Source: Adolpho Veloso


Rebecca Hall’s feature directorial debut Passing starring Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga, Metro Manila director Sean Ellis’ horror Eight For Silver, and Nikole Beckwith’s comedy Together Together starring Ed Helms are among 72 features selected for 2021 Sundance Film Festival, which runs online and in select US arthouse venues from January 28-February 3.

The line-up, announced on Tuesday (December 15), includes One For The Road, Thai filmmaker Baz Poonpiriya’s follow-up to Bad Genius; Edgar Wright’s music documentary The Sparks Brothers; Robin Wright’s feature directorial debut Land; Ben Wheatley’s virus horror In The Earth; The Roots drummer Questlove’s documentary Summer Of Soul; and Kevin Macdonald’s Special Screenings selection Life In A Day 2020.

A features roster representing 29 countries and 38 first-time feature filmmakers includes three films from Cannes Label 2020: Pascual Sisto’s John And The Hole (US), which Sundance director of programming Kim Yutani described as “Sundance-y… with a European flair”; Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s Flee (Denmark/France/Sweden/Norway); and Ninja Thyberg’s Pleasure (Sweden/Netherlands/France).

Day One screenings are Siân Heder’s CODA in US Dramatic Competition; Questlove’s Summer Of Soul in US Documentary Competition; Poonpiriya’s One For The Road in World Cinema Dramatic Competition; Rasmussen’s Flee in World Cinema Documentary Competition; Nanfu Wang’s In The Same Breath in Premieres; and Prano Bailey-Bond’s Censor in Midnight.

Festival director Tabitha Jackson, who will preside over her first edition of Sundance in January and is the first female, person of colour, and non-American to do so, said it became apparent early on during the pandemic that she and her team would have to build a digital festival. Non-profit Sundance Institute was forced to lay-off staff and, as Jackson put it, ”we had to figure out what we could do so that although our budgets were smaller, our ideas didn’t have to be”.

Jackson continued, “We were taking apart this beautifully oiled machine that had been the Sundance Film Festival for the last 36 editions and trying to put it together bit by bit in a different way. It’s been an absolute beast, but what was taking us through was that excitement about what might be possible… doing this in the spirit of experimentation and possibility, and when we come through the other side of this, learning what path is being lit for the future. But most importantly, did we do right by the artists who trusted us with their work.”

Among many features from returning and first-time filmmakers, Yutani highlighted Poonpiriya’s One For The Road, whose 2017 London Film Festival entry Bad Genius earned admiration on the international festival circuit. “I feel like this is a breakout moment for him, especially in the US market,” she said. ”Wong Kar Wai produces, so it has that very kind of Wong Kar Wai feel to it; there’s a kind of melancholy quality to it.”

Yutani and Jackson also name-checked Alex Camilleri’s Maltese selection Luzzu, about a struggling fisherman, and several documentaries: All Light, Everywhere (US) from Theo Anthony (Rat Film) exploring surveillance and point of view; Users (US), Mexican filmmaker Natalia Almada’s first English-language film that examines motherhood; Mariem Pérez Riera’s Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It (US), about the celebrated Puerto Rican performer; and Sam Hobkinson’s Misha And The Wolves (UK/Belgium), which focuses on a sham Holocaust memoir.

Features were selected from 3,509 submissions, of which 1,377 were from the US and 2,132 were international. Sundance programmers received 14,092 submissions overall, roughly on par with a year ago, comprising the features, 14 New Frontier Projects, four Indie series (previously Indie Episodics), and 50 shorts.

Yutani said, “By around mid-September we saw that we were pretty much on track to get the same number [of submissions] as we normally do, which was good news. It meant that we definitely had plenty to choose from. In a lot of ways that made it harder for us with the same number of submissions with a slightly smaller festival. We had to leave really, really wonderful films on the table. But we know that these are films that both find homes and other festivals. And that the bottom line is really encouraging: the independence independent film is alive and well.”

Two weeks ago Sundance revealed an outline of how the festival will work. Besides online screenings, a nationwide network of satellite arthouse screens will play festival selections, subject to the pandemic. Jackson said talks were ongoing and expected each site to play “somewhere around five or six films”.

Son Of Monarchs, screening in the NEXT section, has been named the winner of the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize. Jakub Piątek’s feature debut Prime Time gets its world premiere and in July was named winner of the Screen International Best Pitch Award at this year’s Polish Film Days in Wroclaw.

Fourteen films and projects received Sundance Institute development support either through direct granting or residency Labs. Sixty-six of the features, or 92%, are world premieres.

The projects confirmed for the 2021 Sundance Film Festival appear below. All synopses are provided by the festival, and a film or piece of work hails from the US unless indicated otherwise.


Presenting the world premieres of 10 narrative feature films, the Dramatic Competition offers Festivalgoers a first look at groundbreaking new voices in American independent film. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include Minari, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, The Farewell, Honey Boy, Clemency, Eighth Grade, and Sorry To Bother You.

