Sundance 2019 Preview

by Rosalie Kicks, Old Sport

Film pals! I am beyond ecstatic to report, that I, your trusty Old Sport, will be on the ground in Park City this year for the Sundance Film Festival. Beginning Thursday, January 24 until Sunday, February 3, this year’s fest is hosting 112 feature films from around the world, with a record number directed by women!

Here is a preview of some of the flicks I’ll be catching while in town. Make sure to follow along on Moviejawn’s Instagram, Twitter and right here to learn more about my movie-watching adventures at the fest!

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Light From Light
Written/Directed by
Paul Harrill

A single mom who works as a part-time Paranormal Investigator is called upon to check out a haunted farmhouse in Tennessee.

This flick had me with: Paranormal Investigator.

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The Wolf Hour
Written/Directed by
Alistair Banks Griffin

Not sure why…but when I see that Naomi Watts is in a flick I am inclined to check it out. Sure, there has been the occasional let down, but then there are those hidden gems. In The Wolf Hour, Watts plays June, a recluse living in the Bronx who finds herself in the middle of the New York blackout riots that occurred in 1977.

The film is being labeled as “Hitchcockian tautness” feature debut from Alistair Banks Griffin. This description along with Naomi Watts starring, I decided to take the chance.

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Koko-di Koko-da
Written/Directed by
Johannes Nyholm

I did not even need to read the synopsis of this flick, I saw this picture and I was hooked. I need to know what in the heck this cat is doing. Once my mind stopped running wild with possibilities, I took a peek at the description…

The basic gist of this story is, a couple is traversing through the woods and trying to find their way back to one another. During their journey they have a run-in with a sideshow artist and cohorts. The gaggle in turn terrorize the couple causing extreme terror and frenzy. Sounds like a blast!

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Sonja : The White Swan
Directed by
Anne Sewitsky
Written by
Mette M. Bølstad and Andreas Markusson

I have this thing for biopics, I know they are not always the best – but I can’t look away! Sports, music, historical figures…I. Must. Watch. All. Of. Them. The best bio-pics have montages. Hopefully, Sonja: The White Swan won’t disappoint.

In all seriousness though, this flick really struck my fancy. It tells the story of Sonja Heine aka The White Swan, who is known as the inventor of modern figure skating and an extremely gifted athlete. In 1936, she heads to La La land with her eyes set on becoming a movie star in Hollywood. After her first picture is a huge hit, selling the most tickets in the world in 1937, she finds herself in a whirlwind of fans, loves, and family. Of course, all good things have to come to end. In this case, a drunken one.

It seems to have many of things that I adore: a woman director (hell yea!), 1930s Hollywood glamour, figure skating and cocktails. I think this flick was made for me.

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The Souvenir
Written/Directed by
Joanna Hogg

Movies within movies, one of my favorite things. This story focuses on a film student in the early 80s who strikes up relations with a mystery man. A man in which she devotes herself, causing her to lose focus to what is important.

I had already been intrigued by the plot, however, I especially was after I learned that it is based on the writer/director’s own experience. Finding out Tilda Swinton was starring alongside her daughter Honor Swinton Bryne…seeing this flick, was a no brainer.

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The Last Black Man in San Francisco
Directed by Joe Talbot
Written by
Jimmie Fails, Rob Richert, and Joe Talbot

The Last Black Man in San Francisco tells the story of a guy who wants to be accepted and comforted by the city in which he grew up. Only problem is, his home keeps changing around him and seems to forget he exists.

Based on true story and starring Jimmie Fails, who plays a dramatized form of himself, this feature debut from Joe Talbot, seems to have potential of delivering a great message. Not quite sure what to expect from this one, but felt the story sounds pretty intriguing.

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Hala
Written/Directed by
Minhal Baig

I follow Minhal on Twitter – which is how I first learned about her film and have been intrigued since hearing about it.

It tells the tale of Muslim teenager, Hala and her experience growing up in Chicago as an only child to Pakistani immigrants. As she finishes out her senior year, Hala finds herself undergoing a lot of changes and well, life just keeps getting more complicated.

Minhal Baig first made this story as a short and has now expanded it into feature length. It is being described as having wonderful cinematography and a strong performance from the lead actress, Geraldine Viswanathan. I can’t wait to see it!

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Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Directed by
Joe Berlinger
Written by
Michael Werwie

This story focuses on the crimes that Ted Bundy (Zac Efron) committed, told from the viewpoint of his girlfriend (Lily Collins), who denied the truth about Ted’s crimes.

This might be the biggest budget flick I am seeing while at Sundance. However, I am not gonna lie, the title intrigues me and I am beyond fascinated by the concept of Zac Efron playing Ted Bundy. Seems like it might be wild.

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Before You Know It
Directed by
Hannah Pearl Utt
Written by Hannah Pearl Utt and
Jen Tullock

Two sisters believe there is mom is dead and buried, only to find out she is alive…and starring on a soap opera. This is Hannah Pearl Utt’s directorial debut, and I am super intrigued by the story. It sounds like it will have some great characters.

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Sweetheart
Directed by
J.D. Dillard
Written by J. D. Dillard and
Alex Hyner

Jen is washed ashore on a remote island. If not dealing with all the traumatic feelings one can expect when they are alone on a deserted island, she also has to battle a “monster” that emerges from the water at night with one goal in mind: to feed.

Just reading the description, my palms are already sweating. Should be a fun walk back alone to my Airbnb afterwards.