Los Angeles, CA — Sundance NEXT FEST takes it to the NEXT level with the announcement of seven films direct from the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, paired with three energizing musical performances. The fest lights up Los Angeles August 10-13 at The Theatre at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles, and this year will include presentation of the Institute’s Vanguard Awards to Quentin Tarantino and Dee Rees. This marks the fifth annual Sundance NEXT FEST and fourth consecutive year that The Theatre at Ace Hotel has hosted the festival. Tickets ($15-$35), as well as day and weekend passes and tickets to Thursday night's opening event, NEXT FEST After Dark, are now available at sundance.org/next. Proceeds benefit Sundance Institute’s year-round programs for independent artists.
John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival, said, “This year’s weekend festival offers everything from a Sundance throwback to our first-ever NEXT FEST episodic screening; the perfect blend to give Angelenos a taste of our Park City Festival. A majority of these movies, filmmakers and musicians are from Los Angeles, so it’s a great opportunity to showcase and celebrate hometown talent.”
The festival reaches new heists on Thursday, August 10 with NEXT FEST After Dark, presented by Acura, featuring a 25th anniversary screening of Reservoir Dogs on restored 35mm and presentation of the Institute’s Vanguard Leadership Award to Quentin Tarantino. The screening is supported by Cinespia and followed by an outdoor opening night party. Reservoir Dogs debuted at the 1992 Sundance Film Festival following Tarantino’s participation in the Institute’s Directors Lab and returned to its roots with a From the Collection screening at this year’s Festival. The party will include food, drinks, games, music and more, and all proceeds benefit the nonprofit Institute’s year-round programs for independent film and theatre artists. Tarantino is the fifth recipient of this award celebrating creativity and leadership in independent film, joining the likes of journalist and film critic Roger Ebert and actress and arts advocate Glenn Close.
Trevor Groth, Director of Programming for the Sundance Film Festival, said, “Reservoir Dogs debuted as the Festival’s most talked-about film in 1992 and 25 years later, it’s still a fresh, high-caliber thrillride, and more iconic than ever. I can’t think of a better way to kick off Sundance NEXT FEST than to showcase our history and what we’re all about.”
Sundance NEXT FEST continues on Friday with the LA premiere of absurd comedy Lemon directed by Janicza Bravo,with a performance by powerhouse vocalist Lizzo. Saturday’s lineup includes: Sundance NEXT FEST’s first-ever episodic selection — a special screening of seven episodes of the comedic drama Gente-fied, created by Marvin Lemus; the 2017 Sundance Film Festival’s Audience Award: NEXT, Presented by Adobe - winner Gook; and Bitch, starring Jason Ritter and Jaime King, paired with a performance by Sleigh Bells who just released their fourth LP, Jessica Rabbit. Sunday’s events include: the Los Angeles premieres of Dina, a documentary about an unconventional love story that took home the Grand Jury Prize in Park City; Alex Ross Perry’s latest film Golden Exits; and Michelle Morgan’s witty love letter to the city of angels, LA Times, accompanied by a live performance by LA-based duo Electric Guest, the band behind the hit “Dear to Me.” Additional program elements for the daytime screenings, including live Q&As with movie icons, will be announced.
Sundance alum Dee Rees, writer and director of Pariah, Bessie and Mudbound, will receive the Vanguard Award at Sundance NEXT FEST, celebrating an emerging artist with creative independence. Rees is an alumna of Sundance Screenwriters, Creative Producing and Directors Labs. She has been the recipient of Sundance Institute’s Time Warner Fellowship and Annenberg Film Fellowship and premiered two feature films at the Sundance Film Festival, Pariah in 2011 and Mudbound in 2017. The Vanguard Award includes a cash grant and mentorship from industry professionals and Institute staff. Rees will be the sixth recipient of this award; past recipients include Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild) and Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station). The Vanguard Award was founded in 2011 to mark the 30th anniversary of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program and its founding director, Michelle Satter.
NEXT DOOR will be open during the festival for guests to continue the party between screenings. Adjacent to The Theatre at Ace Hotel, NEXT DOOR is an outdoor space with food, drinks, games and more. Sundance NEXT FEST is an extension of the popular NEXT section at the Sundance Film Festival.
Sundance NEXT FEST supporters include: Principal Sponsors – Acura and Adobe; Media Sponsors - LA WEEKLY, Los Angeles Times, Mashable; and Supporting Sponsors – Allbirds, Beachside, Dolby Laboratories, Inc., FilmL.A., Inc., Hochstadter’s Slow & Low Rock & Rye, Stella Artois®, The Theatre at Ace Hotel, and Utah Office of Tourism and Film.
Thursday, August 10 • 7:30 p.m.
Reservoir Dogs / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Quentin Tarantino) — They were perfect strangers, assembled to pull off the perfect crime. Then their simple robbery explodes into a bloody ambush and the ruthless killers realize one of them is a police informant. But which one? This 25th anniversary screening will be presented on a 35mm print. Cast: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi, Lawrence Tierney, Michael Madsen. 25th ANNIVERSARY
Friday, August 11 • 8:00 p.m.
