Sundance 2021 comes with a new programming leadership which means, the festival is going to be full of surprises this year.
Just as the year ends, the Sundance lineup arrives and lets us know about all the amazing movies waiting right around the corner. Even though we are not there yet, the Sundance movies for 2021 will be announced after the Thanksgiving weekend, we thought why not create a list of potential movies that we may get to witness in the Park City.
Over the past few months, we have been keeping a record of projects under various stages of production as filmmakers are rushing to submit their raw cuts hoping they may get to make a splash at the Sundance movie festival 2021 in January.
Our Sundance wishlist is a combination of movies that we are excited and hope to see in Park City.
1. After Antarctica
Director – Tasha van Zandt
After Antarctica is a feature-length profile on polar explorer Will Steger who knows each and every bit of Antarctica coast to coast.
The documentary is directed by Tash Van Zandt who steps into the world of modern filmmaking with this release.
If “After Antarctica” lands a spot at Sundance Film Festival 2021, this could be among the Sundance documentary winners.
Whirlybird is a documentary by Matt Yoka who has put all his efforts into creating this masterpiece.
It is a movie on the transgender helicopter pilot and reporter Zoe Tur who is a pioneer and has taken more than 10,000 flying hours to cover various news events in Los Angeles. The film tells us all about the grave details of Tur’s gender transition and the evolution of Los Angeles from Tur’s perspective.
3. Untitled Bing Liu Project
Director – Bing Liu
Bing Liu became a sensation back in 2018 when he won the Best Jury Award for Breakthrough Filmmaking for his coming-of-age skateboard documentary, “Minding the Gap”.
One year later, Liu was busy running the Oscar race when “Gap” completed the Best Documentary feature. This year, we are expecting that Liu will be taking us to the inside of the Chicago prison system. The movie hasn’t been officially announced yet but we are keeping our fingers crossed.
Director – Mike Cahill
Cahill is among the classic Sundance winners because of his adventurous sci-fi debut “Another Earth”. The move became a breakout at the Sundance Film Festival 2011 and found its home with Fox Searchlight.
His next big project is expected to be showcased at Sundance 2021 which is a movie about two people, Owen Wilson and Salma Hayek who find themselves in an existential crisis.
If “Bliss” is successful in marking its territory at Sundance Film Festival, then we are sure it is going to be among the best Sundance movies ever.
5. Chasing Chaplin
Directors – Peter Middleton and James Spinney
The filmmakers from “Notes of Blindness” have given a new direction to their documentary-making career by going into the detailed life-story of Charlie Chaplin.
The “Chasing Chaplin” will provide its viewers with a detailed insight into the life of the legend that Charlie Chaplin was. The documentary has been created with full support from the Chaplin family and it is built around an interview that Chaplin gave Life Magazine in 1966.
6. Cops and Robbers
Director – Ilinca Calugareanu
The Romanian director, Ilinca Calugareanu gained recognition for her 2015 non-fiction feature “Chuck Norris vs. Communism” and now she has decided to make a comeback with a detailed insight on the life of the highest-ranking black officer in New York, Corey Pegues.
The movie will be digging into the past of Corey Pegues as a gang member and dealer of cocaine and will debate if he was a hero in disguise or not.
We are sure that this movie is going to instigate debates on the modern-day police and how they choose to operate.
7. Feels Good Man
Director – TBD
The movie is about how the innocent Pepe The Frog meme that was created by Matt Furie as a cute doodle was co-opted as a hate symbol by people that Furie couldn’t even think about reaching.
As America is about to enter another election year while still suffering from the aftermath of 2016, this documentary will instigate great debate at Park City.
8. Shiva Baby
Director – Emma Seligman
Emma Sligman became a sensation at several 2018 film festivals such as Woodstock, SXSW and Palm Springs with her comedy short film “Shiva Baby”.
The movie has now been turned into a complete feature film that has Sundance written all over it. The story is set at a shiva and follows a young woman who is shocked to find out that her sugar daddy is also attending.
Previous Sundance award winners clearly depict that all the short movies turned into feature films have always had a good shot at being recognized and we are hoping Shiva Baby will make its mark.
9. Wild Indian
Director – Lyle Michelle Corbine, Jr.
Corbine first made its debut at the Sundance lab which has always been a good start for all the potential prospects.
