#SUNDANCE: 2023 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL LINEUP ADDITIONS
Today the nonprofit Sundance Institute announced an additional five world premiere feature films, plus four award-winning feature films from previous Festivals, to the 2023 Sundance Film Festival lineup. The 2023 Festival will take place January 19–29, 2023, in person in Park City, Salt Lake City, and the Sundance Resort, along with a selection of films available online across the country January 24–29, 2023. Single Film Tickets for in-person and online go on sale January 12 at 10 a.m. MT.
The latest feature films world premiering at the upcoming Festival include: Beyond Utopia, playing in the U.S. Documentary Competition section; Earth Mama, Flora and Son, and Past Lives, playing in the Premieres section; and Stephen Curry: Underrated,playing in the Special Screenings section.
Returning to the Festival as Encore Special Screenings are CODA (2021 Sundance Film Festival), Klondike (2022 Sundance Film Festival), Navalny (2022 Sundance Film Festival), and Summer of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (2021 Sundance Film Festival). This will be the first time these Sundance award winners will screen in person at the Festival in Park City. Encore Special Screenings will screen January 25–27, with many of the filmmakers in attendance for post-screening Q&A’s.
“These five new films round out our program in an exciting and emotional way. They are cinematic experiences that delight, entertain, and keep us on the edge of our seats. The works introduce us to new voices, along with directors we’re excited to welcome back to the Festival,” said Kim Yutani, Sundance Film Festival Director of Programming. “Having four encore films play in Utah is truly a homecoming. While they reached audiences around the world, wherever they were, this year they will return to fuel the energy and excitement at the heart of the Sundance community.”
The Sundance Film Festival is an artist program of the Sundance Institute. Proceeds earned through Festival ticket sales go to uplifting and developing emerging artists on a year-round basis through focused labs, direct grants, fellowships, residencies, and more.
Today’s additions add to the 2023 Festival slate, where 110 feature-length films will screen representing 28 countries, and 45 of 124 (36%) feature film directors are first-time feature filmmakers. 17 of the feature films and projects were supported by Sundance Institute in development through direct granting or residency labs.
98, or 89%, of the Festival’s 110 feature films will be world premieres. Director demographics are available in an editor’s note below.
The latest additions to the 2023 Sundance Film Festival by section are:
U.S. DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
Beyond Utopia / U.S.A. (Director: Madeleine Gavin, Producers: Jana Edelbaum, Rachel Cohen, Sue Mi Terry) — Hidden camera footage augments this perilous high-stakes journey as we embed with families attempting to escape oppression, ultimately revealing a world most of us have never seen. World Premiere. Available online.
Earth Mama / U.S.A (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Savanah Leaf, Producers: Cody Ryder, Shirley O’Connor, Medb Riordan, Sam Bisbee) — A pregnant single mother with two children in foster care embraces her Bay Area community as she fights to reclaim her family.Cast: Tia Nomore, Erika Alexander, Doechii, Sharon Duncan Brewster, Dominic Fike, Bokeem Woodbine.World Premiere. Fiction.
Flora and Son / U.S.A, Ireland (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: John Carney, Producers: Anthony Bregman, Peter Cron, Rebecca O’Flanagan, Robert Walpole) — Single mom Flora is at war with her teenage son, petty thief Max. Encouraged by the police to find Max a hobby, she rescues a beat-up guitar from a dumpster and finds that one person’s trash can be a family’s salvation. Cast: Eve Hewson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Orén Kinlan, Jack Reynor. World Premiere. Fiction.
Past Lives / U.S.A (Director and Screenwriter: Celine Song, Producers: Christine Vachon, Pamela Koffler, David Hinojosa) — Nora and Hae Sung, two deeply connected childhood friends, are wrest apart after Nora’s family emigrates from South Korea. Two decades later, they are reunited in New York for one fateful week as they confront notions of destiny and love, and the choices that make a life. Cast: Greta Lee, Teo Yoo, John Magaro. World Premiere. Fiction.
