Chiwetel Ejiofor's directorial debut wins Sundance Sloan Award

Festival also announces additional titles and closing night

by Amber Wilkinson

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind has won the Alfred P Sloan prize
The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind has won the Alfred P Sloan prize Photo: Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival
Chiwetel Ejiofor's directorial feature debut The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind has been named as the winner of the 2019 Alfred P Sloan Feature Film prize - given to a film that features science or technology as a theme, or depicts a scientist, engineer or mathematician as a major character.

Ejiofor also stars in the film - which will be the Festival's opening night film in Salt Lake City - that tells the true story of William Kamkwamba, who as a 13-year-old boy in Malawi, invented an unconventional way to save his family and village from famine.

The festival also announced two additions to its Midnight strand - Wounds directed by Under The Shadow filmmaker Babak Anvari and starring Armie Hammer and Dakota Johnson; and Patrick Brice's Corporate Animals, which stars Demi Moore in a tale of a teambuilding trip that leads to a battle for survival.

Paddleton was also added to the Premieres section. It is directed by Alex Lehmann and starring Mark Duplass.

Seven films were confirmed as Day One Films: Apollo 11, The Edge of Democracy, Give Me Liberty, The Inventor: Out For Blood in Silicon Valley, The Last Tree, MEMORY - The Origins of Alien and Shorts Program 1 and the Closing Night will be Troop Zero.

Full details of the additions - including archive screenings and a special event are below:

Premieres

Paddleton US (Director and Screenwriter: Alex Lehmann — An unlikely friendship between two misfit neighbors becomes an unexpectedly emotional journey when the younger man is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Cast: Mark Duplass, Ray Romano, Ravi Patel, Christine Woods. World Premiere

Midnight

Corporate Animals US (Director: Patrick Brice, Screenwriter: Sam Bain) — Disaster strikes when the egotistical CEO of an edible cutlery company leads her long-suffering staff on a corporate team-building trip in New Mexico. Trapped underground, this mismatched and disgruntled group must pull together to survive. Cast: Demi Moore, Ed Helms, Jessica Williams, Karan Soni. World Premiere

Wounds US, UK (Director and Screenwriter: Babak Anvari) — Disturbing and mysterious things begin to happen to a bartender in New Orleans after he picks up a phone left behind at his bar. Cast: Armie Hammer, Dakota Johnson, Zazie Beetz, Karl Glusman, Brad William Henke. World Premiere

From The Collection

The Blair Witch Project US (Directors and Screenwriters: Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sanchez) — On October 21, 1994, Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard and Michael Williams hiked into Maryland’s Black Hills Forest to shoot a documentary on local legend “The Blair Witch.” They were never heard from again. One year later, their footage was found, capturing the terrifying events that led up to their disappearance. Cast: Heather Donahue, Michael Williams, Joshua Leonard.

The Hours and Times US (Director and Screenwriter: Christopher Munch) — In spring 1963, The Beatles were on their meteoric rise to worldwide superstardom. Following a grueling winter of touring, 22-year-old John Lennon vacations in Spain with his brilliant manager, Brian Epstein, often called the "Fifth Beatle." Their four-day holiday, intimate and charged, became the subject of speculation and mythology. Cast: David Angus, Ian Hart, Stephanie Pack, Robin McDonald, Sergio Moreno, Unity Grimwood.

Special Events

Pop-Up Magazine US (Producers: Anita Badejo, Haley Howle, Derek Fagerstrom, Tina Antolini) — A touring "live magazine" show, created for a stage, a screen, and a live audience. Contributors, including filmmakers, bestselling authors, popular radio and podcast voices, and artists perform vivid, multimedia stories accompanied by illustration, animation, film, photography, and an original live score.

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