Brace yourself. In a break from previous years, when the lineup was divided up and revealed section by section over several days, the Sundance Film Festival has unveiled its entire feature program in a single announcement, touting 110 films — 99 of them world premieres — set to screen in Park City next month, where the festival will unspool from Jan. 18-28.
While that may sound like a lot of a movies, it’s actually a few smaller than the previous edition, which included 118 features, just as the pool of submissions shrunk slightly (to 3,901, down 4% from 4,068 a year earlier), although the difference will be more than compensated for by the addition of a new “Indie Episodic” TV section, to be announced next Monday.
In the meantime, there’s plenty to digest among the features, which cover a wide range of genres and styles, while demonstrating conversation-setting engagement with a number of contemporary themes, from police brutality (day one premiere “Blindspotting,” multi-perspective “Monsters and Men”) to sexual abuse (pedophilia survivor’s story “The Tale,” homosexual conversion therapy memoir “The Miseducation of Cameron Post”).
“One of the things we observed this year was the ongoing awareness — by audiences and the industry and the press — of the need for alternative voices and points of view in this medium,” observed festival director John Cooper. “That has long been a hallmark of independent film, but it’s really the increase in the number of personal stories [from those who didn’t have a voice before] that we’ve noticed the most over the last couple of years as we program the festival.”
This year’s edition includes films from 47 first-time directors, representing 29 countries, including two debuts from actors-turned-directors: Paul Dano’s “Wildlife” and Idris Elba’s “Yardie,” both adapted from novels, and Rupert Everett’s Oscar Wilde biopic “The Happy Prince” (not counting Ethan Hawke, whose third narrative feature, “Blaze,” is the actor-director’s first to debut at Sundance). But even Hawke isn’t the most experienced helmer in U.S. dramatic competition. That honor goes to Chile’s Sebastián Silva, whose “Tyrel” marks his sixth film to play Sundance.
(Excerpt) Read More at: Yahoo-Variety