Sundance acquisition titles 2023

Source: Sundance Film Festival

[Clockwise L-R] ‘Pod Generation’, ‘Drift’, ‘Bad Behaviour’, ‘Eileen’

As the in-person 2023 Sundance Film Festival prepares to kick off in Park City and Salt Lake City,  tomorrow (Thursday January 19), Screen profiles 17 acquisition titles that could spark business.

Acquisition titles appear in alphabetical order. All screenings are MT.

The festival runs January 19-29.

Aum: The Cult At The End Of The World
US Documentary Competition
Dirs: Ben Braun and Chiaki Yanagimoto
A chilling exploration of the Aum cult behind the 1995 Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway that killed 13 people, injured thousands, and
scarred the psyche of a generation.
First screening: Public – Jan. 20, 6.15pm, Library Center Theater; P&I – Jan. 21, 12pm, Holiday Village 3
Sales reps: Submarine/Fifth Season

Bad Behaviour
World Cinema Dramatic Competition
Dir: Alice Englert
Cast: Jennifer Connelly, Ben Whishaw, Alice Englert, Ana Scotney, Dasha Nekrasova, Marlon Williams
A former child actor seeks enlightenment at a retreat led by a spiritual leader while she navigates her close yet turbulent relationship with her stunt-performer daughter. Bad Behaviour marks the feature directorial debut of Englert, who is the daughter of Oscar winner Jane Campion.
First screenings: Public – Jan 21. 2.30pm, The Ray Theatre; P&I – Jan. 22, 3:30pm, Holiday Village 4 Cinemas 2
Sales reps: CAA Media Finance/Verve Ventures/Protagonist Pictures

Cat Person
Dir: Susanna Fogel
Cast: Emilia Jones, the star of Sundance 2021 winner and 2022 best picture Oscar winner Coda, Nicholas Braun and Geraldine Viswanathan
A college student and arthouse cinema employee falls for an older patron as the red flags pile up.
First screenings: Public – Jan. 21, 9.25pm, Eccles Theatre; P&I – Jan. 22, 9am, Park Avenue Theatre
Sales reps: Studiocanal/UTA Independent Film Group

The Disappearance Of Shere Hite
US Documentary Competition
Dir: Nicole Newnham
Shere Hite’s 1976 bestseller The Hite Report was revolutionary, liberating the female orgasm by revealing the intimate experiences of anonymous survey respondents. Her research rocked the establishment and then, Hite disappeared.
First screenings: Public – Jan. 20, .30pm, The Ray Theatre; P&I – Jan. 21, Holiday Village 1
Sales reps: Submarine

Dir: Anthony Chen
Cast: Cynthia Erivo, Alia Shawkat
One of the most eagerly anticipated titles of the festival sees Erivo play a young refugee on a Greek island who finds strength when she befriends a rootless tour-guide. Not available online.
First screenings: Public – Jan. 22, 12.30pm, The Eccles Theatre; P&I: Jan. 23, 10am, Holiday Village 4
Sales reps: UTA Independent Film Group/Memento International 

Dir: William Oldroyd
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Thomasin McKenzie, Jefferson White, Marin Ireland
Plot: The first film from Oldroyd since Lady Macbeth gave Florence Pugh her breakout role, Eileen takes place in 1964 Massachusetts and centres on a budding relationship between the eponymous young secretary and a glamourous prison counsellor (Hathaway) at the prison where she works which takes a dark turn. Based on the novel by Ottessa Moshfegh. Not available online.
First screenings: Public – Jan. 21, 6:25pm, Eccles Theatre; P&I – Jan. 22, 9.30am, Holiday Village 2
Sales reps: WME Independent

The Eternal Memory
World Cinema Documentary Competition
Dir: Maite Alberdi
Director: Maite Alberdi
Plot: From the director of 2020 Sundance entry and documentary Oscar nominee The Mole Agent and produced by Fabula’s Juan de Dios Larraín and Pablo Larraín, The Eternal Memory follows Augusto, a renowned cultural commentator who chronicled the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship, as he tries to get his life in order with the help of his longtime wife and caregiver Paulina as his Alzheimer’s disease worsens.
First screenings: Public – Jan. 21, 6.10pm, Prospector Square Theatre; P&I – Jan. 23, 3pm, Holiday Village 3
Sales reps: UTA Independent Film Group/Submarine

Fair Play
US Dramatic Competition
Dir: Chloe Domont
Cast: Phoebe Dynevor, Alden Ehrenrich, Rich Somer, Sebastian De Souza,
Plot: An unexpected promotion at a hedge fund tests a newly engage young couple’s relationship.
First screenings: Public – Jan. 20, 3pm, Library Center Theatre; P&I – Jan. 21, 9am, Holiday Village 4
Sales reps: MRC/T-Street

Dir: Andrew Durham
Cast: Emilia Jones, Scoot McNairy, Geena Davis
Plot: Sofia Coppola is among the producers on the story of Alysia, a youngster who relocates with her father to San Francisco in the 1970s following the death of her mother. As her father explores poetry and starts dating men and Alysia matures, her parental bond is tested. Not available online.
First screenings: Public – Jan. 20, 8.55am, Eccles Theatre; P&I – Jan. 20, 12noon, Holiday Village 3
Sales reps: Arclight/UTA Independent Film Group

