Every January, Hollywood trades in stilettos for snow boots, and green juice for hot cocoa, and heads to Park City, Utah. Every festival has its own cachet. Cannes is glitzy and glamorous (and a little sexist), Venice is the matriarch (and even more sexist), Telluride is cozy, and TIFF is jovial, eh. But the Sundance Film Festival, founded in 1978, is the cool sibling who definitely knew about that band before they got big.
It’s become the largest independent film festival in the United States, with a reputation for showcasing the kind of auteur-driven projects that become next year’s awards contenders. Hannah and Her Sisters, Moonstruck, Cinema Paradiso, Boys Don’t Cry, Hustle and Flow, Little Miss Sunshine, Precious, Call Me By Your Name — all Oscar-winners that premiered at Sundance. In other words, you likely owe your current love affair with Timothée Chalamet and his curls to that snowy week in 2017.
In recent years, the festival has made a commitment to diversifying its lineup. 2019 boasts more women directors and directors of color than ever before — and what’s more, they’re getting buzz. This year, four of the most talked-about movies to come out of the festival center around Asian-American women. As Mindy Kaling, who wrote, produces and stars in this year’s Sundance darling, Late Night, tweeted this week: “Asian female excellence all around us y’all. At @sundancefest and coming to the rest of us soon!”
From a documentary about Dr. Ruth Westheimer to a coming-of-age tale inspired by Shia LaBeouf’s childhood, click through for the movies you’ll want to remember as we start a whole new year in film.