withdrawal, Gholam Nasir and his gang control the mountains where caravans are smuggling the blue gemstones. World Premiere
“The Lovers and the Despot” / United Kingdom (Directors: Robert Cannan, Ross Adam) — Following the collapse of their glamorous romance, a celebrity director and his actress ex-wife are kidnapped by movie-obsessed dictator Kim Jong-il. Forced to make films in extraordinary circumstances, they get a second chance at love—but only one chance at escape. World Premiere
“Plaza de la Soledad” / Mexico (Director: Maya Goded) — For over 20 years, photographer Maya Goded has intimately documented the lives of a close community of prostitutes in Mexico City. With dignity and humor, these women now strive for a better life — and the possibility of true love. World Premiere
“The Settlers” / France, Canada, Israel, Germany (Director: Shimon Dotan) — The first film of its kind to offer a comprehensive view of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, The Settlers is a historical overview, geopolitical study, and intimate look at the people at the core of the most daunting challenge facing Israel and the international community today. World Premiere
“Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang” / U.S.A. (Director: Kevin Macdonald) — Having reached the pinnacle of the global art world with his signature explosion events and gunpowder drawings, world-famous Chinese contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang is still seeking more. We trace his rise from childhood in Mao’s China and his journey to attempt to realize his lifelong obsession, Sky Ladder. World Premiere.
“Sonita” / Germany, Iran, Switzerland (Director: Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami) — If 18-year-old Sonita had a say, Michael Jackson and Rihanna would be her parents and she’d be a rapper who tells the story of Afghan women and their fate as child brides. She finds out that her family plans to sell her to an unknown husband for $9,000. North American Premiere
“We Are X” / United Kingdom, U.S.A., Japan (Director: Stephen Kijak) — As glam rock’s most flamboyant survivors, X Japan ignited a musical revolution in Japan during the late ’80s with their melodic metal. Twenty years after their tragic dissolution, X Japan’s leader, Yoshiki, battles with physical and spiritual demons alongside prejudices of the West to bring their music to the world. World Premiere
“When Two Worlds Collide” / Peru (Directors: Heidi Brandenburg, Mathew Orzel) — An indigenous leader resists the environmental ruin of Amazonian lands by big business. As he is forced into exile and faces 20 years in prison, his quest reveals conflicting visions that shape the fate of the Amazon and the climate future of our world. World Premiere
Pure, bold works distinguished by an innovative, forward-thinking approach to storytelling populate this program. Digital technology paired with unfettered creativity promises that the films in this section will shape a “greater” next wave in American cinema. Presented by Adobe.
“THE 4TH” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Andre Hyland) — It’s the Fourth of July in Los Angeles, and Jamie, a broke illustrator who is behind on his rent, tries to throw a cookout while his overbearing roommate is out of town, but everything seems to go wrong. Cast: Andre Hyland, Johnny Pemberton, Eliza Coupe, Yasmine Kittles, Anna Lee Lawson, Paul Erling Oyen. World Premiere
“Dark Night” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Tim Sutton) — A suburban landscape plays witness to the inevitable, unfolding events that culminate in a Cineplex massacre. Over the course of one day, from sunrise to midnight, six strangers—the shooter among them—share in this new American nightmare. Cast: Robert Jumper, Anna Rose, Rosie Rodriguez, Karina Macias, Aaron Purvis, Eddie Cacciola. World Premiere
“The Eyes of My Mother” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Nicolas Pesce) — A young, lonely woman is consumed by her deepest and darkest desires after tragedy strikes her quiet country life. Cast: Kika Magalhães, Will Brill, Paul Nazak, Flora Diaz, Clara Wong, Diana Agostini. World Premiere
“First Girl I Loved” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Kerem Sanga) — Seventeen-year-old Anne just fell in love with Sasha, the most popular girl at her L.A. public high school. But when Anne tells her best friend, Clifton—who has always harbored a secret crush on her—he does his best to get in the way. Cast: Dylan Gelula, Brianna Hildebrand, Mateo Arias, Jennifer Prediger, Tim Heidecker, Pamela Adlon. World Premiere
