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Sundance 2020: Robert Redford will return to the big screen (Taylor Swift and Will Ferrell, too)

The Sundance co-founder will appear in the 2020 festival’s ‘Omniboat: A Fast Boat Fantasia,’ it was announced on Wednesday

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Robert Redford, founder and president of the Sundance Institute, talks to members of the media during the 2017 Sundance Film Festival’s annual Day One press conference at the Egyptian Theatre in Park City on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017.

Deseret News

PARK CITY — On the slate for next month’s Sundance Film Festival: a Will Ferrell/Julia Louis-Dreyfus comedy, a Taylor Swift documentary, and a return to the big screen for Robert Redford himself.

The Sundance Institute announced its 2020 festival lineup on Wednesday afternoon. The festival, which runs Jan. 23 to Feb. 3, 2020 at locations in Park City, Salt Lake City and Sundance Mountain Resort, will feature Redford in the film “Omniboat: A Fast Boat Fantasia,” which also stars “Stranger Things” actor Finn Wolfhard. The film currently has a one-sentence synopsis: “It’s not just a speed boat ride, it’s a Miami adventure.”

“Downhill” stars Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a couple who escapes an avalanche in the Alps and has their marriage turned upside down. Oscar-winner Julianne Moore will star as feminist icon Gloria Steinem in the biopic “The Glorias,” directed by “Frida” and “Across the Universe” director Julie Taymor. Notable documentaries include the Netflix offering “Miss Americana,” which follows pop star Taylor Swift, and “Feels Good Man,” about the politically potent Pepe the Frog meme.

Sundance Institute’s executive director Keri Putnam said the 2020 festival, which has currently announced 118 feature-length films, will explore the theme of “imagined futures.”

“We believe diverse stories from independent artists around the world open us up to new perspectives and possibilities — at a time when fresh thinking and dialogue is urgently needed,” Putnam said in the news release.

John Cooper, the festival’s director since 2010, will be stepping down from the position after 2020, moving into the role of emeritus director, where he will oversee special projects. 

In Wednesday’s news release, Cooper said this year’s festival will be a celebration of not only art and artists, but also of the festival’s many attendees.

“Watching this group expand and thrive over the years has been exhilarating and wildly rewarding,” he added. “Our 2020 Festival’s lively and visionary crop of artists has a contagious passion, and I can’t wait to watch the world meet their work.”

The upcoming festival received a record 15,100 submissions, according to the news release. Wednesday’s announcement also included a demographic breakdown of the 2020 festival’s directors, as well as figures on the 2019 festival’s economic impact. Of the 118 feature-length films in the upcoming festival, 44% were directed by one or more women, 34% were directed by one of more person of color, and 15% by one or more people who are LGBTQ.

According to Wednesday’s news release, the 2019 festival had more than 122,000 attendees from 48 U.S. states and 35 other countries. The Sundance Institute estimates the festival generated $182.5 million in economic activities for Utah.