5 things we can’t wait to see at Sundance Film Festival

The festival returns to Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah, in January 2024.

The Sundance Film Festival is around the corner! The Sundance Institute has announced the films and episodic titles selected for the 2024 festival, and we have our eyes on five features we can’t wait to see when the event returns to Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah, next year.

The Sundance Film Festival 2024 is set for next month. (Photo credit: Sundance Institute)

Next month marks 40 years of the Sundance Film Festival, “bringing together audiences in Utah and beyond to celebrate Sundance’s rich history of supporting engaging new stories and groundbreaking independent artists.” The festival once again will run with a hybrid model, with in-person events happening Jan. 18–28, 2024, in Park City and Salt Lake City, and a selection of titles available online nationwide from Jan. 25–28, 2024.

“Sundance’s passion and power shine through its programming. Curation is Sundance’s secret sauce and we’re energized by the range of films, stories, and artists we’ve watched and selected from around the world,” Eugene Hernandez, director of Sundance Film Festival and Public Programming, said in a statement.

Here are five features we can’t wait to see at Sundance this January.

“Exhibiting Forgiveness” / U.S.A. (director, screenwriter, and producer: Titus Kaphar; producers: Stephanie Allain, Derek Cianfrance, Jamie Patricof, Sean Cotton)

André Holland and Andra Day appear in “Exhibiting Forgiveness” by Titus Kaphar, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. (Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute.)

The first selection we can’t wait to see is “Exhibiting Forgiveness,” a directorial debut from esteemed painter Titus Kaphar. With big stars like André Holland, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, and Andra Day attached, the film follows a Black artist who utilizes “his paintings to find freedom from his past.” Per the description, his path to success is “derailed by an unexpected visit from his estranged father, a recovering addict desperate to reconcile. Together, they learn that forgetting might be a greater challenge than forgiving.”

Cast: André Holland, John Earl Jelks, Andra Day, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor.

(World premiere. Available online for public.)

“Freaky Tales” / U.S.A. (directors, screenwriters, and producers: Ryan Fleck, Anna Boden; producers: Poppy Hanks, Jelani Johnson)

Up next is “Freaky Tales,” a film that takes its viewers back to 1987. Using four “interconnected tales,” the film focuses on the town’s underdogs. The synopses of the four tales read: “Teen punks defend their turf against Nazi skinheads, a rap duo battles for hip-hop immortality, a weary henchman gets a shot at redemption, and an NBA All-Star settles the score. Basically another day in the Bay.” To top it off, the film is yet another selection with a star-studded cast, including Jay Ellis, Dominique Thorne and Normani in her feature film debut.

Cast: Pedro Pascal, Jay Ellis, Normani Kordei Hamilton, Dominique Thorne, Ben Mendelsohn, Ji-young Yoo.

(World premiere. Fiction.)


“Rob Peace” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Chiwetel Ejiofor; producers: (Antoine Fuqua, Rebecca Hobbs, Kat Samick, Jeffrey Soros, Andrea Calderwood, Alex Kurtzman)

We’ve also got our eyes on “Rob Peace,” a biopic written by, directed by and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, which follows the life of Robert Peace. Peace grew up in an “impoverished section of Newark and later graduated from Yale with degrees in molecular biophysics and biochemistry while on scholarship. Peace led a dual life in academia and research while also earning six figures selling marijuana.” Based on “The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace” by Jeff Hobbs, the film stars Jay Will as Peace, with Mary J. Blige, Ejiofor, and more rounding out the cast.

Cast: Jay Will, Mary J. Blige, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Camila Cabello, Michael Kelly.

(World premiere. Fiction. Available online for public.)

“The American Society of Magical Negroes” / U.S.A. (director, screenwriter, and producer: Kobi Libii; producers: Julia Lebedev, Eddie Vaisman, Angel Lopez)

Justice Smith and David Alan Grier in “The American Society of Magical Negroes” by Kobi Libii, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. (Photo by Tobin Yelland/Focus Features© 2024, courtesy of Sundance Institute)

By the film’s description, fantasy fans should be in for a treat with “The American Society of Magical Negroes.” The feature from Kobi Libii follows Aren, a young man who “is recruited into a secret society of magical Black people who dedicate their lives to a cause of utmost importance: making white people’s lives easier.” Justice Smith, David Alan Grier, Nicole Byer and more star in this premiere film.

Cast: Justice Smith, David Alan Grier, An-Li Bogan, Drew Tarver, Rupert Friend, Nicole Byer.

(World premiere. Fiction.)

“Kidnapping Inc.” / Haiti, France, Canada (director, screenwriter, and producer: Bruno Mourral; screenwriter and producer: Gilbert Mirambeau Jr.; screenwriter: Jasmuel Andri; producers: Samuel Chauvin, Yanick Letourneau, Gaethan Chancy)

The last pick that caught our attention is “Kidnapping Inc.” The film from Bruno Mourral is in the festival’s “Midnight” selections, which feature films ranging from terrifying horrors to wild comedies that “defy” genre. “Tasked with what appears to be a simple abduction for hire, two hapless kidnappers find out that it’s anything but and end up in the middle of a political conspiracy,” the official description details.

Cast: Jasmuel Andri, Rolaphton Mercure, Anabel Lopez, Ashley Laraque, Gessica Geneus, Patrick Joseph.

(World premiere. Fiction.) 

For more on the Sundance Film Festival, the full list of the 91 projects selected and ticketing information, head to the official site here.

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