“The Fits” / U.S.A., Italy (Director: Anna Rose Holmer, Screenwriters: Anna Rose Holmer, Saela Davis, Lisa Kjerulff) — In this psychological portrait, Toni, an 11-year-old tomboy, is assimilating into a tight-knit dance team in Cincinnati’s West End when a mysterious outbreak of fainting spells plagues the team, and her desire for acceptance is twisted. Cast: Royalty Hightower, Alexis Neblett, Da’Sean Minor, Lauren Gibson, Makyla Burnam, Inayah Rodgers. North American Premiere
“How To Tell You’re A Douchebag” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Tahir Jetter) — This romantic comedy follows a misogynist who falls in love. Cast: Charles Brice, DeWanda Wise, William Jackson Harper, Alexander Mulzac, Jenna Williams, Tonye Patano. World Premiere
“Jacqueline (Argentine)” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Bernardo Britto) — A young French woman hires a man to document her self-imposed political asylum in Argentina after supposedly leaking highly confidential government secrets. Cast: Camille Rutherford, Wyatt Cenac, James Benson, Martin Anderson, Sarah Willis, Enrique Dura. World Premiere
“The Land” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Steven Caple Jr.) — Four teenage boys devote their summer to escaping the streets of Cleveland, Ohio, by pursuing a dream life of professional skateboarding. But when they get caught in the web of the local queenpin, their motley brotherhood is tested, threatening to make this summer their last. Cast: Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Moises Arias, Rafi Gavron, Ezri Walker, Erykah Badu, Michael K. Williams. World Premiere
“Operation Avalanche” / U.S.A., Canada (Director: Matt Johnson, Screenwriters: Matt Johnson, Josh Boles) — In 1967, four undercover CIA agents were sent to NASA posing as a documentary film crew. What they discovered led to one of the biggest conspiracies in American history. Cast: Matt Johnson, Owen Williams, Josh Boles, Ray James. World Premiere
“Sleight” / U.S.A. (Director: JD Dillard, Screenwriters: JD Dillard, Alex Theurer) — After a young street musician is left to care for his little sister following their mother’s passing, he turns to dealing drugs, but quickly runs into trouble with his supplier. When his sister gets kidnapped, he must rely on his smarts and sleight of hand to save her. Cast: Jacob Latimore, Dulé Hill, Seychelle Gabriel, Storm Reid, Sasheer Zamata, Cameron Esposito. World Premiere
Per Sundance, for the 2016 festival, 120 feature-length films were selected, representing 37 countries and 48 first-time filmmakers, including 28 in competition. These films were selected from 12,793 submissions, including 4,081 feature-length films and 8,712 short films. Of the feature film submissions, 1,972 were from the U.S. and 2,109 were international. 98 feature films at the Festival will be world premieres.January 21, 2016 at 7:09 pm #198917
Reactions to Norman Lear: Just Another Version Of You:
Ava DuVernay @AVAETC 12m12 minutes ago
A completely gorgeous kick-off to the fest. @LokiFilms’ doc on #NormanLear is a gem of a film for a gem of an artist/activist. #Sundance2016
ErikDavis @ErikDavis 5m5 minutes ago
Also the Norman Lear doc is pretty really great. Made me realize I could watch an entire doc on All in the Family alone #Sundance2016
Total Film @totalfilm 18m18 minutes ago
Just out of our first film of #Sundance16, Norman Lear: Just Another Version Of You. Warm, witty doc about a TV legend. Oodles of heart.
Mr. Kenneth Cole @mr_kennethcole 24m24 minutes ago
Loved “Just Another Version of You” @TheNormanLear Story tells story of our culture, politics, & passion. #Sundance
Sam Adams @SamuelAAdams 25m25 minutes ago
Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You: Fine intro-level doc that’s most interesting dealing w/Good Times’ politics of representation.
Scott Mantz @MovieMantz 31m31 minutes ago
GREAT OPENING for #Sundance2016! NORMAN LEAR is a fascinating, intimate & inspiring doc! #AllInTheFamily #GoodTimes
Alex Billington @firstshowing 31m31 minutes ago
Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You – Very very timely doc. Full of life, heart, humor. Mel Brooks & Jon Stewart cameos! So inspiring.
