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SUNDANCE 2022

Sundance 2022 is a go, and European co-pros are invited

by 

- The fabled event based in Park City, Utah, will once again celebrate a virtual edition, with 27 European co-productions in tow

Sundance 2022 is a go, and European co-pros are invited
Klondike by Maryna Er Gorbach

UPDATE (11 January 2022): The Sundance Film Festival has cancelled its in-person programming in Park City, Utah, and will once again hold a virtual edition. The organisers made this decision owing to the surge in the COVID-19 Omicron variant in the USA. This move has not been without consequences, since the highest-profile European film selected for the edition, Michel Hazanavicius's zombie comedy Final Cut [+see also:
interview: Michel Hazanavicius
film profile
]
, has already been withdrawn from it. In the words of the filmmakers, "We believe that it is best to premiere Final Cut in a theatre with a live audience and have made the difficult decision to remove the film from this year’s festival. We wish Sundance and all the filmmakers involved an excellent festival and look forward to sharing Final Cut with audiences very soon.”

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-

It’s mid-December: the days are shortening, the (masked) Christmas shopping is ongoing, and the elite festivals of 2022’s first quarter are finalising their line-ups, crossing fingers for somewhat “back to normal”, in-person editions. Yesterday, during a live presentation at 3pm US Eastern Time, the Sundance Institute announced the new independent works to be featured at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, taking place from 20-30 January in Park City, Utah, as well as via its enhanced, online platform, which was such a salve for delegates amidst the strict global lockdowns of last year. Amongst the 82 feature-length films announced, 28 are fully or partially European co-productions, hoping to follow in the footsteps of the global acclaim seen by last edition’s hits, such as Flee [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jonas Poher Rasmussen
film profile
]
, Censor [+see also:
film review
interview: Prano Bailey-Bond
film profile
]
and El Planeta [+see also:
film review
interview: Amalia Ulman
film profile
]
.

The majority of the European films are concentrated in the two World Cinema competitions, with a handful more, largely of a genre-film nature, dotted around the Premieres and Midnight sections. Ones to watch include Klondike [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
by Maryna Er Gorbach, a dark meditation on the ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict, and Utama by Bolivian filmmaker Alejandro Loayza Grisi, made in co-production with France, which is said to have passed over invitations from the autumn festivals in favour of a Sundance premiere.

More familiar names include Michel Hazanavicius, trading Godard and silent-era starlets for their logical follow-up, flesh-eating zombies, in Final Cut [+see also:
interview: Michel Hazanavicius
film profile
]
, his French-language remake of the innovative Japanese horror hit One Cut of the Dead. Living [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
finds Bill Nighy and acclaimed South African filmmaker Oliver Hermanus also in remake mode, for that of Akira Kurosawa’s humanist masterpiece Ikiru, with post-war 1950s London taking the place of Japan in a similar time period. Also tipped for festivals last year was Hatching [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
by Finland’s Hanna Bergholm, here taking a spot in the Midnight section, whose female-driven body-horror logline sounds in the vein of Titane [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Julia Ducournau, Vincent Li…
film profile
]
. The Worst Person in the World [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Joachim Trier
film profile
]
now has a US release strategy, devised by its distributor NEON, mimicking that of Portrait of a Lady on Fire [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Céline Sciamma
film profile
]
with a Valentine’s-timed February release; it gets an additional boost here in the Spotlight section.

Returning to the philosophy of its early days, set out by founder Robert Redford, the event is “doubling down on festival discovery”, in the words of Tabitha Jackson, the festival director taking the reins on her second edition to date. She further said, “We’re excited to return to our home in Utah, but also to come together in new ways. Building on our experience last year, we’ve discovered new possibilities of convergence, and we embrace the fact that we are now an expanded community in which active participation matters, and audience presence – however it manifests itself – is essential to our mission.”

Here is the list of European productions and co-productions announced so far:

World Cinema Dramatic Competition

Brian and Charles - Jim Archer (UK)
The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future - Francisca Alegria (Germany/France/Chile/USA)
Gentle [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
- Anna Eszter Nemes, László Csuja (Hungary)
Girl Picture [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
- Alli Haapasalo (Finland)
Klondike [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
- Maryna Er Gorbach (Ukraine/Turkey)
Utama - Alejandro Loayza Grisi (Bolivia/Uruguay/France)
You Won't Be Alone - Goran Stolevski (Australia/UK/Serbia)

World Cinema Documentary Competition

All That Breathes - Shaunak Sen (India/UK)
Calendar Girls - Maria Loohufvud, Love Martinsen (Sweden)
A House Made of Splinters - Simon Lereng Wilmont (Denmark)
The Mission [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
- Tania Anderson (Finland)
Nothing Compares - Kathryn Ferguson (Ireland/UK)
Tantura - Alon Schwarz (Israel)
The Territory - Alex Pritz (Brazil/Denmark/USA)
We Met in Virtual Reality - Joe Hunting (UK)

Premieres

Final Cut [+see also:
interview: Michel Hazanavicius
film profile
]
- Michel Hazanavicius (France)
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande - Sophie Hyde (UK)
La Guerra Civil - Eva Longoria Bastón (UK)
Living [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
- Oliver Hermanus (UK)
My Old School - Jono McLeod (UK)
The Princess - Ed Perkins (UK)

Midnight

Hatching [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
- Hanna Bergholm (Finland)
Meet Me in the Bathroom - Dylan Southern, Will Lovelace (UK)
Piggy - Carlota Martínez Pereda (Spain)
Speak No Evil [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
- Christian Tafdrup (Denmark)
Babysitter - Monia Chokri (Canada/France)

Spotlight

Happening [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Audrey Diwan (France)
Three Minutes - A Lengthening [+see also:
trailer
interview: Bianca Stigter
film profile
]
- Bianca Stigter (Netherlands/UK)
The Worst Person in the World [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Joachim Trier
film profile
]
- Joachim Trier (Norway/France/Sweden/Denmark)

Indie Episodic Program

The Dark Heart - Gustav Möller (Sweden)

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