We are fortunate enough to travel the world publicizing films at festivals, and this year marked our first time at the Sundance Film Festival. Here are some of our favourite and most buzz-worthy films from this year’s fest, which you are sure to hear more of in the coming months.
A beautiful sci-fi film anchored on the mother-daughter relationship of Gwen (Jacqueline Kim) and her daughter Jules (Samantha Kim). The cast is ridiculously good. Jacqueline Kim is luminous to watch and gives a strong performance. Though pacing is deliberately slow, the film could have been helped by faster cuts. Finally we have a sci-fi film with strong female characters that hits at the emotion of a desperate future.
Director: Jennifer Phang
Cast: Jacqueline Kim, James Urbaniak, Freya Adams, Ken Jeong, Jennifer Ehle, Samantha Kim
Of Note: Won the US Dramatic Special Jury Award: Collaborative Vision at Sundance 2015
City of Gold (U.S.A.)
If you don’t live in LA, you will want to after watching this doc. Charismatic LA food critic Jonathon Gold is revered for reviewing small hole-in-the-wall places and expanding the horizons of millions of foodies. A clever, compelling, and funny documentary that had us smiling for the entire 91 minutes. We might just track him down and interview him for our ‘Fatties’ column.
Director: Laura Gabbert
Cast: Jonathon Gold
Of Note: Jonathon Gold is a Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic
An art house Norwegian drama that follows the shamefulness and heartache of 27-year-old Charlotte (Ine Wilmann) as she searches for love in all the wrong places. A tender, gorgeous, physical and explosive portrait of the desperation a half brother and sister feel when they finally meet. Wilmann’s first visit to Sundance has solidified her as a bonafide star as she gives a remarkable performance in the film.
Director: Anne Sewitsky
Cast: Ine Wilmann, Simon J. Berger, Anneke von der Lippe, Silje Storstein, Oddgeir Thune, Kari Onstad
Of Note: Director Anne Sewitsky won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize for her film Happy Happy at Sundance 2011
An interesting Turkish film that had us wishing it went a little more Shining on us. The film tells the story of a crew trapped on their cargo ship for 100 days and how things fall begin to fall apart. Things get tense and crazy pretty quickly. It could have been little tighter but the premise was very interesting and the acting was excellent.
Director: Tolga Karaçelik
Cast: Nadir Sarıbacak, Özgür Emre Yıldırım, Hakan Karsak, Kadir Çermik, Osman Alkaş, Seyithan Özdemiroğlu
Of Note: This is the second film for writer/director Tolga Karaçelik
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (U.S.A.)
By far the most buzzed-about film at the festival, Me and Earl will have audiences crying, laughing, and feeling inspired. The writing is brilliant and the cast is superb. Thomas Mann gives a smart, tender performance as a filmmaking teen who befriends a girl from school diagnosed with cancer. Part comedy, part drama, the film also acts a love letter to filmmaking through the brilliant and innovative animation sequences. It’s truly magical. Think Napoleon Dynamite, 500 days of Summer, or even Can’t Buy Me Love except smarter and more honest.
Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Cast: Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke, Nick Offerman, Connie Britton, Molly Shannon
Of Note: Won Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic Winner, and Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic Winner at Sundance 2015
Prison Experiment (U.S.A.)
Based on the infamous social experiment by Dr. Philip Zimbardo (a consultant on the film) in 1971, in which 24 male students were assigned to roles of “guard” or “prisoner” in a simulated jail. A fantastic ensemble cast lead by Billy Crudup this title is sure to please commercial audiences, though it left us wanting more in terms of character development with the male students who were part of the experiment.
Director: Kyle Parick Alvarez
Cast: Billy Crudup, Olivia Thirlby, Tye Sheridan, Ezra Miller
Of Note: The film’s screenwriter, Tim Talbott, won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: U.S. Dramatic, and the film won the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize at Sundance 2015
The Witch (U.S.A/Canada)
This film will transport you in a way you’ve never been before. Set in New England in 1630 it takes you back in an elegant, chilling and tactile manner to the times of witches Sabbaths’. The colours are stunning, cinematography is thrilling, and the directing masterful. There are genuinely scary moments in this film that will make you jump though it’s a slow burn that provides a more atmospheric cinematic experience. Chilling.
Director: Robert Eggers
Cast: Anya Taylor Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger, Lucas Dawson
Of Note: Won Directing Award – U.S. Dramatic T Sundance 2015
We can hardly wait for next year!
Were you at Sundance? What did you see that you want to recommend? Tweet us @ClutchPR
By Daniela Syrovy, President, ClutchPR