Alicia Malone @aliciamalone 32m32 minutes ago
Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You. A sweet doc about: an incredible TV pioneer, making a difference & staying young #Sundance
Dan Casey @osteoferocious 37m37 minutes ago
Just saw Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You. Terrific doc about a man who changed the face of TV. Still razor sharp at 93. #Sundance
Matthew Belloni Verified account @THRMattBelloni 38m38 minutes ago
Some amazing old footage in the great Norman Lear doc. My favorite: the terse warning CBS used to air before All in the Family. #Sundance
Anne Thompson @akstanwyck 38m38 minutes ago
Standing o for Norman Lear doc @sundancefest opening night from Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady. Walk down memory lane, beloved cultural figure.January 21, 2016 at 10:28 pm #198918
Reactions to Other People:
chris nashawaty Verified account @ChrisNashawaty 6m6 minutes ago
Sundance opener OTHER PEOPLE’s M.O. is laughter through tears. Molly
Shannon’s great. Started so so but ended w/ a roomful of sniffles.
Matt Jacobs @tarantallegra 8m8 minutes ago
“Other People” felt vacant to me, but Jesse Plemons and Molly Shannon share some really wonderful moments. #Sundance
Eric D. Snider @EricDSnider 29s29 seconds ago
OTHER PEOPLE: earnest drama (w/ some comedy) big on #Sundance tropes (cancer mom; gay son; return to hometown) but has strong acting. Solid.
Erin Whitney @cinemabite 1m1 minute ago
Did not like Other People. Obnoxiously cliche gay characters and stale humor. Story feels 8 years too late. Plemmons was okay. #Sundance
David Kaplan @dakaplan 1m1 minute ago
Other People = Me, My Homophobic Dad and the Dying Mom #Sundance
Adam Chitwood @adamchitwood 1m1 minute ago
Was not prepared for a cancer drama on the first night of Sundance, but Jesse Plemons and Molly Shannon are kinda terrific in ‘Other People’
Mike Ryan @mikeryan 5m5 minutes ago
Molly Shannon is really wonderful in OTHER PEOPLE. So glad to see her in a brave role like this. #sundance
Alison Willmore @alisonwillmore 6m6 minutes ago
OTHER PEOPLE: Everyone was sniffling around me, but I was the monster who found the main character’s self-pity intolerable. #sundance
Alicia Malone @aliciamalone 22m22 minutes ago
Other People: quirky, funny, sad, heartwarming about family + cancer. Bit long, but a solid #Sundance movie. Jessie Plemons was fantastic.
Anna Klassen @AnnaJKlassen 28m28 minutes ago
#Sundance ‘s opening movie, OTHER PEOPLE is the best treatment of a dying-from-cancer movie I’ve maybe ever seen. So funny & heartbreaking.
Adam B. Vary @adambvary 30m30 minutes ago
OTHER PEOPLE: A delightful laughing-thru-tears-then-just-sobbing dramedy with terrific perfs from Jesse Plemons & Molly Shannon. #Sundance
Jason Gorber @filmfest_ca 32m32 minutes ago
OTHER PEOPLE does its best to dance between drama and dark humour, and while strong cast does well it doesn’t gel the way it could #Sundance
Ramin Setoodeh @RaminSetoodeh 36m36 minutes ago
‘Other People’ is a triumphant little movie that everyone should see. #Sundance2016
Ramin Setoodeh @RaminSetoodeh 35m35 minutes ago
The great thing about ‘Other People’ is that it features three-dimensional gay characters that rarely appear in movies. #Sundance2016
Ramin Setoodeh @RaminSetoodeh 17m17 minutes ago
With the right distributor, Molly Shannon could be a contender for next year’s Oscars with ‘Other People.’ #Sundance2016January 22, 2016 at 6:39 pm #198919
I am rooting for Plemons, can’t wait to see this movie.January 22, 2016 at 8:43 pm #198920
I’m really excited for Other People. That cast is so amazing aloneJanuary 24, 2016 at 2:49 am #198921
Alison Willmore: Excruciating by design but also by concept. Hall’s fearless, but felt like the movie turned Chubbuck into a grotesque.
Ricky Camilleri: I loved Christine. An impeccably made, acted and written film.
Eugene Hernandez: Antonio Campos is such an assured director, and Rebecca Hall is so good.
Matt Hoffman: Conflicted about Christine. R Hall and Letts are excellent. Weak final scene. Excellent final act. R Hall’s eyebrows distracting.
