Sundance Thoughts and 10 Sundance films I’m looking forward to

Happy Monday everyone!

I’ve been dreaming of Sundance all weekend. Well I always dream of going to Park City around this time of year, but last year was the first time I had the audacity to submit my short film Hearts Want to Sundance Film Festival. Hey, dream big and shoot for the moon right? Well, I got the templated rejection email from Sundance Director John Cooper, which was courteous but it still stings no matter how nice they tried to word it… (basically it’s a big fat NO). They got over 13,500 submissions this year (about 8000 of them are short films!), so to say competition is fierce is putting it mildly! So on Sunday afternoon, before the big NFC game of Vikings VS Eagle, I listened to this insightful Adobe interview w/ Mr. Cooper and he’s got some inspiring words for new filmmakers.

I was following Twitter’s #Sundance hashtag and IMDb for the buzz-worthy films. I’m not doing a comprehensive Sundance post, but here are 10 films I’m looking forward to seeing:

* Signifies films directed by women

  1. Wildlife

    A boy witnesses his parent’s marriage falling apart after his mom finds another man.


    It’s Paul Dano‘s directorial debut and starring Carey Mulligan & Jake Gyllenhaal. Pretty strong reviews so far and why am I not surprised, so many great talents here in front and behind the camera. I’m always curious by actors’ directorial debut, too.

  2. Half the Picture (Doc)*

    HALF THE PICTURE is a documentary about the dismal number of women directors working in Hollywood, using the current EEOC investigation into discriminatory hiring practices as a framework to talk to successful women directors about their career paths, struggles, inspiration and hopes for the future.


    I don’t think I need to explain why I’m interested in this documentary. It’s as timely as ever and as a first time filmmaker, I definitely want to learn some insights and be inspired.

  3. Juliet, Naked

    Juliet, Naked is the story of Annie, the long-suffering girlfriend of Duncan, and her unlikely transatlantic romance with once revered, now faded, singer-songwriter, Tucker Crowe, who also happens to be the subject of Duncan’s musical obsession.


    I love this cast and the storyline appeals to me immediately. I think these three actors would bring the wit and laughters. I always like a good rom-com which is a rarity.

  4. Holiday*

    A love triangle featuring the trophy girlfriend of a petty drug lord, caught up in a web of luxury and violence in a modern dark gangster tale set in the beautiful port city of Bodrum on the Turkish Riviera.


    I read a review on Twitter saying it’s the darkest film at Sundance this year, oh my. Even this photo of a pretty woman in a bikini with bloody foot is so chilling.

  5. Puzzle

    Agnes, taken for granted as a suburban mother, discovers a passion for solving jigsaw puzzles which unexpectedly draws her into a new world – where her life unfolds in ways she could never have imagined.


    Nice to see underrated Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald in a leading role. Plus the story of someone discovering a new world is always intriguing.

  6. Colette

    The story of a marriage, Colette shows the lengths one woman must go to escape her husband’s control and claim her voice as an artist.

    Keira Knightley in ‘Colette’

    Always up for a good period drama and Colette is story of a woman who has been long denied her voice going to extraordinary lengths to reclaim it. Stories of female empowerment is always worth seeing.

  7. What They Had*

    A woman must fly back to her hometown when her Alzheimer’s-stricken mother wanders into a blizzard. The return home forces her to confront her past.


    Been a while since I saw Hilary Swank in anything and though Michael Shannon is everywhere these days, he’s an actor I’m always curious to see.

  8. Ophelia*

    A re-imagining of Hamlet, told from Ophelia’s perspective.


    Ah, finally a Hamlet adaptation from the perspective of the woman, the most famous Shakespeare women no less. I’m curious to see Daisy Ridley as Ophelia and Naomi Watts as Gertrude, the queen of Denmark and Ophelia’s mentor.

  9. The Kindergarten Teacher*

    A kindergarten teacher in New York becomes obsessed with one of her students who she believes is a child prodigy.


    Maggie Gyllenhaal
    seems suited for complicated woman roles such as this one. Based 2014 Israeli film of the same name, it’s a rare remake I’m actually intrigued by.

  10. Yardie
    Adaptation of the 1993 novel ‘Yardie’ about a young Jamaican’s rise from the streets of London to the top of the drug-dealing underworld

    Another actor directorial debut I can’t wait to see! I didn’t even know anything about this project, but given I LOVE Idris Elba as an actor, I’m super curious to see his talent behind the camera. He was born in Hackney where the story is set, and the title refers to a slang name originally given to occupants of “government yards” — social housing projects with very basic amenities.


So have you been following Sundance this year? Which film(s) are you most looking forward to?

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26 thoughts on “Sundance Thoughts and 10 Sundance films I’m looking forward to

  1. I have not been following movie festivals, but the selection in this one looks excellent! I’m super intrigued with Wildlife and Half the Picture, can’t wait to see them in the big screens 🙂

  2. I like what’s coming out at Sundance as there’s always something interesting out there as it’s a little hard to choose in what I want to see though there is Gus Van Sant’s new film with Joaquin Phoenix that I want to see despite the fact that the film is getting mixed reviews.

    1. HI Steven! Yeah I’m always curious what comes out of Sundance. I read about Gus’ new film about Joaquin but he’s not a filmmaker I’m usually into.

  3. Brittani

    Wildlife was already on my watch list as I love the cast and am a massive fan of Paul Dano. All of these sound great, I’ll probably watch them all.

    Although wtf were they think with that wig on Daisy Ridley?

    1. Paul Dano is such a lovely guy. I met him once at a screening for Ruby Sparks and said hello, he’s so unassuming.

      Ahah, well it’s Ophelia wig, I actually think she looks ok.

  4. I haven’t been following Sundance in a like 10 years, I was there back in 2004 or 2005 and many of the films I saw were average to awful. Ever since then I kind of got turned off by the festival and I think it lost its prestiges reputation when people like Paris Hilton and other reality “stars” decided to show up and partied there. Maybe things have changed in the last 10 years or so but again I haven’t been paying much attention so I wouldn’t know.

    Sorry to hear your short movie didn’t get accepted, it’s a tough festival to get in.

    1. Oh I’m ok with it not getting into Sundance, even as I submitted it I knew the chance of me getting hit by lightning indoor is probably bigger than getting accepted there, ahah.

      Hmmm, I don’t see people like Paris Hilton and reality stars at Sundance, but then again they can’t control who goes to the parties. I think the films that get in are usually high quality indie stuff, it’s a well-respected festival.

      1. I don’t think Paris Hilton are partying there anymore, this was in the mid 2000s when she and other so called reality “stars” were popular. But you’re right, it’s not the festival’s fault who goes there, I just lost interest in the festival once it became more popular and many of the films I saw back then were pretty bad. Like I said, maybe things have changed now and hopefully there are some good films coming out of there.

    1. I just read about The Tale. It sounds intriguing but not something I’m super keen on seeing based on the subject matter. But Laura Dern is always great to watch.

  5. Good piece Ruth. Retrospectively I’m often finding films I admire were first championed at Sundance. Wildlife definitely jumps out with the cast Paul Dano has assembled. It’ll be fascinating to see what sort of director Dano turns out to be.

      1. wanghui138138

        I saw Ophelia and it was a bit underwhelming, haha. I didn’t see the other films that you listed, but I saw Pass-Over by Spike Lee as well as The Tale by Jennifer Fox!!

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