Miles away from Hollywood and LA, and completely surrounded by snow, Park City in Utah is currently playing host to hundreds of celebrities checking out what the year ahead is going to look like in film. The Sundance Film Festival is where indie films go to be discovered and is at the cutting edge of cool in the film industry. It's also a good barometer of what great films you should watch out for in the year ahead so we've put together our very own list of what you should be keeping your eyes on in 2016...
Swiss Army Man
Daniel Radcliffe last hit Sundance in 2013, when he destroyed his Harry Potter image with Kill Your Darlings, so this second appearance at the fest is an exciting prospect. Radcliffe stars in Swiss Army Man alongside fest regulars Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Paul Dano, and while plot details are under wraps, we know the films an absurdist comedy in which a man living in the wilderness befriends a dead body. First-time directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert collectively known as The Daniels have previously directed episodes of Funny Or Die, so were imagining Weekend At Bernies meets Stand By Me.
Described by Kevin Smith as a tween girl version of Bill & Ted, Yoga Hosers is the second instalment in his True North Trilogy, which began with Tusk and willend with Moose Jaws. Starring the directors daughter Harley Quinn Smith alongside Lily-Rose Melody Depp (daughter of Johnny, who reprises his Tusk character, Detective Guy Lapointe), it sees the two girls uncovering an ancient evil living under their convenience store, which coincides with an invite to a party. I didnt even know I wanted to act until my dad said he wrote this movie, the younger Smith said. I had the time of my life doing it.
Eight years after Juno, Ellen Page and Allison Janney are back together for Tallulah, a dramatic comedy in which Pages titular homeless woman takes a baby from a neglectful mother and decides to raise her as her own. Shes aided by Janney as her ex-boyfriends mother, but when Tallulah decides to return the baby to its mother, the three women form an unlikely bond. The film marks the feature debut of Sian Heder, who worked as a writer on Orange Is The New Black, so this should be a sharp, funny portrayal of unconventional female relationships.
If you thought mermaids were all about singing crabs and wooing Disney princes, this Polish curio should shake that image up a little. Set in the 1980s, it sees mer-sisters Silver and Gold get caught up in Warsaws dance scene. When they join band Figs And Dates they become a smash hit, but after forgetting their true nature, heartbreak provides a devastating reminder. Directed by Agnieszka Smoczynska (who comes from the documentary side of the industry), with an intriguing premise and some ravishing imagery, this should definitely be one of the most original entries at the fest.
Though shes best known for films like The Faculty, as well as recent appearances in Argo and American Horror Story: Asylum, Clea DuVall is getting behind the camera for the first time with The Intervention, in which two couples go on vacation only to discover the trips a cover for a marital intervention. I feel superstitious talking about it, but its kind of a comedy I guess, said DuVall, whose cast includes the likes of Melanie Lynskey, Alia Shawkat and Cobie Smulders. Not like a slapstick comedy or anything, but its more a comedic sort of very real-life story.
Don Cheadle takes a creative approach to the life of Miles Davis with this unconventional biopic, in which Cheadle directs and stars as the jazz musician. Described as part heist movie, part biopic, Miles Ahead is set during the five years Davis took a break in the 1970s, when he takes reporter Dave Braden (Ewan McGregor) on a road trip hell never forget. I wanted to make a movie that I think Miles Davis would have wanted to star in, says Cheadle. Also along for the ride: Michael Stuhlbarg (Boardwalk Empire) as a nefarious producer, and Short Term 12 star Keith Stanfield as his protege.
After her riveting turn as brash contestant Johanna in the Hunger Games films, Jena Malone looks set to deliver a riveting performance in this road trip drama. She plays Mindy, whose friend Sarah (Riley Keough, last seen battling the apocalypse as one of Immortan Joes wives in Mad Max: Fury Road) takes her on a road trip that alters their relationship. Director So Yong Kim last attended the festival in 2012 with For Ellen, which featured a blistering turn from Paul Dano. Shes an incredible director, Malone says. Could this be one of the actress finest roles? Its looking good.
Director Kelly Reichardt (Meeks Cutoff, Wendy And Lucy) reunites with Michelle Williams for their third film together. Inspired by the stories of author Maile Meloy, the film follows three women played by Williams, plus Laura Dern and Kristen Stewart as they attempt to make a living in small-town America. Reichardts track record suggests a sensitive study with fantastic performances Derns hot off her Oscar nomination for Wild, and Williams has never been a stranger to the Academy. In a year in which Sundance is really celebrating female talent, Certain Women should lead the pack.
It sounds like a superhero movie, but its a tongue-in-cheek title, Viggo Mortensen offers of this parental drama, in which he plays a single father tasked with raising six children. Living in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, he brings them up using a strict regime of physical and mental exercise. That all changes, though, when hes forced to re-enter society, where his notion of parenthood is challenged. It was very much a labour of love, Mortensen adds of the film, directed by Matt Ross, whos best known for his roles in American Psycho and Face/Off.
Love and Friendship
The first of two films Chlo Sevigny has at this years Sundance Film Festival (the other being horror flick Antibirth alongside Orange Is The New Black star Natasha Lyonne), Love And Friendship is the fifth film from director Whit Stillman (The Last Days Of Disco, Damsels In Distress). Set in the 1790s and based on Jane Austens novella, It stars Sevigny opposite Kate Beckinsale, whose Lady Susan Vernon goes to stay with her in-laws, and whose plans to find a husband for herself and her daughter are complicated by the arrival of Reginald DeCourcy (Xavier Samuel) and Sir James Martin (Tom Bennett).