Screen rounds up some of the titles poised to spark interest at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, which opens today (January 23) and runs until February 2.

Sundance buzz titles

Source: Sundance

‘Herself’, ‘The 40-Year-Old Version’, ‘The Glorias’

US Dramatic 

The 40-Year-Old Version

Dir: Radha Blank
Blank directs herself in the story of a struggling New York playwright who becomes a rapper aged 40. The story suggests the kind of distinctive vision that ensures a film breaks out in Park City. Entertainment powerhouse Lena Waithe serves as producer.
Contact: Endeavor Content

Nine Days

Dir: Edson Oda
Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab alumnus Oda makes his feature directorial debut in this metaphysical riddle about a man who interviews souls for the chance to be born. Winston Duke (Us) and Zazie Beets (Deadpool2) star.
Contact: CAA / 30West 


Dir: Josephine Decker
Back in Park City two years after Madeline’s Madeline, Decker has teamed up Elisabeth Moss and Michael Stuhlberg in the dramatic thriller about a married horror writer’s unsettling inspiration. Martin Scorsese is an executive producer and Killer Films are among the producers.
Contact: Paradigm / UTA Independent Film Group (US); Cornerstone Films (international)

US Documentary

Spaceship Earth

Dir: Matt Wolf
Wolf uses archival footage and contemporary interviews to explore what went wrong on Biosphere 2, an early 1990s experiment to recreate earth’s environment that was backed by a Texan Oil magnate eager to get an early advantage in space colonisation.
Contact: Cinetic (worldwide)


The Glorias

Dir: Julie Taymor
Taymor’s first film since A Midsummer Night’s Dream six years ago sees her direct Moore as feminist icon Gloria Steinem. It’s a mouthwatering combination and could be another one to send the awards pundits into overdrive.
Contact: Endeavor Content (US); FilmNation (international)

Herself (UK-Ire)

Dir: Phyllida Lloyd
Buzz has coalesced on Claire Dunne, who is said to give a mighty performance as an abused young mother who resolves to rebuild her life. Lloyd’s last film was The Iron Lady nine years ago. Before that it was Mamma Mia! in 2008.
Contact: Cornerstone Films (worldwide)

Ironbark (UK)

Dir: Dominic Cooke
Benedict Cumberbatch, Jessie Buckley and a true story of Soviet espionage is too tempting to ignore in anyone’s book, however a lengthy spell in post-production could tell its own story. Then again, this is Sundance and it’s hard to gauge what will pop at high altitude. Dominic Cooke follows his workmanlike 2017 debut, On Chesil Beach.
Contact: UTA Independent Film Group / FilmNation (US); FilmNation (international)

Kajillionaire-Sundance still

Source: Sundance



Dir: Miranda July
Arguably the crème de la crème of female talent in a festival overflowing with it, Miranda July is back with her first film since Sundance 2011 selection The Future. The absurdist grifter comedy stars Evan Rachel Wood, Gina Rodriguez and Debra Winger (and Richard Jenkins). Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures and Brad Pitt’s Plan B produced, which bodes well.
Contact: UTA Independent Film Group

The Nest (UK-Can)

Dir: Sean Durkin
Top of many buyers’ must-see lists, The Nest stars Jude Law as a businessman who moves his American family into a country manor in his native England. Bad idea. The gifted Durkin (2011 US Dramatic Directing Award winner for Martha Marcy May Marlene) returns to film after nine years to orchestrate the unease.
Contact: UTA Independent Film Group / FilmNation (US); FilmNation (international)


DirSara Colangelo
If Keaton delivers the goods as Kenneth Feinberg, the DC lawyer who oversaw the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, expect breathless awards season prognosticators declaring him a candidate for next awards season. Sara Colangelo follows up to her 2018 Sundance US Dramatic Directing Award winner The Kindergarten Teacher.
Contact: UTA Independent Film Group / ICM (US); MadRiver International (international)

Documentary Premieres


Dir: Ryan White
White (Ask Dr. Ruth) investigates the two women who became the face of the murder of North Korean royal Kim Jong-nam. Highly anticipated heading into Park City, this is the kind of documentary that quickly becomes the talk of the festival if well executed.
Contact: Endeavor Content (US); Endeavor Content, Submarine (international) 

Vivos (Ger-Mex)

Dir: Ai Weiwei
Sure to be a hot ticket given the filmmaker and subject matter, Vivoshails from Chinese activist Ai Weiwei who turns his gaze to an incident in Mexico in 2014 in which dozens of students were attacked on a bus and disappeared. 
Contact: Cinephil (worldwide)


Some Kind Of Heaven

Dir: Lance Oppenheim
There’s strong word of mouth on 2019 Sundance Ignite fellow Oppenheim’s documentary about four old people trying to understand the meaning of it all from the confines of a Florida retirement community.
Contact: 30West / UTA Independent Film Group


Amulet (UK)

Dir: Romola Garai
British actor Garai’s feature directorial debut tells of a former soldier who gets sucked into the household of a woman dedicated to caring for her dying mother. But what exactly is the story with the elderly woman confined to her room? The cast includes Imelda Staunton. Early world suggests this is an impressive turn by Garai.
Contact: 30West / AMP International

Bad Hair 

Dir: Justin Simien
Simien broke out in Park City with his 2014 crowd-pleaser Dear White People, and expectations are high for his second feature, a satirical swipe at ambition and… exactly what the title suggests. Elle Lorraine stars.
Contact: Endeavor Content 

The Night House

Source: Sundance Film Festival

The Night House

The Night House

Dir: David Bruckner
A lonely widow. A remote lakeside home. The need to uncover secrets from the dead husband’s past. Rebecca Hall in the lead. One can only imagine what horror ace Bruckner (The RitualThe Signal) has cooked up with these ingredients, but buyers want to know. 
Contact: Endeavor Content (US); Anton (international)

World Cinema Dramatic

Charter (Swe)

Dir. Amanda Kernell
Swedish filmmaker Kernell returns with her second feature following debut Sami Blood, which won awards at Venice and played Sundance in 2017. Charter centres on recent divorcee Alice (Ane Dahl Torp), who has not seen her children in two months as she awaits a custody verdict. After receiving a late-night call from her son, Alice abducts the children and takes them on a trip to the Canary Islands to assert her role as their mother. Kernell’s award-winning shorts include Northern Great Mountain, which screened at Sundance in 2015. 
Contact: TrustNordisk

Yalda, A Night For Forgiveness (Iran-Fr-Ger-Switz-Lux)

Dir. Massoud Bakhshi
This Iranian feature is about a young woman who has been sentenced to death for killing her husband. Iran­ian law allows for the victim’s family to forgive her and spare her life, and the woman’s fate is therefore to be decided by the man’s daughter by his first wife on a popular televised reality show during the winter solstice celebration of Yalda. Tehran-born Bakhshi has roots in documentary but made the move into narrative features with A Respectable Family, which played in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes in 2012. 
Contact: Pyramide International