Cinemacy is excited to be returning to Park City, Utah to cover the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, kicking off a new year in cinema. Realizing that many of the movies seen here won’t get a release until later in the year, here’s a compiled list of related movies from the directors you love that we recommend you watch while you wait.
6 years ago, Dee Rees’ breakout debut “Pariah” was a sensation at Sundance and continues to find new audiences as a rare portrayal of queer youth. Rees has gone on to direct for TV and segments of anthologies, but her second feature has yet to come out until now. “Mudbound” will be in the premieres section of the festival and looks to have plenty to offer. Before that one makes it to your home, catch up on what got her career off the ground.
Pariah is available to stream on Netflix
The One I Love
Three years ago Charlie McDowell’s directorial debut was a provocative and unmissable entry into the Sundance dramatic competition. It represented a storyteller who could combine high concepts with indie aesthetics and not miss a beat. His second film, “The Discovery,” will premiere at Sundance and I have strong hope for the next chapter in his career – be sure to watch “The One I Love” if you haven’t yet!
The One I Love is available to stream on Amazon
An Inconvenient Truth [pictured] & Chasing Ice
It’s a rarity for independent films, especially documentaries, to get sequels, but this year we have two! If this doesn’t show the mass urgency (and lack of needed follow through) on the current worldwide environmental crisis, then I don’t know what does. Before the latest comes out, if you haven’t already, be sure to check out these Oscar-winning and Oscar-nominated documentaries, both of which are essential educations for all.
An Inconvenient Truth is available to rent on Amazon
Chasing Ice is available to rent on Amazon
Kogonada Video Essays
Of all the items on the list, I’m most excited about this entry, as for the first time ever a film director at Sundance started their career as an online video essayist! I’m a huge fan of the medium and new creator myself, but Kogonada is one of the essential creators. You can view his videos online ahead of his new film “Columbus,” breaking new ground from online creators crossing into the major leagues.
Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World
Werner Herzog doesn’t have a film at this year’s festival, but he did release 2 documentaries last year so who’s complaining? A Sundance 2015 alumni, “Lo” is a stunning dive into the fringes of the Internet, how it’s affected (and in some cases ruined or reinvigorated) people’s lives, all remaining in Herzog’s signature inquisitive style. From the birth of the Internet, where the first word ever sent was an accident (find out what it is in the doc), to a modern phenomenon that consumes most of our lives, Herzog’s take on this semi-sentient concept comes highly recommended.
“Lo” is available to rent on Netflix
A Sundance alumni that entered new foray about realistically and comedically depicting abortion in cinema (notably from a female perspective), director Gillian Robespierre is back this year with “Landline”, and I wouldn’t be surprised if her new film feels as fresh and unheard as her last.
Obvious Child is available to stream on Amazon
Hello My Name Is Doris
Last year, this indie feature starring Sally Field was one of the few sleeper hits of the limited releases, enough that Field is even a dark horse Oscar contender for her comedic role. The director, Michael Showalter, is best known as one of the writers for “Wet Hot American Summer,” but will be premiering at Sundance for the first time with his new film, “The Big Sick.”
Hello My Name Is Doris is available to rent on Amazon
I’ll See You in My Dreams
A Sundance alum returning to the US Dramatic competition is Brett Haley, whose previous film “I’ll See You in My Dreams” debuted very quietly at Sundance 2015, but went on to become a theatrical hit due to its representation of the 60+ demographic (you may be seeing a trend here in terms of which indies make money in theaters). His new film “The Hero” reunites him with Sam Elliott and will debut at the festival this year – catch up on their first collaboration in the meanwhile.
I’ll See You in My Dreams is available to stream on Amazon
Infinitely Polar Bear
Maya Forbes directorial debut, “Infinitely Polar Bear,” premiered at Sundance 3 years ago and was a favorite among indie film lovers, even reaching the near top of Jasper’s top 10 released in 2015 (it premiered at Sundance 2014). She’s back with a second feature with “The Polka King,” and I’m excited just knowing it’s the same director behind this last film.
Infinitely Polar Bear is available to stream on Starz
The People vs. George Lucas [pictured] & Psycho
Combining original shot interviews and submitted fan videos, “The People vs. George Lucas” is the ultimate requiem for the Star Wars fan still trying to make sense of what the heck happened to their franchise. Since its release, JJ Abrams has taken over from JJ Binks and it may have restored peace in the galaxy. Nonetheless, this is a fascinating look at fandom and how intensely it can be affected by a single franchise. Director Alexandre O. Philippe is back in cinema examination mode with “78/52,” looking at less than 2 minutes of movie history, the shower scene in “Psycho” that changed everything. We hope you’ve already seen “Psycho” but if you haven’t, run to the nearest Blockbuster (ha), and check out Philippe’s earlier doc “People vs. George.”
The People vs. George Lucas is available to rent on Amazon
Psycho is available to rent on Amazon
One of my top 10 of 2015 and an absolutely explosive verite documentary, border saga “Cartel Land” established Matthew Heineman as an essential new voice in nonfiction film. He’s back at Sundance with “City of Ghosts”, which promises to similarly transport us to a dangerous part of the world we’d otherwise know little about.
“Cartel Land” is available to stream on Netflix
Green Room [pictured] & Blue Ruin
Director Jeremy Saulnier is an indie favorite with two impressive back-to-back thrillers premiering at Sundance, “Blue Ruin” and “Green Room,” the latter even appearing on Ryan’s Top 10 of 2016. Both star one of Saulnier’s childhood friends, Macon Blair, who excitingly is stepping behind the camera to direct a film in competition at Sundance this year, “I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore.” We love his work as an actor and he’s an essential new voice for independent cinema, so here’s hoping he can continue to find success at the helm. Catch his terrific (and polar opposite) performances in this pair of thrillers in the meantime.
Green Room is available to stream on Amazon
Blue Ruin is available to stream on Amazon
-The Skeleton Twins (Craig Johnson, “Wilson”)
-People Places Things (Jim Strouse, “The Incredible Jessica James”)
-Sicario /Hell or High Water (writer Taylor Sheridan, “Wind River”)
-Black Panthers / Jonestown (Stanley Nelson, “Tell Them We Are Rising”)
-A Bigger Splash (Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name”)
-Ain’t Them Bodies Saints / Pete’s Dragon (David Lowery, “A Ghost Story”)