For the first time since it began in 1978, the Sundance Film Festival will partner with the Northwest Film Forum. The seven days of programming will be available digitally due to COVID scuttling any in-person festival plans. The shift to an online festival will bring 70 plus features, 50 short films, and various Q&As right into audiences' homes. The festival will offer live showings of films that can also be viewed anytime within a three-hour window and for a second time two days after the premiere. Sure to be one of the more talked-about films is Passing. The directorial debut from longtime actor Rebecca Hall, it stars Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga in a thriller about two women living in 1920s New York City where one "passes" as white while the other does not. It is based on the 1929 novel of the same name by the late author Nella Larsen. What may be the film that caught my attention the most is On the Count of Three. It stars Jerrod Carmichael, more known for his incisive stand-up comedy, in what is also his directorial debut. Carmichael is Val, a depressed man who forms a suicide pact with his best friend Kevin, played by actor Christopher Abbott who looks starkly different from his most recent Possessor performance. Always a utopia for great documentaries, one selection to watch for this year is in many ways about just that: making a better world. Rebel Hearts follows a group of nuns who started the Immaculate Heart College to ensure women could access degrees previously out of reach.
Tickets will be made available at festival.sundance.org starting January 7. Read about the lineup here.