Los Angeles, CA — The snow-packed gems of the Sundance Film Festival will thaw in the summer heat of downtown LA with Sundance NEXT FEST, August 12-14 at The Theatre at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles. The program, announced today, features some of the most talented new film and music artists on the verge of breaking out. Tickets ($15-25) go on sale to Sundance Institute members today and all others tomorrow at sundance.org/next.
Sundance NEXT FEST will present the Los Angeles premieres of six new independent films from the 2016 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, as well as a showcase of comedy short films. Each is paired with a music act, live performance or conversation with an icon of independent cinema.
The festival kicks off Friday with the premiere of Lovesong, an offbeat love story starring Riley Keough and Jena Malone, and a performance by Shamir. Saturday’s lineup includes: coming-of-age comedy Morris from America and a local teen talent show, hosted by Craig Robinson; the edgy, New York-set White Girl; and the premiere of intense fraternity drama Goat, starring Nick Jonas and paired with Sunflower Bean, called “NYC’s Coolest Young Band” by Rolling Stone. Sunday’s events include: a showcase of comedy short films from the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, hosted by comedian Nick Kroll and followed by a Short Film Master Class for filmmakers; the premiere of highly acclaimed, Iranian horror film Under the Shadow; and the festival closes with the wild and debaucherous The Greasy Strangler, accompanied by a live performance from New Orleans’ “Queen of Bounce,” Big Freedia and the world premiere of Flying Lotus’, aka steve’s, directorial debut, the short film Royal.
John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival, said, “This year’s Sundance NEXT FEST showcases stories from all over that still hit close to home. Tied to music performances by breakout artists and extended conversations with prolific filmmakers, this weekend celebration is an indie oasis in a summer of big-budget blockbusters.”
Trevor Groth, Director of Programming for the Sundance Film Festival, said, “Sundance NEXT FEST has become a summer staple for independent film and music fans in Los Angeles who want to experience what’s new and next in culture. This is our biggest and weirdest lineup to date, and I can’t wait for people to see what we’ve dreamt up this year.”
Sundance NEXT FEST this year includes NEXT DOOR, a free outdoor entertainment venue next to the Theatre for attendees to mingle and enjoy a drink, snacks and sponsor activities before or after a screening. Also, just before NEXT FEST kicks off, NIGHT BEFORE NEXT, a celebration event on August 11, will benefit the Institute. Nate Parker (The Birth of a Nation) will receive the Institute’s Vanguard Award during cocktails and dinner, and the outdoor party afterwards will feature a live musical performance by White Sea, fronted by Morgan Kibby, formerly of M83. Tickets to the outdoor party start at $150 and include an Institute membership at some levels.
Members who support the non-profit Sundance Institute have access to a host of benefits related to Sundance NEXT FEST, including the ability to purchase tickets today, before they go on sale to the public tomorrow. Members also get special seating at screenings, are invited to a party during Sundance NEXT FEST and are eligible to win a prize package including a three-night stay at the Ace Hotel plus airfare. New this year, members attending the Downtown & Dirty Shorts program on Sunday have the opportunity to participate in an intimate conversation with Director of Programming Trevor Groth and Programmer Charlie Reff about the Sundance NEXT FEST program and the festival’s genesis. To join, visit sundance.org/membership.
Sundance NEXT FEST is an extension of the popular NEXT section at the Sundance Film Festival, which showcases stylistically adventurous and bold films including Obvious Child, Tangerine, James White, Nasty Baby, and Escape from Tomorrow.
Sundance NEXT FEST supporters include: Principal Sponsors – Acura and Adobe; Major Sponsor – Kickstarter; Media Sponsor – Los Angeles Times; and Supporting Sponsors – Beachside Films, BitTorrent, Dolby Laboratories, Inc., FilmL.A., Inc., Stella Artois®, sweetgreen, The Theatre at Ace Hotel, Tequila Don Julio™, Trinchero Family Estates, and Utah Film Commission.
Friday, August 12 • 8:00 p.m.
Lovesong / U.S.A. (Director: So Yong Kim, Screenwriters: So Yong Kim, Bradley Rust Gray) — Neglected by her husband, Sarah embarks on an impromptu road trip with her young daughter and her best friend, Mindy. Along the way, the dynamic between the two friends intensifies before circumstances force them apart. Years later, Sarah attempts to rebuild their intimate connection in the days before Mindy’s wedding. Cast: Jena Malone, Riley Keough, Brooklyn Decker, Amy Seimetz, Ryan Eggold, Rosanna Arquette. LOS ANGELES PREMIERE
Shamir — 20-year-old Shamir’s androgyne croon recalls Nina Simone and moves in and out of soul, r&b, house, disco, rap and pop – in the tradition of Prince, Grace Jones, David Bowie and Madonna. His albums include “Northtown” and “Ratchet,” an ecstatic dance-pop record that sparkles with the grit of a desert geode.
Saturday, August 13 • Noon
Morris from America / U.S.A., Germany (Director and screenwriter: Chad Hartigan) — Craig Robinson stars as the father of 13-year-old Morris; though they have just relocated to Germany, Morris won’t let anything stop his pursuit of hip-hop stardom and the girl of his dreams in this hilarious and heartwarming coming-of-age comedy. Cast: Markees Christmas, Craig Robinson, Carla Juri, Lina Keller, Jakub Gierszał, Levin Henning. Winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: U.S. Dramatic and the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Individual Performance – Craig Robinson at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. LOS ANGELES PREMIERE
Followed by a talent show featuring participants from Los Angeles youth arts organizations. Hosted by Morris from America star Craig Robinson.