Dir. Siân Heder
As a CODA – Child of Deaf Adults – Ruby is the only hearing person in her deaf family. When the family’s fishing business is threatened, Ruby finds herself torn between pursuing her love of music and her fear of abandoning her parents.
Cast: Emilia Jones, Eugenio Derbez, Troy Kotsur, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Daniel Durant, Marlee Matlin.
World Premiere

I Was A Simple Man
Dir. Christopher Makoto Yogi
As a family in Hawai’i faces the imminent death of their eldest, the ghosts of the past haunt the countryside.
Cast: Steve Iwamoto, Constance Wu, Kanoa Goo, Chanel Akiko Hirai, Tim Chiou, Boonyanudh Jiyarom.
World Premiere

Dir. Clint Bentley
An aging jockey is determined to win one last championship, but his dream is complicated when a young rookie shows up claiming to be his son.
Cast: Clifton Collins Jr., Molly Parker, Moises Arias.
World Premiere

John And The Hole
Dir. Pascual Sisto
A nontraditional coming-of-age story, set in the unsettling reality of John, a kid who holds his family captive in a hole in the ground
Cast: Charlie Shotwell, Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Ehle, Taissa Farmiga.
World Premiere

Dir. Karen Cinorre
Ana is transported to a dreamlike and dangerous land where she joins a team of female soldiers engaged in a never-ending war along a rugged coast. Though she finds strength in this exhilarating world, she comes to realize that she’s not the killer they want her to be.
Cast: Grace Van Patten, Mia Goth, Havana Rose Liu, Soko, Théodore Pellerin, Juliette Lewis.
World Premiere

On The Count Of Three
Dir. Jerrod Carmichael
Two guns. Two best friends. And a pact to end their lives when the day is done.
Cast: Jerrod Carmichael, Christopher Abbott, Tiffany Haddish, J.B. Smoove, Lavell Crawford, Henry Winkler.
World Premiere

Dir. Rebecca Hall
Two African-American women who can “pass” as white choose to live on opposite sides of the color line in 1929 New York in an exploration of racial and gender identity, performance, obsession and repression. Based on the novella by Nella Larsen.
Cast: Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga, André Holland, Alexander Skarsgård, Bill Camp, Antoinette Crowe-Legacy.
World Premiere

Dir. Erin Vassilopoulos
On the run, Marian returns to her hometown in upstate New York to hide out with her estranged identical twin sister, Vivian. Struggling to put the past behind her, Marian lies about the reason for her return, leaving her sister in the dark until their two worlds begin to collide.
Cast: Alessandra Mesa, Ani Mesa, Pico Alexander, Jake Hoffman, Stanley Simons.
World Premiere

Together Together
Dir. Nikole Beckwith
When young loner Anna is hired as the surrogate for Matt, a single man in his 40s, the two strangers come to realise this unexpected relationship will quickly challenge their perceptions of connection, boundaries and the particulars of love.
Cast: Ed Helms, Patti Harrison, Tig Notaro, Julio Torres, Anna Konkle. World Premiere

Wild Indian
Dir. Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr.
Two men are inextricably bound together after covering up the savage murder of a schoolmate. After years of separation following wildly divergent paths, they must finally confront how their traumatic secret has irrevocably shaped their lives.
Cast: Michael Greyeyes, Chaske Spencer, Jesse Eisenberg, Kate Bosworth, Phoenix Wilson, Julian Gopal.
World Premiere


Ten world-premiere American documentaries that illuminate the ideas, people and events that shape the present day. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include Boys State, Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution, Apollo 11, Knock Down The House, One Child Nation, American Factory, Three Identical Strangers, and On Her Shoulders.

Dir. Jamila Wignot
Alvin Ailey was a visionary artist who found salvation through dance. Told in his own words and through the creation of a dance inspired by his life, this immersive portrait follows a man who, when confronted by a world that refused to embrace him, determined to build one that would.
World Premiere

All Light, Everywhere
Dir. Theo Anthony
An exploration of the shared histories of cameras, weapons, policing and justice. As surveillance technologies become a fixture in everyday life, the film interrogates the complexity of an objective point of view, probing the biases inherent in both human perception and the lens.
World Premiere

At The Ready
Dir. Maisie Crow
Home to one of the region’s largest law enforcement education program, students at Horizon High School in El Paso train to become police officers and Border Patrol agents as they discover the realities of their dream jobs may be at odds with the truths and people they hold most dear.
World Premiere

Dirs. Parker Hill, Isabel Bethencourt
In a Texas military town, three teenage girls confront the dark corners of adolescence at the end of a fever dream summer.
World Premiere

Dir. Peter Nicks
Following the class of 2020 at Oakland High School in a year marked by seismic change, exploring the emotional world of teenagers coming of age against the backdrop of a rapidly changing world.
World Premiere

Rebel Hearts
Dir. Pedro Kos
A group of pioneering nuns bravely stand up to the Catholic Church patriarchy, fighting for their livelihoods, convictions and equality against an all-powerful Cardinal. From marching in Selma in 1965 to the Women’s March in 2018, these women have reshaped our society with their bold acts of defiance.
World Premiere

Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It
Dir. Mariem Pérez Riera
Rita Moreno defied both her humble upbringing and relentless racism to become one of a select group who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award. Over a seventy year career, she has paved the way for Hispanic-American performers by refusing to be pigeonholed into one-dimensional stereotypes.
World Premiere

Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Dir. Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
During the same summer as Woodstock, over 300,000 people attended the Harlem Cultural Festival, celebrating African American music and culture, and promoting Black pride and unity. The footage from the festival sat in a basement, unseen for over 50 years, keeping this incredible event in America’s history lost – until now.
World Premiere

Try Harder!
Dir. Debbie Lum
In a universe where cool kids are nerds, the orchestra is world class and being Asian American is the norm, seniors at Lowell High School compete for the top prize: admission to the college of their dreams.
World Premiere

Users (USA/Mexico)
Dir. Natalia Almada
A mother wonders, will my children love their perfect machines more than they love me, their imperfect mother? She switches on a smart-crib lulling her crying baby to sleep. This perfect mother is everywhere. She watches over us, takes care of us. We listen to her. We trust her.
World Premiere


Ten films from emerging filmmaking talents around the world offer fresh perspectives and inventive styles. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include The Souvenir, The Guilty, Monos, Yardie, The Nile Hilton Incident and Second Mother.

The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet (Argentina)
Dir. Ana Katz
Sebastian, a man in his thirties, works a series of temporary jobs and he embraces love at every opportunity. He transforms, through a series of short encounters, as the world flirts with possible apocalypse.
Cast: Daniel Katz, Julieta Zylberberg, Valeria Lois, Mirella Pascual, Carlos Portaluppi
World Premiere

El Planeta (USA/Spain)
Dir. Amalia Ulman
Amidst the devastation of post-crisis Spain, mother and daughter bluff and grift to keep up the lifestyle they think they deserve, bonding over common tragedy and an impending eviction.
Cast: Amalia Ulman, Ale Ulman, Nacho Vigalondo, Zhou Chen, Saoirse Bertram
World Premiere

Fire In The Mountains (India)
Dir. Ajitpal Singh
A mother toils to save money to build a road in a Himalayan village to take her wheelchair-bound son for physiotherapy, but her husband, who believes that an expensive religious ritual is the remedy, steals her savings.
Cast: Vinamrata Rai, Chandan Bisht, Mayank Singh Jaira, Harshita Tewari, Sonal Jha
World Premiere

Hive (Kosovo/Switzerland/Macedonia/Albania)
Dir. Blerta Basholli
Fahrije’s husband has been missing since the war in Kosovo. She sets up her own small business to provide for her kids, but as she fights against a patriarchal society that does not support her, she faces a crucial decision: to wait for his return, or to continue to persevere.
Cast: Yllka Gashi, Çun Lajçi, Aurita Agushi, Kumrije Hoxha, Adriana Matoshi, Kaona Sylejmani
World Premiere

Human Factors (Germany/Italy/Denmark)
Dir. Ronny Trocker
A mysterious housebreaking exposes the agony of an exemplary middle class family.
Cast: Sabine Timoteo, Mark Waschke, Jule Hermann, Wanja Valentin Kube, Hannes Perkmann, Daniel Séjourné
World Premiere

Luzzu (Malta)
Dir. Alex Camilleri
Jesmark, a struggling fisherman on the island of Malta, is forced to turn his back on generations of tradition and risk everything by entering the world of black market fishing to provide for his girlfriend and newborn baby.
Cast: Jesmark Scicluna, Michela Farrugia, David Scicluna
World Premiere

One For The Road (China/Hong Kong/Thailand)
Dir. Baz Poonpiriya
Boss is a consummate ladies’ man, a free spirit and a bar owner in NYC. One day, he gets a surprise call from Aood, an estranged friend who has returned home to Thailand. Dying of cancer, Aood enlists Boss’ help to complete a bucket list – but both are hiding something. Cast: Tor Thanapob, Ice Natara, Violette Wautier, Aokbab Chutimon, Ploi Horwang, Noon Siraphun.
World Premiere

The Pink Cloud (Brazil)
Dir. Iuli Gerbase
A mysterious and deadly pink cloud appears across the globe, forcing everyone to stay home. Strangers at the outset, Giovana and Yago try to invent themselves as a couple as years of shared lockdown pass. While Yago is living in his own utopia, Giovana feels trapped deep inside.
Cast: Renata de Lélis, Eduardo Mendonça
World Premiere

Pleasure (Sweden/Netherlands/France)
Dir. Ninja Thyberg
A 20-year-old girl moves from her small town in Sweden to LA for a shot at a career in the adult film industry.
Cast: Sofia Kappel, Revika Anne Reustle, Evelyn Claire, Chris Cock, Dana DeArmond, Kendra Spade
World Premiere

Prime Time (Poland)
Dir. Jakub Piątek
On the last day of 1999, 20-year-old Sebastian locks himself in a TV studio. He has two hostages, a gun, and an important message for the world. The story of the attack explores a rebel’s extreme measures and last resort.
Cast: Bartosz Bielenia, Magdalena Popławska, Andrzej Kłak, Małgorzata Hajewska-Krzysztofik, Dobromir Dymecki, Monika Frajczyk
World Premiere


Ten documentaries by some of the boldest filmmakers working around the world today. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include Honeyland, Sea Of Shadows, Shirkers, This is Home, Last Men In Aleppo and Hooligan Sparrow.