Stephen Curry: Underrated / U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Peter Nicks, Producers: Ryan Coogler, Erick Peyton) — Stephen Curry is one of the most influential, dynamic, and unexpected players in the history of basketball. Intimate cinematic video, archival footage, and on-camera interviews reveal Curry’s rise from an undersized college player to a four-time NBA champion. World Premiere. Documentary.
ENCORE SPECIAL SCREENINGS
CODA / U.S.A, France (Director and Screenwriter: Siân Heder, Producers: Philippe Rousselet, Fabrice Gianfermi, Patrick Wachsberger) — As a CODA – Child of Deaf Adults – Ruby is the only hearing person in her deaf family. When the family’s fishing business is threatened, Ruby finds herself torn between pursuing her love of music and her fear of abandoning her parents. Cast: Emilia Jones, Eugenio Derbez, Troy Kotsur, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Daniel Durant, Marlee Matlin. World Premiered in the 2021 Sundance Film Festival’s U.S. Dramatic Competition section, where it won the U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic, Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic, and U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Ensemble Cast.
Klondike / Ukraine, Turkey (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Maryna Er Gorbach, Producers: Mehmet Bahadir Er, Sviatoslav BulakovskyI) — The story of a Ukrainian family living on the border of Russia – Ukraine during the start of war. Irka refuses to leave her house even as the village gets captured by armed forces. Shortly after they find themselves at the center of an air crash catastrophe on July 17, 2014. Cast: Oxana Cherkashyna, Sergey Shadrin, Oleg Scherbina, Oleg Shevchuk, Artur Aramyan, Evgenij Efremov. World Premiered in the 2022 Sundance Film Festival’s World Cinema Dramatic Competition section, where it won the Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic.
Navalny / U.S.A. (Director: Daniel Roher, Producers: Odessa Rae, Diane Becker, Melanie Miller, Shane Boris) — Anti-authoritarian Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny recovers in Berlin after nearly being poisoned to death with the nerve agent Novichok. He makes shocking discoveries about his assassination attempt and bravely decides to return home – whatever the consequences. World Premiered in the 2022 Sundance Film Festival’s U.S. Documentary Competition section, where it won Festival Favorite and the Audience Award: U.S. Documentary.
Summer of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) / U.S.A. (Director: Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Producers: David Dinerstein, Robert Fyvolent, Joseph Patel) — An epic event that celebrated Black history, culture, and fashion shines a light on the importance of history and the healing power of music during times of unrest. World Premiered in the 2021 Sundance Film Festival’s U.S. Documentary Competition section, where it won the U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary and Audience Award: U.S. Documentary.
#SUNDANCE: 2022 AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED
Winners at this year’s Sundance Film Festival have been announced and NANNY wins top honours taking the U.S. Grand Jury Prize. The U.S. Grand Jury Prize for Documentary went to THE EXILES.
Audience Awards went to last-minute Festival addition NAVALNY, which centers on Russia’s jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny for U.S. Documentary. It also won the Festival Favourite Award.
Cooper Raiff‘s CHA CHA REAL SMOOTH took the U.S. Dramatic Award. The latter starring Raiff and Dakota Johnson, just sold for $15 million to Apple TV+.
Co-Canadian production FRAMING AGNES picked-up two awards, the Audience Award: NEXT and the NEXT Innovator Award.
Complete list of Winners:
GRAND JURY PRIZES
The U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented to Nikyatu Jusu for Nanny / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Nikyatu Jusu, Producers: Nikkia Moulterie, Daniela Taplin Lundberg) — Aisha is an undocumented nanny working for a privileged couple in New York City. As she prepares for the arrival of the son she left behind in Senegal, a violent supernatural presence invades her reality, threatening the American dream she is painstakingly piecing together. Cast: Anna Diop, Michelle Monaghan, Sinqua Walls, Morgan Spector, Rose Decker, Leslie Uggams.
