One-of-a-kind moments highlighting new independent works, this evolving section includes episodic projects, short films, and live post-screening discussions.
(Showrunners: Kat Likkel, John Hoberg, Creators: Michael Killen, Samm Hodges) — The story of a struggling millennial, Nan, as observed from the point of view of her lonely and philosophical dog, Martin. The Festival will premiere the first four episodes of the series, followed by an extended Q&A with the cast, creators, and showrunners.
Cast: Allison Tolman, Samm Hodges, Lucas Neff, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Barry Rothbart.
The History of Comedy
(Executive Producers: Mark Herzog, Christopher G. Cowen, Sean Hayes, Todd Milliner) — Utilizing archival footage punctuated by contemporary interviews with comedy legends and scholars, this is the history of not only what makes us laugh, but how comedy has affected the social and political landscape throughout history. The Festival will premiere two episodes of this docuseries, “Spark of Madness” and “Going Blue,” followed by an extended Q&A.
I Love Dick
(Directors: Jill Soloway, Andrea Arnold, Kimberly Peirce, Executive Producers: Jill Soloway, Sarah Gubbins, Andrea Sperling, Victor Hsu) — Chris and Sylvere, a married couple in the intellectual community of Marfa, Texas, become obsessed with a charismatic artist named Dick. What follows is the unraveling of a marriage, the deification of a reluctant messiah, and the awakening of the female gaze. The Festival will present the first three episodes of this Amazon original series, followed by an extended Q&A.
Cast: Kevin Bacon, Kathryn Hahn, Griffin Dunne, Roberta Colindrez, India Menuez, Phoebe Robinson.
(Executive Producers: Gina Prince-Bythewood, Reggie Rock Bythewood, Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo) — After racially-charged shootings in a North Carolina town, an investigator digs into the cases alongside a special prosecutor. Together they seek justice while navigating the ensuing media attention and public unrest threatening the divided town. The Festival will premiere two episodes of this 10-hour series, followed by an extended Q&A.
Cast: Sanaa Lathan, Stephan James, Helen Hunt, Richard Dreyfuss, Stephen Moyer, Mack Wilds.
Time: The Kalief Browder Story
(Director: Jenner Furst, Executive Producers: Jenner Furst, Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, Harvey Weinstein, David C. Glasser, Nick Sandow, Julia Willoughby Nason, Michael Gasparro) — After his arrest at age 16, Kalief Browder fought the system and prevailed, despite unthinkable circumstances. He became an American hero. The Festival will debut the first two episodes of this in-depth, humanizing look at a broken justice system, followed by an extended Q&A.
Docuseries Showcase — The Festival will debut individual episodes from two exciting new Netflix docuseries, featuring an extended Q&A with directors Morgan Neville and Rashida Jones.
• Abstract: The Art of Design
(Director and executive producer: Morgan Neville) — A look beyond blueprints and computers into the art and science of design, showcasing great designers from every discipline whose work shapes our world. The Festival will debut one episode of the series, followed by an extended Q&A with director and executive producer Morgan Neville.
Cast: Christoph Niemann.
• Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On
(Director: Rashida Jones, “Women on Top,” Executive Producers: Rashida Jones, Ronna Gradus, Jill Bauer, Peter LoGreco) — Porn has gone mainstream; the question is, can we handle it? This exploration of the intersection of sex and technology is told through the stories of the people whose lives are defined by the current explosion of internet porn — whether they’re creating it, consuming it, or both. The Festival will debut one episode of the series, followed by an extended Q&A with director and executive producer Rashida Jones.
Independent Pilot Showcase — World premieres of new episodic series work from the independent community.
(Writers: Giles Andrew, Dan Marshall, Creators: Giles Andrew, Dan Marshall, Alex Bourne) — Uprooted from their Midwestern life, Bennett, a new stay-at-home dad, and Julie, a working mom, are forced to take their kids on playdates inside the elitist parenting culture of Silicon Beach.
Cast: Paul Scheer, Carla Gallo, Miles Fisher, Craig Frank, Gemma Brooke Allen, Landon Gordon.
• Shit Kids
(Director and creator: Kyle Dunnigan) — The daughter of an earth-shatteringly boring couple, along with the son of an equally humdrum set of parents, have decided to plot their parents’ murders.
Cast: Kyle Dunnigan, Kevin Berntson, Candace Brown, Margee Magee, Grace van Dien, Doug Noble.
• When The Street Lights Go On
(Director: Brett Morgen, Screenwriters: Eddie O’Keefe, Chris Hutton) — The residents of a small town grapple with the ruthless killing of a young girl and a teacher.