Nigel M Smith: Black Swan in the newsroom. Rebecca Hall is sensational.
Adam B Vary: Rebecca Hall risks letting Christine Chubbuck’s hardest edges shine brightest as we watch her psyche fall apart.
Sam Adams: Mercilessly technical, like Todd Haynes’ Superstar with (barely) human actors.
Jeff Sneider: Kinda loved Tracy Letts and J Smith-Cameron in Christine, a slow burn drama led by a tightly wound, socially awkward Rebecca Hall.
Peter Howell: Mystery TV suicide becomes flesh & blood woman in Rebecca Hall’s superb portrayal; films emotional truth resonates.
Joshua Rothkopf: Christine reduces the great Rebecca Hall to a collection of glares. It’s also way to close to a snuff version of Anchorman.
Steven Zeitchik: Am on the fence about the characterisation in Christine but hugely impressed by Rebecca Hall’s interpretation.
Jordan Raup: Christine: a great Rebecca Hall performance, but as a psychological study it feels underdeveloped. Quite different for Campos in style.January 24, 2016 at 3:13 am #198922
What sounds like the first major player (we’ll see who picks it up):
Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan):
The persistence of grief and the hope of redemption are themes as timeless as dramaturgy itself, but rarely do they summon forth the kind of extraordinary swirl of love, anger, tenderness and brittle humor that is “Manchester by the Sea,” Kenneth Lonergan’s beautifully textured, richly enveloping drama about how a death in the family forces a small-town New Englander to confront a past tragedy anew. That rather diagrammatic description does little justice to Lonergan’s ever-incisive ear for the rhythms of human conversation, as he orchestrates an unruly suite of alternately sympathetic and hectoring voices — all of which stand in furious contrast to Casey Affleck’s bone-deep performance as a man whom loss has all but petrified into silence. Giving flesh and blood to the idea that life goes on even when it no longer seems worth living, “Manchester” may be too sprawling a vision for all arthouse tastes, but Lonergan’s many champions are scarcely the only viewers who will be stirred by this superbly grounded and acted third effort.
Premiering at Sundance 16 years after Lonergan made his prize-winning debut there with “You Can Count on Me,” “Manchester by the Sea” is recognizably of a piece with both that film and its troubled, long-gestating follow-up. Finally released in 2011 after years of legal and logistical wrangling, “Margaret” was a magnificent ruin whose defenders and detractors could nonetheless agree that Lonergan remained one of the most distinctive writing talents on the American indie scene. Although far less likely to polarize than its predecessor, the new film offers a similarly bold merging of ensemble drama and character study, all in service of a story about how a person — and crucially, the surrounding community — choose to deal or not deal with the consequences of a fatal mistake. The various and venerable spirits of “The Sweet Hereafter,” “Ordinary People” and “In the Bedroom” may hover over this movie in wintry setting and theme, but “Manchester by the Sea” is very much its own singular, seething creation.
We first encounter Lee Chandler (Affleck) as a hard-working, taciturn Boston janitor/handyman, whose daily routine of unclogging toilets and painting walls offers scant distraction from the throes of some all-consuming private anguish. Whether on the job or at a bar after work, Lee isn’t one for small talk, and he seems more inclined to converse with his fists whenever push comes to shove. Gray skies and falling snow have rarely looked so forlorn; this truly is the winter of Lee’s discontent, and clearly the latest of many. When he receives the news that his older, salt-of-the-earth brother, Joe (Kyle Chandler), has died of a heart attack, he doesn’t seem to grow any more solemn or inarticulate than he already is, even as he makes the lonely drive up to Manchester-by-the-Sea, the Massachusetts hometown that cruel and as-yet undisclosed circumstances forced him to abandon years earlier.
Those circumstances are gradually shaded in through a steady succession of flashbacks to happier times, and they’re not woven into the main drama so much as dropped in, with stark, discomfiting abruptness. We see Lee enjoying idyllic afternoons with Joe and his son, Patrick (Ben O’Brien), sailing their rickety old boat in the Manchester harbor; Joe receiving the diagnosis of congestive heart failure that presumably drove his wife, Elise (Gretchen Mol), to hit the bottle and ultimately end their marriage; Lee playing the role of fun-loving family man to his loving but exasperated wife, Randi (Michelle Williams), and their three young children; and, in a harrowingly sad sequence, the pointless, unspeakable tragedy that drove Lee to his current life of remote solitude.