The U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary was presented to Ben Klein and Violet Columbus for The Exiles / U.S.A. (Directors: Ben Klein, Violet Columbus, Producers: Maria Chiu, Ben Klein, Violet Columbus) — Documentarian Christine Choy tracks down three exiled dissidents from the Tiananmen Square massacre, in order to find closure on an abandoned film she began shooting with Renee Tajima-Peña in 1989.
The World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented to Alejandro Loayza Grisi for Utama / Bolivia/Uruguay/France (Director and Screenwriter: Alejandro Loayza Grisi, Producers: Santiago Loayza Grisi, Federico Moreira, Marcos Loayza, Jean-Baptiste Bailly-Maitre) — In the Bolivian highlands, an elderly Quechua couple has been living the same daily life for years. When an uncommon long drought threatens their entire way of life, Virginio and his wife Sisa face the dilemma of resisting or being defeated by the environment and time itself. Cast: Jose Calcina, Luisa Quispe, Santos Choque.
The World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary was presented to Shaunak Sen for All That Breathes / India, U.K. (Director and Producer: Shaunak Sen, Producers: Aman Mann, Teddy Leifer) — Against the darkening backdrop of Delhi’s apocalyptic air and escalating violence, two brothers devote their lives to protect one casualty of the turbulent times: the bird known as the Black Kite.
The Audience Award: U.S. Documentary, Presented by Acura was awarded to Navalny / U.S.A. (Director: Daniel Roher, Producers: Odessa Rae, Diane Becker, Melanie Miller, Shane Boris) — Shot as the story unfolded, a fly-on-the-wall documentary thriller about anti-authoritarian Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Recovering in Berlin after nearly being poisoned to death with the nerve agent Novichok, Navalny makes shocking discoveries about his assassination attempt and bravely decides to return home – whatever the consequences.
The Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic, Presented by Acura was awarded to Cha Cha Real Smooth / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Cooper Raiff, Producers: Dakota Johnson, Ro Donnelly, Erik Feig, Jessica Switch, Cooper Raiff) — A directionless college graduate embarks on a relationship with a young mom and her teenage daughter while learning the boundaries of his new bar mitzvah party-starting gig. Cast: Dakota Johnson, Cooper Raiff, Vanessa Burghardt, Evan Assante, Brad Garrett, Leslie Mann.
The Audience Award: World Cinema Dramatic was awarded to Girl Picture / Finland (Director: Alli Haapasalo, Screenwriters: Ilona Ahti, Daniela Hakulinen, Producers: Leila Lyytikäinen, Elina Pohjola) — Mimmi, Emma and Rönkkö are girls at the cusp of womanhood, trying to draw their own contours. In three consecutive Fridays two of them experience the earth moving effects of falling in love, while the third goes on a quest to find something she’s never experienced before: pleasure. Cast: Aamu Milonoff, Eleonoora Kauhanen, Linnea Leino.
The Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary was awarded to The Territory / Brazil/Denmark/United States (Director: Alex Pritz, Producers: Will N. Miller, Sigrid Dyekjær, Lizzie Gillett, Anonymous) — When a network of Brazilian farmers seizes a protected area of the Amazon rainforest, a young Indigenous leader and his mentor must fight back in defense of the land and an uncontacted group living deep within the forest.
The Audience Award: NEXT, Presented by Adobe was awarded to Framing Agnes / Canada, U.S.A. (Director: Chase Joynt, Producers: Samantha Curley, Shant Joshi, Chase Joynt) — After discovering case files from a 1950s gender clinic, a cast of transgender actors turn a talk show inside out to confront the legacy of a young trans woman forced to choose between honesty and access.
