2016 Sundance Film Festival: Most anticipated films

January 28th, 2016


Filmmakers and fans of the theater are gearing up for this year’s Sundance Film Festival, which will take place Jan. 21-31 in Park City, Utah.


Sundance Film Festival is an annual event that draws talent and potential film buyers from all over the world.


Since 1985, hundreds of films launched at the Festival have gained critical recognition, received commercial distribution, and reached worldwide audiences eager for fresh perspectives and new voices,” according to the festival’s website.


It is a huge event for filmmakers who seek greater audiences, and the movies’ casts reflect talent both new and old. The festival was founded by Hollywood icon Robert Redford.


Movies that are successful at Sundance often go on to receive cinematic accolades, while many top executives will be in attendance, taking notes.


There are several films that are already being predicted to be the festival’s biggest hits, one of which is the film that will play on Sundance’s opening night, “Other People.”


“Other People” tells the tale of a gay comedy writer leaving his life in New York City to his return to his more rural childhood home to care for his conservative mother as her health declines.


The film is written and directed by Chris Kelly, a writer for “Saturday Night Live,” who drew from his own experiences for subject matter.


Past films that have filled the opening night slot include last year’s “Whiplash” and 2014’s “Twenty Feet From Stardom.”


Both films went on to be nominated for Academy Awards in their respective years, so Sundance organizers clearly have a lot of respect for this film for it to have earned such a prestigious spot.


The festival will feature two documentaries on gun violence, “Under the Gun,” a documentary produced by Katie Couric, and “Newtown,” which focuses on the aftermath of the 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.


In a more unusual premise, “Swiss Army Man” tells the tale of two friends, played by Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano. Dano is fresh from his critically acclaimed role as Brian Wilson in “Love and Mercy” and will continue to push envelopes in this film.


In “Swiss Army Man,” which is billed as a “comedy adventure drama,” Dano is a hopelessly stranded man who discovers a dead body, played by Radcliffe. This unlikely pair develops a strong, if one-sided, friendship.


Fans of the cult 1995 hit “Welcome to the Dollhouse” will be pleased to learn that the film’s protagonist, Dawn Weiner, will return to the screen in “Wiener-Dog.”


It is not necessarily a sequel to the film, although the same character (at least in name) does appear.


While the original “Welcome to the Dollhouse” Wiener was portrayed by Heather Matarazzo (who you might also recognize as Lilly Moscovitz from “The Princess Diaries”), “Wiener-Dog” has actress Greta Gerwig filling out the semi-titular role.


The movie follows the tale of several people whose lives are intertwined because of various encounters with wiener dogs.


Two separate films, deal with the 1974 on-air suicide of television news broadcaster Christine Chubbuck.


“Christine” approaches the subject as a drama, and it stars Rebecca Hall as Chubbuck. Michael C. Hall will portray the man for whom Chubbuck allegedly had unrequited feelings for.


“Kate Plays Christine” addresses the situation as a documentary/thriller, in which according to Sundance’s website, “Kate Lyn Sheil is cast in a ‘stylized cheap ‘70s soap opera’ version of Christine’s story, and to prepare for the role, Kate travels to Sarasota to investigate the mysteries and meanings behind her tragic demise.”


Both versions of Chubbuck’s story are receiving a lot of buzz, and event organizers say that the subject matter overlapping was merely a coincidence.

 Tika Sumpter Parker Sawyers

Finally, “Southside With You” chronicles the first date of future President Barack Obama and then named Michelle Robinson, although its Sundance description admits its use of poetic license. The film was shot throughout various Chicago locations


Today’s Sundance hits could be tomorrow’s Oscar winners, so look for these films in the Netflix queues of the future.


Editor’s Note: Information from, USA Today and Variety was used in this report.