Faya Dayi (Ethiopia/USA)
Dir. Jessica Beshir
A spiritual journey into the highlands of Harar, immersed in the rituals of khat, a leaf Sufi Muslims chewed for centuries for religious meditations – and Ethiopia’s most lucrative cash crop today. A tapestry of intimate stories offers a window into the dreams of youth under a repressive regime.
World Premiere

Flee (Denmark/France/Sweden/Norway)
Dir. Jonas Poher Rasmussen
Amin arrived as an unaccompanied minor in Denmark from Afghanistan. Today, he is a successful academic and is getting married to his long-time boyfriend. A secret he has been hiding for 20 years threatens to ruin the life he has built.
World Premiere

Inconvenient Indian (Canada)
Dir. Michelle Latimer, Producers: Stuart Henderson, Justine Pimlott, Jesse Wente) — An examination of Thomas King’s brilliant dismantling of North America’s colonial narrative, which reframes history with the powerful voices of those continuing the tradition of Indigenous resistance.
International Premiere

Misha And The Wolves (UK/Belgium)
Dir. Sam Hobkinson
A woman’s Holocaust memoir takes the world by storm, but a fallout with her publisher-turned-detective reveals her story as an audacious deception created to hide a darker truth.
World Premiere

The Most Beautiful Boy In The World (Sweden)
Dirs. Kristina Lindström, Kristian Petri
Swedish actor/musician Björn Andresen’s life was forever changed at the age of 15, when he played Tadzio, the object of Dirk Bogarde’s obsession in Death in Venice – a role which led Italian maestro Luchino Visconti to dub him “the world’s most beautiful boy”.
World Premiere

Playing With Sharks (Australia)
Dir. Sally Aitken
Valerie Taylor is a shark fanatic and an Australian icon – a marine maverick who forged her way as a fearless diver, cinematographer and conservationist. She filmed the real sharks for Jaws and famously wore a chainmail suit, using herself as shark bait, changing our scientific understanding of sharks forever.
World Premiere

President (Denmark/USA/Norway)
Dir. Camilla Nielsson
Zimbabwe is at a crossroads. The leader of the opposition MDC party, Nelson Chamisa, challenges the old guard ZANU-PF led by Emmerson Mnangagwa, known as “The Crocodile.” The election tests both the ruling party and the opposition – how do they interpret principles of democracy in discourse and in practice?
World Premiere

Sabaya (Sweden)
Dir. Hogir Hirori
With just a mobile phone and a gun, Mahmud, Ziyad and their group risk their lives trying to save Yazidi women and girls being held by ISIS as Sabaya (abducted sex slaves) in the most dangerous camp in the Middle East, Al-Hol in Syria.
World Premiere

Taming The Garden (Switzerland/Germany/Georgia)
Dir. Salomé Jashi
A poetic ode to the rivalry between men and nature.
World Premiere

Writing With Fire (India)
Dirs. Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh
In a cluttered news landscape dominated by men, emerges India’s only newspaper run by Dalit women. Armed with smartphones, Chief Reporter Meera and her journalists break traditions on the frontlines of India’s biggest issues and within the confines of their own homes, redefining what it means to be powerful.
World Premiere


Pure, bold works distinguished by an innovative, forward-thinking approach to storytelling populate this program. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include The Infiltrators, Searching, Skate Kitchen, A Ghost Story and Tangerine. NEXT presented by Adobe.

The Blazing World
Dir. Carlson Young
Decades after the accidental drowning of her twin sister, a self-destructive young woman returns to her family home, finding herself drawn to an alternate dimension where her sister may still be alive.
Cast: Udo Kier, Carlson Young, Dermot Mulroney, Vinessa Shaw, John Karna, Soko
World Premiere

Dir. Dash Shaw
As cryptozookeepers struggle to capture a Baku (a legendary dream-eating hybrid creature) they begin to wonder if they should display these rare beasts in the confines of a cryptozoo, or if these mythical creatures should remain hidden and unknown.
Cast: Lake Bell, Michael Cera, Angeliki Papoulia, Zoe Kazan, Peter Stormare, Grace Zabriskie
World Premiere

First Date
Dirs. Manuel Crosby, Darren Knapp
Conned into buying a shady ’65 Chrysler, Mike’s first date with the girl-next-door, Kelsey, implodes as he finds himself targeted by criminals, cops, and a crazy cat lady. A night fueled by desire, bullets and burning rubber makes any other first date seem like a walk in the park.
Cast: Tyson Brown, Shelby Duclos, Jesse Janzen, Nicole Berry, Ryan Quinn Adams, Brandon Kraus
World Premiere

Ma Belle, My Beauty (USA/France)
Dir. Marion Hill
A surprise reunion in southern France reignites passions and jealousies between two women who were formerly polyamorous lovers.
Cast: Idella Johnson, Hannah Pepper, Lucien Guignard, Sivan Noam Shimon
World Premiere

