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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

10 Films To Look Out For at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival

We are deep in the throes of the 2016-2017 award season, with qualifying films still slated to be released in theaters, but the Sundance Film Festival is already looking ahead at what could be in the running for next year with its announcement of the U.S. Dramatic and Documentary Competitions, the World Cinema Dramatic and Documentary Competitions, and the NEXT section. Straddling political dramas, family dramas, dramedies, exposés, documentaries and more (including its newly instated climate programming, which explores the changing climate conditions across the globe), featuring both well-known and still-to-be-known actors, the festival is gearing up to unveil an impressive lineup.

I've gone through the list and narrowed it down to ten films I'll be stalking from here until the festival kicks off on January 19:


BURNING SANDS, U.S.A. / World Premiere
Director: Gerard McMurray
Screenwriters: Christine Berg, Gerard McMurray) 
Synopsis: Deep into a fraternity's Hell Week, a favored pledge is torn between honoring a code of silence or standing up against the intensifying violence of underground hazing. 
Cast: Trevor Jackson, Alfre Woodard, Steve Harris, Tosin Cole, DeRon Horton, Trevante Rhodes 

CROWN HEIGHTS, U.S.A. / World Premiere
Director and screenwriter: Matt Ruskin
Synopsis: When Colin Warner is wrongfully convicted of murder, his best friend, Carl King, devotes his life to proving Colin's innocence. Adapted from This American Life, this is the incredible true story of their harrowing quest for justice. 
Cast: Keith Stanfield, Nnamdi Asomugha, Natalie Paul, Bill Camp, Nestor Carbonell, Amari Cheatom. 

INGRID GOES WEST, U.S.A. / World Premiere
Director: Matt Spicer
Screenwriters: Matt Spicer, David Branson Smith
Synopsis: A young woman becomes obsessed with an Instagram lifestyle blogger and moves to Los Angeles to try and befriend her in real life. Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Wyatt Russell, Billy Magnussen

NOVITIATE, U.S.A. / World Premiere
Director and screenwriter: Maggie Betts
Synopsis: In the early 1960s, during the Vatican II era, a young woman training to become a nun struggles with issues of faith, sexuality and the changing church. Cast: Margaret Qualley, Melissa Leo, Julianne Nicholson, Dianna Agron, Morgan Saylor

WALKING OUT, U.S.A. / World Premiere
Directors and screenwriters: Alex Smith, Andrew Smith
Synopsis: A father and son struggle to connect on any level until a brutal encounter with a predator in the heart of the wilderness leaves them both seriously injured. If they are to survive, the boy must carry his father to safety. 
Cast: Matt Bomer, Josh Wiggins, Bill Pullman, Alex Neustaedter, Lily Gladstone


CASTING JONBENET, U.S.A., Australia / World Premiere
Director: Kitty Green
Synopsis: The unsolved death of six-year-old American beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey remains the world’s most sensational child murder case. Over 15 months, responses, reflections and performances were elicited from the Ramsey’s Colorado hometown community, creating a bold work of art from the collective memories and mythologies the crime inspired


Director: Catherine Bainbridge
Synopsis: This powerful documentary about the role of Native Americans in contemporary music history—featuring some of the greatest music stars of our time—exposes a critical missing chapter, revealing how indigenous musicians helped shape the soundtracks of our lives and, through their contributions, influenced popular culture

WINNIE,  France / World Premiere
Director: Pascale Lamche
Synopsis: While her husband served a life sentence, paradoxically kept safe and morally uncontaminated, Winnie Mandela rode the raw violence of apartheid, fighting on the front line and underground. This is the untold story of the mysterious forces that combined to take her down, labeling him a saint, her, a sinner


A GHOST STORY,  U.S.A. / World Premiere
Director and screenwriter: David Lowery
Synopsis: This is the story of a ghost and the house he haunts. Cast: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, Will Oldham, Sonia Acevedo, Rob Zabrecky, Liz Franke

GOOK,  U.S.A. / World Premiere
Director and screenwriter: Justin Chon
Synopsis: Eli and Daniel, two Korean American brothers who own a struggling women's shoe store, have an unlikely friendship with 11-year-old Kamilla. On the first day of the 1992 L.A. riots, the trio must defend their store—and contemplate the meaning of family, their personal dreams and the future. 
Cast: Justin Chon, Simone Baker, David So, Curtiss Cook Jr., Sang Chon, Ben Munoz

For the full list of films screening in these sections at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, visit their website. The Festival hosts screenings in Park City, Salt Lake City and at Sundance Mountain Resort in Utah January 19-29.


Brittani Burnham said...

Ingrid Goes West and Burning Sands sound interesting. Berlin Syndrome, which is in the World category is one I'd like to see too.

Courtney Young said...

I've always thought that Keith Stanfield would have a big career after I saw him in Short Term 12; I honestly thought his performance was better than Brie Larson. 2017 looks very promising!!!

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