sundance 2018 blindspotting

Blindspotting (U.S. Dramatic Competition)

Daveed Diggs is seizing on the Hamilton moment to move from stage to screen. After TV gigs with The Get Down and Black-ish, Diggs made his film debut in 2017’s Wonder. Up next for Diggs on the silver screen is Blindspotting, a clear passion project he ushered into being as star, co-writer and producer. Described as “a buddy comedy in a world that won’t let it be one,” the film follows a cross-racial friendship in Oakland. For all that Diggs has riding on the film, it shows quite the vote of confidence in his long-time music video collaborator Carlos López Estrada, who makes his feature directing debut here.

Can’t make it to Sundance? Watch this at home: Since becoming the youngest director to win a Latin Grammy in 2012, Estrada has been doing prolific work in the field of music videos. Thankfully, he’s compiled them all on his website – some highlights include Capital Cities’ “Kangaroo Court,” Passion Pit’s “Carried Away (Remix)” and any of the videos for Clipping, Diggs’ experimental hip-hop group. (Available for free on Estrada’s website)

Eighth Grade - Still 1

Eighth Grade (U.S. Dramatic Competition)

Comedian Bo Burnham went quiet in 2017, largely without explanation. As it turns out, he was shooting Eighth Grade. As a key comedic voice for the millennial generation who rose to prominence using online tools like YouTube and Vine, it will be interesting to see how he portrays them in his debut feature film. He talks about the corrosive effects of consumer culture frequently in his stand-up and interviews, so at the very least, the story of phone-obsessed eighth-grader Kayla Day will put a human face on the concepts Burnham loves to explore.

Can’t make it to Sundance? Watch this at home: There’s no shortage of Bo Burnham’s comedic material out there on the Internet for a variety of attention spans. Head to his Vine profile for six second doses of hilarity, or search “Bo Burnham podcast” on YouTube to hear him go long and get introspective on his material. But for something that’s most likely to show what he’ll bring to Eighth Grade, check out his stand-up special Make Happy on Netflix. The level of rigor in his performance is astounding. (Available for free to Netflix subscribers)

sundance 2018 the miseducation of cameron post

The Miseducation of Cameron Post (U.S. Dramatic Competition)

Conversion therapy is looking to have a big year on screen, and probably not in the way Mike Pence is hoping to see it portrayed. First out of the gate is The Miseducation of Cameron Post, coming from a female perspective as Chloë Grace Moretz’s titular character gets shipped off to a center for teenagers “struggling with same-sex attraction.” How it will compare to the Fall’s Boy Erased, based on a memoir as opposed to a novel, will surely be the subject of many thinkpieces come next awards season.

Can’t make it to Sundance? Watch this at home: Co-writer and director Desiree Akhavan has already delved into the knotty complications of revealing one’s sexual orientation in her debut feature, Appropriate Behavior. Not unlike My Big Fat Greek Wedding or The Big Sick, Akhavan tells the story of a first-generation American who struggles to tell her family about the person she really loves. It’s got a some of the bumps you might associate with a first film, but it’s full of humor and heart that points to a promising career ahead. (Available for free to Amazon Prime subscribers)

Tyrel Sundance

TYREL (U.S. Dramatic Competition)

Sundance 2017 premiered Jordan Peele’s Get Out, which we’re still talking about today. Will we be able to say the same about Sebastián Silva’s TYREL, a Sundance 2018 debut with similar racial themes? Here, Silva will send Jason Mitchell’s Tyler into the wealthy enclave of the Catskills for a bachelor party where’s clearly the token black guy. If the promise of a savage social critique doesn’t have you enticed, just go look at Silva’s artist bio on the Sundance website. Also, Ann Dowd and Caleb Landry Jones are in this movie.

Can’t make it to Sundance? Watch this at home: Silva is no stranger to incisive, biting comedy. In his native Chile, he made the pitch-black comedy The Maid, featuring Catalina Saavedra as Raquel, the long-time domestic worker for a wealthy family. She’s gotten lazy and complacent but has to get vicious to protect her comfortable gig after the family starts trying out some replacements. (Available for free to Sundance Now and Fandor subscribers and to rent through Amazon/iTunes)

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