The Sundance Film Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary.

The Sundance Film Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary.

Today marks the start of the 40th Sundance Film Festival, a renowned event that showcases independent filmmakers and documentarians from various countries. The festival will take place in Utah until January 28, featuring both in-person screenings in Park City and Salt Lake City, as well as online streaming of certain films and events through Sundance’s digital platform from January 25-28.

The festival will showcase 82 full-length movies (out of 4,410 entries) and 8 series from 24 different countries, most of which are premiering for the first time. Almost half of the directors are debuting with their first feature film, making it a great opportunity to discover new talents. (In previous years, Sundance has helped launch the careers of directors like the Coen Brothers with “Blood Simple,” Quentin Tarantino with “Reservoir Dogs,” Steven Soderbergh with “Sex, Lies and Videotape,” Richard Linklater with “Before Sunrise,” and Christopher Nolan with “Memento.”)


Saoirse Ronan stars as a character who is recovering from alcoholism in the film “The Outrun,” which was directed by Nora Finscheidt.

The film Outrun Ltd, directed by Roy Imer and courtesy of the Sundance Institute.


This year’s new narrative features include movies with Kristen Stewart, such as the post-apocalyptic romance “Love Me” co-starring Steve Yeun, and the romantic thriller “Love Lies Bleeding” with Katy O’Brian and Ed Harris. Saoirse Ronan portrays a recovering alcoholic in “The Outrun,” while Michael Fassbender stars in “Kneecap,” a film about an Irish hip hop group. Jessie Eisenberg directs and stars in “A Real Pain” with Kieran Culkin, and also appears alongside Riley Keough in “Sasquatch Sunset.” “The American Society of Magical Negroes” features David Alan Grier and Justice Smith in lead roles.

An assortment of tales called “Freaky Tales” take place in 1987 Oakland. One of the stories, “My Old Ass,” showcases Aubrey Plaza as a young woman who experiences a psychedelic trip and encounters her future self. “Between the Temples,” centered on a cantor’s struggle with faith, includes Jason Schwartzman and Carol Kane. Renata Reinsve, known for her role as “The Worst Person in the World” in the Norwegian film that gained popularity in 2021, stars in two Sundance films: “Handling the Undead,” a mystery surrounding resurrection, and the thriller “A Different Man.”

June Squibb, known for her performances in “Nebraska,” takes on the role of a scam victim seeking retribution in “Thelma.” The final appearance of Richard Roundtree can also be seen in the film. “Out of My Mind,” a Disney+ production based on Sharon M. Draper’s book, follows a sixth-grade student with cerebral palsy, played by Phoebe Rae-Taylor.

Celebrities like Laura Linney and Woody Harrelson (“Suncoast”), David Schwimmer (“Little Death”), Lucy Liu (“Presence”), Chiwetel Ejiofor, Camila Cabello, and Mary J. Blige (“Rob Peace”), and Emilia Jones and Zach Galifianakis (“Winner”) are also in attendance at Sundance.

Sundance is also showcasing the first screening in the United States of “How to Have Sex,” a story about British teens on a journey to Crete as they come of age. The film, directed by Molly Manning Walker, was recognized at Cannes.

The Midnight section of the festival showcases a variety of supernatural and genre films, such as the horror movie “I Saw the TV Glow,” which was produced by Emma Stone. Other films include “The Moogai” from Australia, which follows an Aboriginal woman who fears her baby is being targeted by a spirit, “Your Monster,” which reimagines the concept of closet monsters through a young woman’s experiences, and “Krazy House” from the Netherlands, featuring Alicia Silverstone and Nick Frost as a family facing danger from Russian criminals.

Christopher Reeve

A scene from the film “Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story,” will debut at the Sundance Film Festival.

This image is provided by Sundance Institute and is credited to Herb Ritts/AUGUST.


The documentary “Super/Man” features exclusive footage of Christopher Reeve, known for his role as Superman and his activism. Additionally, the film “Sue Bird: In the Clutch” shares the inspiring story of WNBA star and Olympic gold medalist Sue Bird.

The mentioned musical personalities featured include Luther Vandross (“Luther: Never Too Much”), the new wave group “Devo,” and musician Brian Eno. “Eno” is advertised as a “constantly evolving documentary,” indicating that it alters with each viewing.

Will Ferrell embarks on a journey with a close friend who reveals her identity as a transgender woman in “Will & Harper.” The documentary “Never Look Away” follows CNN camerawoman Margaret Moth and her experiences covering war-torn regions. “Black Box Diaries” chronicles Japanese journalist Shiori Ito’s fight for justice after being sexually assaulted in a hotel. “A New Kind of Wilderness” tells the story of a Norwegian family who must face unexpected challenges while living off the grid.

Politics plays a central role in many of the films being showcased at the festival. “And So It Begins” follows the 2022 presidential race in the Philippines, where a progressive female candidate runs against the son of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Meanwhile, “Girls State” follows a group of high school girls in Missouri as they participate in a mock government exercise, experiencing the highs and lows of campaigning for political positions and presenting arguments before a mock Supreme Court.

In order to understand the events that occurred on January 6, 2021, the simulation known as “War Game” is being conducted. It involves a hypothetical attack on the Capitol during the certification of Electoral College votes in January 2025. The simulation explores a scenario where white supremacists within the U.S. military join forces with others in an attempt to overturn the results of an election.

The soundtrack to a political uprising, “Soundtrack to a Coup d’Etat,” showcases the role of American jazz musicians in spreading their message during the Cold War’s tense atmosphere surrounding newly-independent African nations.

There are films that explore the effects of artificial intelligence being used to assist (or possibly exploit for profit) those mourning the deceased (“Eternal You”), as well as endeavors to confine and safeguard one’s consciousness after death (“Love Machina”). “Being (The Digital Griot)” is an interactive encounter facilitated by an AI narrator who interacts with the viewers.

Episodic and Limited Series

Sundance will host the premieres of several episodic works, including “Lolla: The Story of Lollapalooza,” about the origin of the music festival; “God Save Texas,” a three-part series examining the history of three Texas cities; and “ConBody vs. Everybody,” a documentary about the formerly incarcerated who are hired as gym trainers, from director Debra Granik (“Winter’s Bone”).


To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Sundance, there will be discussions and activities showcasing previous filmmakers, as well as a trivia night for the 40th edition. Additionally, popular films from Sundance’s history such as “Mississippi Masala” and “Napoleon Dynamite” will be shown.

Additional activities include conversations about the process of creating films, the art of editing, indigenous narratives, the importance of sound design, addressing mental health in the film industry, combating antisemitism, promoting responsible gun use in films and television, and the criticism towards socially conscious stories.

The podcast “At Liberty” by the ACLU delves into the consequences of censorship and bans on LGBTQ narratives.

Quinta Bunson from “Abbott Elementary” and Mike Schur from “The Good Place” will be hosting “The Last Laugh,” an online conversation presented by NRDC. The topic will focus on how to find humor amidst the challenges of climate change.

The winners for the feature categories will be revealed on January 26th by the jury.

Not all films have been previewed at press time. Highlights will be published as Sundance continues.

To buy packages and single tickets, visit the Sundance website.

Learn how to stream the current festival through your Smart TV using Apple TV, Google TV, Amazon FireTV, Roku, or the Sundance app.