The Sundance Film Festival has made its final additions for its 2018 edition running from Jan. 18-28 in Park City, Utah. They include a Todd Haynes retrospective and a conversation with the filmmaker; the documentary premiere Akicita: The Battle of Standing Rock, which looks back at the 2016 Native American occupation of the Dakota Access Pipeline; and Amazon’s Cannes Film Festival closer, Lynne Ramsay’s sublime noir You Were Never Really Here, starring Joaquin Phoenix as a befuddled assassin who is hired to bust down a sex-trafficking ring that has captured a senator’s daughter.
While Brett Haley’s father-daughter songwriting pic Hearts Beat Loud originally was announced in the Premieres section, Sundance has designated the pic as the festival’s closing-night film.
The only thing left to announce here from Sundance is the secret screening — a pivotal platform that last year teed off Universal/Blumhouse’s Get Out to big commercial and ultimately awards-season success.
As exclusively announced by Deadline on Friday, RuPaul is headed to Park City for a RuPaul’s Drag Race 10th anniversary panel. In addition, he’ll serve as the sole juror for the festival’s Next Innovator award.
A total of 121 feature-length films were selected for next year’s Sundance Film Festival, representing 29 countries and 53 first-time filmmakers, including 30 in competition. These were curated from 13,468 submissions including 3,901 feature-length films and 8,740 shorts. Of the feature submissions, 1,799 were from the U.S. and 2,102 international. The number of world premiere features set for Sundance next month is 108.
In 2017, Sundance drew 71,638 attendees, generated $151.5 million in economic activity for the state of Utah and supported 2,778 local jobs.
Deadline co-Editor-in-Chief, Film Mike Fleming Jr., Senior Editor Dominic Patten and I will lead our Sundance coverage with breaking news on the deals, the films, the panels, and the word on the streets of Park City and beyond. We will also have our Deadline Studio up and running again as we talk to filmmakers about their projects and the festival.
Here are the latest additions to the 2018 Sundance Film Festival Program:
FROM THE COLLECTION
An Evening with Todd Haynes / In the thirty years since he burst onto the indie scene, Todd Haynes has established himself as one of most distinctive voices in American cinema. A special conversation with Haynes and longtime collaborator, producer Christine Vachon, explores Haynes’ early work, including clips from notable, recently restored gems. Haynes’ directorial debut Poison won the 1991 Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.
Smoke Signals / U.S.A. (Director: Chris Eyre, Screenwriter: Sherman Alexie, Producers: Larry Estes, Scott Rosenfelt) — When Victor’s estranged father Arnold dies in Arizona, he must leave his home on an Idaho reservation to retrieve Arnold’s ashes. Victor’s friend Thomas offers to fund the trip, but only if he can accompany Victor. Together they undertake a journey filled with discovery about their personal and cultural identities. Cast: Adam Beach, Evan Adams,
Irene Bedard, Gary Farmer, Tantoo Cardinal.
Akicita.: The Battle of Standing Rock / U.S.A. (Director: Cody Lucich, Producers: Heather Rae, Gingger Shankar, Ben-Alex Dupris) — Standing Rock, 2016: the largest Native American occupation since Wounded Knee. Thousands of activists, environmentalists and militarized police descend on the Dakota Access Pipeline in a standoff between oil corporations and a new generation of Native Warriors. This chronicle captures the sweeping struggle, spirit and havoc of
a People’s uprising. World Premiere.
