Sundance announces line-up

Streamlined festival to feature Wright, Wheatley and Hall

by Amber Wilkinson

Reece Shearsmith in In The Earth
Reece Shearsmith in In The Earth Photo: Courtesy of Sundance Institute

The Sundance Film Festival has today announced the line-up for its 2021 edition, which will be shortened and mainly focused on online screenings, due to the pandemic. Although the line-up is smaller - 72 features down from last year's 128 - it will be brought to a wider audience via a bespoke platform, running from January 28 to February 3.

The films represent 29 countries and include 38 first-time filmmakers - well known names among them include Rebecca Hall (Passing) and Robin Wright (Land). The films were selected from submissions including 3,500 features and 66 of the features will be world premieres.

The festival's push for diversity continues and across all 140 films and projects, 50 per cent were directed by one or more women; four per cent were directed by one or more non-binary individuals; 51 per cent were directed by one or more artists of color and 15 per cent by one or more people who identify as LGBTQ+.

In addition to Hall's, other British talent making the cut, includes Sam Hobkinson's documentary about a woman's Holocaust memoir, Misha And The Wolves and Ben Wheatley's virus-driven horror film In The Earth. Also in the line-up is Edgar Wright's The Sparks Brothers, about the influential rock duo and Prano Bailey-Bond's horor film Censor, which joins the Midnight section. British director Sean Ellis also returns to the festival with Eight for Silver, set in the late 1800s, while Lucy Walker brings wildfire documentary Bring Your Own Brigade.

Incoming Festival Director Tabitha Jackson said: “This Festival is a singular response to a singular year – both in design and curation – and we are excited about the new dimensions of possibility it will reveal. But at its core is something that speaks to our most enduring values.

“For thousands of years humans have gathered to tell stories and make meaning. In this pandemic year we gather to celebrate a constellation of artists with unique perspectives that express this current moment and who together are saying, 'We exist. This is who we are. And this is what we see.'"

Festival founder Robert Redford added: “Togetherness has been an animating principle here at the Sundance Institute as we’ve worked to reimagine the Festival for 2021, because there is no Sundance without our community. Under Tabitha's leadership, we've forged a new collective vision: one that honours the spirit and tradition of these invigorating yearly gatherings in Utah, while making room for imaginative new possibilities in a new online format.”

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