Sundance Film Festival: London 2022, taking place from 9 to 12 June at Picturehouse Central will present 12 feature films from the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, U.S.A. The Festival opens on 9 June with the UK premiere of Good Luck To You, Leo Grande, directed by Sundance alumna and Best Director winner (at Sundance Film Festival 2022), Sophie Hyde.
The festival will close four days later on 12 June with the UK premiere screening of British filmmaker Jim Archer’s feature Brian and Charles. The feel-good comedy film stars British actor and comedian David Earl as Brian, a lonely and unlucky inventor who builds an artificial intelligence robot made from odds and ends, including an old washing machine.
The festival will feature an equal number of male and female directors in this year’s film selection (across features and shorts), allowing a range of British, Finnish, French, Australian, Emirati, Indonesian, Canadian, Lebanese and American filmmakers to tell their authentic stories.
Alongside the opening and closing night films, the festival will present a selection of remarkable and wide-ranging filmmaking. Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul is an American dark comedy satire written, directed and produced by Adamma Ebo in her directorial debut, and featuring a stellar cast that includes Regina Hall, Sterling K. Brown and Nicole Beharie. Andrew Semans’ psychological thriller Resurrection stars Rebecca Hall as Margaret, a woman who balances the demands of a busy career and single parenthood. Her carefully constructed life is upended when an unwelcome shadow from her past, David, played excellently by Tim Roth, returns, forcing her to confront the monster she’s evaded for two decades.
In addition, cinema-goers will be able to take in the impressive and tender A Love Song, directed by Max Walker-Silverman, which tells the story of two childhood sweethearts, now both widowed, reuniting after 40 years apart. Receiving its world premiere at the Festival in 2022, the bold and funny Sharp Stick is Lena Dunham’s long-awaited follow up to Tiny Furniture, and follows a naive 26-year-old living on the fringes of Hollywood who begins an affair with her older employer and is thrust into an education on lust, loss and power. Chloe Okuno’s debut psychological thriller, Watcher (Official Selection at the Sundance Film Festival 2022 U.S. Dramatic Competition), was shot during the pandemic and stars Maika Monroe as an expat being stalked.
As in previous years, the London edition will provide a strong documentary offering, which this year will be presented by Kia. Sara Dosa’s engrossing Fire of Love (winner of the Jonathan Oppenheim Editing Award at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival), follows the lives and careers of VolcanologistsKatia and Maurice Krafft and is narrated by Miranda July. British director Ed Perkins’ highly anticipated The Princess lets archive footage do the talking in this compelling and uncompromising documentary of Princess Diana’s story. Joe Hunting’s groundbreaking and immersive debut documentary feature, We Met in Virtual Reality, takes place entirely within the online platform VRChat. It explores the social relations developed by users of VRChat during the pandemic and how their lives were changed by their time on the platform. Julie Ha and Eugene Yi’s documentary, Free Chol Soo Lee, details a Korean immigrant’s wrongful conviction and doubles as a portrait of the brutality of incarceration. The film follows the intense issues that arise when it comes to racial profiling and how the Korean community rallied together to bring one man justice.
The 2022 Festival continues the Sundance tradition of supporting emerging voices in filmmaking. In addition to Adamma Ebo, Max Walker-Silverman and Joe Hunting’s debut features, the festival will also host Hanna Bergholm’s debut Hatching, an inventive Finnish horror. The film follows Tinja, a 12-year-old gymnast desperate to please her mother. After finding a wounded bird in the woods, Tinja brings a strange mop egg home and nurtures it until it hatches. The creature that emerges soon becomes her closest friend and a living nightmare, plunging Tinja into a twisted reality.
Following on from the success of last year’s Sundance Film Festival London Tour, this year’s edition will again see films showing in cinemas across the UK. Three films, led by Good Luck To You, Leo Grande, will screen at upwards of 30 cinemas across the festival dates of 9-12 June 2022. The additional films will be announced at a later date.
Two short film programmes will showcase the work of emerging and established independent filmmakers as part of the Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour, including a strand dedicated to UK shorts.
FEATURE FILM PROGRAMME
A Love Song / U.S.A (Director/Screenwriter: Max Walker-Silverman) Two childhood sweethearts, both now widowed, share a night by a lake in the mountains.