Hereditary / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Ari Aster, Producers: Kevin Frakes, Lars Knudsen, Buddy Patrick) — After their reclusive grandmother passes away, the Graham family tries to escape the dark fate they’ve inherited. Cast: Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, Ann Dowd, Milly Shapiro. World Premiere
Lords of Chaos / U.S.A. (Director: Jonas Åkerlund, Screenwriters: Jonas Åkerlund, Dennis Magnusson, Producers: Kwesi Dickson, Danny Gabai, Jim Czarnecki, Erik Gordon, Jack Arbuthnott, Ko Mori) — Based on truth (and lies), Lords of Chaos is a dark drama about a precocious teenager, Euronymous, who wants to spread evil, chaos, and true Norwegian black metal. When Euronymous invites a mysterious loner, Varg, to join his “Black Circle,” a rivalry sparks,
leading to unexpected consequences. Cast: Rory Culkin, Emory Cohen, Sky Ferreira, Jack Kilmer, Valter Skarsgård.
Isle of Dogs Behind the Scenes (in Virtual Reality) / (Lead Artists: A collaboration between Felix Lajeunesse & Paul Raphael and the Isle of Dogs production team) — This virtual reality experience places the viewer inside the miniature world of Wes Anderson’s upcoming stop-motion animated film, face to face with the cast of dogs as they are interviewed on set, while the crew of the film works around you to create the animation you are seeing. Cast: A selection of actors
from the cast of Isle of Dogs.
The Long Dumb Road / U.S.A. (Director: Hannah Fidell, Screenwriters: Hannah Fidell, Carson Mell, Producers: Hannah Fidell, Jacqueline “JJ” Ingram, Jonathan Duffy, Kelly Williams) — Two very different men, at personal crossroads, meet serendipitously and take an unpredictable journey through the American Southwest. Cast: Tony Revolori, Jason Mantzoukas, Taissa Farmiga, Grace Gummer, Ron Livingston, Casey Wilson. World Premiere
Private Life / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Tamara Jenkins, Producers: Anthony Bregman, Stefanie Azpiazu) — A couple in the throes of infertility try to maintain their marriage as they descend deeper into the weird world of assisted reproduction and domestic adoption. When their doctor suggests third-party reproduction, they bristle. But when Sadie, a recent college dropout, re-enters their life, they reconsider. Cast: Kathryn Hahn, Paul Giamatti, Molly Shannon, John
Carroll Lynch, Kayli Carter. World Premiere
RuPaul’s Drag Race: A Retrospective of the Cultural Phenomenon / U.S.A. (Lead Artist: RuPaul Charles) — A retrospective of VH1’s Emmy-winning “RuPaul’s Drag Race” on the heels of its10th season, and a panel hosted by RuPaul with executive producers Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, along with Tom Campbell and Pamela Post, senior vice president of Original Programming for MTV, VH1 and Logo. Cast: RuPaul Charles, Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley, Ross Mathews. World Premiere
You Were Never Really Here / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Lynne Ramsay, Producers: Pascal Caucheteux, Rosa Attab, James Wilson, Rebecca O’Brien, Lynne Ramsay) — A traumatized veteran, unafraid of violence, tracks down missing girls for a living. When a job spins out of control, Joe’s nightmares overtake him as a conspiracy is uncovered leading to what may be his death trip or his awakening. Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Alessandro Nivola, Judith Roberts, Ekaterina Samsonov, John Doman, Alex Manette. North American Premiere
Sweet Country / Australia (Director and screenwriter: Warwick Thornton, Producers: David Jowsey, Greer Simpkin) — In 1920s Australia, a middle-aged Aboriginal man’s comfortable life is upended by a newcomer’s arrival. Wanted for murder in the bloody aftermath of a violent shootout, he must flee into the dangerous outback with his wife. Cast: Bryan Brown, Sam Neill, Hamilton Morris, Ewen Leslie, Thomas M. Wright, Matt Day. Utah Premiere
Hearts Beat Loud / U.S.A. (Director: Brett Haley, Screenwriters: Brett Haley, Marc Basch, Producers: Houston King, Sam Bisbee, Sam Slater) — In Red Hook, Brooklyn, a father and daughter become an unlikely songwriting duo in the last summer before she leaves for college. Cast: Nick Offerman, Kiersey Clemons, Ted Danson, Sasha Lane, Blythe Danner, Toni Collette. World Premiere