Jonathan Majors as a bodybuilder in “Magazine Dreams” – cpn

Team Experience will be covering Sundance 2022 again following our multi-writer coverage last year. The festival returns to “in person” this year January 19th-29th but many of the films will also be available for virtual festival goers. TiIcket packages go on sale December 13th with individual film tickets on sale January 12th.

So let’s look at what will be playing and you tell us what you’re most interested in! First up the US Dramatic Competition program…

Nanny (Amazon Prime on December 16th) and Cha-Cha Real Smooth (Apple TV+) won this program a year ago via the jury prize and the audience award, respectively. It wasn’t a particularly stellar lineup of competition films last January since there were no true breakouts successes after festival fever died down. Will 2023 rival old glories? Only one Grand Jury Prize Dramatic winner has ever gone on to a Best Picture win at the Oscars (Coda, 2021), but several have been nominated (Minari, Precious, Winter’s Bone, etc…). That said Sundance competitions are most exciting — at least in retrospect — when they herald the arrival of a breakout or a merek new auteur that then goes on to much greater heights thereafter (Think Todd Haynes’ Poison, the Coen brothers Blood Simple, Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash, or Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station)

2023 DRAMATIC COMPETITION
Twelve features, two-thirds of which are from female directors, half of which focus on people of color, and five of which have LGBTQ stories or characters.

THE FILMS

The Accidental Getaway Driver A Vietnamese cab driver is taken hostage by escaped convicts. Feature debut from Sing J Lee best known thus far for music videos for Alicia Keys, The Killers, and more.

Sheila Atim in “All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt”

All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt “A decades spanning exploration of a woman’s life if Mississippi”. A who’s who of rising Black actresses star: Moses Ingram, Sheila Atim, and Zainab Jah. Feature debut from Raven Jackson.

Fair Play Alden Ehrenreich and Phoebe Dynevor star as a couple in this hedge fund drama. Feature debut for Chloe Domont who has previously helmed episodes of several tv series.

Fancy Dance A Native American woman kidnaps her niece from the child’s white grandparents in the hopes of keeping her family intact. Lily Gladstone (likely to have a big year given Killers of a Flower Moon) is in the cast. Feature debut from Erica Tremblay who worked on the series Reservation Dogs. [LGBTQ interest]

Magazine Dreams From Elijah Bynum, the director of Hot Summer Nights. This one is about an amateur bodybuilder (Jonathan Majors). The supporting cast has three actresses we love: Haley Bennett (Swallow), Taylour Paige (Zola), and Tony winner Harriet Sansom Harris (Licorice Pizza).

“Mutt”

Mutt A trans man is suddenly having to deal with three people from his past, pre-transition. Feature debut from Chilean-Serbian trans director Vuk Lungulov-Klotz. [LGBTQ interest]

The Persian Version Maryam Keshavaraz (Circumstance) is back with a drama about a large Iranian-American family focusing on a mother and daughter. [LGBTQ interest]

“Shortcomings”

Shortcomings The actor Randall Park makes his feature debut behind the camera on this one about three characters played by Justin H Min (After Yang), Ally Maki, and Sherry Cola who are travelling the country. Sonoya Mizuno (Ex-Machina) and Jacob Batalan (Spider-Man: No Way Home) are also in the cast. [LGBTQ interest]

Sometimes I Think About Dying Daisy Ridley stars in this film about a woman who likes to think about dying who begins a romance with a new guy at work. From director Rachel Lambert.

Eliza Scanlen in “The Starling Girl”

The Starling Girl Eliza Scanlan stars as a teen girl struggling with her place in her Christian fundamentalist community. Feature debut from Laurel Parmet.

Theater Camp The actress Molly Gordon (Shiva Baby) co-wrote and co-directed this one with Nick Lieberman. It’s about the eccentric staff of a theater camp in upstate New York. The cast includes Ben Platt, Noah Galvin, Patti Harrison, Ayo Edibiri, Amy Sedaris, Alan Kim, and more. [LGBTQ interest]

A Thousand and One Teyana Taylor stars as a women who kidnaps a child from the foster care system. Feature debut from AV Rockwell.

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