These may be turbulent times for the country, but as sure as the sun rises tomorrow, the 33rd edition of the Sundance Film Festival brings tales of dysfunctional families, college hazing, and soldiers coping with Gulf War trauma, as well as new work from such independent film stalwarts as Parker Posey
, Michael Cera
, and Elizabeth Olsen
And yet, if such offerings sound familiar, think again, as Sundance director John Cooper and director of programming Trevor Groth insist that the 2017 lineup for the festival’s four juried categories — American and World narrative, and documentary competitions — as well as Next, includes a wealth of new voices, one-of-a-kind portraits of never-before-seen characters, and fresh spins on mainstream genres.
This year, the most intense segment of the selection process occurred at the very moment Americans were focused on the election. “While that was going on in the outside world, we were watching films showing the other side — an intimate, more personal side of people’s lives,” Cooper told Variety. “In the end, it gives me great encouragement and optimism, even with everything happening out there. The work we’re seeing this year adds so much dimension. It’s really the human side. Giving the whole story of who we are is really important to the world.”
The festival’s U.S. dramatic competition comprises 16 films, eight of them debut features, including Matt Spicer’s social-media stalker comedy “Ingrid Goes West
,” in which Aubrey Plaza
’s character is obsessed with the aforementioned Olsen