Sundance Film Festival 2018 Features Eclectic, Diverse Lineup

It’s that time of year again when celebrities and actors race to the hills of Park City for the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. This year’s iteration will take place from January 18-28. Over 110 films have been selected, all showcasing plenty of diversity, both with the actors themselves and the topics which they discuss. “This year’s festival is full of artfully-told stories that provoke thought,” said Robert Redford, founder of the Sundance Institute, “and allow the audience to connect in deeply personal ways.”

In the Premieres section of the event, some of the most sought after screenings, big names dominate. “Beirut,” an action-thriller from director Brad Anderson (“Transsiberian” “The Machinist”), finds Jon Hamm and Rosamund Pike sharing the screen to tell the story of a U.S. Diplomat on the search for his missing colleague. “Damsel” will also screen as a world premiere from the Zellner Brothers. Mia Wasikowska and Robert Pattinson star as a couple destined to marry, but not before Pattison’s character must traverse the American Frontier in what could be described as a slapstick comedy meets treacherous drama. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Danny Glover, Jason Segal and Martin Sheen will play in “Come Sunday,” another world premiere. This film tells the story of an evangelical preacher caught amid controversy after claiming that there is no Hell.

In the U.S. Documentary Competition portion of the event, “Dark Money” follows in the vein of Jane Mayer’s eye-opening 2016 book of the same name, but focuses in on the state of Montana and their success in combating the pervasive issue of anonymous money in politics. Major issues facing America today including race (“Bisbee ’17,” “Crime + Punishment,” “Hale County This Morning, This Evening”), climate change (“Inventing Tomorrow”) and sexual assault (“Seeing Allred”) will also be on display in this year’s U.S. Documentary Competition. As far as Documentary Premiers go, amongst them will be a number of docs profiling powerful figures in American culture including “Bad Reputation” on The Runaways singer Joan Jett, “RBG” on the polarizing Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, plus “Jane Fonda in Five Acts” and “Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind.”

The U.S. Dramatic Competition will see a bevy of well-known actors including American Horror Story’s Evan Peters in “American Animals,” “Blaze” from writer/director Ethan Hawke, Peter Dinklage and Elle Fanning in “I Think We’re Alone Now,” Maggie Gyllenhaal in “The Kindergarten Teacher,” Chloe Sevigny and Kristen Steward in “Lizzie” and Paul Dano’s directorial debut “Wildlife,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan.

Redford and his fellow organizers have added a new section to the festivities this year entitled Indie Episodic. Among these films will be the Matthew Lillard starring film “Halfway There.” Said Director of Programming Trevor Groth of the addition, “By creating a dedicated space for storytellers to shine, we’re aiming to foster more creativity in the field.” A big step forward for the festival indeed, as young filmmakers now have an even bigger platform to showcase their work.

Sundance Film Festival takes place in Park City, Utah from Jan. 18-28.