The cream of this year's American Sundance Film Festival crop comes to London again, once more in its Picturehouse Central home. The Smoke Screen's appetite is truly whetted by the line-up, having kept an eye on many of the titles since their original festival debut. Some have since gone on to theatrical release and to drown in evenmore acclaim. Two films stand out in particular. The Miseducation of Cameron Post, a wry and empathetic look at an American girl struggling in a gay conversation therapy genre, comes from the mind of Appropriate Behaviour director/writer Desiree Akhavan, and Smoke Screen remains a huge fan of that debut and thus eager for this follow-up, which has garnered great reviews since its original Sundance US appearance. Then there is Ari Aster's Hereditary, a horror film starring Toni Collete that has been lavished with the kind of praise that puts it in The Babadook and Get Out zone of greatness. Collete is expected to attend a Q&A after the screening of the film, for those who haven't passed out in shock from the terror.
The festival will open with the international premiere of Jennifer Fox’s The Tale, starring Laura Dern and Ellen Burstyn, and close four days later with the UK premiere of Leave No Trace, Debra Granik’s highly anticipated follow-up to the Academy Award-nominated Winter’s Bone. Both these films have garnered great reviews stateside.
Sundance has made a point of curating a line-up dominated by female filmmakers this year (7 out of 12 films are female-directed), as well as sprinkling panels and talks into the programme that reflect the current conversations about sex and gender in the American film industry. #Metoo and #Timesup are here to stay. Major UK film funders will join Half the Picture director Amy Adrion for The Big Culture Shift panel to examine what is next for the film industry and the steps needed to create a fairer and more inclusive film future. Triple Threat: Three major filmmakers in conversation will see three of this year's female Sundance filmmakers come together to discuss their careers and approach to their craft.
Sundance Film Festival: London returns to Picturehouse Central from 31 May to 3 June. You can view the programme and book tickets at the Picturehouse Central website.