Sundance 2018 Highlights Talent and Diversity

by Ana Maria Bahiana January 18, 2018
general view Sundance Film festival Egyptian Theater

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A trusted bellwether of the year in independent cinema, the 2018 Sundance Film Festival starts today, with a strong and diverse line-up – 38% from female directors, 32 % non-white- ready to repeat last year’s stellar performance, which yielded award-worthy titles such as Call Me By Your Name, Get Out and Mudbound, plus a roster of critically acclaimed films – The Big Sick, Patti Cake$, A Ghost Story and the documentaries An Inconvenient Documentary, Chasing Coral and Last Men in Aleppo.

The 2018 vintage includes several titles already attracting attention from distributors – a direct result of the fierce competition between traditional channels like HBO and the new streaming, ever-expanding streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. Among them, biopic Colette, starring three-time Golden Globe nominee Keira Knightley and Dominic West, directed by Wash Westmoreland (Still Alice); The Tale, from first-time feature director Jennifer Fox, starring Golden Globe winner Laura Dern; the existential sci-fi I Think We’re Alone Now, starring Golden Globe winner Peter Dinklage and directed by award-winning cinematographer (The Handmaid’s Tale, Frozen River) Reed Morano; the music-industry dramedy Juliet, Naked, based on the eponymous Nick Hornby novel, and starring Ethan Hawke and Rose Byrne, with Hesse Perezt at the helm; the drama Leave No Trace, first film from writer-director Debra Granik since the acclaimed Winter’s Bone, which launched Jennifer Lawrence’s career; and the period biopic Lizzie, starring Kristen Stewart and Chloë as would-be murderesses Lizzie Borden and Bridget Sullivan, directed by Craig William Macneill.

Films from the 2018 Sundance Festival

Park City stars: (clockwise from top left:) The Tale, Lizzie, Yardie and Juliet, Naked.

sundance film festival


Also drawing attention are two directorial debuts from Golden Globes’ A-list, winner Idris Elba, and nominee Paul Dano. Elba comes to Park City with Yardie, an adaptation of Victor Headley’s best seller about the criminal underbelly of the Jamaican immigrant community, and Dano brings Wildlife, a family drama written by Zoe Kazan and starring Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Among the titles with a secured distribution are Gus Van Sant’s Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot starring Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hills and Rooney Mara, a future Amazon release; and Netflix’s  Private Life, from The Savages’ director Tamara Jenkins, starring Golden Glove winner  Paul Giamatti and Kathryn Hahn.

As usual, this year’s offerings include documentaries, shorts, independent episodic narratives and a virtual-reality look into the making of Wes Anderson’s animated feature Isle of Dogs.

The 2018 Sundance Film Festival will run from January 18 to 28, in Park City, Utah. Follow us here for news and exclusive interviews