Dir. Carey Williams
A re-imagining of Romeo And Juliet, taking place through their cell phones, in a mash-up of Shakespearean dialogue with current social media communication.
Cast: Camaron Engels, Francesca Noel, David Zayas, Diego Tinoco, Siddiq Saunderson, Russell Hornsby
World Premiere

Dir. Pacho Velez
In encounters alternately humorous and touching, a diverse set of New Yorkers navigate their preferred dating apps in search of their special someone.
World Premiere

Son Of Monarchs (Mexico/USA)
Dir. Alexis Gambis
After his grandmother’s death, a Mexican biologist living in New York returns to his hometown, nestled in the majestic monarch butterfly forests of Michoacán. The journey forces him to confront past traumas and reflect on his hybrid identity, sparking a personal and spiritual metamorphosis.
Cast: Tenoch Huerta Mejía, Alexia Rasmussen, Lázaro Gabino Rodríguez, Noé Hernández, Paulina Gaitán, William Mapother.
Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize

Strawberry Mansion
Dirs. Albert Birney, Kentucker Audley
In a world where the government records and taxes dreams, an unassuming dream auditor gets swept up in a cosmic journey through the life and dreams of an aging eccentric named Bella. Together, they must find a way back home.
Cast: Penny Fuller, Kentucker Audley, Grace Glowicki, Reed Birney, Linas Phillips, Constance Shulman
World Premiere

We’re All Going To The World’s Fair
Dir. Jane Schoenbrun
A teenage girl becomes immersed in an online role-playing game. Cast: Anna Cobb, Michael J. Rogers
World Premiere


A showcase of world premieres of some of the most highly anticipated fiction and nonfiction films of the coming year.. Films that have premiered across the Documentary Premieres category include The Dissident, On the Record, and Miss Americana, and in Premieres past titles include Kajillionaire, Promising Young Woman, The Report, Late Night, The Big Sick and Call Me By Your Name.

Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir
Dir. James Redford
Amy Tan has established herself as one of America’s most respected literary voices. Born to Chinese immigrant parents, it would be decades before the author of The Joy Luck Club would fully understand the inherited trauma rooted in the legacies of women who survived the Chinese tradition of concubinage
World Premiere, Documentary

Bring Your Own Brigade
Dir. Lucy Walker
A character-driven verité and revelatory investigation takes us on a journey embedded with firefighters and residents on a mission to understand the causes of historically large wildfires and how to survive them, discovering that the solution has been here all along.
World Premiere, Documentary

Eight For Silver (USA/France)
Dir. Sean Ellis
In the late 1800s, a man arrives in a remote country village to investigate an attack by a wild animal but discovers a much deeper, sinister force that has both the manor and the townspeople in its grip.
Cast: Boyd Holbrook, Kelly Reilly, Alistair Petrie, Roxane Duran, Aine Rose Daly
World Premiere, Narrative

How It Ends
Dirs. Daryl Wein, Zoe Lister-Jones
On the last day on Earth, one woman goes on a journey through LA to make it to her last party before the world ends, running into an eclectic cast of characters along the way.
Cast: Zoe Lister-Jones, Cailee Spaeny, Olivia Wilde, Fred Armisen, Helen Hunt, Lamorne Morris
World Premiere, Narrative

In The Earth (UK)
Dir. Ben Wheatley
As a disastrous virus grips the planet, a scientist and a park scout venture deep into the forest for a routine equipment run. Through the night, their journey becomes a terrifying voyage through the heart of darkness as the forest comes to life around them.
Cast: Joel Fry, Ellora Torchia, Hayley Squires, Reece Shearsmith. World Premiere, Narrative

In The Same Breath
Dir. Nanfu Wang
How did the Chinese government turn pandemic coverups in Wuhan into a triumph for the Communist party? An essential narrative of firsthand accounts of the coronavirus, and a revelatory examination of how propaganda and patriotism shaped the outbreak’s course – both in China and in the US.
World Premiere, Documentary

Dir. Robin Wright
The poignant story of one woman’s search, in the aftermath of an unfathomable event, for meaning in the vast and harsh American wilderness.
Cast: Robin Wright, Demián Bichir, Kim Dickens
World Premiere, Narrative

Marvelous And The Black Hole
Dir. Kate Tsang
A teenage delinquent befriends a surly magician who helps her navigate her inner demons and dysfunctional family with sleight of hand magic, in a coming-of-age comedy that touches on unlikely friendships, grief, and finding hope in the darkest moments.
Cast: Miya Cech, Rhea Perlman, Leonardo Nam, Kannon Omachi, Paulina Lule, Keith Powell
World Premiere, Narrative

Dir. Fran Kranz
Years after a tragic shooting, the parents of both the victim and the perpetrator meet face-to-face.
Cast: Jason Isaacs, Ann Dowd, Martha Plimpton, Reed Birney
World Premiere, Narrative

My Name Is Pauli Murray
Dirs. Betsy West, Julie Cohen
Overlooked by history, Pauli Murray was a legal trailblazer whose ideas influenced RBG’s fight for gender equality and Thurgood Marshall’s landmark civil rights arguments. Featuring never-before-seen footage and audio recordings, a portrait of Murray’s impact as a non-binary Black luminary: lawyer, activist, poet, and priest who transformed our world.
World Premiere, Documentary

