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While 2018’s edition of the Sundance Film Festival might not have launched any major Oscar heavyweights, it turned out a steady stream of modest summer hits from first time directors (Hereditary, Sorry to Bother You, Eight Grade) as well as three non-fiction films that were blockbusters by documentary standards (Three Identical Strangers, RBG, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?). Plus, countless Sundance selections remained critical favorites that stuck around in the conversation through the end of last year (Wildlife, Minding the Gap, Hale County This Morning, This Evening).

This is all to say, never believe anyone who tells you that a given year at Sundance is a “weak” one. Fluctuations in programming focuses and projects submissions rarely yield a continuous trajectory for a festival. That may prove doubly true for the 2019 edition of the Sundance Film Festival, which is the first under Kim Yutani’s leadership as director of programming following the long reign of Trevor Groth. This year’s festival looks noticeably more inclusive and diverse, both in terms of the stories being told and the people who are telling them. The lineup pulls less obviously from established festival favorites in favor of providing a platform to emerging artists who may have only a scattered short or feature to their name.

There’s going to be a lot to follow out of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and thankfully /Film will have several writers on the ground in Park City to report out the big finds and stories. But for those of us who aren’t making the trek up into the mountains of Utah for Sundance, there’s still a way to be a part of the festival.

The names of these directors and stars, while new to many, are not emerging from nowhere. They have refined their talents under the radar to arrive in the spotlight of independent cinema, and much of their work is accessible online. So if you want to be that person who can snootily say “I knew them before they were big” once these Sundance premieres hit theaters, read on to learn about 10 exciting festival debuts and how you can brush up on the filmographies of the talent involved.

(All streaming availability is accurate as of publication and subject to change.)

Hala (U.S. Dramatic Competition)

After her scene-stealing turn as one of the teenagers in last year’s Blockers, Geraldine Viswanathan is due for a breakout. She’ll certainly have an opportunity to emerge from the Park City slopes as a young actress to look out for with Hala. Minhal Baig’s film tells the story of a skateboard-loving Muslim high school girl that sees the eponymous protagonists struggling with pressures both familiar (a crush on a boy she deems out of her league) and culturally specific (her father wants to get started arranging her marriage).

Can’t make it to Sundance? Watch this at home: Baig’s proof-of-concept short film, also titled Hala, is 13 minutes well worth your time. In a short amount of time, the writer/director envelops us in her protagonist’s interior life – making us understand the anguish as she weighs following her passions and pleasing her parents. (Available on Vimeo)

The Sound of Silence (U.S. Dramatic Competition)

Sundance is famous for selecting movies with the kind of “LOL wut?” concepts that can make even the most adventurous festgoers scratch their heads. Michael Tyburski’s The Sound of Silence might just fit that bill for 2019. No, it seemingly has nothing to do with the Simon & Garfunkel song, either. Peter Sarsgaard stars a “scientist” who works as a so-called “house tuner” in New York, helping clients determine what in their home might be the culprit behind various maladies.

Can’t make it to Sundance? Watch this at home: While The Sound of Silence marks Tyburski’s feature filmmaking debut, he’s sat in the director’s chair on a number of excellent short films. Actor Seeks Role, featuring Alex Karpovsky of Girls fame, gets into the headspace of a struggling New York actor like few films of its ilk can. But for the more obviously relevant short, check out Palimpsest, Tyburski’s Sundance-prize winning short that he has expanded into this feature. (Available on Vimeo)

Divine Love (World Cinema Dramatic Competition)

Spirituality has proved fertile territory for filmmakers to explore in recent years. But usually when viewed through a futuristic lens, these films take on a more apocalyptic tone. Might Gabriel Mascaro’s Divine Love find a new way to talk about faith in these settings? His film envisions a world in 2027 where people praise God through rave concerts and people receive spiritual advice at a drive-through like they are picking up McDonald’s. Yet even in spite of the heightened profile of spirituality in Mascaro’s fictional future, his protagonist Joana finds herself locked in an age-old precipitator for crises of faith – infertility.

Can’t make it to Sundance? Watch this at home: Brazilian director Mascaro is still fairly new on the world cinema stage, and the movie that catapulted him onto most people’s radars was his last feature, Neon Bull. This neorealist-style drama, punctuated with some visually arresting flourishes, follows the travails of the cowboy Iremar. He’s seemingly doomed to work at vaquejada rodeos but dreams of becoming a designer for Brazil’s flourishing garment business, a tension that complicates a working-class life that’s already tenuous enough. (Available to stream for free on Kanopy and to rent on iTunes/YouTube)

We Are Little Zombies (World Cinema Dramatic Competition)

Four Japanese teenagers meeting in a cemetery after losing their parents might sound like the logline for a bleak Hirokazu Kore-eda drama. But Little Zombies takes a morbid situation and goes in a different direction under multi-hyphenate Makoto Nagahisa. The kids, whose grief has rendered them akin to zombies, decide to make lemonade out of lemons and form a band called the Little Zombies.

Can’t make it to Sundance? Watch this at home: Makoto Nagahisa is no stranger to the Sundance stage, having won the short film Grand Jury Prize in 2016 for And So We Put Goldfish in the Pool. The film is bursting with more visual ideas and panache than many features four times its length. Nagahisa’s kinetic talents are a marvel to watch here as they add such vibrant life to a story that could easily have been a straightforward recounting of a ripped-from-the-headlines incident in Japan. (Available to watch on YouTube)

Animals (Premieres)

While Sundance has gifted us with many a narrative about young men finding their way in the world, the festival definitely has room to grow on offering us that same level of insight into developing women. Animals might help the festival balance the scales. Sophie Hyde’s film, based on an acclaimed novel by Emma Jane Unsworth, follows two roommates played by Holliday Grainger and Alia Shawkat as their friendship begins to fray. Shawkat, a frequent MVP on the indie film circuit, looks to be the standout here as Tyler, the more laid-back of the pair.

Can’t make it to Sundance? Watch this at home: Hyde has already proven herself an astute observer of fraught relationships. Her last film, 52 Tuesdays, charts the ups and downs of a teenage girl as her biological mother transitions to living as a male over the course of a year – through showing the one day a week in which the two interact. Hyde commits fully to the stylistic gambit, leaving us with a fragmented yet complete portrait of a family in flux. (Available to stream for free to Amazon Prime subscribers)

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