Fancy Dance
US Dramatic Competition
Dir: Erica Tremblay
Cast: Lily Gladstone, Isabel Deroy-Olson, Ryan Begay, Shea Whigham, Audrey Wasilewski
Plot: Indigenous filmmaker Tremblay’s Oklahoma-set story centres on a Native American hustler (Gladstone) whose, after her sister goes missing, kidnaps her niece (Isabel Deroy-Olson) and goes looking for the missing person while preparing her niece for an upcoming powwow. Executive producers include former director of Sundance Institute’s Native American and Indigenous Programme Bird Runningwater, and Forest Whitaker.
First screening: Public – Jan. 20, 9.45pm, Eccles Theatre; P&I – Jan 21, 12.30pm, Holiday Village 2
Sales reps: WME Independent

Flora And Son
Dir: John Carney
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eve Hewson, Jack Reynor, Orén Kinlan
Plot: The director of Sing Street and Once returns with the story of single mother at war with her teenage son, who is also a petty thief. Encouraged by the police to find him a hobby, she rescues a beat-up guitar from a dumpster. Not available online.
First screenings: Public – Jan. 22, 2.30pm, The Ray Theatre
Sales reps: Fifth Season/WME Independent/FilmNation

Magazine Dreams
US Dramatic Competition
Dir: Elijah Bynum
Cast: Jonathan Majors, Haley Bennett, Taylour Paige
Plot: Majors, recently seen in Devotion and whose credits include Lovecraft County and Sundance 2019 selection The Last Black Man In San Francisco, plays an amateur bodybuilder struggling to find human connection as his relentless drive for recognition pushes him to the brink.
First screenings: Public – Jan. 20, 6.30pm, Eccles Theatre
Sales reps: CAA Media Finance

The Pod Generation
Dir: Sophie Barthes
Cast: Emilia Clarke, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rosalie Craig, Vinette Robinson, Jean-Marc Barr
Plot: Barthes’s follow-up to 2014 period romance Madame Bovary is set in the near-future where women can share their pregnancies through detachable artificial wombs. The film stars Emilia Clarke from Game Of Thrones, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Rosalie Craig. Barthes directed Sundance 2009 entry Cold Souls. Not available online. Recipient of this year’s 2023 Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize.
First screenings: Public – Jan. 19, 9pm, Eccles Theatre; P&I – Jan. 25, 10am, Holiday Village 4
Sales reps: Mk2/CAA Media Finance

Rotting In The Sun
Dir: Sebastian Silva
Cast: Jordan Firstman, Sebastián Silva, Catalina Saavedra
Plot: Chilean filmmaker and Sundance regular Silva (The Maid 2009, Crystal Fairy & The Magical Cactus and Magic Magic both in 2013) goes meta in this tale of suicidal Sebastian Silva who is sent by his manager to a nude gay beach. There he nearly dies trying to save social media influencer Jordan Firstman, who convinces Silva to collaborate on a project for a network. When Jordan flies to Mexico City ready to work, Silva is gone but his housekeeper (Saavedra from The Maid) may know more than she lets on. Not available online.
First screenings: Public – Jan. 2, 9.15pm, Library Center Theatre
Sales reps: Range Media Partners

Talk To Me
Dirs: Danny Philippou, Michael Philippou
Cast: Miranda Otto, Sophie Wilde and Zoe Terakes.
Plot: The Australian film is a rare all-out genre film in this year’s selection, carries an extreme violence and gore warning and is not available online, all of which indicates a splashy deal could be on the cards. The Philippou brothers behind the @RackaRacka YouTube channel bring a story about a young woman who on the anniversary of her mother’s death gets her friends together for a séance with the help of an embalmed hand.
First screenings: Public – Jan. 21, 11.55pm, Egyptian Theatre; P&I – Jan. 22, 9pm, Holiday Village 3
Sales reps: Bankside Films

Theater Camp
US Dramatic Competition
Dirs: Molly Gordon, Nick Lieberman
Cast: Amy Sedaris, Jimmy Tatro, Ben Platt, Molly Gordon.
Plot: The first-time co-directors bring a mockumentary about an upstate theatre camp founder whoo falls into a coma. It’s up to her crypto-bro son to save the thing from financial ruin before opening night. Picturestart’s Erik Feig, whose Cha Cha Real Smooth and Am I OK? sparked headline sales last year, is among the producers.
First screenings: Public – Jan. 21, 3.25pm, Eccles Theatre; P&I – Jan. 22, 3pm, Park Avenue
Sales reps: WME Independent

Dir: Thembi L. Banks
Cast: Algee Smith, Sanaa Lathan, Sierra Capri, Mike Epps
Plot: A high school student’s world is upended after he is robbed at gunpoint buy the girl of his dreams.
First screenings: Public – Jan. 22, 3pm, Library Center Theatre; P&I – Jan. 23, 9.30am, Holiday Village 2
Sales reps: UTA Independent Film Group.