John’s Top 10 Most-Anticipated Picks of Sundance 2018!
Article by John Pugh
Welcome to 2018! As always, we begin the birth of the new year with the highly anticipated Sundance Film Festival out of Park City. This will be my 4th official year attending the acclaimed fest, and I’ll be providing press coverage alongside veteran writer, Adam Mast. Our coverage will consist of daily updates on film screenings, celebrity run-ins, photos, videos, daily experiences and much much more. Throughout the entire festival run, you can follow us here on; Cinemast.net, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
An excerpt from the Sundance Institute regarding this year’s festival:
For the 2018 Festival, 110 feature-length films were selected, representing 29 countries and 47 first-time filmmakers, including 30 in competition.These films were selected from 13,468 submissions including 3,901 feature-length films and 8,740 short films. Of the feature film submissions, 1,799 were from the U.S. and 2,102 were international. One-hundred feature films at the Festival will be world premieres. In 2017, the Festival drew 71,638 attendees, generated $151.5 million in economic activity for the state of Utah and supported 2,778 local jobs.
The Sundance Film Festival runs from January 18 – 28. Click HERE for more info on Tickets and Scheduling Programs. Now onto my Top 10 Most-Anticipated Picks of Sundance 2018!
U.S. Dramatic Competition
Director: Paul Dano
Screenwriter: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Ed Oxenbould, Bill Camp, Jake Gyllenhaal
Sensitive 14-year-old Joe is the only child of Jeanette and Jerry—a housewife and a golf pro—in a small town in 1960s Montana. Nearby, an uncontrolled forest fire rages close to the Canadian border, and when Jerry loses his job—and his sense of purpose—he decides to join the cause of fighting the fire, leaving his wife and son to fend for themselves. Suddenly forced into the role of an adult, Joe witnesses his mother embark on her own adventure, as she transgresses into an affair with an older man.
Director: Marina Zenovich
When David Letterman saw a young Robin Williams perform stand-up, Letterman quipped, “It was like he could fly.” Williams’s boundless energy, lightning wit, and knack for comedic characters sparked a career on stage and screen unlike any other, making him one of the most beloved stars in modern entertainment. Marina Zenovich carefully collects a trove of intimate archival material and new interviews with Williams’s confidants (including Pam Dawber and Billy Crystal) to summon an intricate portrait of a man who needed an audience just as much as audiences needed someone like him.
Director: David Zellner, Nathan Zellner
Screenwriter: David Zellner, Nathan Zellner
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, David Zellner, Robert Forster, Nathan Zellner, Joe Billingiere
It’s a classic tale of the Old West: Samuel Alabaster is a man searching for his true love. Parson Henry is another, much drunker man, searching for a new start. Penelope is a woman who has found her own path. And Rufus Cornell is just a mean bastard with a taste for buckskin. There’s rotgut, rawhide, rootin’, tootin’, and hootin’. Plus, a little tiny horse.
Cast: Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner, Jared Abrahamson, Ann Dowd, Udo Kier
Lexington, Kentucky, 2004: Spencer and Warren dream of remarkable lives beyond their middle-class suburban existence. They head off to colleges in the same town, haunted by the fear they may never be special in any way. Spencer is given a tour of his school’s incredibly valuable rare book collection and describes it all to Warren. Suddenly, it hits them—they could pull off one of the most audacious art thefts in recent history, from the university’s special collections library. Convinced they can get away with it, they recruit two other friends. Suddenly, the dance of knowing what happens if they cross the line becomes all-consuming.
Director: Rungano Nyoni
Screenwriter: Rungano Nyoni
Cast: Margaret Mulubwa, Henry B.J. Phiri, Nancy Mulilo, Margaret Sipaneia
After nine-year-old Shula is accused of being a witch by her fellow villagers, she is ushered to the state authorities for judgment, whereupon she is immediately declared guilty and unceremoniously sentenced to exile in a camp for witches of all ages. Upon arrival, she is tied to a long, white ribbon connected to a large coil whose removal, she is told, will transform her into a goat. Just like Shula, the camp denizens have been scapegoated and gathered together, occasionally expected to perform miracles.
Cast: Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, Ann Dowd, Milly Shapiro
Cast: Jakob Cedergren, Jessica Dinnage, Johan Olsen, Omar Shargawi
When police officer Asger Holm (Jakob Cedergren) is demoted to desk work, he expects a sleepy beat as an emergency dispatcher. That all changes when he answers a panicked phone call from a kidnapped woman who then disconnects abruptly. Asger, confined to the police station, is forced to use others as his eyes and ears as the severity of the crime slowly becomes more clear. The search to find the missing woman and her assailant will take every bit of his intuition and skill, as a ticking clock and his own personal demons conspire against him.
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Alessandro Nivola, Judith Roberts, Ekaterina Samsonov, John Doman, Alex Manette
Stoic and hardened vigilante Joe (Phoenix) needs only one tool to carry out his dubious line of work: a hammer. Hired by a senator desperately seeking answers about the disappearance of his daughter, Joe sets out with his habitual confidence, only to find that this time he may be in over his head.
U.S. Documentary Competition
Director: Amy Scott
Amy Scott’s exuberant portrait—drawn from rare archival materials, interviews, personal letters, and audio recordings—explores that curious oversight, revealing a passionate, obsessive artist. Having hitchhiked to LA, Ashby eventually landed in the editing room, where a chance encounter with Norman Jewison brought his big break (and a lifelong friendship). Ashby’s subsequent films were guided by compassion and deep engagement with social justice, class, and race.
Director: Debra Granik
Screenwriter: Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini
Cast: Ben Foster, Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, Jeff Kober, Dale Dickey
For years Will and his teenage daughter, Tom, have lived off the grid, blissfully undetected by authorities in a vast nature reserve on the edge of Portland, Oregon. When a chance encounter blows their cover, they’re removed from their camp and put into the charge of social services. Struggling to adapt to their new surroundings, Will and Tom set off on a perilous journey back to the wilderness, where they are finally forced to confront conflicting desires—a longing for community versus a fierce need to live apart.