Even as the Sundance Film Festival rolls into its 4th decade, there’s one “first” at this year’s edition which kicks off Thursday. The festival’s Premieres section will all screen (as of now) without distribution in place. “For the first time, all of the films in Premieres are for sale,” Sundance’s head of programming Trevor Groth tells me. Groth said that the big For Sale sign in the section was not a conscious effort on the part of programmers but instead “circumstantial”. Though he added that the change in the specialty landscape may have contributed: “A number of these films came from producers and not distributors. Maybe it’s a one-off year, but we’ll see.” The first narratives in Premieres will screen Friday evening with Celeste And Jesse Forever, director Lee Toland Krieger’s story of a troubled couple starring Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Emma Roberts, and Elijah Wood. That’s followed by Rodrigo Cortés’ metaphysical phenomena drama Red Lights with Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver, Robert De Niro, Elizabeth Olsen, Toby Jones, and Leonardo Sbaraglia.
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