Los Angeles, CA — A tidal wave of new ideas washes ashore for Sundance NEXT FEST at The Theatre at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles this weekend, including newly added special guests, three world premiere music videos and a full-body, mind-blowing virtual reality flight simulator, Birdly. Sundance NEXT FEST, August 7-9, is a weekend celebration of the renegade spirit of independent artists, featuring what’s new and next in film and music. Tickets ($15-25) are on sale now at sundance.org/next.
Sundance NEXT FEST combines film and music in a way unlike any other festival — including with three world premiere music videos: Superhumanoid’s music video for Anxious in Venice, premiering Friday during Mistress America with Sky Ferreira; premiering Saturday during Entertainment and followed by a solo performance by Sharon Van Etten is HEALTH’s album trailer for DEATH MAGIC, directed by acclaimed graphic designer, title designer, and editor Pablo Ferro, who has worked alongside some of the most respected filmmakers of all time including Stanley Kubrick, Hal Ashby and Tim Burton; and an experimental short film by Eddie Alcazar with soundtrack by Flying Lotus, FUCKKKYOUUU, premiering Sunday during Turbo Kid with back-to-back DJ sets by Neon Indian and Toro Y Moi.
Aubrey Plaza (Life After Beth) and Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) will lead a conversation with Finders Keepers directors Bryan Carberry and Clay Tweel and subject John Woodafter Saturday’s screening, and Robert Townsend will participate in an extended conversation with filmmaker Michael J. Larnell following Sunday’s screening of Cronies. Both films make their Los Angeles premiere at the festival.
Virtual reality, long featured in the New Frontier exhibition at the Sundance Film Festival, now joins Sundance NEXT FEST with Max Rheiner’s Oculus Rift-based virtual reality installation Birdly. Birdly simulates the experience of being a bird from a first-person perspective through a full-body virtual reality setup. All attendees can experience this installation, which will be located at The Theatre at Ace Hotel Mezzanine, at no additional cost through an onsite waitlist system.
Among the filmmakers, cast and musicians expected to attend Sundance NEXT FEST are Rick Alverson, Noah Baumbach, Bryan Carberry, Munro Chambers, Greta Gerwig, HEALTH, Tim Heidecker, Lola Kirke, Michael Larnell, François Simard, Superhumanoids, Gregg Turkington, Clay Tweel, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell.
Sundance NEXT FEST is supported by Principal Sponsors – Acura and Adobe; Major Sponsor – Kickstarter; Media Sponsor – KCRW; and Supporting Sponsors – Beachside Films, Dolby, FilmL.A., Inc., ShopHouse, Shudder, Skullcandy®, Southwest Airlines, Stella Artois®, The Theatre at Ace Hotel and the Utah Film Commission. As part of their presence at the festival, Adobe and Kickstarter will host panels open to the public on Saturday and Sunday afternoons; For details, visit sundance.org/next.
Friday, August 7, 8:00 p.m.
ANXIOUS IN VENICE (Band: Superhumanoids, Director: Taylor Cohen) — It’s 4:37 a.m. and someone straps a camera to your chest. Nearby, your hungover bandmate sips gas station coffee and the director yells about missing the sunrise. You hate performance music videos but you’re sure this one will be different. Then again, when you’ve been up all night and are shooting without a permit — you can’t be sure of anything. Welcome to ANXIOUS IN VENICE. Music Video. WORLD PREMIERE
Mistress America / U.S.A. (Director: Noah Baumbach, Screenwriters: Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig) — Tracy is a lonely college freshman in New York, having neither the exciting university experience nor the glamorous metropolitan lifestyle she envisioned. But when she is taken in by her soon-to-be stepsister, Brooke – a resident of Times Square and adventurous gal about town – she is rescued from her disappointment and seduced by Brooke’s alluringly mad schemes. Cast: Greta Gerwig, Lola Kirke. LOS ANGELES PREMIERE
Sky Ferreira — Sky Ferreira has quickly established herself as one of today’s most exciting new faces in music, film and fashion. She first signed to Capitol Records at the early age of 15 where she eventually wrote & executive produced her critically acclaimed debut album, Night Time, My Time. As an actress, she has worked with many independent filmmakers including Eli Roth, Liza Johnson & Matthew Porterfield. Sky is currently recording her highly anticipated new album, Masochism.
