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?