10 Films To Watch At Sundance 2017

It’s almost time!

The 2017 edition of Sundance Film festival is happening January 19-29 in Park City, Utah. With over 100 films on the slate, we’ve selected 10 that we’re most looking forward to.

Manifesto | Premieres | Julian Rosefeldt

Sundance 2017-2

The architect of this unique film idea is director Julian Rosefeldt, a veteran of intricate films and installations. In Manifesto, he uses the words from various twentieth century manifestos of artists, architects, and filmmakers for dialogue. With a gorgeous production and luscious cinematography that would make Baz Luhrmann proud, Rosefeldt puts Blanchett in the everyday world—as a housewife, a factory worker, or a TV anchor—declaring the words that have inspired whole art movements.

A Ghost Story | NEXT | David Lowery

Sundance 2017-3

Lauded filmmaker David Lowery, last at the Festival with the lyrical Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (2013), reunites with his collaborators for a haunted tale like no other—one conceived in secret and fueled by the spirit of pure, creative expression. Making full use of his singular abilities as a visual storyteller and finely tuned craftsman, Lowery boldly returns with an enriching experiment in micro-cinema that gorgeously defies categorization.

Lady Macbeth | Spotlight | William Oldroyd

Sundance 2017-10

Swirling around the absolutely mesmerizing performance of the steely-eyed Florence Pugh in the title role, this fiery adaptation by Oldroyd and screenwriter Alice Birch (based on Nikolai Leskov’s novel) invokes a masterful command of tonal control and breathtaking beauty, whose every frame feels utterly alive.

Raw | Spotlight | Julia Ducournau

Sundance 2017-11

A grisly, viscerally charged experience, Raw is art-house horror of the highest order. A darkly funny coming-of-age story at its bloody heart, it unpeels the complex layers of the sisters’ not-always-nurturing bond as it hurtles toward a climactic, bloody showdown.

City of Ghosts | US Documentary | Matthew Heineman

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Directed, produced, and filmed by Academy Award–nominated and Emmy-winning filmmaker Matthew Heineman (Cartel Land, 2015 Sundance Film Festival Directing Award), City of Ghosts is a singularly powerful cinematic experience that is sure to shake audiences to their core as it elevates the canon of one of the most talented and exciting documentary filmmakers working today.

Frantz | Spotlight | François Ozon

Sundance 2017-4

Based loosely on Ernst Lubitsch’s 1932 film Broken Lullaby, Frantz is a profound look at the emotional devastation left in the tracks of war and the mechanisms humans grasp at while attempting to cope. Aided by a stunning performance from newcomer Paula Beer, Frantz resonates far beyond the confines of love and war.

Crown Heights | US Dramatic | Matt Ruskin

Sundance 2017-6

Writer/director Matt Ruskin, who worked closely to earn the trust of the real Colin Warner, imbues this film with a gifted touch and emotional authenticity to shed light on a painful personal story—and on a horrifying systemic issue. Anchored by Stanfield, an indie film secret weapon, Crown Heightsunfolds as a powerful ode to those we leave behind.

The Incredible Jessica James | Premieres | Jim Strouse

Sundance 2017-1

Writer/director Jim Strouse’s three previous films all played at the Sundance Film Festival. The most recent of these, People Places Things (2015), featured Jessica Williams in a supporting role, and it proved to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Williams broke onto the scene as a correspondent on The Daily Show and followed that up with her hilarious podcast, 2 Dope Queens.

The Yellow Birds | US Dramatic | Alexandre Moors

Sundance 2017-7

Adapted by David Lowery and R.F.I. Porto, from the acclaimed 2012 novel by Iraq War veteran Kevin Powers, The Yellow Birds unfolds like a mystery, conveying its story in stark flashbacks and haunting fragments from the frontlines. Director Alexandre Moors follows up his striking debut feature, Blue Caprice (2013 Sundance Film Festival), with an enigmatic but unflinching drama about the costs of war—to both those who fight and those they leave behind.

The Good Postman | World Documentary | Tonislav Hristov

Sundance 2017-9

Told through indelible, lush images, this quietly cinematic film exposes seismic divisions regarding immigration and what it means to be European in an age of global displacement and shifting political systems. With dry humor and remarkable sensitivity toward its beguiling ensemble of characters, Tonislav Hristov’s documentary plays like a scripted narrative, with the postman as the film’s grounding hero—a man who sees encroaching darkness not in the desperate exiles filing across his land, but in his own increasingly closed-off and distrustful town.

Film Descriptions by Sundance programming staff



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