The use of flashbacks to connect emotional fragments and convey narrative detail can too easily become a screenwriter’s crutch, and it will take time for attentive audiences to adjust to the herky-jerky rhythms of “Manchester by the Sea”; this is not a film overtly concerned with easing you into its world of sorrow. But gradually enough, the pieces start to snap ever more absorbingly into place, and the blunt matter-of-factness with which Lonergan pivots between past and present comes to make a deeper thematic sense. For those, like Lee, who have endured the very worst, neither the present nor the future can offer any relief from the past, and a sudden near-accident or a poorly chosen word can bring the most painful memories rushing back to the surface.
An American filmmaker unusually attuned to the messiness and clumsiness of most everyday interaction, Lonergan steers Lee and his few remaining friends and family members through the forced, awkward rites of bereavement. But Lee is completely unprepared for the bombshell that, per Joe’s wishes, he is the legal guardian of Patrick (Lucas Hedges) — now a popular, sometimes temperamental and perpetually horny teenager for whom the full realization of his father’s passing clearly has yet to fully register. Presently, the lad remains mostly concerned with being a hockey star, playing in his rock band, trying to get into the pants of two different girlfriends, and making sure that his Uncle Lee doesn’t mess things up for him too badly.
Just as “Manchester by the Sea” avoids the pitfalls of that most overworked of dramatic templates, the death-of-a-child meller, so it mercifully avoids devolving into one of those tidy, odd-couple therapy exercises where two mismatched souls each become the healing that the other needs. Instead the movie is focused, honestly and entirely, on how Lee and his fellow survivors cope with the here and now, all of them stumbling forward one day at a time and realizing the world doesn’t slow down for their benefit. Most of them probably know it already: These are people with hard minds and thick skins, and nearly all of them speak in the foul-mouthed, salty-surly idiom that is as much a fixture of their milieu as the biting cold and the briny sea air (conveyed with an almost palpable texture and forlorn grace by the brilliant d.p. Jody Lee Lipes).
Lonergan arranges all these raucous voices into a chorus of overlapping lines and halting cadences, and on more than one occasion you may find yourself wishing some of them would shut up already. That extends even to the music, courtesy of composer Lesley Barber and music supervisor Linda Cohen, which adds yet another deliberate layer of cacophony: There are moments when a classical piece or an old blues standard rise to a pitch well beyond that of mere background accompaniment. Only a wordless, beautifully harmonized vocal performance, recurring at key intervals, offers the respite of something resembling silence.
Most of the likely criticisms of Lonergan’s film will likely center on its wild swings from mournful, minor-key drama to tart, tetchy comedy, which would make sense if the events being depicted naturally lent themselves to exacting tonal discipline. But the inelegance of the storytelling here is of the sort that testifies not to a filmmaker’s sloppiness, but rather to the messiness of real life. “Manchester by the Sea” may not be as formally and structurally daring as “Margaret,” but in its steady, forceful accumulation of perspectives, it emerges a movie of similarly symphonic ambitions and fierce, uncompromising performances.
Doing his best and most sustained acting since “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” Affleck finds the eloquence in his character’s ineloquence; our brief glimpses of his more playful, carefree self throw the enormity of his trauma into stark relief. Yet the performance never feels lifeless or anesthetized; even Affleck’s mumbling evasions are charged with feeling. By the end, we have a clear understanding of Lee Chandler as a good man bravely re-engaging with his former life the only way he knows how, and being honest enough to acknowledge that it may be too much too soon.
Affleck has a terrific foil in the 19-year-old Hedges (“Moonrise Kingdom,” “Kill the Messenger”), playing Patrick as a ball of rowdy, tempestuous adolescent energy who nonetheless submits with surprising ease to his uncle’s instruction, as though recognizing his need for an authority figure in his father’s absence. Chandler is wonderful as Lee’s sturdy, salt-of-the-earth brother; that we always want to see more of him on screen renders his absence all the more haunting. And it wouldn’t be a Lonergan movie if he and his regular collaborator Matthew Broderick didn’t show up, making appearances of an almost comically tossed-off brevity.
