It’s always difficult to predict what the ‘break outs’ of Sundance will be, but of course, excitement can be generated by finding out that your favourite directors or actors have new films coming out. So, here are my most-anticipated features of Sundance 2019.
#1 – The Souvenir (dir. Joanna Hogg)
One of our best British directors, Joanna Hogg made two of my favourite films – Unrelated (2007) and Archipelago (2010) – both starring Tom Hiddleston – and I’m so excited that she has a new film out. The Souvenir stars Tilda Swinton (swoon) and Richard Ayoade (swoon again) and is set to have two parts, following a film student in the 1980s. Sign me all the way up.
#2 – The Nightingale (dir. Jennifer Kent)
Sam Claflin has recently gone from big-budget fantasy franchises to smaller films, many of which were directed by women (The Riot Club, Their Finest, Me Before You) and which have proven his acting chops (Journey’s End, My Cousin Rachel). He is back with a female director again here, The Babadook’s Jennifer Kent, in a film set in the early 19th century Australian outback. It sounds like he’ll be playing against type, in a more villainous role here as well. Cannot wait.
#3 – Blinded by the Light (dir. Gurinder Chadha)
The director of Bhaji on the Beach, Bend it Like Beckham, Bride and Prejudice and Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging comes a new film set in the 1980s (again) about a teenager finding his voice through the music of Bruce Springsteen. Featuring a fantastic British cast including Kulvinder Ghir, Sally Phillips, Rob Brydon and Hayley Atwell.
#4 – The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (dir. Chiwetel Ejiofor)
One of my favourite British actors (I’ve seen him on stage as well as in multiple film and TV roles) is now making his feature film debut as a director. I have seen his 2013 short, Columbite Tantalite which shows his potential as a director. Set in Malawi and starring Ejiofor himself, as well as The Cursed Child’s Noma Dumezweni, the film follows a young boy who helps his village build a wind turbine after reading about them in a library book.
#5 – Animals (dir. Sophie Hyde)
After a decade of partying, Laura and Tyler’s friendship is strained by Laura’s new love and her focus on her novel. A snapshot of a modern woman with competing desires, at once a celebration of female friendship and an examination of the choices we make when facing a crossroads. Starring Holliday Grainger (an amazing British actress) and Alia Shawkat.
#6 – Late Night (directed by Nisha Ganatra, written by Mindy Kaling)
Starring Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling. A legendary late-night talk show host’s world is turned upside down when she hires her only female staff writer. Originally intended to smooth over diversity concerns, her decision has unexpectedly hilarious consequences as the two women separated by culture and generation are united by their love of a biting punchline.
#7 – The Lodge (dir. Veronika Franz; Severin Fiala)
In this psychologically chilling slow burn, a young woman and her reticent new stepchildren find themselves isolated in the family’s remote winter cabin, locked away to dredge up the mysteries of her dark past and the losses that seem to haunt them all. Starring Riley Keough, Alicia Silverstone and Richard Armitage.
#8 – The Sunlit Night (dir. David Wnendt)
Between New York City and the far north of Norway, an American painter and a Russian émigré find each other in the Arctic circle. Together under a sun that never sets, they discover a future and family that they didn’t know they had. Starring Jenny Slate, Zach Galifianakis and Gillian Anderson.
#9 – Velvet Buzzsaw (dir. Dan Gilroy)
This film reunites Dan Gilroy with his Nightcrawler stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo. A thriller set in the contemporary art world scene of Los Angeles, where big money artists and mega-collectors pay a high price when art collides with commerce. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Toni Collette, Zawe Ashton and Tom Sturridge.
#10 – Little Monsters (dir. Abe Forsythe)
Starring Lupita Nyong’o. A film dedicated to all the kindergarten teachers who motivate children to learn, instill them with confidence and stop them from being devoured by zombies.
#11 – Mope (dir. Lucas Heyne)
Two ‘mopes’ – the lowest-level male performers in the porn industry – set their sights on an impossible dream: stardom. StarringNathan Stewart-Jarrett, star of two of my favourite TV series of all time; Misfits and Utopia.
#12 – Sweetheart (Director: JD Dillard)
Jenn has washed ashore on a small tropical island and it doesn’t take her long to realize she’s completely alone. She must spend her days not only surviving the elements, but must also fend off the malevolent force that comes out each night. Starring Kiersey Clemons(Hearts Beat Loud) and Emory Cohen (Brooklyn).