Why We Go To The Sundance Film Festival

Sundance Marquee

NOTE: We ran this article in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and have updated it for 2015.

The Sundance Film Festival is the best known film festival in the United States. Say the word “Sundance” to anyone, film lover or not, and chances are they’ve heard of the festival. As a movie blog though, the problem with covering Sundance is that virtually all of the movies are brand new. We haven’t heard of them, you haven’t heard of them, so why would you even care about them?

More than any of the casting news, trailers or film stills that we post on a daily basis, what happens in that small corner of Utah for a little over a week in January is probably the most important movie event of the year. Even so, talk to the most seasoned movie fan and they don’t spend half as much time focusing on what’s going on at Sundance as they do bitching about movies that came out three years ago. Plain and simple, the best films that you will see in theaters for the next 12 months are being shown at Sundance over the next week and a half. And while you probably haven’t heard of them in January, you’ll definitely have heard of them by December. Don’t you want in on the ground floor?

For the next 7 days myself, Russ Fischer and Peter Sciretta will be in Park City, Utah at the Sundance Film Festival. And while you might not be eager to click and read about a movie you haven’t heard of yet, we urge you to do so. Some of the films that people hadn’t heard of when they played Sundance in the past are films like Saw, The Blair Witch Project, Donnie Darko, 28 Days Later, Napoleon Dynamite, Memento, Bottle Rocket, Clerks, Reservoir Dogs and The Usual Suspects. Think of all the movies that have been made since because filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, Wes Anderson, Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino and Bryan Singer broke out at the Sundance Film Festival. Who is the breakout star this year? You’ll have to follow our coverage to find out.

Still not convinced? We’ve compiled even more films that you know and love that got their start at Sundance after the jump. Read More »

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Racing Extinction

As the Sundance Film Festival kicks off, even those of us stuck at home miles away from Park City are getting a first look at some of this year’s highlights. One of those is Racing Extinction, the new documentary from Louie Psihoyos (The Cove).

Racing Extinction looks at humanity’s role in mass extinction, revealing how close we are to losing thousands of species. Watch the Racing Extinction trailer after the jump. Read More »

The Best Movies Of Sundance Film Festival History

Yesterday I posted part one of my two-part look at the best movies of Sundance Film Festival history. Today I return with the second installment, which takes a look at the best movies from the last 15 years of the festival as Park City became not only the mecca of American independent film but the launching pad for hundred million dollar award contenders.

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The Best Movies Of Sundance Film Festival History

The Sundance Film Festival isn’t just a film festival, but a look into the future of cinema. As we travel to Park City Utah this year, I thought it would be nice to take a look back at the last 30 years of the festival. Today I begin part one of my two-day, two-part look at the best movies of Sundance Film Festival history. In part one I will focus on the first 15 years of the festival* as the small independent film festival grew into the launching pad for new filmmakers and ground zero for the independent movie boom of the 1990’s.

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Slow West

Even if you aren’t going to the Sundance Film Festival, reading through the movies that are playing there is indescribably exciting. There are films about any subject you can imagine, in every genre you can imagine, featuring new filmmakers, young filmmakers, A-list actors, rising stars and so much more.

The 2015 Sundance Film Festival kicks off later this week and /Film will be on the scene, attempting to see as many movies as possible to tell you what you should be on your radar later this year. Last year, it was little films like Whiplash, Boyhood, The Skeleton Twins, Obvious Child and The Guest. What is it this year? Below check 30 films that we think sound awesome at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. Read More »

a walk in the woods premiere

The 2015 edition of the Sundance Film Festival takes place from January 22 to February 1 in Park City, Utah, and the lineup now includes 123 features, among which are 106 world premieres. Today the festival announced ten new films and installations, including the A Walk in the Woods premiere. That’s a Ken Kwapis-directed film starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte (above) based on Bill Bryson’s book about the Appalachian Trail.

Along with that announcement is the programming of another premiere, True Story, about convicted murderer Christian Longo, with Jonah Hill and James Franco starring, and Aardman Animation’s Shaun the Sheep, which will play in the Sundance Kids program. There are also a handful of really interesting new installations scheduled (I always plan to visit some of these and never have time) which you can read about below. Read More »

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Ladies and gentleman, may we present to you the first confirmed photo of Jesus. He’s played by Ewan McGregor and you can see him in Park City, Utah next month.

One of the standout films on the recent list of narrative Premieres at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival was Last Days in the Desert, Rodrigo Garcia‘s film that dramatizes Jesus’s 40 days spent fasting in the desert. McGregor stars not only as Jesus, but as the devil as well, who confronts and tempts the son of God during his epic struggle.

Now, the first image from the film has been revealed. That’s not it above. The image isn’t in any way offensive but it definitely puts a bigger spotlight on this sure to be controversial film. Check out the Ewan McGregor Jesus image below. Read More »

I Am Michael

The 2015 Sundance Film Festival has been slowly revealing the films that will play in Park City, UT from January 22-February 1. We’ve already covered the midnights as well as the competition films. Now, the Premieres have been revealed. These are generally the big ticket pictures, the movies with huge star-studded casts that will almost certainly get a theatrical release in the coming calendar year.

2015 is no different than years past, both in terms narrative and documentary premieres. On the narrative side, there are films directed by Noah Baumbach, James Ponsoldt, Paul Weitz, Jared Hess, Joe Swanberg, Charles Stone III and others. Some of the stars are James Franco, Jennifer Lopez, Sam Rockwell, Jesse Eisenberg, Ewan McGregor, Anna Kendrick, Winona Ryder, Sienna Miller, Ethan Hawke, and Hailee Steinfeld.

The documentaries are just as star-studded, but in a different way. Controversial topics like campus rape and scientology will be on dispaly, as well as Kurt Cobain, Tig Notaro, National Lampoon and much more.

Below, read the full list of 2015 Sundance premieres including some of the first photos. Read More »

Knock Knock Keanu Reeves

The Sundance Film Festival is rolling out announcements quick for the 2015 festival. We just got the first wave of programming yesterday, and the fest has already come out with a giant second wave of announcements.

This time, we’ve got the Spotlight program, which is a set of films that have played other festivals that Sundance wants to give more time to, including ’71, The Tribe, and White God. Then there’s the Midnight program, which features Knock Knock, from director Eli Roth and star Keanu Reeves, and Room 237 director Rodney Ascher‘s new film Nightmare, about sleep paralysis. The program also has The Hallow, from the director just set to helm The Crow remake, and It Follows, which is a great slow burn of suspense.

Finally, there’s the New Frontier program, featuring some of the more out-there films in the fest. (And consequently the ones that I’ll personally be excited to see.) Check out the new wave of Sundance announcements below. Read More »

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