Philly D.A.
Created by: Ted Passon, Yoni Brook, Nicole Salazar
A groundbreaking inside look at the long shot election and tumultuous first term of Larry Krasner, Philadelphia’s unapologetic District Attorney, and his experiment to upend the criminal justice system from the inside out.
World Premiere, Documentary

Prisoners Of The Ghostland
Dir. Sion Sono
A notorious criminal is sent to rescue an abducted woman who has disappeared into a dark supernatural universe. They must break the evil curse that binds them and escape the mysterious revenants that rule the Ghostland, an East-meets-West vortex of beauty and violence.
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Sofia Boutella, Nick Cassavetes, Bill Moseley, Tak Sakaguchi, Yuzuka Nakaya
World Premiere, Narrative

The Sparks Brothers (UK)
Dir. Edgar Wright
How can one rock band be successful, underrated, hugely influential, and criminally overlooked all at the same time? Take a musical odyssey through five weird and wonderful decades with brothers Russell & Ron Mael, celebrating the inspiring legacy of Sparks: your favourite band’s favourite band.
World Premiere, Documentary

Street Gang: How We Got To Sesame Street
Dir. Marilyn Agrelo
How did a group of rebels create the world’s most famous street? In 1969 New York, this “gang” of mission-driven artists, writers and educators catalyzed a moment of civil awakening, transforming it into Sesame Street, one of the most influential and impactful television programmes in history.
World Premiere, Documentary


From horror and comedy to works that defy genre classification, these films will keep you wide awake, even at the most arduous hour. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include Relic, Greener Grass, Hereditary, Assassination Nation, and The Babadook.

Censor (UK)
Dir. Prano Bailey-Bond
When film censor Enid discovers an eerie horror that speaks directly to her sister’s mysterious disappearance, she resolves to unravel the puzzle behind the film and its enigmatic director – a quest blurring the lines between fiction and reality in terrifying ways.
Cast: Niamh Algar, Nicholas Burns, Vincent Franklin, Sophia La Porta, Adrian Schiller, Michael Smiley
World Premiere.

Coming Home In The Dark (New Zealand)
Director: James Ashcroft
A family’s outing descends into terror when teacher Alan Hoaganraad, his wife Jill and stepsons Maika and Jordon explore an isolated coastline. An unexpected meeting with a pair of drifters, the enigmatic psychopath Mandrake and his accomplice Tubs, thrusts the family into a nightmare when they find themselves captured.
Cast: Daniel Gillies, Erik Thomson, Miriama McDowell, Matthias Luafutu
World Premiere

A Glitch In The Matrix
Director: Rodney Ascher
A multi-media exploration of simulation theory – an idea as old as Plato’s Republic and as current as Elon Musk’s Twitter feed – through the eyes of those who suspect our world isn’t real. Part sci-fi mind-scrambler, part horror story, this is a digital journey to the limits of radical doubt.
World Premiere

Knocking (Sweden)
Dire: Frida Kempff
When Molly moves into her new apartment after a tragic accident, a strange noise from upstairs begins to unnerve her. As its intensity grows, she confronts her neighbors – but no one seems to hear what she is hearing.
Cast: Cecilia Milocco
World Premiere

Mother Schmuckers (Belgium)
Dirs. Lenny Guit, Harpo Guit
Issachar & Zabulon, two brothers in their twenties, are supremely stupid and never bored, as madness is part of their daily lives. When they lose their mother’s beloved dog, they have 24 hours to find it – or she will kick them out.
Cast: Harpo Guit, Maxi Delmelle, Claire Bodson, Mathieu Amalric, Habib Ben Tanfous
World Premiere

Violation (Canada)
Dirs. Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Dusty Mancinelli
A troubled woman on the edge of divorce returns home to her younger sister after years apart. But when her sister and brother-in-law betray her trust, she embarks on a vicious crusade of revenge. Cast: Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Anna Maguire, Jesse LaVercombe, Obi Abili, Jasmin Geljo, Cynthia Ashperger.
International Premiere



The Spotlight programme is a tribute to the cinema we love from throughout the past year. Films that have played in this category in recent years include The Biggest Little Farm, The Death of Stalin, The Rider, Ida and The Lobster.

