Kanye West in jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy
As an event so infamous and instrumental in the industry, the kick off of Sundance Film Festival almost feels like the real start to the new year. Even for those of us that can’t attend, the selection of films is still worth taking notice whether you’re a casual movie fan or you’re already making bets on the year’s greatest drama. For 2022, Robert Retford’s typically Utah-based festival is once again virtual, but there is certainly no shortage of excellent films premiering over the course of the 11 days. Below we’ve rounded up the 18 of the best films coming to Sundance this year that you’ll definitely want to keep your eye out for.
What happens when financial insecurity pushes you to the edge? Look to Brian Brown-Easley, a man whose disability check fails to come from Veterans Affairs. Too close to homelessness and breaking his daughter’s heart, Brain enters a Wells Fargo Bank and declares, “I’ve got a bomb.” It stars John Boyega, Michael Kenneth Williams, Nicole Beharie, Connie Britton, Olivia Washington and Selenis Leyva.
See Keke Palmer and Common star in Krystin Ver Linden’s directorial debut about a woman in servitude in 1800s Georgia who escapes and discovers that beyond the treeline, it’s actually 1973.
Lucy and Jane are longtime friends, so when Jane decides to move to London, Lucy reveals a big secret she’s kept to herself for years. Jane tries to help her friend, but their relationship becomes chaotic. With Will Ferrell as one of the producers and Stephanie Allynne and Tig Notaro as directors, it stars Dakota Johnson, Sonoya Mizuno, Jermaine Fowler, Kiersey Clemons, Molly Gordon and Sean Hayes.
After stealing hearts (and the Grand Jury Prize) at SXSW 2020 with S#!%house, Cooper Raiff is back as director, screenwriter and star in a tale about a directionless college grad who gets into a relationship with a young mom and her teen daughter. Meanwhile, he learns the ropes and boundaries of his bar mitzvah party-starting job. Raiff stars alongside Dakota Johnson.
Director Juan Pablo González, Ana Isabel Fernández and Ilana Coleman tell the story of an iron-willed businesswoman named Maria Garcia who fights the looming collapse of her tequila factory in the hills of Mexico’s Jalisco highlands. The cast includes Teresa Sánchez, Tatín Vera, Rafaela Fuentes and Manuel García-Rulfo.
Aubrey Plaza shifts gears in this Los Angeles-set crime thriller. Clamoring for a way out of debt, Emily gets into credit card scams that pull her into the city’s criminal underworld, ultimately leading to fatal consequences. Directed and written by John Patton Ford, the cast also includes Theo Rossi, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Gina Gershon and Bernardo Badillo.
This documentary is the result of more than 30 years of work. To find closure on an abandoned film she started to shoot in 1989, documentarian Christine Choy tracks down three exiled dissidents from the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Directors Ben Kelin and Violet Columbus serve as producers alongside Matia Chiu.
The wrongful conviction of a Korean immigrant in a 1973 San Francisco Chinatown gang murder brings together Asian Americans like never before to set Chol Soo Lee free. However, once the former street hustler is out, the man that had become the symbol for a landmark movement self-destructs and comes to threaten the movement’s legacy and himself.
Starring Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown, Adamma Ebo’s film centers on Trinitie Childs, the first lady of a prominent Southern Baptists megachurch, as she tries to help her pastor husband rebuild their congregation after the unfolding of a huge scandal.
Directors Clarence “Coodie” Simmons and Chike Ozah boil down the life of Kanye West into three acts. Featuring never-before-seen footage, this intimate look at our generation’s most captivating figures will undoubtedly be a rollercoaster film.
Director Eva Longoria Batón chronicles the legendary rivalry between iconic boxers Oscar De La Hoya and Julio César Chávez and its inciting of a cultural divide between Mexican nationals and Mexican Americans.
With Amy Poehler at the helm, this documentary proves real life is more intriguing than fiction. A tribute to one of the greatest trailblazers in comedy and entertainment, this documentary outlines Lucille Ball’s great influence on the evolution of the TV industry and how she became a multi-faceted mogul.
Gabriel Martin’s day one world premiere film is set in Brazil and follows a lower-middle-class Black family who try to keep up their dreams while their country is in turmoil after the election of a right-wing president. The cast includes Rejane Faria, Carlos Francisco, Camilla Souza and Cícero Lucas.
Documentaries that dive into major music controversies are always worth watching, as is this telling of Sinéad O’Connor’s rise to fame and eventual exile from mainstream po;. Taking a contemporary lens to O’Connor’s legacy as a trailblazer, Nothing Compares focuses on her life from 1987 to 1993.
Rita Baghdadi’s documentary is truly history caught on film. Just outside Beirut, Lilas and Shery navigate friendship, sexauality and destruction in their pursuit of becoming rock stars. They also happen to be the co-founders and guitarists of the Middle East’s first all-female metal band.
A late addition to the lineup, Amy Berg tells Evan Rachel Wood’s story about her life as an actor and rise as an activist, which includes a dive into her decision to publicly tell the truth about her relationship with Marilyn Manson.
Jesse Eisenberg serves as the director and screenwriter of a curious movie about a mother and son. Evelyn and her oblivious teen child Ziggy search for replacement of one another, with Evelyn attempting to parent an unassuming teenager at her shelter and Ziggy stumbling through his pursuit of a brilliant young woman at school. Juliane Moore and Finn Wolfhard star in the day one world premiere film.
Already having gained buzz at the Cannes Film Festival, the Norwegian film is set for Sundance’s opening day slate. Taking place over four years, we see Julie struggling through love and career, forcing her to take a real look at who she actually is.
Photography by: Courtesy Netflix