Competition highlights include the post-apocalyptic drama ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’ from director Reed Morano (‘The Handmaid’s Tale’).
The #MeToo movement is hitting Sundance.
A Gloria Allred documentary titled Seeing Allred will make its world premiere at Sundance 2018, joining a lineup of films that also includes the Keira Knightley-starrer Colette, Gus Van Sant’s Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot and the Daisy Ridley post-Star Wars vehicle Ophelia.
This year’s incarnation of the annual indie festival is chock-full of ripped-from-the-headlines fare, including the Trump-Russian propaganda doc Our New President, the Koch brothers exposé Dark Money, the Ku Klux Klan drama Burden (starring Garrett Hedlund and Forest Whitaker) and Desiree Akhavan’s gay conversion dramedy The Miseducation of Cameron Post.
But perhaps nothing will hit the zeitgeist more squarely than Seeing Allred, which will be tweaked right up until the last minute to address the growing list of sexual harassment and assault claims that continue to rock Hollywood, the media and politics on a daily basis.
“The filmmakers did notify us that they were going to continue shooting to add to the documentary as all of the allegations were breaking,” Sundance director of programming Trevor Groth said Wednesday in a statement. “So, there is a real sort of timely quality to that film.”
Directed by Sophie Sartain and Roberta Grossman, the doc traces the life of the nation’s most visible women’s rights attorney, who has taken on President Donald Trump, Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein and has become a force within the #MeToo movement of victims speaking out about being abused by powerful men. Marta Kauffman (Friends) is a producer.
The festival on Wednesday unveiled the 110 films from 29 countries that will screen as part of the U.S. Competition, World Competition and NEXT sections. Of the dramatic competition hopefuls, roughly one-third are directed by women. That’s a positive sign for the indie film industry when compared to studio film world, where women continue to represent less than 10 percent of directors.
“I don’t think you ever take a sigh of relief. It takes constant vigilance,” said John Cooper, director of the Sundance Film Festival. “I think what’s really changing for our audiences and for the filmmakers is just an awareness of how important other voices are not just to change in the world but also just as far as the entertainment factor, for fresh stories, for stories that are not just dull and boring. I think that’s what independent film has always done.”
Among the competition highlights are Craig William Macneill’s Lizzie Borden thriller Lizzie, with Chloe Sevigny and Kristen Stewart, and Monsters and Men, Reinaldo Marcus Green’s take on a police killing of a black man.
Another highly anticipated film is Reed Morano’s post-apocalyptic drama I Think We’re Alone Now, starring Peter Dinklage and Elle Fanning.
“Like Morano’s The Handmaid’s Tale, it’s creating tension out of quietness,” said Cooper of the film. “A lot of The Handmaid’s Tale, which I loved, is a lot of quiet that was just eerie and unsettling.”
The festival is set to kick off in and around Park City, Utah, on Jan. 18 and run through Jan. 28.
This year’s batch of films were selected from 13,468 submissions, including 3,901 feature-length films and 8,740 short films. Of the feature film submissions, 1,799 were from the U.S. and 2,102 were international. Last year, the fest drew 71,638 attendees.
A complete list of films screening in the U.S. Competition, World Competition and NEXT as well as Premieres, Midnight, Spotlight and Kids sections follows.
U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION
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. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include Fruitvale Station, Patti Cake$, Swiss Army Man and The Diary of a Teenage Girl.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post / U.S.A. (Director: Desiree Akhavan, Screenwriters: Desiree Akhavan, Cecilia Frugiuele, Producers: Cecilia Frugiuele, Jonathan Montepare, Michael B. Clark, Alex Turtletaub) — In 1993, after being caught having sex with the prom queen, a girl is forced into a gay conversion therapy center. Based on Emily Danforth’s acclaimed and controversial coming-of-age novel. Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Sasha Lane, Forrest Goodluck, John Gallagher Jr., Jennifer Ehle. World Premiere