by Tim Gordon
This year’s collection of stories will be featured in the Special Events category at Sundance.
(Executive Producers: Lena Dunham, Jenni Konner & Stacey Reiss) – A new HBO nonfiction series inspired by the eponymous feminist newsletter from Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, Lenny covers current events, pop culture moments, and everything in between to connect with women of every shape, size, mindset, religion, and aspiration. Each episode features a collection of short-subject films unified around a theme. The six pieces comprising the pilot, “Women in Pursuit,” pulse with provocative experiences and surprising lenses, gleefully delving into sex, identity, culture and death.
(Director: Spike Lee) – Moses and Kitch, two young black men, chat their way through a long, aimless day on a Chicago street corner. Periodically ducking bullets and managing visits from a genial but ominous stranger and an overtly hostile police officer, Moses and Kitch rely on their poetic, funny, at times profane banter to get them through a day that is a hopeless retread of every other day, even as they continue to dream of their deliverance.
RuPaul’s Drag Race: A Retrospective of the Cultural Phenomenon
(Lead Artist: RuPaul Charles) – For each of the past nine seasons, RuPaul’s Drag Race has showcased the quest to find America’s next drag superstar. But what began as an unabashed celebration of the art of drag soon became a cultural sensation, as poignant and uplifting stories about the human experience surfaced throughout. From intimately personal revelations to unprecedented representation, and from fierce confidence to touching support, the show is still a beacon for all those who dare to be themselves. Its ebullient and Emmy-winning host, RuPaul Charles, reminds us that it’s possible to find love for ourselves—and others—despite any adversity that life throws our way. In Ru’s words, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” Can I get an amen up in here?
(Director: Eugene Jarecki) – Forty years after the death of Elvis Presley, the new film from two-time Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner Eugene Jarecki takes the King’s 1963 Rolls-Royce on a musical road trip across the country Presley left behind. From the deep south to New York, Las Vegas, and beyond, a tapestry of luminaries and unknown Americans join the journey, expressing themselves in words and song.
(Director: Matthew Heineman) – Transcending headlines to create a nuanced perspective of the heroin epidemic, this five-part Showtime docuseries deftly illuminates the humanity within this modern American crisis. Addicts and their families struggle in Atlanta, drug lords and poppy-seed farmers toil in Mexico, and narcotics units and dealers clash in Columbus. Intimate moments lay bare the physical and emotional grip of dependency, the complicit pain of enabling addiction, the complex roles of law enforcement, and the seemingly unbreakable cycle of supply and demand.
Wild Wild Country
(Directors: Chapman Way & Maclain Way) – On a quiet day in 1981, disciples of an obscenely wealthy religious guru named Bhagwan Rajneesh suddenly appear in the small, conservative Oregon town of Antelope, dressed in all red and with portraits of their leader hanging from their necks. This, of course, makes the townsfolk uneasy.