Night Of The Kings (France/Ivory Coast/Canada/Senegal)
Dir. Philippe Lacôte
A young man is sent to La Maca, a prison on the Ivory Coast in the middle of the forest ruled by its prisoners. With the red moon rising, he is designated by the Boss to be the new “Roman” and must tell a story to the other prisoners.
Cast: Koné Bakary, Steve Tientcheu, Digbeu Jean Cyrille, Rasmané Ouédraogo, Issaka Sawadogo, Denis Lavant

The World To Come
Dir: Mona Fastvold
Somewhere along the mid-nineteenth century American East Coast frontier, two neighboring couples battle hardship and isolation, witnessed by a splendid yet testing landscape, challenging them both physically and psychologically.
Cast: Katherine Waterston, Vanessa Kirby, Casey Affleck, Christopher Abbott
North American Premiere



Life In A Day 2020 (UK/USA)
Dir. Kevin Macdonald
An extraordinary, intimate, global portrait of life on our planet, filmed by thousands of people across the world, on a single day: 25th July 2020.
World Premiere



A global audience will be able to engage with the works, the artists, and fellow festival-goers via a bespoke spatialised platform, developed in partnership with digital experience agency Active Theory and accessible via computer and VR headsets. The New Frontier Gallery hosts the complete slate of live performances, AR, VR, and other emerging media works. Cinema House is the festival’s social, fully immersive cinema, and Film Party is an interactive bar with 6 screens and more intimate rooms available to the entire community of accredited Festivalgoers so that all can safely gather together, connecting via avatar with proximity audio and video chat.

2020 saw that the entire world can shift and leave humanity in an entirely new state of being. As we stand on the precipice of a new era, we need our artists and visionaries to illuminate the way forward,” said Shari Frilot, senior programmer and New Frontier chief curator. “The line-up of new media works this year challenge what we once knew to be true. Their works glisten with world-building wisdom, and offer time machines that extract the cancer of colonial narratives planted deep within our biology.”

The Sundance Institute New Frontier programme is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Unity Technologies, Adobe, Dell Technologies, The Walt Disney Studios’ StudioLAB, and Oculus from Facebook.


4 Feet High VR (Argentina/France)
Lead Artists: María Belén Poncio, Rosario Perazolo Masjoan, Damian Turkieh, Ezequiel Lenardón, Key Collaborators: Marie Blondiaux, Marcos Rostagno, Eugenia Foguel, Matias Benedetti, Manuel Yeri, Martin Lopez Funes, Guillermo Mena
Juana, a 17-year-old wheelchair user, aims to explore her sexuality but is ashamed of her body. Trying to find her place in a new high school, she will go through failure, friendship, fear and politics until she builds her own pride.
Cast: Marisol Agostina Irigoyen, Florencia Licera, Marcio Ramses, Natalia Di Cienzo, Francisca Spinotti

7 Sounds
Lead Artist: Sam Green, Key Collaborator: JD Samson
An immersive live-streamed audio-video work exploring the universal influence of sound, weaving seven specific audio recordings into a meditation on the power of sound to bend time, cross borders, and profoundly shape our perception.

Beyond The Breakdown
Lead Artists: Tony Patrick, Lauren Lee McCarthy, Grace Lee, Key Collaborators: Jesse Cahn Thompson, Aldo Velasco
Imagining alternate narratives for our near-future reality, inside a browser designed to hack our normal online behaviors and cultivate collaborative spaces for self-reflection and renewal.

The Changing Same: Episode 1
Lead Artists: Michèle Stephenson, Joe Brewster, Yasmin Elayat, Key Collaborators: James George, Alexander Porter, Rad Mora, Elliott Mitchell
An immersive, episodic virtual reality experience where the participant travels through time and space to witness the connected historical experiences of racial injustice in America. A respectful, haunting story infused with magical realism and Afrofuturism about the uninterrupted cycle of the 400-year history of racial terror — past and present.

Fortune! (France/Canada)
Lead Artists: Brett Gaylor, Nicolas Bourniquel, Arnaud Colinart, Key Collaborators: Marianne Lévy-Leblond, Rob McLaughlin, Dash Spielgeman, Rolito, Clement Chériot
Money, from bills to coins, has no intrinsic value beyond what we’ve collectively agreed to grant it. However, there’s no denying that money governs our lives. This series of animated documentary shorts in AR for smartphones, tablets and social media platforms, explores that relationship.
Cast: Frank Bourassa

Lead Artist: Erick Oh, Key Collaborators: Maureen Fan, Larry Cutler, Eric Darnell, Kane Lee, David Kahn
A narrative poem brought to life as an animated VR film, and an ode to a grandfather’s passing, this story follows the journey of a budding artist – and his tree of life – from beginning to end.

Nightsss (Poland)
Lead Artists: Weronika Lewandowska, Sandra Frydrysiak, Key Collaborators: Marcin Macuk, Piotr Apostel, Kaya Kołodziejczyk, Marek Straszak, Arek Zub, Przemek Danowski
A virtual erotic poem created in artistic animation with ASMR and interactive elements, immersing the viewer in the sensual experience of poetry and dance.