While “Manchester by the Sea” is very much about uncles, nephews, fathers and sons, Lonergan, always a superb director of actresses, gives the women in his ensemble their due. It’s been a while since Williams had a role this good, but she’s lost none of her unerring knack for emotional truth in the meantime, and she has one astonishing scene that rises from the movie like a small aria of heartbreak. And as Patrick’s mother, Mol has one short but powerful late scene in which she tries to reconnect with the son she barely knows, and her words seem to distill the energy and emotion of this remarkable movie into one line: “You don’t have to be so formal.” As Lonergan knows, it’s often hard enough just to be human.January 24, 2016 at 6:46 am #198924
It depends. Is Manchester by the Sea as good as Whiplash or as lame as Fruivale Station?January 24, 2016 at 3:38 pm #198925
Manchester was acquired by Amazon for 10 million/will have theatrical distribution.
Powerful, emotional filmmaking that leaves a scar, Kenneth Lonergan’s “Manchester By The Sea” is the kind of experience people trek to Sundance for, and the film was received like a conquering hero at its Saturday afternoon Park City debut.
Writer-director Lonergan, who won the Grand Jury Prize here in 2000 with “You Can Count On Me,” opened the post-screening Q&A at the Eccles Theater with a diffident “I think it needs a little work,” but audiences and circling distributors begged to differ.
Producer Matt Damon, who has been with the project since the beginning and was at one point set to play the staring role of Lee Chandler, said he “never made it through any iteration of the script without crying.”
When scheduling conflicts made Damon’s acting in this dicey, “in an atypical fit of generosity, I gave it to Casey Affleck. I didn’t want to get in the way of a great movie being made.”
Affleck beautifully plays Chandler, a handyman in a Boston apartment complex who lives a closed-off, stunted life, a hostile individual who gets into bar fights and watches a lot of TV sports to make the time pass.
Then Lee’s older brother suddenly dies of congestive heart failure and Lee is unexpectedly named the guardian of his equally sullen 16-year-old nephew (a breakout performance by Lucas Hedges).
That assignment, which Lee mightily resists, mandates a return to the family’s hometown of Manchester by the Sea, where Lee has to confront the tragedy, revealed in an intricate series of flashbacks, that turned his life inside out.
“Manchester By The Sea” is finely acted not only by Affleck and Hedges but also Michelle Williams, literally stunning as Lee’s divorced wife. The real star, however, is writer-director Lonergan, who has brought the tang of truth to a world where heartbreak and humor coexist, a world where something real is unfolding under our very eyes.January 25, 2016 at 8:58 am #198928
Kate Beckinsale is getting raves for Love & Friendship and I fucking love it! She’s such an underrated actress. I don’t want to get my hopes up but maybe she’ll end up as Oscar nominee next year? I would just explode if that happened!January 25, 2016 at 5:18 pm #198929
Nate Parker coming!
Standing O for Nate Parker’s THE BIRTH OF A NATION, *before* and after the movie #Sundance
Kyle Smith @rkylesmith 28m
Blown away by Nate Parker’s Nat Turner epic THE BIRTH OF A NATION. Similar in impact to GLORY. That is one cheeky title, The Birth of a Nation. But does it ever deliver. Magnificent.
The Birth of a Nation is brutal, unforgiving and essential in every way.
The Birth of a Nation is an unflinching and hopeful call to action. Nate Parker’s passion is felt in every scene. #Sundance
THE BIRTH OF A NATION: Absolutely essential, a masterful telling of a story we haven’t told nearly enough. Devastating. #Sundance
The Birth of A Nation is brutal, powerful with a strong vision come to life from Nate Parker. #Sundance2016
The Birth of a Nation – A triumph in every way. Nate Parker takes this one to the top. Score, performances, story are perfect. Masterpiece.
THE BIRTH OF A NATION is a stick of cinematic dynamite with a two-hour fuse. Stirring, devastating, and right on time. #SundanceJanuary 25, 2016 at 7:30 pm #198930
Of course it’s a FUCKING SLAVE film that will be getting the token slot next year. Father God! With that out of the way, the narrative for Nate is amazing. I would rather that angle get played up instead of what will be played up in the trades.