A Canadian guide to Sundance 2023

Ora Sawyers

Undertaking one thing out of desire fairly than need to have is constantly the better way. Which is the pleased circumstance for the Sundance Movie Competition as this once-a-year showcase of impartial cinema reinvents by itself for its 2023 version.

Functioning Jan. 19-29 in Park Town, Utah, the festival will for the initially time be a hybrid affair, with screenings the two in-person and on the net. For the past two many years, due to the pandemic, the fest was pressured to transfer on the net only.

Shaking off the COVID blues, Sundance is returning to its hometown upcoming to the Wasatch Mountains, welcoming motion picture enthusiasts back to picturesque Primary Road and to this sort of acquainted area theatres as the cavernous Eccles, the Artwork Deco Egyptian and the barnlike Library.

But the fest also wants to hold on to the major on the internet audiences it attracted in ’21 and ’22. You can wager that festivals in all places, Toronto’s TIFF among them, will be seeing to see if the combo will work.

“Our on the net pageant has been this kind of a good results that it is hard to enable go of it,” Sundance senior programmer Heidi Zwicker claimed via email.

“It has not only expanded the access general public audiences have to the competition, it has also presented new access to worldwide sector associates who could in no way make the excursion to Utah. We know it is not possible for everybody to attend Sundance who wishes to show up at, and our on the web part has helped solve that difficulty.”

Sundance is hedging its bets by staggering start dates: the in-human being version of the fest commences Thursday but general public on line screenings won’t start until finally Jan. 24, with both formats ending on Jan. 29.

On the internet screenings are limited to U.S. viewers only, but worldwide viewers, Canadians involved, can get some of the Sundance spirit by viewing on the web its well-liked “Beyond Film” dialogue panels all through the 2nd week of the fest. A person panel confident to appeal to attention, with participants that incorporate growing star Jonathan Majors, is titled, “Going Nowhere? On Burnout and Interest Disaster.” (There is no demand for the on line panels but you need to have to sign up for a totally free account at pageant.sundance.org.)

Even as it tinkers with the structure for its 39th version, Sundance is nevertheless promising to give the most effective in impartial cinema. It will screen 110 characteristics and 64 shorts chosen from countless numbers of submissions globally. The functions are diverse: 56 for every cent of them are directed by women of all ages and 49 per cent by persons of colour.

It will be difficult to top rated final year’s achievements: spouse and children comedy “CODA” and tunes documentary “Summer of Soul” premiered at Park Metropolis and went on to get Finest Photo and Finest Documentary Attribute respectively at the Academy Awards.

High on the checklist of buzzed-about movies at Sundance 2023 are two literary diversifications: Susanna Fogel’s “Cat Person” and William Oldroyd’s “Eileen,” each screening in the multiplex-welcoming Premieres part of the fest.

Emilia Jones (CODA) and Nicholas Braun (TV's "Succession") star in "Cat Person," a drama by Susanna Fogel based on a notorious New Yorker short story about dating. It's premiering at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

“Cat Person” is based mostly on one particular of the most-go through and most controversial quick stories of the 21st century: Kristen Roupenian’s 2017 tale of the exact identify in the New Yorker, dependent in aspect on a true tale, which exploded in print and on line just as the #MeToo intercourse abuse reckoning was getting underway. Higher education college student Margot (“CODA” star Emilia Jones) satisfies the noticeably older Robert (Nicholas Braun, TV’s “Succession”) and thinks it is a good match right until reality harshly intrudes.

“Eileen,” a psychological thriller established in the wintry New England of 1964 and centered on Ottessa Moshfegh’s award-successful novel, stars Anne Hathaway as a new worker of a jail who bonds with a more youthful co-worker, a secretary played by Thomasin McKenzie. Hathaway’s character has a secret the motion picture by “Lady Macbeth” director William Oldroyd has sinister points to expose.

"Eileen" is a literary adaptation by William Oldroyd, a be-careful-who-you-befriend drama starring Anne Hathaway (L) and Thomasin McKenzie (R). It's one of the hot tickets at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.

