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Sundance lineup for 40th edition features Kristen Stewart, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Steven Soderbergh

by Ethan Kim
10 comments
Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival’s 40th edition, set to take place in January, boasts an impressive lineup of 82 feature-length films from 24 countries. Among the highlights are films featuring renowned actors and directors, making this festival a must-watch for cinephiles and industry professionals.

One of the most anticipated films is a love story that pairs Kristen Stewart and Steven Yeun in an unconventional setting: between a satellite and a buoy. Meanwhile, Chiwetel Ejiofor takes on the role of director in a film that delves into the life of Rob Peace. And Will Ferrell embarks on a road trip with his best friend who is undergoing a gender transition, promising a compelling exploration of friendship and identity.

Steven Soderbergh, a familiar face in the world of independent and studio films, returns to Sundance with “Presence,” a genre film centered on a family’s eerie experiences in their suburban home. The movie features Lucy Liu and Julia Fox, adding an element of excitement to the festival’s lineup.

Another noteworthy entry is “Freaky Tales,” brought to the festival by Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, the duo behind “Captain Marvel.” Set in 1987 Oakland, this film weaves together four interconnected tales and stars Pedro Pascal, Jay Ellis, and Ben Mendelsohn.

The 40th edition of the Sundance Film Festival also pays tribute to its legacy by honoring Christopher Nolan, known for his groundbreaking work in “Memento,” which received the festival’s screenwriting award in 2001. Celine Song, a standout from the previous year’s festival with “Past Lives,” is also recognized for her contributions.

The festival’s selection process was rigorous, with over 17,000 submissions from more than 150 countries and territories. This record-breaking number underscores the festival’s reputation for showcasing bold, adventurous, and thought-provoking films. The diverse lineup reflects the commitment to nurturing both seasoned veterans and emerging talents in the world of cinema.

Notable actors such as Aubrey Plaza, Murray Bartlett, Will Sharpe, and Meghann Fahy return to Sundance, along with the stars of “The Worst Person in the World,” Renate Reinsve and Anders Danielsen Lie. Kristen Stewart, a familiar face at Sundance, graces the festival with two films, “Love Me” and “Love Lies Bleeding,” both characterized by their surprising and daring narratives.

Jesse Eisenberg also takes on a dual role as an actor and director in “A Real Pain” and stars in “Sasquatch Sunset.” Justice Smith, known for “Dungeons & Dragons,” appears in “The American Society of Magical Negroes” and the midnight film “I Saw the TV Glow,” showcasing his versatile acting skills.

The Sundance lineup is not limited to established names. It also features up-and-coming artists venturing into new territory. Painter Titus Kaphar makes his feature debut with “Exhibiting Forgiveness,” starring André Holland, Andra Day, and Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor. Lucy Lawless steps behind the camera to direct “Never Look Away,” a film centered on CNN camerawoman Margaret Moth. Chiwetel Ejiofor directs “Rob Peace,” featuring Jay Will, Mary J. Blige, and Camila Cabello, based on Jeff Hobbs’ biography.

The festival’s documentary offerings are equally impressive, including films about WNBA star Sue Bird, Christopher Reeve, and the music festival Lollapalooza. One documentary, “Will & Harper,” explores the enlightening road trip of Will Ferrell and his friend of 30 years, who has undergone a gender transition.

In the episodic section, Debra Granik presents “Conbody vs Everybody,” a story about a former convict starting a gym, while Richard Linklater offers a three-part documentary series, “God Save Texas.”

Overall, the 40th edition of the Sundance Film Festival promises a captivating blend of established talent, emerging voices, and thought-provoking narratives that celebrate the festival’s rich legacy while embracing the future of cinema.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Sundance Film Festival

What is the Sundance Film Festival’s 40th edition lineup?

The Sundance Film Festival’s 40th edition lineup includes 82 feature-length films from 24 countries, featuring a diverse range of genres and themes.

Who are some of the notable actors and directors participating in the festival?

Kristen Stewart, Steven Soderbergh, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Will Ferrell are among the notable actors and directors presenting their films at Sundance this year.

What are some of the standout films to watch out for?

Some of the standout films include a love story between a satellite and a buoy, a film directed by Chiwetel Ejiofor about the life of Rob Peace, and Will Ferrell’s road trip film with a friend undergoing gender transition.

How did Steven Soderbergh contribute to the festival’s history?

Steven Soderbergh played a significant role in Sundance’s history by putting it on the map in 1989 with “Sex, Lies, and Videotape.” He returns this year with his genre film “Presence.”

How was the lineup selected, and what makes it unique?

The lineup was chosen from over 17,000 submissions from 150 countries, making it a record-breaking selection process. The uniqueness lies in the bold, adventurous, and thought-provoking nature of the films chosen.

Are there any honors or tributes at this year’s festival?

Yes, the festival honors Christopher Nolan and filmmaker Celine Song. It’s not just an anniversary but an opportunity to reflect on the festival’s legacy.

What are some of the documentary offerings at the festival?

The festival includes documentaries about WNBA star Sue Bird, Christopher Reeve, and the music festival Lollapalooza, among others.

What can audiences expect from the Sundance Film Festival’s 40th edition?

Audiences can expect a rich blend of established talent and emerging voices, thought-provoking narratives, and a celebration of the festival’s legacy while embracing the future of cinema.

More about Sundance Film Festival

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10 comments

MovieGeek2023 December 7, 2023 - 1:10 pm

Christopher Nolan gets an honor? Legendary!

Reply
DocuNerd December 7, 2023 - 5:50 pm

Documentaries sound amazing, esp. the one about Sue Bird.

Reply
FilmBlogger December 7, 2023 - 6:15 pm

Can’t believe the range of talent at Sundance. Can’t wait to cover it!

Reply
ArtsyGal December 7, 2023 - 9:15 pm

Kristen Stewart’s films sound super cool, can’t w8!

Reply
FilmHistoryFan December 7, 2023 - 9:44 pm

Sundance’s legacy lives on. 40 years and still going strong!

Reply
IndieBuff December 8, 2023 - 1:07 am

Soderbergh’s “Presence” sounds intriguing. Gotta watch it!

Reply
FilmFanatic22 December 8, 2023 - 4:50 am

Can’t wait 4 Sundance 40th edition! Lotz of great flicks & talent!

Reply
Cinephile123 December 8, 2023 - 5:10 am

Wow, Sundance lineup looks awesome this year! actors n directors rockin’ it!

Reply
HistoryBuff December 8, 2023 - 9:47 am

17K submissions? That’s cray-cray! Impressive selection.

Reply
ExcitedViewer December 8, 2023 - 11:16 am

So many diverse stories to explore. Sundance never disappoints.

Reply

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