2017 Sundance Film Festival to Include 100+ Films

Chasing Coral film still,. Source: Sundance Film Festival.
Chasing Coral film still,. Source: Sundance Film Festival.

Film Festival Competition and Next Lineup Announced

Sundance Institute convenes a full slate of provocative and agenda-setting independent films at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, beginning with their November 29, 2016, announcement of the 66 films selected for US Competition, World Competition, and NEXT, as well as a slate of environmentally-focused programming under the Festival’s “The New Climate” program.

The 2017 Sundance Film Festival screenings are scheduled in Park City, Salt Lake City, and at Sundance Mountain Resort near Provo, Utah. Festival dates are January 19-29, 2017.

The Festival celebrates creativity and independence at the summit of the Institute’s year-round public programming, which also includes festivals in London, Hong Kong and Los Angeles. Sundance Institute programs support artists year-round, with more than $2.5 million in grants and 25 global residency Labs across theatre, film, New Frontier and episodic content.

Robert Redford, President and Founder of Sundance Institute, said,

“From the passion and chaos of creativity, independent filmmakers make decisions to harness that energy, break new ground and tell their stories. This year’s Festival reflects every step of that journey, and shows how art can engage, provoke and connect people all over the world.”

Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute, said,

“It’s more crucial now than ever to have storytellers illuminating the world around us. Artists help us better understand one another and recognize what we have in common. We are proud to champion and amplify original independent work through the Festival and our year-round programs.”

John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival, said,

“The films in this year’s Festival show the human sides of issues, people and places we don’t often see. Independent filmmakers, with their fearless, bold perspectives, are challenging us to witness our world’s whole story. These artists, armed with their films, will lead us into the future.”

For the first time, the Festival is focusing its programming efforts to drive attention and action around a specific theme: climate change and environmental preservation. The New Climate program builds on the Institute’s longstanding commitment to showcasing environmental films and projects, including An Inconvenient Truth, Blackfish, The Cove, Gasland, Chasing Ice, Racing Extinction and Collisions. The program includes Chasing Coral, which follows a team of divers, photographers and scientists documenting the world’s changing coral reefs; Trophy, an in-depth look at the controversial, multi-billion-dollar big-game hunting industry; Water & Power: A California Heist, an investigation of California’s convoluted water system; and Plastic China, an examination of employee life at a Chinese recycling plant.

About The New Climate program, Redford said, “My own engagement on climate change began more than 40 years ago, and the urgency I felt then has only grown stronger given its very real and increasingly severe consequences. If we’re going to avoid the worst-case scenario, then we must act boldly and immediately, even in the face of indifference, apathy and opposition.”

For the 2017 Festival, 113 feature-length films were selected, representing 32 countries and 37 first-time filmmakers, including 20 in competition. These films were selected from 13,782 submissions including 4,068 feature-length films and 8,985 short films. Of the feature film submissions, 2,005 were from the US and 2,063 were international. Ninety-eight feature films at the Festival will be world premieres.

In 2016, the Festival drew 46,600 attendees, generated $143.3 million in economic activity for the state of Utah and supported 1,400 local jobs.

Recent films that have premiered in the sections announced November 29 include Morris From America, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Swiss Army Man, City of Gold, Fruitvale Station, The Diary of A Teenage Girl, Whiplash, Blackfish, Life, Animated, All These Sleepless Nights, Weiner, and First Girl I Loved.

More films, including additional The New Climate programming, will be announced soon at sundance.org/festival. See the schedule at www.sundance.org/schedule.

Ticket prices range from $20 for locals to attend a film screening through festival packages priced at several thousand.

North Carolina Films at Sundance

Ed. Note: Confirmation of films made by NC filmmakers, or filmed in the state, will be forthcoming. This article will be updated as details are received.

A University of North Carolina School of the Arts representative reported that two of their alumni are connected to 2017 Sundance Film Festival selections:

The Hero by writer/director/editor Brett Haley with other alumni on crew including DP Rob Givens and others; and

Dayveon which was executive-produced by David Gordon Green, Jody Hill, Danny McBride, and former faculty member Lisa Muskat.

Sundance has yet to announce all their categories, so additional festival connections to NC may be forthcoming.

For more information on filmmaking in North Carolina, visit the NC Film Office website at www.filmnc.com.

Unable to get to the Sundance Film Festival? The Triad Jewish Film Festival is January 29-February 23, 2017, in Greensboro, North Carolina. The festival is online here.

Then, the Praxis Film Festival is February 3-4, 2017, in Goldsboro, North Carolina. See the festival website at www.praxisfilmfestival.org.

The unique Nevermore Film Festival runs February 24-26, 2017, in Durham, North Carolina. Billed as “A 3 day feast of the macabre” this festival is online here.

Colorado Films at Sundance

According to the Colorado Office of Film, Television, & Media in Denver, two Colorado films have been accepted into the Sundance Film Festival lineup:

Colorado incentivized documentary Casting JonBenet will premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. The film was directed by Austrailian filmmaker Kitty Green and produced in association with Denver-based Listen Productions, led by local Mitch Dickman. The film is a sly and stylized exploration of the world’s most sensational child murder case, the unsolved death of six-year old American beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey. The film was shot in Denver and Boulder earlier in 2016.

Also, accepted into the festival Chasing Coral, led by the award winning filmmakers of Chasing Ice. Chasing Coral is the remarkable adventure of one team capturing our changing oceans and the disappearance of coral reefs nationwide.

For more information on filmmaking in Colorado, visit coloradofilm.org.

Unable to get to the Sundance Film Festival? The Colorado Environmental Film Festival is coming up February 23-25, 2017, in Golden, Colorado. Details are online at www.ceff.net.

Then, the Boulder International Film Festival is March 2-6, 2017, in Boulder, Colorado. The festival website is biff1.com.

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