Category: Now Playing

15 Sundance-Supported New Releases to Watch in December, from “Minari” to “The Truffle Hunters”

How do you like your holiday-season films? Heartwarming? Romantic? Perhaps complex and a bit disturbing? December’s giant crop of Sundance-supported new releases have all your bases covered, providing fodder for every kind of moviegoer as we wrap up 2020 and look ahead to our next crop of Festival selections.
On the heartwarming tip, keep an eye out for the opening of Lee Isaac Chung’s sweet family drama Minari, which will roll out to select theaters in L.A.

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‘Possessor’ Director Brandon Cronenberg on the Battle Between Civilized Society and Our Interior Ape Selves

Back in January — before we all started stocking up on hand sanitizer, customizing reusable face masks, and becoming intimately acquainted with the many intricacies of Zoom — Brandon Cronenberg arrived in Park City for his first-ever Sundance Film Festival, where he was set to premiere his second-ever feature, Possessor.
Featuring a trio of deeply unsettling performances by Andrea Riseborough, Christopher Abbott, and Jennifer Jason Leigh, the film, retitled Possessor Uncut for its limited theatrical U.S.

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Sundance-Supported Releases to Watch in October, for the Horror Fan and Otherwise

If you can use some levity in your Halloween movie nights this year, check out three picks from the 2020 Sundance Film Festival that infuse a bit of comedy into the traditional horror genre. In Justin Simien’s satirical, ’80s-set Bad Hair, a weave takes on a mind of its own as an ambitious young woman tries everything to succeed in the image-obsessed world of music television.
For more laughs than scares, watch Josh Ruben’s cabin-fire storytelling romp Scare Me, or catch Alex Huston Fischer and Eleanor Wilson’s Save Yourselves!, an apocalyptic satire in which a decidedly nonsurvivalist millennial couple face an invasion from an otherworldly force.

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Sundance-Supported Releases to Watch in September, from ‘The Mole Agent’ to ‘Kajillionaire’

September’s slate of Sundance Institute–supported releases features a strong lineup of documentaries that run the gamut from the heartwarming to the harrowing. On the human connection side of the spectrum, Maite Alberdi’s The Mole Agent follows 83-year-old Sergio, who goes undercover to investigate a nursing home but bungles the spy-gear technology and can’t seem to stay on course with the mission. An all-in-one uplifting, cutely funny but meaningful tearjerker, it’s the film we all need in 2020.

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10 Inspiring Activism Documentaries to Re-energize Your Fight for Change

The Sundance Film Festival has long been a destination for inspiring documentaries that capture the indomitable spirit of those on the frontlines of world-changing movements—from Mark Kitchell’s 1991 student activism doc Berkeley in the Sixties, to 2012’s wealth inequality exposé We’re Not Broke, to 2017’s Whose Streets?, in which a Ferguson protester implores, “We have to raise a generation of activists. If there’s going to be any change, it starts with our children.” These words are proving true today as young people now lead the swelling antiracism movement across the country and the world.

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‘Spree’ Director on the Link between Attention Culture and Violence

Eugene Kotlyarenko’s thriller Spree is now streaming after its premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Equal parts horror and satire, the film plays out almost entirely through the device screens of its main character and villain, rideshare driver and wannabe influencer Kurt (Joe Keery). Desperate for the validation of strangers, Kurt turns his unsuccessful social media account into a livestream of deadly attacks on his passengers, which only gets more twisted as he amasses more followers.

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Streaming in August: ‘The Go-Go’s,’ ‘Spree,’ and More

At the top of the list of Sundance Institute–supported films coming to streaming platforms this month is Alison Ellwood’s doc The Go-Go’s, the heart-and-drama-fueled saga of the eponymous 1980s punk-turned-pop band who paved the way for women in the music industry. Though the film does delve into the more salacious parts of the group’s history, it also shows the human side of the band caught between conflicting images as both “America’s sweethearts” and “drug-crazed demons.”
For an inspiring documentary about the dogged Filipina reporter leading the charge for a free press despite pervasive threats from the authoritarian government, watch Ramona S.

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Q&A: Director Natalie Erika James Offers a Peek Inside the Making of Her Debut Feature, ‘Relic’

Natalie Erika James’s debut feature, Relic, had its premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival as part of the Midnight lineup. It is now available to rent online (and is screening at select drive-ins around the United States).
As Natalie Erika James recounted during the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, the seed for the horror story that would become Relic was planted when she went to Japan as an adult to spend time with her grandmother, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s.

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Now Streaming: ‘Mucho Mucho Amor’ Reveals Why Famed TV Astrologer Walter Mercado Vanished at His Peak

After premiering at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, Mucho Mucho Amor is now streaming on Netflix. The film explores the life and mystery surrounding the late Walter Mercado, a larger-than-life TV astrologer turned cultural icon who captivated Latinx audiences for decades with his over-the-top flair before disappearing from public life at the peak of his fame.
Directors Cristina Costantini and Kareem Tabsch, like so many other Latinx folks who grew up with the famed personality on their TVs, remember being mesmerized alongside their mothers and grandmothers—knowing they couldn’t dare interrupt—as they waited for Walter to get to their sign.

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‘The Infiltrators’ Directors on Releasing Their Immigration Docu-Thriller amid ICE Retaliation

After Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra’s genre-defying documentary about a for-profit immigrant detention center screened at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, the high of a successful premiere and winning multiple awards turned into shock and anger when one of the film’s subjects, Claudio Rojas, was detained by ICE and torn apart from his wife and children.

The Infiltrators documented a previous time Claudio was detained, in 2012—and how a group of young immigrant activists hatched a plan to purposely get caught by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, infiltrate the Florida detention center where Claudio was being held, and help him and others fight their deportations. Ibarra and Rivera won accolades for the way they challenge the documentary form, deftly weaving together footage of the activists’ work and reenactments of the detainees in a way that keeps you in the middle of the action.

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Sundance-Supported Films to Watch in July, from ‘The Fight’ to ‘Palm Springs’

The slate of Sundance Institute–supported films available in July includes powerful political documentaries that shine a spotlight on critical issues. The Fight follows heroic ACLU lawyers in four historic cases over essential rights in abortion, immigration, LGBTQ+ issues, and voting, while the award-winning Boys State looks at the state of American politics through the unlikely lens of an annual mock election among the best and brightest of Texas’s young men. And She Could Be Next documents the women of color who claimed their power by running for office during the historic 2018 midterm elections—including women like Rashida Tlaib and Stacey Abrams who are transforming politics from the ground up.

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