Obtaining the dim real truth of a put also animates “Infinity Pool,” a horror film by Toronto’s Brandon Cronenberg (“Antiviral,” “Possessor”) that is set in an distinctive island resort in an unnamed Japanese European place. Starring Alexander Skarsgard, Mia Goth and Cleopatra Coleman, it is a cautionary tale about wealth trumping morality that implies it would make a wonderful triple invoice with such the latest A-listing assaults as “Triangle of Unhappiness” and “The Menu.”

Screening in Sundance’s Midnight segment, in which such horror classics as “The Blair Witch Job,” “Saw” and “Hereditary” had been released, “Infinity Pool” heads straight to theatres following its Sundance debut, opening Jan. 27.

It’s a robust 12 months for Canada at Sundance. Besides “Infinity Pool,” there are 4 other lengthy-type productions getting their entire world premieres in Park Town: Ido Mizrahy’s “The Longest Goodbye,” a documentary about a NASA scientist researching the threat of social isolation in Mars-bound astronauts Lin Alluna’s “Twice Colonized,” a doc about Inuk attorney and activist Aaju Peter as she lookups for the reality about her son’s violent dying Jacqueline Castel’s Midnight method chiller “My Animal,” a mystery-laden really like tale concerning a goalie and a determine skater in a northern town and Xavier Dolan’s “The Night time Logan Woke Up,” a Tv set mystery series established in 1991 in a Quebec city that seems a good deal like Twin Peaks, screening in the Indie Episodic Software.

"Infinity Pool" is a horror film by Toronto's Brandon Cronenberg, son of the famous David Cronenberg. It's about rich people doing very bad things in an unnamed Eastern European resort where money will let you get away with anything. It's one of the hot tickets at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.

Other warm Sundance 2023 picks include Roger Ross Williams’ “Cassandro,” a truth-based drama starring Gael García Bernal as a flamboyant Mexican wrestler known as “the Liberace of lucha libre” Alice Englert’s wicked comedy “Bad Behaviour,” in which former kid product Jennifer Connelly (“Top Gun: Maverick”) performs an out-of-command previous kid actor, wrecking the weekend retreat led by her guru (Ben Whishaw, “Women Talking”) and Elijah Bynum’s “Magazine Dreams,” the tale of an newbie bodybuilder who goes to extremes, that includes actors from two recent Sundance breakouts, Jonathan Majors (“The Previous Black Male in San Francisco”) and Taylour Paige (“Zola”).

Gael Garc�a Bernal stars in "Cassandro," a film by Roger Ross Williams premiering at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. He plays a Mexican wrestler known as "the Liberace of lucha libre."

Sundance is also recognized for its wealth of documentaries about famed and infamous people. This year’s bounty incorporates Lana Wilson’s “Pretty Infant: Brooke Shields,” Thom Zimny’s and Oren Moverman’s “Willie Nelson & Family” Lisa Cortés’ “Little Richard: I Am Everything” Davis Guggenheim’s “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie” and Anton Corbijn’s “Squaring the Circle (The Tale of Hipgnosis),” a doc about the mad artists guiding the handles of many classic rock albums, including Pink Floyd’s “Dark Facet of the Moon.”

The topics of Sundance docs usually display up at the premieres, a further reason for movie lovers to brave the snow and slush of Park Town and to attend the fest in particular person. Think about bumping into Brooke Shields, Willie Nelson and the ghost of the late Small Richard on Most important Road.

Peter Howell, a Star contributor, is a film critic in Toronto. Adhere to his Sundance posts on Twitter: @peterhowellfilm


Well mannered Society (Nida Manzoor): “This is participating in the Midnight section but really do not think that it is a dim, horrific look at. I assume it’s your best bet for a high-vitality, uproariously humorous film at the pageant this yr. It follows a teenager’s martial arts-infused quest to avoid her older sister’s upcoming nuptials.”

“Past Lives” (Celine Track): “This is an enjoyable characteristic film directorial debut from playwright Celine Song. It is an achingly attractive drama that follows two childhood friends from Seoul who reunite as grownups in New York Metropolis.”

“Pretty Little one: Brooke Shields” (Lana Wilson): “I am a major admirer of documentary filmmaker Lana Wilson, and she carries on to impress with her new film. This just one explores Brooke Shields’ everyday living in front of the digicam, and dives deep into the sexualization of her as a youngster in pop society and how she processes that today as a mother of two daughters.

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