Principal cast: Dale Dickey, Wes Studi, Michelle Wilson
Brian and Charles / United Kingdom (Director: Jim Archer, Screenwriters: David Earl and Chris Hayward)
Meet Brian – a lonely, luckless inventor who takes on his most ambitious project yet. Enter Charles – Brian’s extraordinary masterpiece – an artificially intelligent robot made from odds and ends, including an old washing machine, who has an inexplicable obsession with cabbages. Brian and Charles is a heartwarming and entertaining tale about friendship, family, finding love, and letting go.Principal cast: David Earl, Chris Hayward, Louise Brealey
Fire of Love / Canada, U.S.A (Director: Sara Dosa)
From National Geographic Documentary Films comes the extraordinary love story of intrepid French scientists Katia and Maurice Krafft, who died just as explosively as they lived — capturing the most spectacular imagery ever recorded of their greatest passion: volcanoes.
Winner of the Jonathan Oppenheim Editing Award at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival
Free Sol Choo Lee / U.S.A (Directors: Julie Ha, Eugene Yi)
In 1970s San Francisco, 20-year-old Korean immigrant Chol Soo Lee is racially profiled and convicted of a Chinatown gang murder. After spending years fighting to survive, investigative journalist K.W. Lee takes a special interest in his case, igniting an unprecedented social justice movement.
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande / United Kingdom (Director: Sophie Hyde, Screenwriter: Katy Brand)
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande is an uplifting comedy that challenges expectations. Nancy & Leo discover an unexpected bond in this hilarious, heartwarming, sex-positive tale of empowerment and self-discovery.
Principal cast: Emma Thompson, Daryl McCormack, Isabella Laughland
Hatching / Finland (Director: Hanna Bergholm, Screenwriter: Ilja Rautsi)
Tinja is a 12-year-old gymnast who’s desperate to please her image-obsessed mother. After finding a wounded bird in the woods, she brings its strange egg home, nestles it in her bed and nurtures it until it hatches. The creature that emerges soon becomes her closest friend and a living nightmare, plunging Tinja into a twisted reality that her mother refuses to see.
Principal cast: Siiri Solalinna, Sophia Heikkilä, Jani Volanen
Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul / U.S.A (Director/Screenwriter: Adamma Ebo)
In Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul, proud first lady of a Southern Baptist megachurch, Trinitie Childs (Regina Hall), carries immense responsibility on her shoulders. After a scandal involving her husband, Pastor Lee-Curtis Childs (Sterling K. Brown), the church is forced to close temporarily, leaving Trinitie struggling to manage the aftermath. Now Trinitie and Lee-Curtis must rebuild their congregation and reconcile their faith by all means necessary to make the biggest comeback that commodified religion has ever seen.
Principal cast: Regina Hall, Sterling K. Brown
The Princess / United Kingdom (Director: Ed Perkins)
The story of Princess Diana is told exclusively through contemporaneous archive creating a bold and immersive narrative of her life and death. Turning the camera back on ourselves, it also illuminates the profound impact she had and how the public’s attitude to the monarchy was, and still is, shaped by these events.
Resurrection / United Kingdom (Director/Screenwriter: Andrew Semans)
Margaret’s life is in order. She is capable, disciplined, and successful. Soon, her teenage daughter, who Margaret raised by herself, will be going off to a fine university, just as Margaret had intended. Everything is under control. That is, until David returns, carrying with him the horrors of Margaret’s past.
Principal cast: Rebecca Hall, Tim Roth
Sharp Stick / U.S.A (Director/Screenwriter: Lena Dunham)
Sarah Jo is a naive 26-year-old living on the fringes of Hollywood with her mother (longing for money) and sister (longing for exposure). She just longs to be seen. When she begins an affair with her older employer, she is thrust into an education on sexuality, loss, and power.
Principal cast: Kristine Froseth, Jon Bernthal, Scott Speedman, Lena Dunham, Taylour Paige, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Watcher / U.S.A (Director: Chloe Okuno, Screenwriter: Zack Ford) A young woman moves into a new apartment with her fiancé, only to be tormented by the feeling that she is being stalked by an unseen watcher in an adjacent building.
