It’s the festival responsible for launching careers, fostering cult hits and bringing independent and cutting edge films to an international stage – Sundance Film Festival.
This year sees the iconic Festival turn the ripe old age of thirty, and in those thirty years it’s been responsible for catapulting films such as Precious, Reservoir Dogs, Little Miss Sunshine, Winter’s Bone, Clerks and The Blair Witch Project to international success.
With the festival kicking off this Thursday, we’ll be celebrating with three award-winning Sundance films back-to-back from 6pm Wednesday 15 January as part of WM Celebrates: Sundance.
The final selection of 118 feature length films for the 2014 Sundance Film Festival was whittled down from over 12,000 submissions, so there’s a lot to be excited about. Here are some of the films that excite us in this year’s lineup.
5 FILMS WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO AT THE 2014 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL
Fishing Without Nets
Director – Cutter Hodierne. Section: US Dramatic Competition
Last year’s big budget Captain Phillips starring Tom Hanks was based on the real-life hijacking of the Maersk Alabama and brought the issue of modern-piracy to light. This year’s Sundance Film Festival sees Cutter Hodierne flip that notion on its head with the gritty Fishing Without Nets, a drama based from the Somail pirates’ point of view. Following on from his prize winning short film of the same name and featuring a cast of actual Somali refugees, this is sure to be a fascinating insight into the motivations and desperation that often leads to piracy.
Director – Joe Swanberg. Section: US Dramatic Competition
Prolific indie director Joe Swanberg is a seasoned film festival favourite, and his bittersweet yet hard-hitting comedy Drinking Buddies was one of our standout films of last year. He’s following that up by teaming up again with Anna Kendrick – along with Mark Webber, Lena Dunham and Melanie Lynskey – for his second Sundance feature Happy Christmas. The story centres on a young woman who ends up moving in to her married older brother’s apartment after a break up, and we can’t wait to see Swanberg’s unique style at play.
Director – Jeremy Saulnier. Section: Spotlight
The Festival’s ‚ÄòSpotlight’ section allows films that have already created buzz at other festivals to be brought to the attention of the Sundance crowd. Judging from the reception to date of Jeremy Saulnier’s Blue Ruin, it’s sure to hit the ball out of the park this year. This visceral and tense thriller focuses on a Virginian drifter who returns home to exact revenge for his parent’s deaths, and finds himself in way over his head.
Director – Valerie Veatch. Section: World Cinema Documentary Competition
In 2010, a 3 month old South Korean infant died of malnutrition. Shortly afterwards, her parents were arrested and charged with neglect for allowing her to starve to death whilst they played online video games. This shocking tale is sure to evoke strong audience reactions as director Valerie Veatch digs deep to discover what led to the couple’s gaming addiction, and their subsequent behaviour.
Director – Mark Jackson. Section: Next
With a cast boasting Catherine Keener and Ben Kingsley, Director Mark Jackson’s highly anticipated second feature film War Story already has the film world abuzz. This dark story follows a war photographer who has been left traumatised after being taken hostage and brutalised in Libya. Instead of returning home to her loved ones in New York, she detours to Italy and retreats in a Sicilian hotel, not far from the home of her former lover and mentor.
WM Celebrates: Sundance starts from 6.00pm Wednesday 15 January with
Violeta Went to Heaven, Teddy Bear and Young and Wild.