Starting Thursday, the world’s visual storytellers return to Park City for the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. The festival dates are January 23rd – February 2nd. Independent filmmakers including creators of feature films, animated shorts, documentaries, VR installations and exhibitions gather together alongside Hollywood’s elite for 10 days packed full of films, parties, and panels. These events are all dedicated and focused around cinema and the art of filmmaking.
At the core center of the filmmaking process lies the story. Filmmakers are inherently storytellers. For over 40 years, the Sundance Film Festival has made a genuine and incredibly successful effort to create a platform for filmmakers to share their stories, expanding filmmakers’ potential for a large audience while becoming an indispensable 21st-century tool in the fight for truth-telling. At Sundance, storytellers have a rare opportunity to share their perspective of this strange, beautiful, and sometimes incredibly challenging life and the global audience listens.
Sundance inspires a path towards justice for many under-represented communities. This founding concept attracts participation in Sundance from all parts of the world. Destined for a ski town in the Rocky Mountains of America. They come to honor the power in film and the power of story. The 2020 Sundance Film Festival program will feature 241 works from 21 different countries. Attendees can expect an even more diverse line up and array of mediums dedicated to story. 46% of which are directed or led by one or more women, 38% of which were directed or led by one or more artists of color, and 12% made by one or more people who identify as LGBTQ+.
Expanding beyond gender, race and sexual orientation, the Sundance Film Festival doubles down this year on it’s efforts to insure storytellers with disabilities and stories about disability are fully present and included in the conversation. On the opening night of Sundance, Crip Camp will have it’s world premiere. Crip Camp tells of the revolution that took place at an unorthodox summer camp for teenagers with disabilities in the 1970’s. Crip Camp is directed by Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht, and is Executive Produced by Barack Obama and Michelle Obama.
Sundance offers something for everyone. If you are needing your Sundance dose of horror, David Bruckner’s The Night House is premiering on Friday night as part of the Midnight Selection, offering a suspenseful scary story surrounded by death and set in a lake house. And The New Frontier promises incredible innovations taking place in VR Cinema and storytelling. Miwa Matreyek’s Infinitely Yours take place in the Anthropocene and offers a live performance combining cinema and theater.
When I look at the documentary program I see powerful, emotional stories that in our rapidly progressing times most likely would not have been shown even 5 years ago. And I believe the Sundance Film Festival has become a catalyst for truth by always remaining closest to the authenticity of the story and the storyteller.