Principal Cast: Maika Monroe, Karl Glusman, Burn Gorman
We Met in Virtual Reality / United Kingdom (Director: Joe Hunting)
Filmed entirely inside the world of VR, this documentary captures the excitement and surprising intimacy of a burgeoning cultural movement, demonstrating the power of online connection in an isolated world.
SURPRISE FILM – Following on from the last three Surprise Films, Phyllida Lloyd’s Herself, Paul Briganti’s dark comedy Greener Grass and Bart Layton’s crime flick American Animals, Sundance Film Festival: London will again feature an unannounced screening. Details will only be revealed as the opening credits roll. With just one screening, this will be one of the festival’s hottest tickets.
SHORT FILM PROGRAMME
Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour
Goodbye Jerome! (Au revoir Jérôme!) / France (Directors and Screenwriters: Gabrielle Selnet, Adam Sillard, Chloé Farr)
Having just arrived in paradise, Jerome sets out to find his wife Maryline. In the course of his search, he sinks into a surreal and colourful world in which no one seems to be able to help him.
IF I GO WILL THEY MISS ME / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Walter Thompson-Hernández)
Lil’ Ant is obsessed with Pegasus, the Greek mythological character, since first learning about him at school in Watts, California. He begins to notice imaginary airplane people around his home, and yearns to fly with them.
Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction
MAKASSAR IS A CITY FOR FOOTBALL FANS / Indonesia, France (Director and Screenwriter: Khozy Rizal)
In a city where men have to go crazy about football, Akbar has to pretend to love the game in order to prevent rejection from his new college friends.
Jury Prize at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival Asia
Stranger Than Rotterdam with Sara Driver / U.S.A. (Directors: Lewie Kloster, Noah Kloster, Screenwriter: Sara Driver)
In 1982, the completion of Jim Jarmusch’s sophomore film, Stranger Than Paradise, hinged on producer Sara Driver’s willingness and ability to smuggle one of the world’s rarest and most controversial films across the Atlantic Ocean.
A Short Film Special Jury Award: Screenwriting
Training Wheels / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Alison Rich)
A socially inept woman rents one man to prepare for another.
Warsha / France, Lebanon (Director and Screenwriter: Dania Bdeir)
A Syrian migrant working as a crane operator in Beirut volunteers to cover a shift on one of the most dangerous cranes, where he is able to find his freedom.
Sundance 2022 Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction
You Go Girl! / U.S.A. (Director: Shariffa Ali, Screenwriters: Shariffa Ali, Kamilah Long, Courtney Williams)
Audrey, a New York City comedian who can make a joke of any situation, faces a staggering challenge in the beautiful mountains of Oregon. Can this city woman overcome her fears and rise?
UK Short Film Programme
Don’t Forget / United Kingdom (Director/Screenwriter: Mika Watkins)
Don’t Forget (or Wasurenaide in Japanese) is a smart and grounded bilingual horror that tells the story of a half-Japanese woman who begins to see her mother’s early-onset dementia as a monster that haunts them both.
Egungun / United Kingdom (Director/Screenwriter: Olive Nwosu)
In search of healing, a young woman returns home to Nigeria, the country of her birth.
Precious Hair and Beauty / United Kingdom (Director/Screenwriter: John Ogunmuyiwa)
An ode to the mundanity and madness of the high street, told through the window of an African hair salon.
Sandstorm / Mulaqat / United Kingdom (Director/Screenwriter: Seemab Gul)
Zara, a teenage girl, shares a sensual dance video with her virtual boyfriend, who begins to blackmail her into meeting him in person. Will Zara give in to this stranger’s increasing demands or will she set herself free?
Soft Animals / United Kingdom (Director: Renee Zhan)
Two ex-lovers cross paths at a train station.
Some Kind of Intimacy / United Kingdom (Director: Toby Bull)
In the British countryside, director Toby Bull observes the sheep that live on the land where his parents were buried several years ago. Talking to his brother on the phone, they start a conversation about the means of communication between the animal kingdom, that of the living and that of the dead. An original perspective on bereavement, tackled with humour and tenderness.
Sub Eleven Seconds / United Kingdom (Director: Bafic)
A rumination on time, loss, and hope, and a poetic imagining of the quest of Sha’Carri Richardson, a young track and field athlete, to achieve her dream of qualifying for the Olympic Games.