Lemon / U.S.A. (Director: Janicza Bravo, Screenwriters: Janicza Bravo, Brett Gelman) — Lemon: a person or thing that proves defective, imperfect, or unsatisfactory. A man whose blind girlfriend is leaving him, whose career is going nowhere and whose family is disappointed in him—Isaac Lachmann is 40. He doesn't know how he got there. Things were supposed to work out differently. Cast: Brett Gelman, Judy Greer, Michael Cera, Nia Long, Shiri Appleby, Fred Melamed. LOS ANGELES PREMIERE
Lizzo wields the kind of voice that’s right at home in soul, pop, hip-hop, R&B, rock and gospel. The vivacious and versatile vocalist’s impassioned delivery and dynamic range bonds the six tracks on her major label debut EP, Coconut Oil (Nice Life Recording Company/Atlantic Records). Lauded by Noisey, Entertainment Weekly, Paste, Rolling Stone, Spin, Idolator, and more, the EP boasted the hit “Good As Hell,” which was featured on the Original Soundtrack to Barbershop: The Next Cut and churned out over 7.3 million Spotify streams and 1.3 million YouTube views in less than six months.
Saturday, August 12 • 12:00 p.m.
Gente-fied / U.S.A. (Director, creator and co-writer: Marvin Lemus, Co-writer: Linda Yvette Chavez, Executive Producers: Charles D. King, Aaliyah Williams, America Ferrera) — Seven characters deal with the effects of change in L.A.'s Boyle Heights. Bicultural millennials and old-school business owners hustle to create spaces that celebrate their Latino identities—even while faced with rent hikes, a housing crisis, and a steady stream of outsiders threatening to gentrify their barrio. NEXT FEST will screen all seven episodes of this short-form episodic series. Cast: Edsson Morales, Alicia Sixtos, Victoria Ortiz, Yareli Arizmendi, Salvador Velez Jr, Rafael Sigler, Art Bonilla. LOS ANGELES PREMIERE
Saturday, August 12 • 4:00 p.m.
Gook / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Justin Chon) — Eli and Daniel—Korean American brothers who run a shoe store in Paramount, California—form an unlikely friendship with Kamilla, an 11-year-old African American girl. As Daniel dreams of becoming a recording artist and Eli struggles to keep the store afloat, LA’s racial tensions erupt during the infamous 1992 riots. Cast: Justin Chon, Simone Baker, David So, Curtiss Cook Jr., Sang Chon, Ben Munoz. Winner of the Audience Award: NEXT, Presented by Adobe at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.
Saturday, August 12 • 8:00 p.m.
Bitch / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Marianna Palka) — A woman snaps under crushing life pressures and assumes the psyche of a vicious dog. Her philandering, absentee husband is forced to become reacquainted with his four children and sister-in-law as they attempt to keep the family together during this bizarre crisis. Cast: Jason Ritter, Jaime King, Marianna Palka, Brighton Sharbino, Rio Mangini, Kingston Foster. LOS ANGELES PREMIERE
Sleigh Bells wasted no time after getting off the ground in 2009, releasing three blistering records in four years. Ready for a break from the road, they took their time on their fourth LP, Jessica Rabbit, writing and finishing the record several times only to realize that they wanted to push themselves and the music further. The result is an intense and vulnerable record that's highly evolved and completely uncategorizable, a major statement from a band wholly committed to advancing their dynamic, uncompromising vision. Jessica Rabbit is the first release on the band's own record label, Torn Clean.
Sunday, August 13 • 12:00 p.m.
Dina / U.S.A. (Directors: Dan Sickles, Antonio Santini) — An eccentric suburban woman and a Walmart door-greeter navigate their evolving relationship in this unconventional love story. LOS ANGELES PREMIERE. Winner of the U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.
Sunday, August 13 • 4:00 p.m.
Golden Exits / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Alex Ross Perry) — The arrival of a young foreign girl disrupts the lives and emotional balances of two Brooklyn families. Cast: Emily Browning, Adam Horovitz, Mary-Louise Parker, Lily Rabe, Jason Schwartzman, Chloë Sevigny. LOS ANGELES PREMIERE
Sunday, August 13 • 8:00 p.m.
L.A. Times / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Michelle Morgan) — In this classically styled comedy of manners set in Los Angeles, sophisticated thirtysomethings try to determine whether ideal happiness exists in coupledom or if the perfectly suited couple is actually just an urban myth. Cast: Michelle Morgan, Dree Hemingway, Jorma Taccone, Kentucker Audley, Margarita Levieva, Adam Shapiro. LOS ANGELES PREMIERE
Electric Guest – L.A.-based duo Asa Taccone and Matthew Compton – recently released Plural on Downtown/Interscope Records. The record finds the duo at the absolute top of their game, infusing their version of electronic r&b with an even more confident, adventurous spirit than their 2012 debut album, Mondo, displayed, which Rolling Stone called “a Beck-ian journey into L.A. slacker soul, full of hooky neon jams.” MTV named Electric Guest an Artist To Watch, NME tagged them as a Band Of The Week, and they made the rounds at festivals in addition to taking late night TV by storm with performances on Letterman, Fallon, Conan and more.
Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and new media to create and thrive. The Institute's signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Boyhood, Swiss Army Man, Manchester By the Sea, Brooklyn, Little Miss Sunshine, Life, Animated, Sonita, 20 Feet From Stardom, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Sin Nombre, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
The Theatre at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles
The Theatre at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles is Ace's loving re-animation of the historic United Artists Theater. Built in 1927 for the maverick film studio founded by Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks, The Theatre stands as a monument to a group of seminal American artists — modern iconoclasts striking out on their own. Ace’s restoration of this majestic space serves as a singular stage for art, film, dance and creative celebration in the heart of the Broadway Theater District’s vibrant modern renaissance. View all upcoming events at The Theatre at Ace Hotel DTLA at theatre.acehotel.com.
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Editor’s note: Press who wish to attend and cover Sundance NEXT FEST should complete the ticket request form by Wednesday, July 19.