Sundance ’24 | Episodic

by Tim Gordon

Our Episodic section was created specifically for bold stories told in multiple episodes, with an emphasis on independent perspectives and innovative storytelling. Past projects that have premiered within this category include Willie Nelson and Family, OJ: Made in America, Wild Wild CountryThe Jinx, Bring on the Dancing Horses, Work in Progress, State of the Union, Gentefied, Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men, and Quarter Life Poetry.

Better Angels: The Gospel According To Tammy Faye / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Dana Adam Shapiro, Executive Producers: Elton John, David Furnish, Danny Gabai, Alexander Moore, Hellen Rollins, Peter Rollins, Screenwriter: Helen Rollins) — As told by her family, friends, and enemies, the meteoric rise, scandalous fall, and unlikely resurrection of Tammy Faye, the “First Lady of the Electric Church,” poses an increasingly relevant question: How did we get the story so wrong? World Premiere. Documentary. Four-part limited series, screening parts one and two.

Conbody VS Everybody /U.S.A. (Director and Executive Producer: Debra Granik, Executive Producers: Anne Rosellini, Victoria Stewart, Jeff Skoll, Diane Weyermann, Joslyn Barnes, Jonathan Scheuer) — Taking place over eight years, Coss Marte builds ConBody, a gym inspired by workouts he developed while in prison. Committed to employing trainers who were formerly incarcerated, Coss creates a community fighting to break the cycle of recidivism while navigating society’s many obstacles to reentry. World Premiere. Documentary. Six-part limited series, screening two episodes. Available online for the Public.

God Save Texas / U.S.A.  — Three directors offer their unique and personal perspectives on their home state of Texas, creating vivid portraits of a state that mirrors the United States’ past, present, and future. Inspired by the book God Save Texas: A Journey Into the Soul of the Lone Star State by Lawrence Wright. World Premiere. Documentary. Anthology series.

God Save Texas: Hometown Prison (Director and Executive Producer: Richard Linklater, Executive Producers: Lawrence Wright, Alex Gibney, Peter Berg, Michael Lombardo, Elizabeth Rogers)— Huntsville, Texas, known as “Prison City,” sits at the heart of an expansive prison industrial complex. Yet, for many residents, these prisons exist in another realm, disconnected from their lives. Richard Linklater revisits his hometown to explore its diverse inhabitants, painting a vibrant portrait that encapsulates the essence of Texas.

God Save Texas: The Price of Oil (Director: Alex Stapleton, Executive Producers: Lawrence Wright, Alex Gibney, Richard Linklater, Peter Berg, Michael Lombardo, Stacey Offman) – As the world’s energy capital, Houston is a city that manufactures both its prominence and demise. Alex Stapleton explores the industry’s impact on her family, who arrived as enslaved people in the 1830s, built thriving communities, and now must cope with the human costs of Texas’ biggest money-maker.

God Save Texas: La Frontera (Director: Iliana Sosa, Executive Producers: Lawrence Wright, Alex Gibney, Richard Linklater, Peter Berg, Michael Lombardo, Richard Perello)— Iliana Sosa examines how “nepantla,” an embrace of in-betweenness, characterizes relations to both her Mexican heritage and her hometown of El Paso, Texas. An exploration revealing how the city’s humanity and unique hybridity catalyzed unity, nurturing healing in the aftermath of a devastating mass shooting in 2019.

LOLLA: THE STORY OF LOLLAPALOOZA / U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Michael John Warren, Producers: James Lee Hernandez, Brian Lazarte, Brian Levy, Mat Whittington, Daniel Gibbs) — In the summer of ’91, the Lollapalooza music festival was born. What started as a farewell tour for the band Jane’s Addiction rose from the underground to launch a cultural movement and change music forever. World Premiere. Documentary. Three-part limited series, screening parts one and two. Available online for the Public.

The Synanon Fix / U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Rory Kennedy, Producer and Screenwriter: Mark Bailey, Producers: Alexandra Korba, Keven McAlester, Screenwriter: Jeff Swimmer) — Exploring the rise and fall of the Synanon organization — through the eyes of the members who lived it — from its early days as a groundbreaking drug rehabilitation program to its later descent into what many consider a cult. World Premiere. Documentary. Four-part series, screening parts one and two.

Episodic Pilot Showcase:

Me/We / U.S.A. (Director and Executive Producer: Nzingha Stewart, Executive Producers and Screenwriters: Rob McElhenney, Keyonna Taylor, Executive Producers: Jackie Cohn, Nick Frenkel, Jermaine Johnson) — Amaria “Yaya” Jones, an argumentative teenager with a passion for dance, must plead her case to her overprotective brother in hopes of winning his blessing to walk to school with her first crush. Yaya’s story is a celebration of life. Cast: Camryn Jones, Victor Musoni, Anji White, Travis Wolfe Jr., Nadirah Bost, Mike Sampson. World Premiere. Fiction.

La Mesías / Spain (Directors, Screenwriters, and Executive Producers: Javier Calvo, Javier Ambrossi, Executive Producers: Domingo Corral, Susana Herreras, Fran Araújo) — Siblings Enric and Irene have a dark childhood, unbearable memories, and a toxic relationship with their mother. They live outside their family sect and are now far from the reach of their mother, yet not completely free. Cast: Roger Casamajor, Macarena García, Lofla Dueñas, Carmen Machi, Ana Rujas, Albert Pla, Amaia, Biel Rossell, Cecilia Roth. International Premiere. Fiction.

Penelope / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Executive Producer: Mel Eslyn, Screenwriter and Executive Producer: Mark Duplass, Executive Producers: Jay Duplass, Shuli Harel) — Feeling out of place in modern society, a 16-year-old is drawn into the unknown wilderness, where she begins forming a new life for herself. Cast: Megan Stott, Austin Abrams. World Premiere. Fiction.