Saturday, August 13 • 4:00 p.m.
White Girl / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Elizabeth Wood) — Summer, New York City. A college girl falls hard for a guy she just met. After a night of partying goes wrong, she goes to wild extremes to get him back. Cast: Morgan Saylor, Brian ‘Sene’ Marc, Justin Bartha, Chris Noth, India Menuez, Adrian Martinez. LOS ANGELES PREMIERE
Followed by a conversation with director and screenwriter Elizabeth Wood and a special guest.
Saturday, August 13 • 8:00 p.m.
Goat / U.S.A. (Director: Andrew Neel, Screenwriters: David Gordon Green, Andrew Neel, Michael Roberts) — Reeling from a terrifying assault, a 19-year-old boy pledges his brother’s fraternity in an attempt to prove his manhood. What happens there, in the name of “brotherhood,” tests both the boys and their relationship in brutal ways. Cast: Nick Jonas, Ben Schnetzer, Virginia Gardner, Danny Flaherty, Austin Lyon. LOS ANGELES PREMIERE
Sunflower Bean — Sunflower Bean find magic within friction. The New York trio’s full-length debut album, Human Ceremony, emerges at the intersection of dreamy modern psychedelica and urgent, fuzzed-out bliss. That push-and-pull colors the aural tapestry of these three musicians called “NYC’s Coolest Young Band” by Rolling Stone.
Sunday, August 14 • Noon
Downtown & Dirty Shorts, Hosted by Nick Kroll — A wide-ranging showcase of some of the funniest short films from the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, hosted by one of the funniest guys we know: Nick Kroll. The Festival is widely considered the premier showcase for short films and the launchpad for many now-prominent independent filmmakers. Screening at Sundance NEXT FEST are:
- Affections (Director and screenwriter: Bridey Elliott)
- The Procedure (Director and screenwriter: Calvin Lee Reeder), winner of the Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction
- A Reasonable Request (Director: Andrew Laurich, Screenwriters: Gabriel Miller, Andrew Laurich)
- Thunder Road (Director and screenwriter: Jim Cummings), winner of the Short Film Grand Jury Prize
- Too Legit (Director and screenwriter: Frankie Shaw)
Sunday, August 14 • 2:00 p.m.
Short Film Master Class — The Short Film Master Class is a half-day event of panel discussions and Q&As with filmmakers and Sundance Institute Short Film Programmers, providing real world advice on the art of making shorts, focusing on narrative storytelling. The event will conclude with a networking reception. Tickets are $75 and include access to Downtown & Dirty Shorts at noon.
Sunday, August 14 • 4:00 p.m.
Under the Shadow / United Kingdom, Jordan, Qatar (Director and screenwriter: Babak Anvari) — Tehran, 1988: As the Iran-Iraq War rumbles into its eighth year, a mother and daughter are slowly torn apart by the bombing campaigns on the city coupled with the country’s bloody revolution. As they struggle to stay together amidst these terrors, a mysterious evil stalks through their apartment. Cast: Narges Rashidi, Avin Manshadi, Bobby Naderi, Ray Haratian, Arash Marandi. LOS ANGELES PREMIERE
Followed by a conversation between director and screenwriter Babak Anvari and a special guest.
Sunday, August 14 • 8:00 p.m.
Royal / (Director: Flying Lotus aka steve) — Unearthed from Los Angeles’s worst quake nightmare. The story of Royal begins where the curses of human survival have left off. Inside the dark rooms and dim minds of Missy and Kenneth. Some of the strangest secrets find their way out from behind the curtain, revealing wounds that may never heal. WORLD PREMIERE
The Greasy Strangler / U.S.A. (Director: Jim Hosking, Screenwriters: Jim Hosking, Toby Harvard) — When Big Ronnie and his son Brayden meet lone female tourist Janet on Big Ronnie’s Disco Walking Tour—the best and only disco walking tour in the city—a fight for Janet’s heart erupts between father and son, and the infamous Greasy Strangler is unleashed. Cast: Michael St. Michaels, Sky Elobar, Elizabeth De Razzo, Gil Gex, Jesse Keen, Joe David Walters. LOS ANGELES PREMIERE
Big Freedia — Known as the “Queen of Bounce,” Big Freedia is a NOLA-based rapper who’s brought the Bounce movement — a vibrant twist on hip-hop — to a world-wide stage with her hit reality show on Fuse TV. Featured earlier this year on Beyoncé’s “Formation” track, Big Freedia’s third full-length studio album is due out this fall.
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 Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Sin Nombre, The Invisible War, The Square, Dirty Wars, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles
Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles makes its home in the historic United Artists building in Downtown LA. Built in 1927 for the maverick film studio, the ornate, storied and vibrant Theatre and the 14-story Spanish Gothic office tower that fronts it have been lovingly retrofitted into a modern hotel – enlivening the building’s historical soul with the scrupulous attention to detail that Ace has built its reputation on. It’s the kind of project that we dream about, and we’re honored to stand as a spiritual anchor at the heart of the Broadway Theater District’s vibrant modern renaissance.
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Editor’s note: For images, visit sundance.org/images. Press who wish to attend and cover Sundance NEXT FEST should complete the ticket request form at http://bit.ly/2016nextfest by Wednesday, July 20.