Sundance 2018: Five Films to Watch Out For

In Park City, Utah, it’s festival time once again.

Sundance Film Festival kicked off today, January 18. The 10-day event will include a slate of films seeking distribution, but this process isn’t as straightforward as it once was. With box office releases competing against Netflix and Amazon originals, traditional distribution channels have been rattled by a changing industry landscape.

The cultural shift in the movie industry is a major factor, too. Last year, New York-based company the Orchard acquired  I Love You, Daddy after its run at the Toronto International Film Festival, only to pull the film just a week before the release date when Louis C.K., the film’s director, was accused of sexual misconduct. As more and more men in Hollywood are being held accountable for their actions, the Orchard’s experience with I Love You, Daddy is enough to give pause to even much larger companies. 

Despite this uncertainty, Sundance gives us an exciting glimpse into the year ahead. Last year’s Sundance releases included Get Out, Call Me by Your Name, and Mudbound, all of which are now major contenders in the current Oscars race. Which films will we be talking about when 2019’s award season rolls around? Here are our top five guesses:

1. The Tale.

Directed by: Jennifer Fox
Starring: Elizabeth Debicki, Laura Dern, John Heard
A woman re-examines one of her earliest sexual experiences.

2.  Wildlife.

Directed by: Paul Dano
Starring: Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal
An adaptation of a Richard Ford novel, Wildlife tells the story of a marriage falling apart.

3. Come Sunday.

Directed by: Joshua Marston
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jason Segel, Lakeith Stanfield
An evangelical preacher is ostracized and declared a heretic by his own church.

4. Lizzie.

Directed by: Craig William Macneill
Starring: Kristen Stewart and Chloë Sevigny
Chloë Sevigny plays Lizzie Borden, infamous for murdering her parents. Kristen Stewart plays her lover.

5. Blindspotting.

Directed by: Carlos López Estrada
Starring: Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs
In the notoriously rough city of Oakland, a man misses curfew in the final days of his probation.

These are just a few of the films that are piquing interest on this year’s Sundance schedule. (And we haven’t even touched the documentaries: We’re especially excited about RBG and Akicita: The Battle of Standing Rock.) The full lineup is available for your perusal on the festival’s website.

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Hillary M. Miller

Hillary is a contributing writer with Cinema 35. A Chicago native, Hillary earned her bachelor's degree in Anthropology with a minor in Film and Media Production from Arizona State University. She has been a full-time freelance writer and editor since 2016.

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