Sundance 2020 Preview

While I’m still desperately trying to finish many notable 2019 films before the end of the year, I’m also beginning to look forward to 2020, and my first trip to Sundance, where five separate films I’ve worked on will be premiering. I’ve unfortunately not had enough time to really delve into the official line-up since it was announced yesterday, but from a cursory glance, here are a few of the films I’m most curious about/excited to see:

And Then We Danced​ / Sweden, Georgia, France (Director and screenwriter: Levan Akin, Producers: Mathilde Dedye, Ketie Daniela) — In the conservative confines of modern Tbilisi, Merab, a competitive dancer, is thrown off balance by the arrival of Irakli, a fellow male dancer with a rebellious streak. ​Cast: Levan Gelbakhiani, Bachi Valishvili, Ana Javakhishvilli, Kakha Gogidze, Anano Makharadze.

The Assistant​ / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Kitty Green, Producers: Kitty Green, Scott Macaulay, James Schamus, P. Jennifer Dana, Ross Jacobson) — A day in the life of Jane, an assistant to a high-powered film executive. ​Cast: Julia Garner, Matthew Macfadyen, Makenzie Leigh, Kristine Froseth, Jon Orsini, Noah Robbins.

Come Away​ / U.K., U.S.A. (Director: Brenda Chapman, Screenwriter: Marissa Kate Goodhill, Producers: Leesa Kahn, James Spring, David Oyelowo, Steve Richards, Andrea Keir) — Before Alice found Wonderland, and Peter became Pan, they were brother and sister. When their brother dies in an accident, they seek to save their parents from downward spirals until finally they’re forced to choose between home and imagination, setting the stage for their iconic journeys into Wonderland and Neverland. ​Cast: Angelina Jolie, David Oyelowo, Jordan Nash, Keira Chansa, Reece Yates, Michael Caine. World Premiere

Dream Horse​ ​/ U.K. (Director: Euros Lyn, Screenwriter: Neil McKay, Producers: Katherine Butler, Tracy O’Riordan) ​— ​Jan, a cleaner and bartender, decides on a whim to breed a race horse in her Welsh village. As the horse rises through the ranks against all odds, Jan and the townspeople are pitted against the racing elite in a nail-biting race for the national championship.​ Cast: Toni Collette, Damian Lewis. World Premiere

The Father​ /​ U.K., France (Director: Florian Zeller, Screenwriters: Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller, Producers: Philippe Carcassonne, Jean-Louis Livi, David Parfitt) ​— ​Anthony is 80 years old. He lives alone in London and refuses the nurses that his daughter tries to impose upon him. Yet help is becoming more pressing, as she has decided to move to Paris. At once comedic and profound, this is a moving story of our human condition.​ Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman, Mark Gatiss, Imogen Poots, Rufus Sewell, Olivia Williams. World Premiere

The Glorias​ / U.S.A. (Director: Julie Taymor, Screenwriters: Julie Taymor, Sarah Ruhl, Producers: Alex Saks, Lynn Hendee) ​—​ An equal rights crusader, journalist and activist: Gloria Steinem embodies these and more. From her role in the revolutionary women’s rights movement to her travels throughout the U.S. and around the world, Steinem has made an everlasting mark on modern history. A nontraditional chronicle of a trailblazing life. ​Cast: Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander, Bette Midler, Janelle Monae, Timothy Hutton, Lorraine Toussaint. World Premiere

The Last Thing He Wanted​ / U.S.A. (Director: Dee Rees, Screenwriters: Marco Vallalobos, Dee Rees, Producers: Cassian Elwes, Dee Rees) ​— ​A veteran D.C. journalist loses the thread of her own narrative when a guilt-propelled errand for her father thrusts her from byline to unwitting subject in the very story she’s trying to break. Adapted from the Joan Didion novel of the same title. ​Cast: Anne Hathaway, Ben Affleck, Willem Dafoe, Rosie Perez. World Premiere

Luxor​ / Egypt, U.K. (Director and screenwriter: Zeina Durra, Producers: Mohamed Hefzy, Mamdouh Saba, Gianluca Chakra, Hisham Alghanim) — When British aid worker Hana returns to Luxor, a sleepy city on the banks of the Nile, she comes across Sultan, a talented archeologist and former lover. As she wanders, haunted by the familiar place, she struggles to reconcile the choices of the past with the uncertainty of the present. ​Cast: Andrea Riseborough, Karim Saleh, Michael Landes, Sherine Reda, Salima Ikram, Shahira Fahmy. World Premiere

