|2020 SUNDANCE MOVIES2020 SUNDANCESUNDANCE|
The 2020 Sundance Film Festival is underway, and we’ve already seen a lot of great movies in the mountains of Park City, Utah. But this year, studios and distributors are being a little more cautious when it comes to picking up any of the buzzed about movies playing at the festival. Last year saw some big deals result in disappointing box office returns, and without many big movies garnering loads of attention, the Sundance market is moving at a slower pace than usual. But even so, there are already some movies that have been picked up, and we’ve got a list of them rounded up below that will be continuously updated.Sundance 2020 Movies Sold The Father
Buyer: Sony Pictures Classics via Variety
Director: Florian Zeller
Writer: Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman, Mark Gatiss, Imogen Poots, Rufus Sewell, Olivia Williams.
Sundance Synopsis: Almost 80, mischievous, caustic, and defiantly living alone, Anthony Academy Award winner Anthony Hopkins rejects each and every hired caretaker that his daughter, Anne Academy Award winner Olivia Colman, lovingly introduces. Anne is desperate for help. She can’t make daily visits anymore, and Anthony’s grip on reality is unraveling. Given the ebb and flow of his memory, how much of his own identity and past can he cling to? Anne grieves the loss of her father as he lives and breathes before her—but doesn’t she have the right to live her own life?Mucho Mucho Amor
Buyer: Netflix via The Hollywood Reporter
Director: Cristina Costantini, Kareem Tabsch
Cast: Interview subjects include Lin-Manuel Miranda, Eugenio Derbez, Raul De Molina
Sundance Synopsis: Extravagant Puerto Rican astrologer, psychic, and gender nonconforming legend Walter Mercado charmed the world for over 30 years with his televised horoscopes. Equal parts Oprah, Liberace, and Mr. Rogers, Walter was a celebrated daily part of Latin culture—until one day in 2007 he mysteriously disappeared. Over a decade later, the filmmakers find Walter and invite us into his home and interior world as he prepares to restore his legacy in the public eye.
The film explores Walter’s complex story from the rural sugarcane fields of Puerto Rico to international astrology superstardom, rising above homophobia and the heteronormative beliefs of Latin society with a message of love and hope.The Night House
Buyer: Fox Searchlight Pictures via Deadline
Director: David Buckner
Writer: Ben Collins, Luke Piotrowski
Cast: Rebecca Hall, Sarah Goldberg, Stacy Martin, Evan Jonigkeit, Vondie Curtis-Hall
Sundance Synopsis: Reeling from the unexpected death of her husband, Beth Rebecca Hall is left alone in the lakeside home he built for her. She tries as best she can...
After an eight-year period of development, director Brandon Cronenberg returns with his sophomore feature Possessor, a seductive and macabre crime thriller that mixes body horror, near-future nihilism and noir elements to deliver a funky, freaky brew. In his Sundance review /Film’s Chris Evangelista called it “unrelentingly aggressive”, finding the film “special and exciting.” With an ensemble led by Andrea Riseborough, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Christopher Abbot, the film feels assured and audacious, settling in on a mood that’s both macabre and intoxicating.
Chris described Possessor as “unlike anything you’ve ever seen before”, but there are still echoes of what the David Cronenberg, Brandon’s father, has brought to the screen. I find that an entirely positive thing. In the best of ways, this feels like Brandon and his collaborators are making this space his own while being unafraid to echo the work of his father and others masters of the genre and generate direct comparison without ever feeling redundant, referential or reverential. Frankly, in many ways Possessor comes out ahead of some of the most celebrated of his father’s works, and that’s a remarkable thing indeed.
/Film spoke to Brandon following the film’s debut in Park City. We spoke about his process, the long gestation for this project, and what else this remarkable filmmaker has coming up for fans of his work.
The following has been edited for clarity and concision.
Congrats on Possessor – In the best possible way, it felt to me that you were leaning in to the expectations of what people hear when they hear the name “Cronenberg”. Can you talk about your own navigation of these burdens?
Everything I do in film, everything I’ve done so far has just been an honest expression of my own interests and creative impulses. I think that’s the only correct way to approach it because otherwise I wouldn’t be making a film honestly. I understand people will draw comparisons and it’s up to them to decide how interesting that is or isn’t from the outside. From my perspective, I’m just trying to do what is interesting to me and make films that I like.
Is it fair to say this one has more explicit references? It feels more tied to something like Existenz than either your shorts or Antiviral. Or is that just us as film critics trying to simplify things that shouldn’t be simplified?
I won’t tell you what you should or shouldn’t do as film critics! [Laughs] Certainly that’s not part of my process.
So, what is your process?
I usually start with an idea that I like, maybe it’s a character or it’s a scene. In this case, I was interested in a character who may or may not be an imposter in their own life and what that...
High school can be a battlefield, but rarely has that battlefield seemed so dangerous as it does in Amazon’s stylish Sundance drama Selah and The Spades. The feature film debut of writer/director Tayarisha Poe, Selah and The Spades follows a young girl who is chosen to be the protégé of the Queen Bee of an elite Pennsylvania boarding school, and discovers that she wasn’t the first to be given this dubious honor. Watch the Selah and The Spades trailer below.Selah and The Spades Trailer
Amazon Studios has released the official trailer for Tayarisha Poe’s feature film debut, Selah and The Spades, a stylish high school drama set in the closed world of an elite Pennsylvania boarding school. In this exclusive world, the student body is run by five factions: The Spades, The Sea, The Skins, The Bobbies, and The Prefects. Commanding the top faction is the titular Selah Summers Love Simone, who decides to choose a young protégé to take her place upon graduation. But as that sophomore upstart Paloma Celeste O’Connor soon finds, it’s a treacherous path to the top.
Selah and The Spades seems like a teen drama in the tradition of Brick or Thoroughbreds — stylish, razor-sharp, and populated by very good-looking teens who all act like characters in a noir film. The cast of fresh faces playing those characters include Jharrel Jerome, Jesse Williams, Gina Torres, and Ana Mulvoy Ten.
Here is the synopsis for Selah and The Spades:
In the closed world of an elite Pennsylvania boarding school, Haldwell, the student body is run by five factions. Seventeen-year-old Selah Summers Lovie Simone runs the most dominant group, the Spades, with unshakable poise, as they cater to the most classic of vices and supply students with coveted, illegal alcohol and pills. Tensions between the factions escalate, and when Selah’s best friend/right hand Maxxie MOONLIGHT’s Jharrel Jerome becomes distracted by a new love, Selah takes on a protégée, enamored sophomore Paloma Celeste O’Connor, to whom she imparts her wisdom on ruling the school. But with graduation looming and Paloma proving an impressively quick study, Selah’s fears turn sinister as she grapples with losing the control by which she defines herself.
In her feature debut, writer/director Tayarisha Poe immerses us in a ened depiction of teenage politics. This searing character study encapsulates just how intoxicating power can be for a teenage girl who acutely feels the threat of being denied it. Exciting newcomer Lovie Simone’s performance beautifully embodies both Selah’s publicly impeccable command and the internal fears and uncertainty that drive it.
Selah and The Spades premieres on Amazon Prime Video April 17, 2020....