FESTIVAL FAVORITE AWARD
Selected by audience votes from the 84 features screened at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, the Festival Favorite Award was presented to Navalny / U.S.A. (Director: Daniel Roher, Producers: Odessa Rae, Diane Becker, Melanie Miller, Shane Boris) — Shot as the story unfolded, a fly-on-the-wall documentary thriller about anti-authoritarian Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Recovering in Berlin after nearly being poisoned to death with the nerve agent Novichok, Navalny makes shocking discoveries about his assassination attempt and bravely decides to return home – whatever the consequences.
JURY AWARDS FOR DIRECTING, SCREENWRITING & EDITING
The Directing Award: U.S. Documentary was presented to Reid Davenport for I Didn’t See You There / U.S.A. (Director: Reid Davenport, Producer: Keith Wilson) — Spurred by the spectacle of a circus tent that goes up outside his Oakland apartment, a disabled filmmaker launches into an unflinching meditation on freakdom, (in)visibility, and the pursuit of individual agency.
The Directing Award: U.S. Dramatic was presented to Jamie Dack for Palm Trees and Power Lines / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Jamie Dack, Screenwriter: Audrey Findlay, Producers: Leah Chen Baker, Jamie Dack) — Seventeen-year-old Lea spends her summer aimlessly tanning with her best friend, tiptoeing around her fragile mother, and getting stoned with a group of boys from school. This monotony is disrupted by an encounter with Tom, a man twice her age, who promises an alternative to Lea’s unsatisfying adolescent life. Cast: Lily McInerny, Jonathan Tucker, Gretchen Mol.
The Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary was presented to Simon Lereng Wilmont for A House Made Of Splinters / Denmark (Director: Simon Lereng Wilmont, Producer: Monica Hellström) — In Eastern Ukraine, follow the daily life of children and staff in a special kind of home: an institution for children who have been removed from their homes while awaiting court custody decisions. Staff do their best to make the time children have there safe and supportive.
The Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic was presented to Maryna Er Gorbach for KLONDIKE / Ukraine/Turkey (Director and Screenwriter: Maryna Er Gorbach, Producers: Maryna Er Gorbach, Mehmet Bahadir Er, Sviatoslav BulakovskyI) — The story of a Ukrainian family living on the border of Russia – Ukraine during the start of war. Irka refuses to leave her house even as the village gets captured by armed forces. Shortly after they find themselves at the center of an air crash catastrophe on July 17, 2014. Cast: Oxana Cherkashyna, Sergey Shadrin, Oleg Scherbina, Oleg Shevchuk, Artur Aramyan, Evgenij Efremov.
The Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: U.S. Dramatic was presented to K.D. Dávila for Emergency / U.S.A. (Director: Carey Williams, Screenwriter: KD Davila, Producers: Marty Bowen, Isaac Klausner, John Fischer) — Ready for a night of partying, a group of Black and Latino college students must weigh the pros and cons of calling the police when faced with an unusual emergency. Cast: RJ Cyler, Donald Watkins, Sebastian Chacon, Sabrina Carpenter.
The Jonathan Oppenheim Editing Award: U.S. Documentary was presented to Erin Casper and Jocelyne Chaput for Fire Of Love / U.S.A. (Director: Sara Dosa, Producers: Shane Boris, Ina Fichman, Sara Dosa) — Intrepid scientists and lovers Katia & Maurice Krafft died in a volcanic explosion doing the very thing that brought them together: unraveling the mysteries of volcanoes by capturing the most explosive imagery ever recorded. A doomed love triangle between Katia, Maurice and volcanoes, told through their archival footage.
SPECIAL JURY AWARDS
A U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award: Uncompromising Artistic Vision was presented to Bradley Rust Gray for blood / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Bradley Rust Gray, Producers: David Urrutia, Bradley Rust Gray, So Yong Kim, Elika Portnoy, Alex Orlovsky, Jonathon Komack Martin) — After the death of her husband, a young woman travels to Japan where she finds solace in an old friend. But when comforting turns to affection, she realizes she must give herself permission before she can fall in love again. Cast: Carla Juri, Takashi Ueno, Gustaf Skarsgård, Futaba Okazaki, Issey Ogata.
