Sundance Film Festival unveils its 2022 lineup

When members of the independent film community descend on Park City, Utah, for the Sundance Film Festival in January – after having liv...

When members of the independent film community descend on Park City, Utah, for the Sundance Film Festival in January – after having lived the previous edition virtually – they will bring with them films that reflect the era of directors as diverse as Lena Dunham and Michel Hazanavicius of “The Artist”.

From 3,762 feature film submissions, Sundance programmers chose a diverse roster of 82 titles – including 39 by first-time feature filmmakers – in a variety of genres that explore a myriad of themes, like wrestling against mourning and fight against the status quo.

“We’ve been through a lot in the last couple of years and I think it’s had a huge influence on what artists focus on,” said Sundance Programming Director Kim Yutani. “Part of it is fighting the system, really challenging institutions, businesses. We have seen a lot of films that deal with the struggle for democracy.

Examples include Rory Kennedy’s documentary “Downfall: The Case Against Boeing,” from Netflix, which investigates the two Boeing 737 Max crashes who killed 346 people; “The Exiles,” a non-fiction film focusing on three dissidents after the Tiananmen Square massacre; and two films that examine the Collective Jane – an underground group of Chicago women who, between 1969 and 1973, helped women obtain illegal and safe abortions before Roe v. Wade not be pronounced. One, the documentary “The Janes”, was directed by Tia Lessin and Emma Pildes, with production from HBO. The other, “Call Jane”, is a fictional feature film by Phyllis Nagy (the screenwriter of “Carol”) with a cast that includes Elizabeth Banks and Sigourney Weaver.

“It’s kind of a hallmark of freelance work, isn’t it?” Resistance to the status quo, ”said festival director Tabitha Jackson. “This year, it reflects the fact that we are in this age of calculation, this age of responsibility.”

Three films take up this calculation, examining the insidious nature of racism and privilege through the lens of black women: “Alice,” A Vision of Slavery in Time, starring Keke Palmer and Common, and was written and directed by Krystin Ver Linden. “Master,” a film by Mariama Diallo starring Regina Hall, centers on three women trying to find their place in an elite New England college. (Amazon will distribute.) And “Nanny,” by writer-director Nikyatu Jusu, follows an undocumented Senegalese woman who works for a well-to-do couple in New York; Featured Anna Diop (“Titans”) and Michelle Monaghan. All three films, which are part of the American Drama Competition, are from beginners and use supernatural elements.

Of the submissions to Sundance this year, only 28 percent were from women. Yet, of all the feature films selected, 52% were directed by women. When asked if the programmers decided to promote female writers over male, they sidestepped the question, saying they always seek to promote female filmmakers. Jackson added, “The slightly depressing fact is that the 28% figure for submissions from women has remained fairly stable over the years. This is a number we would like to see higher because of what it says about the state of the industry. It’s surprising that so few submit.

The majority of films at the festival, which runs Jan. 20-30, will arrive un-cast, a fact Jackson calls “pretty cool.” But they’re also making their debut at a time when theatrical distribution is still depressed amid consumer fears of returning to theaters. Although the market held virtually in 2020, Apple paid a festival record-breaking $ 25 million to acquire “CODA,” the drama about a hearing girl and her deaf family which has just been named one of the top 10 films of the year by the American Film Institute. The industry will be watching Sundance sales headlines closely in January for clues about the health of the streaming and movie markets.

While sales still depend on how a film unfolds in the snow-capped confines of Park City, buyers can turn to more well-known directors and actors, like Dunham, who returns to the independent film scene 12 years later. “Small furniture” with “Sharp Stick”, about a naive young Hollywood outsider having an affair with his older boss. Dunham plays a supporting role in the film alongside Jon Bernthal and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Hazanavicius made his Sundance debut a decade after winning the Oscar for best director for his silent black and white dramatic comedy. His new “Final Cut” is a horror film starring his wife and star of “Artist”, Bérénice Bejo, in the story of a small team attacked by real zombies during the filming of a zombie movie. on a low budget.

The titles Dunham and Hazanavicius will debut in the Premieres section, which is usually reserved for more high-profile work. This includes Jesse Eisenberg’s feature debut, “When You Finish Saving the World,” which stars Julianne Moore and Finn Wolfhard from “Stranger Things” and was produced by independent label A24.

Other trending headlines include “Am I Okay?” , Starring Dakota Johnson in the feature debut by Tig Notaro and her partner, Stephanie Allynne; “Good luck to you, Leo Grande,” with Emma Thompson as a retired educator who hires a young sex worker to teach her her methods; and “Fresh,” a film produced by Adam McKay directed by Mimi Cave about a young woman (Daisy Edgar-Jones of “Normal People”) trying to survive the unusual appetites of her boyfriend (Sebastian Stan).

Documentaries are always a popular draw at Sundance, and this year looks set to be strong with Netflix’s debut “jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy” (directed by Clarence Simmons, known as Coodie, and Chike Ozah), featuring new footage of Kanye West spanning 21 years; and Showtime the premiere of “We Need to Talk About Cosby,” W. Kamau Bell’s examination of the age-old question of whether you can or should separate art from artist.

Two actresses who have become directors tackle the documentary genre for the first time. Amy Poehler brings the Amazonian documentary “Lucy and Desi” and Eva Longoria Bastón to “La Guerra Civil”, about the rivalry between boxers Oscar De La Hoya and Julio César Chávez.

“These are two pleasant surprises in our lineup,” Yutani said of these two titles. “Eva is such an interesting project for her, and Amy Poehler is the perfect person to tell this story.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Sundance Film Festival unveils its 2022 lineup
Sundance Film Festival unveils its 2022 lineup
Newsrust - US Top News
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