The end of the year brings an onslaught of blockbusters and award-contenders to the theaters (and streaming!). To remedy, the new year kicks off with one of the most acclaimed film festivals of the year: Sundance.
Indie darlings, cult-favorite directors and trying newcomers are getting ready to take over Park City, Utah for the festival, which runs Jan. 19 to 29. And while the rest of us will have to wait a bit to watch the movies that will emerge as the festival’s best and buzziest, we can at least start our future watch list in the meantime.
See below for the movies to keep your eye on from the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.
Director: Ben Braun, Chiaki Yanagimoto
Why you’ll want to watch: See how a Tokyo yoga school evolved into a doomsday cult.
Director: Rebecca Landsberyy-Baker and Joe Beeler
Why you’ll want to watch: Gain an inside understanding of a Native community fighting for transparency from the government and the importance of the First Amendment.
Director: Roger Ross Williams
Who’s In It: Gael García Bernal, Roberta Colindrez, Perla de La Rosa, Joaquín Cosío, Raúl Castillo
Why you’ll want to watch: A Gael García Bernal performance is always worth watching. See him take on the role of the real life flamboyant luchador Cassandro.
Director: Susanna Fogel
Who’s In It: Emilia Jones, Nicholas Braun, Isabella Rossellini
Why you’ll want to watch: The New Yorker short story the movie is based on set the internet on fire in 2017.
Director: Matthew Rytz
Why you’ll want to watch: Jason Momoa is the narrator, but you’ll also learn why our world intertwines with the deep ocean.
Director: William Oldyrod
Who’s In It: Thomasin McKenzie, Anne Hathaway, owen Teague
Why you’ll want to watch: Be just as enticed as Eileen (McKenzie) by the allure of Rebecca, her new prison coworker that entangles her in a life-altering crime.
Director: Andrew Durham
Who’s In It: Emilia Jones, Scoot McNairy, Geena Davis, Cody Fern, Adam Lambert, Maria Bakalova
Why you’ll want to watch: With Sofia Coppola as a producer, it’s likely this will be a memorable coming-of-age movie for 2023.
Director: Brandon Cronenberg
Who’s In It: Mia Goth, Alexander Skarsgård, Cleopatra Coleman
Why you’ll want to watch: Mia Goth continues to prove her reign over horror.
Director: Davina Pardo, Leah Wolchok
Why you’ll want to watch: Understand the author who helped us grow up.
Director: Cory Finley
Who’s In It: This director brought you Thoroughbreds and the Emmy-winning Bad Education. Also, this features a world with super smart aliens.
Why you’ll want to watch: Tiffany Haddish, Asante Blackk, Kylie Rogers, Josh Hamilton, Michael Gandolfini, William Jackson Harper
Director: Lisa Cortés
Why you’ll want to watch: The director behind Precious and All In: The Fight For Democracy takes on the whitewashed history of rock ‘n’ roll and the complex, industry-changing life of Little Richard.
Director: Razelle Benally, Matthew Galkin
Why you’ll want to watch: The epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) has been ongoing for two centuries, but has not seen enough assistance or attention from powers at large. With this documentary, Benally and Galkin hone in on the disappearance of dozens of young Indigenous women and girls from the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Nations in Montana’s Big Horn County.
Director: Celine Song
Who’s In It: Greta Lee, Teo Yoo
Why you’ll want to watch: An A24 love story for the modern age.
Director: Tracy Droz Tragos
Why you’ll want to watch: Remind yourself that the fight for bodily autonomy is ongoing.
Director: Sophia Barthes
Who’s In It: Emilia Clarke, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rosalie Craig, Vinette Robinson, Jean-Marc Barr
Why you’ll want to watch: You’ll laugh and stress over the possible future of pregnancy.
Director: Lana Wilson
Why you’ll want to watch: From the director of Taylor Swift’s Miss Americana, Brooke Shields reflects on her place in celebrity and womanhood.
Director: Christopher Zalla
Who’s In It: Eugenio Derbez
Why you’ll want to watch: Be inspired by the power of education.
Director: Daina Reid
Who’s In It: Sarah Snook, Lily Latorre, Damon Herriman, Greta Scacchi
Why you’ll want to watch: Sarah Snook. Also, a mysterious surprise bunny arrives as a birthday gift that marks the spiraling of this movie’s star.
Director: Peter Nicks
Why you’ll want to watch: Superstar athletes: they’re just like us (human) with a touch of mega talent and consuming competitiveness. It all makes for great viewing.
Director: Davis Guggenheim
Why you’ll want to watch: Guggenheim’s past credits as director and executive producer include AN Inconvenient Truth, He Named Me Malala, Summer of Soul and Boys State. With a documentary wizard at the helm, you’ll gain an insightful look at Michael J. Fox’s life.
Director: Molly Gordon, Nick Lieberman
Who’s In It: Molly Gordon, Ben Platt, Noah Galvin, Jimmy Tatro, Patti Harrison, Ayo Edibiri, Amy Sedaris, Caroline Aaron, Nathan Lee Graham, Owen Thiele, Alan Kim
Why you’ll want to watch: You already know Molly Gordon from her roles in Good Boys, Ramy and Booksmart. Back by a stellar cast, you’ll laugh out loud as this scrappy upstate New York summer camp for theater kids tried to stay afloat.
Photography by: Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video