A U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award: Ensemble Cast was presented to John Boyega, Nicole Beharie, Selenis Leyva, Connie Britton, Olivia Washington, London Covington, and Michael K Williams for 892 / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Abi Damaris Corbin, Screenwriter: Kwame Kwei-Armah, Producers: Ashley Levinson, Salman Al-Rashid, Sam Frohman, Kevin Turen, Mackenzie Fargo) — When Brian Brown-Easley’s disability check fails to materialize from Veterans Affairs, he finds himself on the brink of homelessness and breaking his daughter’s heart. No other options, he walks into a Wells Fargo Bank and says “I’ve got a bomb.“ Cast: John Boyega, Michael Kenneth Williams, Nicole Beharie, Connie Britton, Olivia Washington, Selenis Leyva.
A U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award: Impact for Change was presented to Aftershock / / U.S.A. (Directors and Producers: Paula Eiselt, Tonya Lewis Lee) — Following the preventable deaths of their partners due to childbirth complications, two bereaved fathers galvanize activists, birth-workers and physicians to reckon with one of the most pressing American crises of our time – the U.S. maternal health crisis.
A U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award: Creative Vision was presented to Descendant / U.S.A. (Director: Margaret Brown, Producers: Essie Chambers, Kyle Martin) — Clotilda, the last known ship carrying enslaved Africans to the United States, arrived in Alabama 40 years after African slave trading became a capital offense. It was promptly burned, and its existence denied. After a century shrouded in secrecy and speculation, descendants of the Clotilda’s survivors are reclaiming their story.
A World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award: Documentary Craft was presented to The Territory / Brazil/Denmark/United States (Director: Alex Pritz, Producers: Will N. Miller, Sigrid Dyekjær, Lizzie Gillett, Anonymous) — When a network of Brazilian farmers seizes a protected area of the Amazon rainforest, a young Indigenous leader and his mentor must fight back in defense of the land and an uncontacted group living deep within the forest.
A World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award: Excellence In Verité Filmmaking was presented to Midwives / Myanmar (Director: Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing, Producers: Bob Moore, Ulla Lehman, Mila Aung-Thwin, Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing) — Two midwives work side-by-side in a makeshift clinic in Myanmar.
A World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award: Innovative Spirit was presented for Leonor Will Never Die / Philippines (Director and Screenwriter: Martika Ramirez Escobar, Producers: Monster Jimenez, Mario Cornejo) — Fiction and reality blur when Leonor, a retired filmmaker, falls into a coma after a television lands on her head, compelling her to become the action hero of her unfinished screenplay. Cast: Sheila Francisco, Bong Cabrera, Rocky Salumbides, Anthony Falcon.
A World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award: Acting was presented to Teresa Sánchez for Dos Estaciones / Mexico (Director and Screenwriter: Juan Pablo González, Screenwriters: Ana Isabel Fernández, Ilana Coleman, Producers: Jamie Gonçalves, Ilana Coleman, Bruna Haddad, Makena Buchanan) — In the bucolic hills of Mexico’s Jalisco highlands, iron-willed businesswoman Maria Garcia fights the impending collapse of her tequila factory. Cast: Teresa Sánchez, Tatín Vera, Rafaela Fuentes, Manuel García-Rulfo.
NEXT INNOVATOR AWARD PRESENTED BY ADOBE
The NEXT Innovator Award presented by Adobe was presented to Chase Joynt for Framing Agnes / Canada, U.S.A. (Director: Chase Joynt, Producers: Samantha Curley, Shant Joshi, Chase Joynt) — After discovering case files from a 1950s gender clinic, a cast of transgender actors turn a talk show inside out to confront the legacy of a young trans woman forced to choose between honesty and access.