Prison X - Chapter 1: The Devil And The Sun (Australia/Bolivia/India)
Lead Artists: Violeta Ayala, Alap Parikh, Maria Corvera Vargas, Roly Elias, Key Collaborators: Daniel Fallshaw, Rilda Paco Alvarado, Alberto Santiago
Heavy doors open and you are swept into an infamous Bolivian jail, where you live among devils, saints, wicked characters, corrupt prison guards and even a Western filmmaker. In Prison X, inhabit the dreams and nightmares of the Neo-Andean underworld.
Cast: Violeta Ayala, Genesis Owusu, Celina Debassey, Anamaria Gómez Jaramillo, Jesse Odom, Nicole Ukelele

Rich Kids: A History Of Shopping Malls In Tehran (UK/Iran)
Lead Artists: Javaad Alipoor, Kirsty Housley, Key Collaborator: Nick Sweeting
A darkly comedic, urgent new play about entitlement, consumption and digital technology, exploring the ubiquitous feeling that our societies are falling apart through the story of two young members of the Iranian elite, asking what their deaths tell us about climate change, social collapse and Instagram.
Cast: Javaad Alipoor, Peyvand Sadeghian

Secret Garden
Lead Artist: Stephanie Dinkins, Key Collaborators: Ethan Edwards, John Fitzgerald, Matthew Niederhauser, Danielle McPhatter, Sidney San Martín, Kate Stevenson, Adaora Udoji, Chris White
An immersive web experience and installation, illuminating the power and resilience in Black women’s stories. Interactive audio vignettes generate a multi-generational narrative that collapses past, present, and future.
Cast: Dayne Board, Erlene Curry, Tianna Mendez, Melissa Moore, Brandi Porter, Lisa Sainville.

Lead Artist: Lou Ward, Key Collaborators: Shimon Alkon, Lara Bucarey, Avril Martinez, Aileen Paron, Anthony Alan Garcia, Roberto Tan, Cristopher David, Neil Realubit, Anton Arcega, David Conklin, Evan Chavez
What happens when the memories we spend a lifetime creating begin to disappear? Step inside the Grandfather’s workshop to discover this answer for yourself. In this live, bespoke unscripted performance, reimagine what it means to play, to connect and to hold fast to the memories we create.
Cast: Randy Dixon

To Miss The Ending (UK)
Lead Artists: Anna West, David Callanan, Key Collaborators: Jamie Finlay, Steph Clarke, Dan Tucker
A VR cubicle of cardboard boxes begins to glitch, revealing an empty dark space in front of you – until something glimmers in the distance, a wave of blue flooding towards you. A chorus of real memories and imagined futures expands, until only the largest memories are left.
Cast: Charlotte Berry, Michael Dodds, Houmi Miura, Ben Kulvichit, Anna West.

Traveling The Interstitium With Octavia Butler
Lead Artists: Sophia Nahli Allison, idris brewster, Stephanie Dinkins, Ari Melenciano, Terence Nance, Key Collaborators: Yance Ford, Sharon Chang, Kamal Sinclair
Inspired by the ideas of Octavia Butler, voyaging into the interstitium: a liminal space, a cultural memory, containing the remnants of our ancestors, a place of refuge, a place of recentering, a portal into an alternate dimension.

Weirdo Night
Lead Artists: Jibz Cameron, Mariah Garnett
A filmed edition, hosted by Dynasty Handbag, of the wildly popular, underground, eponymous live performance and comedy event that, until COVID-19, was held monthly in Los Angeles.
Cast: Patti Harrison, Smiling Beth, Morgan Bassichis, Sarah Squirm, Hedia Maron, Blasia Discoteca



Fifty short films will play from 27 countries, selected from 9,933 submissions – 4,587 from the US and 5,368 international. Presented by Southwest Airlines, the programme includes fiction, non-fiction and animation from the US, UK, Norway, South Africa, and France.



A dedicated showcase for emerging creators of independently produced episodic content for broadcast, web, and streaming platforms. Previously Indie Episodic. Past projects that have premiered within this category include Work in Progress, State of the Union, Gentefied, Wu Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men and Quarter Life Poetry. The Indie Series programme is presented by DoorDash.

4 Feet High (Argentina/France)
Dirs. María Belén Poncio, Rosario Perazolo Masjoan
Juana, a 17-year-old wheelchair user, aims to explore her sexuality but is ashamed of her body. Trying to find her place in a new high school, she will go through failure, friendship, fear and politics until she builds her own pride.
Cast: Marisol Agostina Irigoyen, Florencia Licera, Marcio Ramses, Natalia Di Cienzo, Francisca Spinotti
World Premiere

Seeds Of Deceit (Netherlands)
Dir. Miriam Guttmann
The revelation that Dr. Karbaat clandestinely used his own semen to inseminate more than 65 of his patients shocked the world. A vivid portrayal of how that happened and all the ways it haunts those affected: the emotional trauma of coming to terms with a changed life, a new identity.
World Premiere

These Days
Dir. Adam Brooks
Mae, lonely and self-isolating, navigates the world of online dating during the early days of quarantine. Her first attempt is a comic disaster; then, she meets Will and her world begins to change in unexpected ways.
Cast: Marianne Rendón, William Jackson Harper, Amy Brenneman, Parker Young.
World Premiere

Would You Rather (France/Germany)
Creators: Lise Akoka, Romane Guéret
Sixteen-year-olds Shaï, Djeneba, Aladi, and Ismaël grew up in a working-class Paris neighborhood. Together, they watch hours drift by, cracking jokes, and playing their favorite game, “Would you rather?” As the group’s equilibrium suddenly shifts, they have to start making choices – in their lives and their game.
Cast: Fanta Kebe, Shirel Nataf, Zakaria Lazab, Mouctar Diawara.
North American Premiere