Founded in 1978, Sundance Film Festival has over the decades proved itself to be a bastion of exceptional independent films and a platform for raising the visibility of notable filmmaking. Since 2012, it has been gathering up some of its best work in the relevant year to transport from Utah to London a smaller, but every bit as illustrious, line up. Across the weekend, there is the chance to view panel discussions, live music, Q&As and, of course, a selection of features, shorts and documentaries, among other events.
One of Sundance’s greatest strengths in this miniature festival is the efforts made to ensure a huge variety within the programme. Film highlights include Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank, one inspirationally stunted songwriter/keyboardist experience with a band of musical misfits, Marjane Satrapi’s The Voices, a horror-comedy which sees an unstable Ryan Reynolds drawn into a murderous spree under the influence of the voices in his head, Obvious Child, Gillian Robespierre’s romantic comedy surrounding abortion, and Finding Fela, a documentary charting the rising success and revolutionary action of one of Nigeria’s most loved musicians.
The panels and talks offer a look into the creative process straight from the horse’s mouth, with screenwriters, directors and composers on hand to offer insight into the challenges they face from script to screen (Guts to Glory: How Do You Find Your Story?) and the significant role of art and music in documentary filmmaking (Hybrid Vigour: When Music, Art and Documentary Collide). Aside from this, Sundance London also has on hand free events and workshops to light an inspirational spark, as well as for pure entertainment.
A lot can be said of Sundance’s accomplishment in this one short weekend, offering the most comprehensive of cinematic activity and opportunities and, most of all, bringing together film fans in all capacities.