The 2019 Sundance Film Festival is upon us and we’re feeling good about most of our Most Anticipated 2020 Film feature predictions; many of the films with early February release dates are indeed making Sundance premieres (“Wendy,” “Downhill,” etc.). This year feels rich already, with new films by Dee Rees, Josephine Decker, Miranda July and many, many more.
But let’s get to some quick first looks, shall we? And as always the full line up is here.
Anne Hathaway appears in “The Last Thing He Wanted” by Dee Rees, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.
The Last Thing He Wanted / U.S.A. (Director: Dee Rees, Screenwriters: Marco Vallalobos, Dee Rees, Producers: Cassian Elwes, Dee Rees) — A veteran D.C. journalist loses the thread of her own narrative when a guilt-propelled errand for her father thrusts her from byline to unwitting subject in the very story she’s trying to break. Adapted from the Joan Didion novel of the same title. Cast: Anne Hathaway, Ben Affleck, Willem Dafoe, Rosie Perez. World Premiere
Rebecca Hall and Sarah Goldberg appear in “The Night House” by David Bruckner, an official selection of the Midnight program at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Brett Rodele.
The Night House / U.S.A. (Director: David Bruckner, Screenwriters: Ben Collins, Luke Piotrowski, Producers: David Goyer, Keith Levine, John Zois) — A widow begins to uncover her recently deceased husband’s disturbing secrets. Cast: Rebecca Hall, Sarah Goldberg, Stacy Martin, Evan Jonigkeit, Vondie Curtis-Hall. World Premiere
Elisabeth Moss and Odessa Young appear in “Shirley” by Josephine Decker, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Thatcher Keats.
Shirley / U.S.A. (Director: Josephine Decker, Screenwriter: Sarah Gubbins, Producers: Christine Vachon, David Hinojosa, Sue Naegle, Sarah Gubbins, Jeffrey Soros, Simon Horsman) — A young couple moves in with the famed author, Shirley Jackson, and her Bennington College professor husband, Stanley Hyman, in the hope of starting a new life but instead find themselves fodder for a psycho-drama that inspires Shirley’s next novel. Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Michael Stuhlbarg, Odessa Young, Logan Lerman. World Premiere
Aubrey Plaza and Christopher Abbott appear in “Black Bear” by Lawrence Michael Levine, an official selection of the NEXT program at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Rob Leitzell.
Black Bear / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Lawrence Michael Levine, Producers: Julie Christeas, Jonathan Blitstein, Rick Bosner, Aubrey Plaza, Lawrence Michael Levine, Sophia Takal) — At a remote lake house, a filmmaker plays a calculated game of desire and jealousy in the pursuit of a work of art that blurs the boundaries between autobiography and invention. Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Christopher Abbott, Sarah Gadon. World Premiere
Yaani King Mondschein, Elle Lorraine, and Lena Waithe appear in “Bad Hair” by Justin Simien, an official selection of the Midnight program at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.
Bad Hair / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Justin Simien, Producers: Julia Lebedev, Angel Lopez, Eddie Vaisman, Justin Simien) — In this horror satire set in 1989, an ambitious young woman gets a weave in order to succeed in the image-obsessed world of music television. However, her flourishing career may come at a great cost when she realizes that her new hair may have a mind of its own. Cast: Elle Lorraine, Vanessa Williams, Jay Pharoah, Lena Waithe, Blair Underwood, Laverne Cox. World Premiere. DAY ONE
Ethan Hawke appears in “Tesla” by Michael Almereyda, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Cara Howe.
Tesla / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Michael Almereyda, Producers: Avi Lerner, Jeffery Greenstein, Uri Singer, Christa Campbell, Lati Grobman, Isen Robbins) — Highlighting the Promethean struggles of Nikola Tesla, as he attempts to transcend entrenched technology–including his own previous work–by pioneering a system of wireless energy that will change the world. Cast: Ethan Hawke, Kyle Maclachlan, Eve Hewson, Jim Gaffigan, Hannah Gross, Josh Hamilton. World Premiere. Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize
Sienna Miller and Diego Luna appear in “Wander Darkly” by Tara Miele, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Carolina Costa.
Wander Darkly / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Tara Miele, Producers: Lynette Howell Taylor, Samantha Housman, Shivani Rawat, Monica Levinson) — New parents Adrienne and Matteo are forced to reckon with trauma amidst their troubled relationship. They must revisit the memories of their past and unravel haunting truths in order to face their uncertain future. Cast: Sienna Miller, Diego Luna, Beth Grant, Aimee Carrero, Tory Kittles, Vanessa Bayer. World Premiere
Riley Keough and Taylour Paige appear in “Zola” by Janicza Bravo, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Anna Kooris.
Zola / U.S.A. (Director: Janicza Bravo, Screenwriters: Janicza Bravo, Jeremy O. Harris, Producers: Christine Vachon, David Hinojosa, Vince Jolivette, Elizabeth Haggard, Dave Franco, Gia Walsh) 2015: @zolarmoon tweets “wanna hear a story about why me & this bitch here fell out???????? It’s kind of long but full of suspense.” Two girls bond over their “hoeism” and become fast friends. What’s supposed to be a trip from Detroit to Florida turns into a weekend from hell. Cast: Taylour Paige, Riley Keough, Nicholas Braun, Colman Domingo. World Premiere
Annie Clark and Carrie Brownstein appear in “The Nowhere Inn” by Bill Benz, an official selection of the Midnight program at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Minka Farthing Kohl.
The Nowhere Inn / U.S.A. (Director: Bill Benz, Screenwriters: Carrie Brownstein, Annie Clark, Producers: Jett Steiger, Lana Kim, Annie Clark, Carrie Brownstein) — When St. Vincent sets out to make a documentary about her music, the goal is to both reveal and revel in the unadorned truth behind her on-stage persona. But when she hires a close friend to direct, notions of reality, identity, and authenticity grow increasingly distorted and bizarre. Cast: Annie Clark, Carrie Brownstein. World Premiere
Lance Henriksen and Viggo Mortensen appear in “Falling” by Viggo Mortensen, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.
Falling / Canada, United Kingdom, Denmark (Director and screenwriter: Viggo Mortensen, Producers: Viggo Mortensen, Daniel Bekerman, Chris Curling) — When 80-year-old independent farmer Willis travels to Los Angeles for an indefinite stay with son John and his family, two very different worlds collide. Mentally declining, Willis’ abrasiveness is both caustic and funny, bringing old wounds from the past and years of mutual mistrust to the surface. Cast: Lance Henriksen, Viggo Mortensen, Terry Chen, Sverrir Gudnason, Hannah Gross, Laura Linney. World Premiere. CLOSING NIGHT
Evan Rachel Wood, Richard Jenkins and Debra Winger appear in “Kajillionaire” by Miranda July, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Matt Kennedy.
Kajillionaire / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Miranda July, Producers: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner) — Low-stakes grifters, Old Dolio and her parents invite a chipper young woman into their insular clan, only to have their entire world turned upside down. Cast: Evan Rachel Wood, Gina Rodriguez, Richard Jenkins, Debra Winger. World Premiere