The Sundance Film Festival announced its line-up of 110 films on Thursday, 99 of which will see their world premieres at the event, Variety reported. America’s largest independent film festival will be held in Park City, Utah, from January 18 to 28, 2018.
Movies from 29 countries spanning across a variety of genres will be featured at the event. A range of contemporary social and political issues such as sexual harassment, white supremacy, homosexuality and alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 US Presidential elections are reflected in the selected films.
“I think the artists and the storytellers and the filmmakers have always been responsive and out in front of the issues facing our times and trying to engage with them,” Sundance director of programming Trevor Groth told Variety. “Then, depending on what’s happening in the world and the zeitgeist, it’s the audience’s reaction to those issues that shifts. We felt that last year with Trump. We’re feeling it this year with a lot of the women’s issues, such as sexual assault.”
The festival will be headlined by Seeing Allred, a documentary about women’s rights activist Gloria Allred, and Idris Elba’s directorial debut Yardie, a crime drama set in the 1970s. Other headlining premieres include Emmy Award-winning director Reed Morano’s post-apocalyptic drama I Think We’re Alone Now, starring Peter Dinklage and Elle Fanning, Rupert Everett’s Oscar Wilde biopic The Happy Prince, featuring Colin Firth in the lead, and Ethan Hawke’s music drama Blaze, among others. Priyanka Chopra-starrer A Kid Like Jake directed by Silas Howard and Marc Turtletaub’s Puzzle featuring Irrfan Khan will also be premiered at the festival.
The 16 films competing in the US Dramatic Competition category include Bo Burnham’s coming of age drama Eighth Grade and Andrew Heckler’s Burden, which chronicles the transformation of a Ku Klux Klan member.
The 16 American documentaries include Amy Scott’s Hal, about director Hal Ashby, and Derek Doneen’s documentary Kailash, about Indian child rights’ activist Kailash Satyarthi.
Films with big stars in the line-up include Keira Knightley’s Colette based on the French novelist of the same name and Gus Van Sant’s Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot featuring Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara. Ophelia, an alternative view of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, stars Daisy Ridley.
The festival has instituted two new awards this year. The Festival Favorite award will identify one film from any category that is most appreciated by the audiences, and the “NEXT Innovator” prize, to be selected by one dignitary.