SHORT FILM AWARDS PRESENTED BY XRM Media
Jury prizes for short filmmaking were awarded to:
The Short Film Grand Jury Prize was awarded to The Headhunter’s Daughter / Philippines (Director and Screenwriter: Don Josephus Raphael Eblahan, Producer: Hannah Schierbeek) — Leaving her family behind, Lynn traverses the harrowing roads of the Cordilleran highlands to try her luck in the city as a country singer. Cast: Ammin Acha-ur.
The Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction was awarded to Walter Thompson-Hernández for IF I GO WILL THEY MISS ME / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Walter Thompson-Hernández, Producer: Stuart McIntyre) — Lil’ Ant is obsessed with Pegasus, the Greek mythological character, since first learning about him at school in Watts, California. He begins to notice imaginary airplane people around his home, and yearns to fly with them. Cast: Anthony Harris Jr.
The Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction was awarded to Dania Bdeir for Warsha / France/Lebanon (Director and Screenwriter: Dania Bdeir, Producer: Coralie Dias) — A Syrian migrant working as a crane operator in Beirut volunteers to cover a shift on one of the most dangerous cranes, where he is able to find his freedom. Cast: Khansa.
The Short Film Jury Award: Nonfiction was awarded to Samir Karahoda for Displaced / Kosovo (Director and Screenwriter: Samir Karahoda, Producer: Eroll Bilibani) — In postwar Kosovo, driven to keep their beloved sport table tennis alive, two local players wander from one obscure location to another carrying with them their club’s only possession: their tables.
The Short Film Jury Award: Animation was awarded to Joe Hsieh for Night Bus / Taiwan (Director and Screenwriter: Joe Hsieh, Producers: Wan Lin Lee, Joe Hsieh, Joe Chan) — On a late-night bus, a panicked scream shatters the night’s calm. A necklace is stolen, followed by a tragic and fatal road accident. The series of intriguing events that follows reveal love, hatred, and vengeance. Cast: Shu Fang Chen, Ming Hsiu Tsai, Yu Fang Lee, Shing Ming Wang, Shang Sing Guo, Pi Li Yeh.
A Short Film Special Jury Award: Ensemble Cast was presented to Zélia Duncan, Bruna Linzmeyer, Camila Rocha, Clarissa Ribeiro, and Lorre Motta for A wild patience has taken me here / Brazil (Director and Screenwriter: Érica Sarmet, Producers: Lívia Perez, Silvia Sobral, Érica Sarmet) — Tired of loneliness, a middle aged motorcyclist goes to a lesbian party for the first time. There she meets four young queers who share their home and affections. An encounter of generations, a tribute to those who brought us here. Cast: Zélia Duncan, Bruna Linzmeyer, Camila Rocha, Clarissa Ribeiro, Lorre Motta.
A Short Film Special Jury Award: Screenwriting was awarded to Sara Driver for Stranger Than Rotterdam with Sara Driver / United States (Directors: Lewie Kloster, Noah Kloster, Screenwriter: Sara Driver) — In 1982, the completion of Jim Jarmusch’s sophomore film, Stranger Than Paradise, hinged on producer Sara Driver’s willingness and ability to smuggle one of the world’s rarest and most controversial films across the Atlantic Ocean.
EARLIER SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL AWARDS
The 2022 Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize, presented to an outstanding feature film about science or technology, was presented to After Yang. The filmmakers received a $20,000 cash award from Sundance Institute with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
The Sundance Institute | Amazon Studios Producers Award for Nonfiction went to Su Kim for Free Chol Soo Lee (U.S. Documentary Competition).
The Sundance Institute | Amazon Studios Producers Award for Fiction went to Amanda Marshall God’s Country (Premieres).
The Sundance Institute | Adobe Mentorship Award for Editing Nonfiction went to Toby Shimin, and the Sundance Institute | Adobe Mentorship Award for Editing Fiction went to Dody Dorn.
The Sundance Institute | NHK Award went to Hasan Hadi for his film The President’s Cake.