The movie runs around the story of two men from the Anishinaabe tribe who develop a connection with one another as the aftermath of a brutal murder. Years later, they are still hell-bent on keeping the murder a secret and that’s how the story unfolds.
Director – Benh Zeitlin
Benh Zeitlin’s “Wendy” has been given a release date of February 2021 by Fox Searchlight which means there is a great chance that a Sundance World Premiere is in order.
The movie has been a long-awaited follow-up to “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and should it make the cut to Sundance movies, then we have to say that Wendy will be the most talked about and anticipated movie at the Sundance movie festival 2021.
11. Us Kids
Director – Kim Snyder
The documentary filmmaker Kim Snyder has spent the last several years of her life researching high-profiled school shootings and the effects they have had on survivors, victims, and the country.
Snyder made a breakthrough with “Newton” and it was among the best Sundance movies back in 2016. Now she has returned with another masterpiece that covers the heartbreaking incident at Parkland school.
12. Some Day
Director – Megan Mylan
It has been nearly a decade since Megan won an Oscar for her short documentary “Smile Pinki” and more than 15 years since she broke out with her masterpiece “Lost Boys of Sudan”, she has finally decided to come back.
Some Day is a feature film that follows the stories of four families from Syria who look for refuge around the world. The story revolves in Turkey, Greece, Germany, and the US and dictates the families’ experiences one by one.
This is another one of those heartbreaking stories that mark your hearts and we cannot wait for it to be screened at Sundance 2021.
13. City So Real
Director – Steve James
The documentary legend, Steve James who gave us “America To Me” showed us how intriguing his mode of story-telling is.
James is now returning while being backed by his long-time partner Kartemquin with a four-part series, one-hour episode each that will show us the mosaic portrait of Chicago and its citizens.
14. Nine Days
Director – Edson Oda
The celebrated commercial director, Edson Oda is making his feature debut with a script that was developed through the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program Labs.
The film centers around a reclusive man who is capable of interviewing human souls that are looking for a chance to be born. The cast alone is going to take your breath away so we won’t give it away just yet.
Wait and see for yourself why this movie is worth waiting for.
15. Naked Similarity
Director – Chase Palmer
Wanna know when Chase Palmer got a career boost? When he was given the assignment of co-writing the blockbuster movie “It”.
Now, he is all set to make his feature directorial debut with the crime drama, “Naked Similarity”. The movie stars, Bill Skarsgard, Ed Skrien and Olivia Cooke. The movie is about a New York public defender who loses his first case and unravels.
16. The Last Thing He Wanted
Director – Dee Rees
The movie stars Anne Hathway in the lead role who stops working as a journalist to take care of her dying father and with an unexpected turn of events, inherits her father’s position as an arms dealer for the US Government in Central America.
17. The Last Shift
Director – Andrew Cohn
“The Last Shift” is the first narrative feature movie from prolific documentary filmmaker Andrew Cohn which starred Richard Jenkins and Ed O’Neill.
Even though there has only been revealed a single logline about the movie that indicates how Stanley’s last shift at his fast-food job takes an unexpected turn, there has already been quite an anticipation for the film underway.
As Laverne Cox grows as executive producer, she has put her name behind a new documentary that focuses on the history of different narratives for the transgender community.
The film has been co-written by a queer scholar, Amy Scholder and we are hoping this movie is going to create a lot of buzz during the Sundance Film Festival 2021.
Director – Catherine Gund
Gund has always been a festival favorite as a director and producer but with “Aggie”, the director has turned the lens towards her own mother, a philanthropist, and arts patron.
Agnes Gund, best known as the president of the MoMA, has inspired social change and empathy through art and that is what the focus of the documentary is.
This is a story about a bisexual man who enters into an interracial relationship while he comes to terms with his own childhood trauma.
The film has received phenomenal support from Tribeca Film Institute and is the first feature film by Fifer. This movie has all the marketing of a Sundance breakout and we expect it to be among Sundance Film Festival winners next year.
So, these are the top 20 movies we have on our wishlist for the Sundance Film Festival 2021.
Every year, at the end of the festival, Sundance Institute makes the festival memorable for the community and for the film fraternity by giving out Sundance awards.
Sundance Film Festival awards are the representation of appreciation for all the emerging filmmakers and we can’t wait to see which one of these films make the cut and which movies enter the list of Sundance award-winning movies.
Let us know through your feedback below about which movies would you like to see at the Sundance Film Festival this year.