Cast: Max Burkholder, Odessa Young, Adam Long, Ben Winchell, Kelli Mayo, Graham Beckel. World Premiere
DRAMAS | DOCUMENTARIES | WORLD DRAMAS | WORLD DOCUMENTARIES
NEXT | PREMIERES | DOCUMENTARY PREMIERES | SPOTLIGHT
KIDS | NARRATIVE SHORTS | DOCUMENTARY SHORTS
VIRTUAL / AUGMENTED REALITY | MIDNIGHT | MIDNIGHT SHORTS | ANIMATED SHORTS
FILMS AND PERFORMANCES | GALLERY
Made in Cuba — A series of three cinematic Cuban short documentaries, guided by the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program in collaboration with La Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV (EICTV) and the Guardian Multimedia Program.
• Connection (Conectifai)
(Cuba / Director: Horizoe Garcia Miranda) — ETECSA (Cuba’s only telephone company) installed Wi-Fi routers in 18 public parks in 2016. For many Cubans, this meant being able to go online for the first time. This film shows us how Cubans of all ages initially explore social media, online dating, and more. U.S. Premiere
• Great (Muy Bien)
(Cuba / Director: Sheyla Pool Pástor) — The United States restored diplomatic relations with Cuba in 2015, making it no longer unrealistic for Cubans to dream of one day living and working abroad. Cubans of all ages and diverse aspirations enroll at the makeshift Big Ben English school in Havana. U.S. Premiere
• House for Sale (Casa en Venta)
(Cuba / Director: Emanuel Giraldo Betancur) — After more than 50 years, the ban on individuals in Cuba selling their houses was lifted in 2011. Three Cubans invite us into their homes — full of memories, souvenirs, and family members — to hear their “sales pitch.” U.S. Premiere
Midnight Episodic Showcase — World premieres of two episodic additions to the festival’s Midnight lineup, followed by an extended Q&A with the creators of both series.
(Director and writer: Arkasha Stevenson) — When a miner’s daughter is assaulted in the local coal mine, she utters only one word, leaving the town’s sheriff baffled. The event quickly spirals out of control, impacting the entire town. The Festival will premiere three short-form episodes of this uniquely cinematic drama series.
Cast: Tyler Vickers, Kel Owens, Ron Gilbert, Gloria Vonn, Lucille Sharp, Brooklyn Robinson.
(Directors: Stephen Cedars, Benji Kleiman, Screenwriters: Scott Yacyshyn, Benji Kleiman, Stephen Cedars) — After status-obsessed teen Sara has sex for the first time, she wakes up the next day nine months pregnant — with an alien. Turning to her nerdy ex-bestie, Hayley (the only person she can trust without ruining her reputation), they strive to put an end to all the carnage. The Festival will premiere eight short-form episodes of this otherworldly horror-comedy series.
Cast: Mari Nepi, Gabrielle Elyse, Austin Fryberger, J.J. Nolan, Nick Gomez, Rich Fulcher.
Short-Form Episodic Series — A celebration of the evolving landscape of content consumption, these world-premiere short-form episodic series defy broadcast boilerplates with a redefinition of traditional episodic conventions.
• The Chances
(Director: Anna Kerrigan, Creators: Josh Feldman, Shoshannah Stern) — Best friends Kate and Michael, who are deaf, try their best to see their friendship through new changes in their lives, as Kate adjusts to being newly married and Michael attempts to get over his ex-boyfriend. The Festival will debut five episodes of this short-form episodic series.
Cast: Josh Feldman, Shoshannah Stern, Aaron Costa Ganis, Lucas Near-Verbrugghe, Darryl Stephens, Wilson Cruz.
(Creator: Marvin Lemus, Executive Producers: Charles D. King, Aaliyah Williams, America Ferrera) — Seven characters deal with the effects of change in L.A.’s Boyle Heights. Bicultural millennials and old-school business owners hustle to create spaces that celebrate their Latino identities — even while faced with rent hikes, a housing crisis, and a steady stream of outsiders threatening to gentrify their barrio. The Festival will debut three episodes of this short-form episodic series.
Cast: Edsson Morales, Alicia Sixtos, Victoria Ortiz, Yareli Arizmendi, Salvador Velez Jr, Rafael Sigler.
(Canada / Director and screenwriter: Michelle Latimer) — This vibrant and immersive documentary series explores the front lines of indigenous resistance. Episodes “Apache Stronghold,” “Sacred Water,” and “Red Power” examine factors that threaten indigenous liberation in the 21st century. A series of contrasts, this series is both a condemnation of colonialism and a celebration of indigenous peoples. The aforementioned episodes will be followed by an extended Q&A. (The New Climate)
(Director: Mia Lidofsky, Executive Producers: Michael B. Clark, Alex Turtletaub, Jesse Peretz, Mia Lidofsky) — Isobel decides to rent out her spare bedroom in order to generate much-needed extra income after a messy and painful breakup. With the help of her best friend, she navigates the most emotionally, sexually, and professionally complicated time of her life, while hosting a constant stream of new guests. The Festival will debut the first three episodes of this short-form episodic series.
Cast: Zoë Chao, Meredith Hagner, Jemaine Clement, Breeda Wool, Matthew Oberg, Shiri Appleby.