2018 Sundance Film Festival: Here Are Some of the Most Anticipated Movies

2018 Sundance Film Festival: Here Are Some of the Most Anticipated Movies

Jan 18, 2018

Sundance Film Festival

The beginning of a New Year means a whole new slate of movies to devour for the next twelve months, but it also means that the 2018 Sundance Film Festival is upon us.

The films that premiere at Sundance are notable because a great many of them will design the indie film landscape for the year ahead, and some may even find their way into the awards conversation. A few of the awards-friendly movies that premiered at Sundance last year include The Big Sick, Mudbound, Call Me By Your Name and Get Out, the latter of which was a surprise midnight screening.

So as we get set to pack our boots and head to the mountains of Park City, Utah to watch a whole fresh batch of independent films, we’ve combed the program to let you know a few of the titles we’re most excited about. This year we’ve decided to change it up, and so all of the titles we’re highlighting are either directed by a woman or narratively driven by a female character.

 

Lizzie

Lizzie

Here’s the deal: Chloë Sevigny plays the notorious Lizzie Borden, a woman suspected of killing her father and stepmother with a hatchet back in 1892. Borden was acquitted of the crime, and this film will likely tell her bizarre story – complete with Kristen Stewart playing the family’s live-in maid, suspected of potentially helping Borden, and also said to be Borden's secret lover. Expect this to be one of the more talked-about titles at this year’s festival -- Sevigny has been trying to make a Lizzie Borden movie for years now, and Borden's story is well known and long-anticipated on the big screen. Plus, Kristen Stewart continues to be one of the more fascinating actresses to watch, consistently throwing herself into rich, complex roles, and this looks to be no different.

 

Nancy

Nancy

Here’s the deal: An actress on the rise, Andrea Riseborough (Battle of the Sexes) is featured in multiple movies at the festival this year, and in the drama Nancy she stars as a woman who becomes convinced she was kidnapped when she was a child. The film also features the directorial debut of Christina Choe. Is this the year of Andrea Riseborough? She has three features scheduled, as well as a role in a TV mini-series based on the Waco standoff.

 

Eighth Grade

Eighth Grade

Here’s the deal: Another majorly buzzed-about title is Eighth Grade, from writer-director Bo Burnham, a comedian and YouTube personality who is making his directorial debut. Already acquired by A24 (which means you will see this in theaters later this year), Eighth Grade stars Elsie Fisher as a high school student with major anxiety who finds her only relief on the Internet. With shades of Lady Bird (another A24 title), Eighth Grade is among the most anticipated coming-of-age stories in the fest this year.

 

Private Life

Private Life

Here’s the deal: Private Life is most notable because it marks the return of writer-director Tamara Jenkins, who comes back to Sundance following a 10-year break from directing. Jenkins’ 2007 film The Savages also played at Sundance (and went on to multiple Oscar nods), and she is back once again with another soulful story about family – this time starring Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti as a married couple whose problems getting pregnant lead them to pursue other options, potentially with help from their step-niece, played by Kayli Carter.

 

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Here’s the deal: From Appropriate Behavior director Desiree Akhavan, The Miseducation of Cameron Post stars Chloe Grace Moretz as a teenager who is forced to attend a gay conversion camp after she’s caught with another girl in the back seat of a car on prom night. The film, on top of being a relevant tale that will likely hit close to home for a lot of people, is also notable for featuring the next feature performance from American Honey breakout star Sasha Lane, who costars alongside Moretz.

 

Madeline’s Madeline

Madeline's Madeline

Here’s the deal: We don’t quite know what kind of film writer-director Josephine Decker will deliver, but we know it will be different and take risks with its narrative, delivering a visual and emotional experience unlike anything else. Decker is known for pushing the narrative boundaries, and Madeline’s Madeline – about an experimental performance artist whose troubled life begins to infiltrate her art in unexpected ways – seems to be exactly that. Those looking for something a little different, unexpected and worth exploring in various ways will find plenty to feast on with this one.

 

The Kindergarten Teacher

The Kindergarten Teacher

Here's the deal: Maggie Gyllenhaal plays a Staten Island kindergarten teacher who's stuck in a rut with her only source of happiness coming from a poetry class she attends weekly. Things begin to change when she discovers a student of hers may be a poetic prodigy, and she soon becomes obsessed with nurturing his gifts at all costs in an effort to not lose him to a monotonous life that's all too familiar to her. The film, directed by second-time Sundance filmmaker Sara Colangelo (Little Accidents), gains props for being set on Staten Island (truth: this writer grew up in Staten Island), but we're also excited to see Maggie Gyllenhaal back in a leading role on the big screen -- her first in a few years.

 

Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace

Here’s the deal: The last time director Debra Granik was at Sundance, her film Winter’s Bone won the Grand Jury prize while at the same time introducing the world to actress Jennifer Lawrence. Now she’s back with a story about a father (Ben Foster) and daughter (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie) whose life off the grid is thrown into disarray when they are caught and social services becomes involved in their lives. We know Granik will deliver another gritty family drama that oozes authenticity, but will McKenzie deliver a breakout performance similar to the one we saw from Lawrence? Keep an eye on that storyline as the festival progresses.

 

Piercing

Piercing

Here’s the deal: Mia Wasikowska comes to Sundance with multiple films this year, and is poised to be one of the actresses festgoers are buzzing about the most. Piercing is a thriller directed by Nicolas Pesce about a man (Christopher Abbott) who checks into a hotel with plans to hire and murder an escort. But what happens when things don’t go exactly as planned, and the escort – played by Wasikowska – puts up way more of a fight than he was ever anticipating.

 

Shirkers

Shirkers

Here’s the deal: The lone documentary on our list, Shirkers sounds like a intriguing story about gutsy filmmakers and the movie of theirs that vanished. The film tracks “super-cinephile” Sandi Tan, who made a fictional thriller with her friends back in the early ‘90s in her home country of Singapore. It was one of the few films ever to be shot guerilla style in Singapore, but the 16mm footage disappeared along with the mysterious man named Georges who assisted in its creation. In Shirkers, Tan tries to piece together the decades-old puzzle to find out just what happened to the footage, and who this Georges guy really is.

 

I Think We’re Alone Now

I Think We're Alone Now

Here’s the deal: Director Reed Morano is hot off her work on Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and comes to Sundance with her feature directorial debut, I Think We’re Alone Now, starring Peter Dinklage as a man who thinks he is the last person left on earth after the human race is wiped out. That is until he stumbles upon a girl named Grace (Elle Fanning), who turns his quiet life of solitude upside down and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. We've been seeing a wave of post-apocalyptic movies that are more about the characters and less about what happened to the world, and the talent on this film easily makes it one of the most anticipated genre movies at the fest this year.

 

The 2018 Sundance Film Festival runs from January 18-28 in Park City, Utah. Stay tuned for more from this year's festival!

Categories: Features, Indie
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