CineLife’s Top Twenty Movies at Sundance pt. 2

Here is the second set of movies that we here at CineLife think are going to blew up at this years Sundance Film Festival:


Newness (Premieres)
Director: Drake Doremus
Writer: Ben York Jones
Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Laia Costa, Danny Huston, Courtney Eaton, Matthew Gray Gubler, Albert Hammond, Jr.
Seller: Cinetic Marketing

Drake Doremus has had several features premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, including 2011 Grand Jury Prize-winner, Like Crazy. His series, The Beauty Inside, received three Grand Prix Awards at the 2013 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in addition to a 2013 Daytime Emmy Award.

Sundance lauds Newness as a capturing “the emotional texture and physical intimacy of a relationship as it twists and turns through the sometimes turbulent currents of life in the modern age.” Set in contemporary Los Angeles, the film follows two millennials navigating a social media-driven hookup culture but begin a relationship that pushes both emotional and physical boundaries.



Cries from Syria (Documentary Premieres)

Director: Evgeny Afineevsky

In case you miss it at Sundance, HBO has already acquired U.S. television rights to Cries from Syria, a follow-up documentary from Evgeny Afineevsky, who directed last year’s Oscar and Emmy-nominated film, Winter On Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom. The film received the People’s Choice Documentary Award at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Cries from Syria attempts to re-contextualize the European migrant crisis and ongoing hostilities in Syria through eyewitness and participant testimony. Children and parents recount the revolution, civil ward, air strikes, atrocities and ongoing humanitarian aid crises in a portrait of recent history and the consequences of violence.


Band Aid (U.S. Dramatic Competition)
Writer/director: Zoe Lister-Jones

Zoe Lister-Jones wrote, directed and stars in her comedy, Band Aid, her directorial debut. She is currently starring in CBS’s Life in Pieces and she recently co-starred in Confirmation for HBO. As a writer, producer and actor, her previous credits include Breaking Upwards, Lola Versus and Consumed.

Band Aid centers on a couple who can’t stop fighting, but embark on a last-ditch effort to save their marriage by turning their fights into songs and starting a band.


Untitled Buena Vista Social Club Documentary (Documentary Premieres)
Director: Lucy Walker

Lucy Walker is no stranger to Sundance. Her latest will be the fifth feature to play at the festival and her ninth film in Park City overall. She has won multiple festival and non-festival awards, including three prizes at Sundance and two Oscar nominations for The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom (2011) and Waste Land (2010).
Untitled Buena Vista Social Club Documentary is one of five films that focus on Cuba in this year’s Sundance selection.

Walker’s feature looks at the musicians of the Buena Vista Social Club, which exposed the world to Cuba’s vibrant culture with their landmark 1997 album. Now against the backdrop of Cuba’s captivating musical history, hear the band’s story as they reflect on their remarkable careers and the extraordinary circumstances that brought them together.


Beach Rats (U.S. Dramatic Competition)
Writer/director: Eliza Hittman
Cast: Madeline Weinstein, Kate Hodge, Harris Dickinson

Initial word from those in-the-know is that this is one to keep an eye on. Beach Rats features a solid performance by British-born relative newcomer Harris Dickinson, who himself wrote and directed his first short film at the age of 16. Director Eliza Hittman hails from Brooklyn. Her debut feature, It Felt Like Love, premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and received a nomination for the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director prize at the Gotham Awards. Also of note is that Beach Rats was shot on film.

Beach Rats centers on an aimless Brooklyn teen (Dickinson) who struggles to escape his bleak home life and navigate questions of self-identity, balancing time between his delinquent friends, a potential new girlfriend, and older me he meets online.

See part 1 of our Sundance picks article here.