While the Sundance Film Festival may have looked a little different this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, filmmakers from all over were still able to show off their magnificent works and make it available to individuals at home who are riding out the rest of this pandemic. Here’s a list of some of the most talked-about films that premiered at Sundance 2021:
“The Blazing World” – Carlson Young has made her feature directing debut this year with the short “The Blazing World.” The film stars Young herself, along with cult film icon Udo Kier, Dermot Mulroney, Vinessa Shaw, and singer/songwriter/actress Soko. Young plays a woman haunted since childhood by the accidental drowning of her twin sister. When her self-destructive path leads her to an alternate dimension where her twin sister may still be alive, adventure ensues.
“Bring Your Own Brigade” – Lucy Walker is no stranger to Sundance, and has actually premeried ten films at the event over the years. This year, she’s releasing a film about the causes of wildfires, and takes her film crew into dangerous disaster zones to talk to actual firefighters and residents of places like Paradise, California; which was completely destroyed by the 2019 wildfires in California.
“CODA” – Siân Heder’s newest coming-of-age story follows British actress Emilia Jones, who plays the child of two deaf parents who is torn between helping them manage their day-to-day tasks, and following her musical ambitions.
“Eight for Silver” – British filmmaker Sean Ellis is back with his newest entry into the evolving “contemporary period horror canon.” This film is a modern werewolf tale that also paints a gothic portrait of a community coping with unexplainable horrors brought on by these mythical creatures. The film contains curses, magic, and other gothic elements that really transports the viewer to another time.
“Flee” – Director Jonal Poher Rasmissen’s new animated documentary follows the experiences of a gay refugee from the Middle East who attempt to rebuild his life in Denmark. According to reviewers who have seen the film, “Rasmussen blends a colorful, hyper-real style with personal recollections as its subject struggles to reconcile his troubling past with a stable present. The drama extends across decades, following its evolving character from a war-torn childhood through the many changes that follow.”
“How It Ends” – Zoe Lister-Jones and Daryl Wein are no stranger to Sundance, and this year they’re returning with a comedy film that is appropriately about the end of the world. The partners wrote, directed, and starred in the film alongside Olivia Wilde, Fred Armisen, Helen Hunt, Lamorne Morris, and Cailee Spaeny. The film is set in LA on the last day of earth, and follows “one woman [who] goes on a journey through LA to make it to her last party before the world ends, running into an eclectic cast of characters along the way.”
“In The Earth” – Ben Wheatley, known for his film “Kill List,” is back with a film inspired by the Covid-19 pandemic. The movie follows actor Joel Fry who plays a park scout who joins a scientist on a walk in the woods on a terrible night. What exactly is in the woods that caused the two to fight for their lives? You’ll have to watch to find out…
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.