Today is the big day…the kickoff for the Sundance Film Festival 2021! 🤗 When I really started getting more serious about my film criticism and writing, I made a list of goals for myself — and covering film festivals as an accredited member of the press was one of those goals (this blog started after I attended the Savannah Film Festival back in 2018…wow, its been that long?!). But when I applied for Sundance’s Press Inclusion Initiative for 2021, I thought it was a long shot. But look ma, we made it!
With that said, the craziness begins today! The next 7 days are going to be bananas with screenings, interviews and finding the time to actually write (on top of still working my day job — the pro (or con) of the festival being virtual, but luckily for me I work from home). And to give it that real “Sundance-feel” since it’s my very first one, I’m also trying to squeeze in some talks, virtual events and parties — crazy I know! I’m going to need a real vacation after this to recharge and recuperate (too bad we’re still in a pandemic with all these travel restrictions 😩).
But enough of me rambling on (but the site is called “Musings…” after all) — lets talk my Sundance watchlist. Between the shorts, series and features, I think I have like 30 something works on my Letterboxd watchlist — ambitious for 7 days, I know. But I’ll let you know how much I make it through (luckily I was able to get a few screener links in advance so I could knock some out ahead of time and gear up for interviews). You can check out that list here — and if you’re not already on Letterboxd and following me, what are you waiting for?
From that watchlist, my here are my “10 Must-Sees”:
“Judas and the Black Messiah” dir: Shaka King
I’ve been hearing so much about this one and it’s been on my radar for a while so I’m super stoked to get to watch it! And I’ve heard that Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeitha Stanfield and Dominique Fishback are amazing in it.
“Passing” dir: Rebecca Hall
Just read Nella Larsen’s novella “Passing” a few months back for my book club and it sparked so great conversation…can’t wait to see how this plays out on the big screen. And the cast is top-notch! Ruth Negga, Tessa Thompson, Alexander Skarsgård and André Holland.
“Luzzu” dir: Alex Camilleri
The synopsis for this one piqued my interest and I love films that give us a glimpse of a lifestyle or people that we rarely see on the screen (at least here in the U.S. at least).
“Wild Indian” dir: Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr.
Murder…secrets…and indigenous representation — this should be good.
“Ma Belle, My Beauty” dir: Marion Hill
Love triangles, the South of France and a diverse cast — I’m here for all of it!
“Flee” dir: Jonas Poher Rasmussen
There have been a lot of interesting animated films coming out recently…but this one has a heavy subject matter so I’m interested…
“R#J” dir: Carey Williams
A modern day retelling of “Romeo and Juliet”…but told all through mobile screens (this seems to be the new trend, stories told completely through mobile and compute screens). To me, Romeo and Juliet is a story that never gets old…can’t say that I’ve dislike any of the screen adaptations (1936, 1968, 1996…I know there’s way more).
“My Name is Pauli Murray” dir: Julie Cohen, Betsy West
In my ignorance, I think I first came across Pauli Murray and her work sometime last year. She was a legal trailblazer who influenced RBG and Thurgood Marshall’s fights, but she goes overlooked in history — this documentary is trying to rectify that. As an attorney and lover of history, this is right up my alley.
“On the Count of Three” dir: Jerrod Carmichael
I’m interested to see what Jerrod Carmichael does with this simple premise. And it stars Christopher Abbott who does a lot of weird/out-there movies (but I did love him in “Catch-22”).
“Prime Time” dir: Jakub Piatek
A hostage story starring Bartosz Bielenia, who was electrifying in “Corpus Christi.”
So those are my absolutes, if I watch these, the festival is a success…everything else is icing on the cake! But I’m trying to see as much as I can and I’m looking forward to all of the diverse stories, filmmakers, voices and I look forward to chatting with some of the new voices and up-and-coming directors! Be sure to stay tuned for reviews and a festival wrap-up here and check out my coverage of the festival over at We Live Entertainment as well!
Let the work begin! Wish me luck and pray for some stamina! 😜