Sundance Film Festival 2017

By Lyden, John | Journal of Religion and Film, April 2017 | Go to article overview

Sundance Film Festival 2017


Lyden, John, Journal of Religion and Film


It had been four years since I walked the streets of Park City, Utah, in late January to attend the Sundance Film Festival. I had not forgotten the snowdrifts, although they were larger than usual this year; I had also not forgotten the high quality of the films, and those I saw certainly came up to my own standards for excellent films. Sundance still sets the bar for independent filmmaking, worldwide.

The program was diverse as ever, but many films included a focus on environmental concerns; most notably, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power premiered, and Al Gore was on hand to talk about his continuing efforts. There were also a number of films with strong female characters, and as art mimics life (and vice versa), we also had the Women's March in Park City on Saturday January 21. This event, mirrored in cities around the world that day, featured prominent speakers on women's rights and self-determination.

The many fine films we reviewed included I Love Dick, featuring Kevin Bacon and Kathryn Hahn (red carpet pictures, below), about a New Religious Movement.

Veteran actress Shirley MacLaine and Thomas Sadoski were also on hand, for the premier of The Last Word (see below), in which a retired businesswoman (MacLaine) sets out to write her own obituary.

Jeremy Renner and Elisabeth Olsen (below) star in Wind River, a film about a murder on a Native American reservation, which also premiered at the Festival. …

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