Saturday, August 8, 3:30 p.m.
Finders Keepers / U.S.A. (Directors: Bryan Carberry, Clay Tweel) — Recovering addict and amputee John Wood finds himself in a stranger-than-fiction battle to reclaim his mummified leg from Southern entrepreneur Shannon Whisnant, who found it in a grill he bought at an auction and believes it, therefore, to be his rightful property. LOS ANGELES PREMIERE
Followed by a conversation between directors Bryan Carberry and Clay Tweel, subject John Wood and special guests Aubrey Plaza and Thomas Middleditch.
Saturday, August 8, 8:00 p.m.
DEATH MAGIC (Band: HEALTH, Director: Pablo Ferro) — The sun slowly sets; its beauty soundtracked by a serene yet melancholy sound. As the last rays of light slip behind the clouds, a violent transformation takes place. The music, ever-changing and explosive, creates the imagery… supergraphic and never seen before! The quick cuts in sync with the music, introduce the emotional range and complexity of HEALTH’S new album DEATH MAGIC. Album Trailer. WORLD PREMIERE
Entertainment / U.S.A. (Director: Rick Alverson, Screenwriters: Rick Alverson, Gregg Turkington, Tim Heidecker) — In an attempt to revive his dwindling career and reunite with his estranged daughter, a broken, aging comedian plays a string of dead-end shows in the California desert. Cast: Gregg Turkington, John C. Reilly, Tye Sheridan, Michael Cera, Amy Seimetz, Lotte Verbeek. LOS ANGELES PREMIERE
Sharon Van Etten — Singer/songwriter Sharon Van Etten writes from free-flowing emotional honesty and vulnerability, creating a bond with the listener that few contemporary musicians can match. Following her 2012 break-through Tramp, last year’s follow up Are We There and her new EP I Don’t Want to Let You Down, Van Etten finds herself in full stride, writing, producing and performing.
Sunday, August 9, 3:30 p.m.
Cronies / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Michael J. Larnell) — Twenty-two-year-old Louis doesn’t know whether his childhood friendship with Jack will last beyond today. Cast: George Sample III, Zurich Buckner, Brian Kowalski. LOS ANGELES PREMIERE
Followed by a conversation between director Michael J. Larnell and special guest Robert Townsend.
Sunday, August 9, 8:00 p.m.
FUCKKKYOUUU (Director: Eddie Alcazar, Music: Flying Lotus) — With the ability to travel in time, a lonely girl finds love and comfort by connecting with her past self. Eventually faced with rejection she struggles with her identity and gender, and as time folds onto itself only one of them can remain. Cast: Jesse Sullivan, Charles Baker. Experimental Short / Music Video. WORLD PREMIERE
Turbo Kid / Canada, New Zealand (Directors and screenwriters: Anouk Whissell, François Simard, Yoann-Karl Whissell) — Set in a post apocalyptic year of 1997, this nostalgic tribute to ’80s action-adventure films follows an orphaned teenager who goes on an adventure to save his female-robot companion from the hands of the evil warlord who controls the only water supply. Cast: Munro Chambers, Laurence Leboeuf, Michael Ironside, Aaron Jeffery, Edwin Wright. LOS ANGELES PREMIERE
Neon Indian (DJ set) B2B Toro Y Moi (DJ set) — Neon Indian, the brainchild of Alan Palomo, is defined by a unique electro-mangled sound which has attracted fans and opening slots before acts like Massive Attack, The Flaming Lips, Phoenix and Chromeo. Toro Y Moi, the guise of Chaz Bundick, channels a wide swath of stylistic influences into his electronics-incorporating music and cites Big Star, Talking Heads and Todd Rundgren as some of his inspirations.
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.
The Theatre at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles
Our loving reanimation of the former flagship movie house of United Artists, The Theatre at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles serves LA’s burgeoning epicenter for art and modern entertainment with a prime setting for a wide array of events — from large-scale concerts to movie premieres, conferences, seminars, symposiums and other performances. Retrofitted with a state-of-the-art digital projection system and cinema sound, an independent, ultramodern live sound system, plus an elaborate contemporary stage lighting system, the Theatre can take on whatever fits within the confines of its dazzling proscenium — a much-needed bridge to the exciting future of Downtown Los Angeles. acehotel.com/losangeles/theatre
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Editor’s note: For images, visit sundance.org/nextfestimages.