Sundance 2020: What to Watch

While the 2019 Awards Season comes to an end on February 9, the 2020 Sundance Film Festival will launch a new around of contenders.

Between films, parties, and catching up with friends you haven’t seen in a few months, there’s a lot going down.  This year’s festival features some huge headliners with the likes of country-turned-pop sensation Taylor Swift, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.  How I Met Your Mother fan favorite (and former Good Morning, Miami star) Ashley Williams makes her directorial debut with a short film, Meats.  All in all, there is a lot happening and Solzy at the Movies will have this year’s Sundance covered.  I’ll be staying through the entirety of the film festival, which ends on the day of the Super Bowl.

Rachel Sennott in Tahara.
Rachel Sennott in Tahara.

While Sundance takes all the attention, let’s not forget the 2020 Slamdance Film Festival.  This festival has been taking place in Park City since the 1990s.  Last year saw the first Slamdance premiere in years if not ever to hold its Canadian premiere during the Toronto International Film Festival.  Watch out for The Vast of Night in theaters this March.  There’s a few films that are on my list but Tahara is my priority film because it’s right up my alley.  It’s about a pair of young women whose former Hebrew School classmate commits suicide.  They have to attend a session about understanding grief through Judaism.  I’ll have more to say when the embargo lifts over the weekend.  In short, I LOVE that the film acknowledges that there are Jews of Color.

Now that I have your attention or at least hope I do, here’s the rundown of films that I plan to watch.  Or would watch if I wasn’t running all across Park City because I’m a one-person operation.  There’s a lot of films playing at Sundance and naturally, it’s impossible to cover everything.  I already know that I dropped one film from my schedule altogether because of attending a party featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda.  There are a handful of films that already have distribution so I’ve made note of that below.

U.S. Dramatic Competition

  • Dinner in America
  • Farewell Amor
  • Minari
  • Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Focus Features)
  • Nine Days
  • Palm Springs
  • Save Yourselves!
  • Shirley (Netflix)
  • Sylvie’s Love
  • Wander Darkly
  • Zola (A24)

World Cinema Dramatic Competition

  • Jumbo
  • Luxor

U.S. Documentary Competition

  • The Cost of Silence
  • Crip Camp (Netflix)
  • The Fight
  • Us Kids
  • Whirlybird

World Cinema Documentary Competition

  • Once Upon A Time in Venezuela
  • The Painter and The Thief
  • Softie

NEXT

  • Beast Beast
  • Black Bear
  • La Leyenda Negra
  • Omniboat: A Fast Boat Fantasia Spree
Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell in the film Downhill.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell in the film DOWNHILL. Photo by Jaap Buitendijk. © 2020 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Premieres

  • Downhill (Searchlight)
  • Dream Horse
  • Falling
  • The Father (Sony Classics)
  • Four Good Days
  • The Glorias
  • Horse Girl (Netflix)
  • Ironbark
  • Kajillionaire
  • The Last Shift
  • The Last Thing He Wanted (Netflix)
  • Lost Girls (Netflix)
  • The Nest
  • Promising Young Woman (Focus Features)
  • Sergio (Netflix)
  • Tesla
  • Uncle Frank
  • Worth

Documentary Premieres

  • Aggie
  • Disclosure: Trans Lives On Screen
  • The Go-Go’s
  • Happy Happy Joy Joy – The Ren & Stimpy Story
  • Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind
  • The Social Dilemma
  • Taylor Swift: Miss Americana (Netflix)

Spotlight

  • And Then We Danced (Music Box Films)
  • The Assistant (Bleecker Street)

Midnight

  • Bad Hair
  • Scare Me

Kids

  • Come Away
  • Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made (Disney+)
Ashley Williams appears in Meats by Ashley Williams, an official selection of the Shorts Programs at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
Ashley Williams appears in Meats by Ashley Williams, an official selection of the Shorts Programs at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute. Photo by Roman Vasyanov.

Narrative Shorts

  • Blocks
  • Danny’s Girl
  • He’s the One
  • Meats
  • Three Deaths
  • Little Chief

Animated Shorts

  • Hot Flash

Documentary Shorts

  • Character
  • Church and the Fourth Estate
  • The Starr Sisters

Special Events

  • Hillary
  • Max Richter’s Sleep
  • McMillions
  • Siempre, Luis
  • We Are Freestyle Love Supreme

The 2020 Sundance Film Festival runs January 23-February 2, 2020.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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