Major Black presence at Sundance 2018, Jan. 18-28
LAPACAZO SANDOVAL and ART SHRIAN | 1/11/2018, 2:39 p.m.
There will never be a shortage of creativity to come from our community. The annual Sundance Film Festival, taking place Jan. 18 through Jan. 28, is just one piece of compelling evidence to back up this aforementioned statement.
Festival premieres include a new work by Boots Riley, “Sorry to Bother You,” starring Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson and Omari Hardwick, and a documentary on Sri Lankan artist and musician M.I.A. We also get two special events: Spike Lee’s “Pass Over” and RuPaul’s Drag Race: A Retrospective of the Cultural Phenomenon.
There are 27 feature length films and 10 shorts offered. Here are our picks for films to check out at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.
A buddy comedy in a world that won’t let it be one. Starring Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal, Janina Gavankar and Jasmine Cephas Jones
After opening a KKK shop, Klansman Michael Burden falls in love with a single mom who forces him to confront his senseless hatred. Starring Forest Whitaker and Usher Raymond
“The Miseducation of Cameron Post”
Circa 1993: After being caught having sex with the prom queen, a girl is forced into a gay conversion therapy center. Based on Emily Danforth’s acclaimed and controversial coming-of-age novel
“Monster” is what the prosecutor calls 17-year-old honors student and aspiring filmmaker Steve Harmon, charged with felony murder for a crime he says he did not commit. Starring Kelvin Harrison Jr., Jeffrey Wright and Jennifer Hudson
“Monsters and Men”
This interwoven narrative explores the aftermath of a police killing of a Black man. Starring Anthony Ramos
“Sorry to Bother You”
In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, Black telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success that propels him into a macabre universe. Starring Tessa Thompson, Steven Yeun and Omari Hardwick
Tyler spirals out of control when he realizes he’s the only Black person attending a weekend birthday party in a secluded cabin. Starring Jason Mitchell
“Crime + Punishment”
Over four years of unprecedented access, it’s the story of a brave group of Black and Latino whistleblower cops and one unrelenting private investigator who, amid a landmark lawsuit, risk everything to expose illegal quota practices and their impact on young minorities.
“MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A.”
The film is an intimate look into the life of Sri Lankan artist and musician M.I.A using personal footage spanning decades.
“A Boy, A Girl, A Dream”
On the night of the 2016 presidential election, Cass, an L.A. club promoter, takes a thrilling and emotional journey with Frida, a Midwestern visitor. Starring Omari Hardwick and Meagan Good, directed by Qasim Basir
“Night Comes On”
Angel LaMere is released from juvenile detention on the eve of her 18th birthday. Haunted by her past, she embarks on a journey with her 10-year-old sister.
“I Am Not a Witch”
After a minor incident, 9-year-old Shula is exiled to a witch camp where she is told that if she escapes, she’ll be transformed into a goat.
“King in the Wilderness”
The film is a portrait of the last years of Martin Luther King Jr.’s remarkable life.
Internationally-renowned pastor Carlton Pearson, experiencing a crisis of faith, risks his church, family and future when he questions church doctrine and finds himself branded a modern-day heretic. Based on actual events, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Danny Glover and Condola Rashad
Things get complicated when three friends share a house in South LA’s Leimert Park. Directed by producer Mel Jones
A short virtual reality thriller that dramatizes the incredible story of Betty and Barney Hill, who in the 1960s reported the first nationally known UFO abduction case in America.
“Masters of the Sun”
In1983, Los Angeles was spared from utter destruction driven by an ancient evil. The ghetto became ground zero for a drug epidemic that transformed citizens into soul-sucking zombies.
“Pass Over/U.S.A “
This special event is created by Spike Lee, Danya Taymor and Antoinette Nwandu. It’s a provocative riff on “Waiting for Godot,” capturing the poetry, humor and humanity of this urgent and timely play about two young Black men talking shit, passing the time and dreaming of the promised land. Starring Jon Michael Hill, Julian Parker, Ryan Hallahan and Blake DeLong
RuPaul’s Drag Race: A Retrospective of the Cultural Phenomenon
The event is a retrospective of VH1’s Emmy-winning “RuPaul’s Drag Race” on the heels of its 10th season and a panel hosted by RuPaul with executive producers Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, along with Tom Campbell and Pamela Post, senior vice president of Original Programming for MTV, VH1 and Logo.