Introduction to Sundance Film Festival 2020

By Lyden, John C. | Journal of Religion and Film, April 2020 | Go to article overview

Introduction to Sundance Film Festival 2020


Lyden, John C., Journal of Religion and Film


This year, the Sundance Film Festival had 15,100 submissions and 244 accepted projects, including 79 narrative features and 49 documentary features. 44 countries were represented, 47 first time feature filmmakers, and 114 world premieres. 42% of features were from women filmmakers, and 34% from filmmakers of color: a considerably higher average than the film industry standard.

Diversity was also well represented in the content of the films. Many films dealt with women's experiences of disempowerment, harassment, or endangerment at the hands of powerful men, from the fictional but highly realistic story of The Assistant to the documentaries On the Record, Saudi Runaway, and Into the Deep. Even horror films dealt with issues raised by the #MeToo movement, including Run Sweetheart Run, Scare Me, and The Night House. Women fighting for power over their own lives and that of their families also are found in the strong central characters of Yalda, A Night for Forgiveness (from Iran, the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize Winner) and This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection (from Lesotho, World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Visionary Filmmaking).

Immigrant stories are found in films such as Minari (The US Grand Jury Prize Winner for Dramatic), Exil, and Farewell Amor. Stories of LGBTQ people are found in Uncle Frank and I Carry You With Me (the NEXT innovator prize). …

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