The Nest​ / U.K., Canada (Director and screenwriter: Sean Durkin, Producers: Ed Guiney, Derrin Schlesinger, Rose Garnett, Sean Durkin, Amy Jackson, Christina Piovesan) — Charismatic entrepreneur Rory relocates his family to England with dreams of profiting from booming 1980’s London. But as his wife, Allison, struggles to adapt, and the promise of a lucrative new beginning starts to unravel, the couple have to face the unwelcome truths lying beneath the surface of their marriage.​ Cast: Jude Law, Carrie Coon, Charlie Shotwell, Oona Roche. World Premiere

Promising Young Woman​ / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Emerald Fennell, Producers: Margot Robbie, Tom Ackerly, Josey McNamara, Ben Browning, Ashley Fox, Emerald Fennell) — Everyone said Cassie was a promising young woman… until something abruptly derailed her future. Nothing in Cassie’s life is as it appears: she’s smart, cunning, and living a double life by night. Now, Cassie has a chance to right the wrongs of the past in this thrilling take on revenge. ​Cast: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Connie Britton, Adam Brody, Jennifer Coolidge. World Premiere

Shirley​ / U.S.A. (Director: Josephine Decker, Screenwriter: Sarah Gubbins, Producers: Christine Vachon, David Hinojosa, Sue Naegle, Sarah Gubbins, Jeffrey Soros, Simon Horsman) — A young couple moves in with famed author Shirley Jackson and her Bennington College professor husband, Stanley Hyman, in the hope of starting a new life, but instead find themselves fodder for a psycho-drama that inspires Shirley’s next novel. ​Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Michael Stuhlbarg, Odessa Young, Logan Lerman. World Premiere

Surge​ / U.K. (Director: Aneil Karia, Screenwriters: Rupert Jones, Rita Kalnejais, Producers: Julia Godzinskaya, Sophie Vickers)​ ― ​A man goes on a bold and reckless journey of self-liberation through London. After he robs a bank he releases a wilder version of himself, ultimately experiencing what it feels like to be alive. Cast: Ben Whishaw, Ellie Haddington, Ian Gelder, Jasmine Jobson. World Premiere

Sylvie’s Love​ ​/ U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Eugene Ashe, Producers: Nnamdi Asomugha, Gabrielle Glore, Jonathan Baker, Matthew Thurm) — Years after their summer romance comes to an end, an aspiring television producer and a talented musician cross paths, only to find their feelings for each other never changed. With their careers taking them in different directions, they must choose what matters most. ​Cast: Tessa Thompson, Nnamdi Asomugha, Eva Longoria, Aja Naomi King, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Jemima Kirke. World Premiere

Uncle Frank​ ​/ U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Alan Ball, Producers: Alan Ball, Peter Macdissi, Michael Costigan, Jay Van Hoy, Bill Block, Stephanie Meurer) — In 1973, when 18-year-old Beth and her uncle Frank take a road trip from Manhattan to Creekville, South Carolina, for the family patriarch’s funeral, they’re unexpectedly joined by Frank’s lover Walid. A story about family, forgiveness and our inherent power to choose who we want to be. ​Cast: Paul Bettany, Sophia Lillis, Peter Macdissi, Steve Zahn, Judy Greer, Margo Martindale. World Premiere

Wendy​ / U.S.A. (Director: Benh Zeitlin, Screenwriters: Benh Zeitlin, Eliza Zeitlin, Producers: Dan Janvey, Josh Penn, Paul Mezey, Becky Glupczynski) — Lost on a mysterious island where aging and time have come unglued, Wendy must fight to save her family, her freedom and the joyous spirit of youth from the deadly peril of growing up. The classic story of Peter Pan is wildly reimagined in this ragtag epic. Cast: Devin France, Yashua Mack, Gage Naquin, Gavin Naquin, Ahmad Cage, Krzysztof Meyn. World Premiere. Dolby Institute Fellowship

Zola​ / U.S.A. (Director: Janicza Bravo, Screenwriters: Janicza Bravo, Jeremy O. Harris, Producers: Christine Vachon, David Hinojosa, Vince Jolivette, Elizabeth Haggard, Dave Franco, Gia Walsh) 2015: @zolarmoon tweets “wanna hear a story about why me & this bitch here fell out???????? It’s kind of long but full of suspense.” Two girls bond over their “hoeism” and become fast friends. What’s supposed to be a trip from Detroit to Florida turns into a weekend from hell. ​Cast: Taylour Paige, Riley Keough, Nicholas Braun, Colman Domingo. World Premiere

xx

JB