As the Sundance Film Festival prepares to kick off on Thursday, it’s that time when all of Hollywood travels to the sleepy ski town of Park City, Utah, to indulge in the best that the independent film world has to offer.
Sundance is a great place to find original stories as well as the breakout stars who will be making their names in the mainstream in coming years (the directors of “Jurassic World” and “Creed” had their career starts at Sundance, believe it or not).
Here’s what we’re most excited to see at this year’s festival — much of which will be headed to a theatre near you at some point later this year.
TV has become more and more prevalent at film festivals, and Sundance is no different. One of the big premieres is this adaptation of a Stephen King novel in which a man time travels back to 1963 to stop the assassination of John F. Kennedy. James Franco plays the time-traveller. The show premieres on Hulu in February.
Actor Nate Parker's long-awaited biopic on Nat Turner, the African-American slave who led the most successful slave rebellion in American history, has the makings for one of the breakout hits of this year's festival (the title's play on the infamously racist silent film will certainly turn heads). Parker ('Beyond The Lights,' 'Non-Stop') wrote, directed, and stars as Turner, in an ambitious endeavour that could pay off big time.
Director Antonio Campos ('Simon Killer') looks at the life of one of media's most mysterious figures, TV reporter Christine Chubbuck of Sarasota, Florida, who in 1974 committed suicide on live television. In 'Christine,' Campos shows the pressures of a woman in the 1970s with Rebecca Hall playing Chubbuck as she struggles to find her place in the world.
The Christine Chubbuck story is explored in a second film at the festival, but in a completely different way. Documentary filmmaker Robert Greene ('Actress') investigates Chubbuck's life and final days using actress Kate Lyn Sheil ('House of Cards') to play the TV newswoman, in a mix of fact and fiction, leading to revelations about both Chubbuck and Sheil.
Touted as the first female-focused Wall Street drama, 'Equity' has Anna Gunn from 'Breaking Bad' as a senior investment banker who thrives in the cutthroat world of big money and egos. But when a controversial IPO comes on her radar, things change drastically.
Inspired by Steven Soderbergh's 2009 film staring Sasha Grey as a high-class Manhattan call girl, this new TV series from Starz follows a college law student who is introduced to the world of 'transactional relationships.'
We are thrust into the world of fraternity hazing in this drama, as we follow an incoming freshman who pledges the frat his brother (Nick Jonas) is in. The story reveals how far people will go for the sake of 'brotherhood.'
Werner Herzog has made films in the deepest, darkest jungles and at the ends of the earth, but his latest might be his most exploratory yet as he examines the internet. Collecting interviews with unique people in the computer world only Herzog could track down, the doc is likely to give you an experience of the internet unlike you've ever had before.
Before he became the King of Pop and a tabloid sensation, Michael Jackson was a rising star trying to set himself apart from his family band. Here Spike Lee uses archival footage, interviews, and footage of Michael himself to chronicle the early years of Jackson's greatness.
Hyped as ESPN's most ambitious documentary yet from its '30 for 30' series, this miniseries looks inside the life of O.J. Simpson from becoming a Hall of Fame football player to being a movie star to, finally, being the face of one of the most polarising criminal cases in American history.
What's sure to get a lot of attention because of its bizarre premise is this mystery piece featuring Paul Dano as a guy stranded on a deserted island waiting to die when a miracle washes ashore, a dead body (Daniel Radcliffe). The two embark on a journey to get off the island.
Netflix has already made some noise at Sundance 2016 and most people haven't even arrived yet. The streaming giant has snatched up this drama, which follows an independent-minded woman (Ellen Page) who 'rescues' a neglected baby and now must reach out to her mother to help with the child. This leads to an intense look at a wounded mother/daughter relationship.
Legendary documentary filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus ('The War Room') turn their lens on animal rights in their latest film. Following animal protection attorney Steven Wise, who for the last 30 years has been trying to seek personhood rights for animals (specifically chimpanzees), the filmmakers use masterful cinema verite style to explore this controversial subject.
Kevin Smith returns to Sundance with a movie for Millennials. He takes the convenience-store characters from his previous movie 'Tusk' -- who happen to be Smith's daughter Harley Quinn Smith and Johnny Depp's daughter Lily-Rose Depp -- to tell a fun teenage-night-out tale, Kevin Smith-style.
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