Sundance announces line-up

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Stewart and Steven Yuen head to Sundance

by Amber Wilkinson

Kristen Stewart and Katy O'Brien in Love Lies Bleeding
Kristen Stewart and Katy O'Brien in Love Lies Bleeding Photo: Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival
Chiwetel Ejiofor is among the British names heading to Sundance this year. The 12 Years A Slave actor-turned director is returning for the festival’s 40th edition after his previous film The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind premiered there in 2019. He brings biographical tale Rob Peace about a brilliant scientist who led a dual life in academia and research while also earning six figures selling marijuana

Saint Maud director Rose Glass will also present her new film, Love Lies Bleeding, which stars Kristen Stewart and Ed Harris and tells the tale of a relationship between a reclusive gym manager and a bodybuilder. Stewart also stars in Love Me - announced as the winner of the Alfred P Sloan Prize for depiction of science or technology. It tells the unlikely story of a buoy and a satellite meet online and fall in love and co-stars Minari’s Steven Yuen.

Bill Nighy and Sophie Okonedo meanwhile head the voice cast for family animation 10 Lives, directed by Christopher Jenkins.

Saoirse Ronan stars in The Outrun, a UK co-production from System Crasher director Nora Fingscheidt, which sees a woman return to the Orkneys from London, hoping to heal.

UK production Layla, directed by Amrou Al-Kadhi, tells the story of a struggling drag queen who falls in love for the first time and stars Bilal Hasna (Extraordinary). It will feature in the World Dramatic Competition. UK co-production Sebastian, directed by Mikko Mäkelä, about an aspiring writer living in London, whjo begins a double life as a sex worker in order to research his debut novel, will also compete in that section.

Molly Manning Walker’s How To Have Sex heads to the festival’s Spotlight section of favourites from other festivals.

Among the more well known directors are Steven Soderbergh, who brings Lucy Liu-starrer Presence, David Zellner (Kumiko, Treasure Hunter), who brings Sasquatch Sunset, and The Truffle Hunters directors ​​Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw, who bring their latest doc Gaucho Gaucho.

The Festival will take place January 18–28, 2024 and feature 82 feature-length films representing 24 countries.

The Next section also sees an Irish/UK co-production compete. Kneecap, directed by Rich Peppiatt, a documentary about a native Irish rap group.

Festival founder Robert Redford said: "From the first edition in 1985, Sundance Film Festival has aimed to provide a space to gather, celebrate, and engage with risk-taking artists that are committed to bringing their independent visions to audiences - the Festival remains true to that goal to this day. It continues to evolve, but its legacy of showcasing bold work that starts necessary conversations continues with the 2024 program."

And festival director Eugene Hernandez, whose first full edition this is, added: "Sundance’s passion and power shines through its programming. Curation is Sundance’s secret sauce and we’re energised by the range of films, stories, and artists we’ve watched and selected from around the world.”

The 2024 program is composed of 40 of 101 feature film directors who are first-time feature filmmakers, and 11 of the feature films and projects announced today were supported by Sundance Institute in development through direct granting or residency labs.

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