The Sundance Film Festival just released its 2021 lineup, and among the highlights are a new Nicolas Cage movie and documentaries about Rita Moreno and “Sesame Street.”
The full lineup of 72 films was released on Tuesday — a smaller selection than in years past, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the 2020 festival showcased around 120 feature films, the 2021 event will make up for the smaller selection by becoming more accessible, with the festival taking place mostly virtually Jan. 28-Feb. 3, 2021.
The festival received around 3,500 feature film submissions this year, according to a news release sent to the Deseret News. Of those that were selected, almost half (47%) were directed by one or more women, and slightly less (43%) were directed by one or more filmmakers who identify as BIPOC.
Here are some highlights and what to expect from the upcoming festival:
- Cage will star in “Prisoners of the Ghostland,” which is about a criminal who is “sent to rescue an abducted woman who has disappeared into a dark supernatural universe,” according to the movie’s tag line.
- “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It” documents the life and career of the award-winning actress.
- The documentary “Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street” will tell the story of the creators, writers and educators behind “Sesame Street.”
- “Passing” will star Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga as two Black women who can “pass” as white in 1929 New York. It also stars André Holland and Alexander Skarsgård.
- The final film directed by James Redford — who died in October and was the son of Sundance founder Robert Redford — will make its debut. His documentary “Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir” chronicles the life of the “Joy Luck Club” author.
- “In the Same Breath” is a documentary that explores the Chinese government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and will be one of the opening films at the festival.
- Another Day 1 film is “Summer of Soul,” directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson of the band The Roots.
The Sundance Institute previously announced that the 2021 festival would be largely virtual due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. All of the films will be available to watch online, although there will be a limited number of live screenings in Park City and at “satellite screens” across the country.
“Togetherness has been an animating principle here at the Sundance Institute as we’ve worked to reimagine the Festival for 2021, because there is no Sundance without our community,” Sundance Institute Founder and President Robert Redford said in a press release. “We’ve forged a new collective vision: one that honors the spirit and tradition of these invigorating yearly gatherings in Utah, while making room for imaginative new possibilities in a new online format.”
For more information about the upcoming festival, visit festival.sundance.org.