Photograph: Anna Kooris

Sundance Film Festival 2024: all the movies you need to know about

This year's indie big hitters feature Kristen Stewart, Pedro Pascal and this year’s answer to ‘Talk to Me’


From the Man of Steel to the Voice of Soul to the sound of Big Foot, this year’s Sundance – the iconic festival’s 40th iteration – serves up a bumper bounty of wonder. Pedro Pascal, Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg are just a few of the indie stars on the ground this time out.

Sundance is back in full swing this week, with a super-sharp programme that again showcases the brightest new talent alongside returning indie favourites and a pile of off-the-wall delights stretching late into the night.

Among this year’s buzzy titles in the snow are the lesbian love romp Love Lies Bleeding from English director Rose Glass and a much-anticipated big-picture doc about the guy who played Superman. Red-hot genre mash-up Freaky Tales is an exciting indie homecoming from Captain Marvel duo Anna Boden and Ryan Flack.

As before, this year’s Sundance has a hybrid component for North American audiences, although the focus is back on the IRL, with the online viewing kicking off after the opening weekend. Here are the films to look out for at this year’s festival. 

🔥 The best movies of 2023.

Films to look out for at Sundance 2024

1. Freaky Tales

Pedro Pascal and Ben Mendelsohn lead a stellar cast in a genre mash-up from the filmmaking team behind films as varied as Captain Marvel, Mississippi Grind and Half Nelson. Set in Oakland in 1987, four connecting stories follow four different sets of characters, with young punks facing off against Nazi skinheads, a rap duo battling it out for immortality, a henchman looking for redemption, and a basketball star out to settle an old score. Underdogs from the multiracial city on the east side of the San Francisco Bay take on the Man and the injustices of the world. Strap yourselves in.

2. Skywalkers: A Love Story

What to do when your career and relationship are on the rocks? Climb a super-skyscraper, of course! Filmmaker Jeff Zimbalist (The Two Escobars) follows a daredevil Russian couple as they dodge security and dispense with common sense, all in the name of the boldest acrobatic stunt imaginable, some 2,230 feet up in the sky. Positioned as Man on Wire meets Fire of Love, Zimbalist’s film is as much heist movie as documentary – and it’s not for the faint-hearted.


3. Love Lies Bleeding 

Following on from her head-spinning 2019 horror debut Saint Maud, Rose Glass hits Park City with a bang with this hugely anticipated star-spangled thriller. Kristen Stewart leads the pack as Lou, an introvert who falls hard for the charms of outgoing body builder Jackie (The Mandalorian’s Katy O’Brian). Lou’s criminal father (Ed Harris) is never far away, though, and events soon spiral out of control, with devastating consequences for the lovers in this super-stylish thriller.

4. The Outrun

Set amid the rugged splendour of Scotland’s Orkney Islands, Saoirse Ronan stars as Rona, a woman coming to terms with addiction and a troubled family history. Based on Amy Liptrot’s 2016 memoir, System Crasher director Nora Fingscheidt’s film promises to be a thoughtful musing on recovery, mental health and embracing one’s future, with Rona seeking to come to terms with her past and take control of her destiny – all the while embracing Orkney’s beautiful wildlife. The seals she swims with are real.


5. Rob Peace 

Directed by Chiwetel Ejiofor – the Brit’s second filmmaking outing – this timely drama tracks the double life of Rob Peace, a young black scholar at Yale, who’s forced to enter the New Jersey drug trade to raise money for his dad’s double-murder legal defence. As well as directing, Ejiofor also stars as Peace’s father, with singer Mary J Blige as his mother. Based on the best-selling biography by Jeff Hobbs, this immense story shows the dilemma facing many young black men in America: how to follow one’s dreams while staying true to family and roots.

6. Presence 

Thirty-five years after first storming Sundance with the era-defining Sex, Lies, and Videotape (which went on to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes), Steven Soderbergh returns with this horror outing set and shot entirely in one location. Featuring a cast of knowns and unknowns, led by the mighty Lucy Liu, Presence promises to keep us all on the edge of our seats with its suitably creepy premise: a family moves into a suburban house only to discover they are not alone…



New wave wonders Devo finally have their story up on the big screen, with this officially-sanctioned outing directed by Chris Smith (American Movie). Born out of the horrific police shootings at Kent State University in 1970, Devo went from cult underground band to chart sensations with 1980’s mega hit ‘Whip It’, with David Bowie among their most devoted fans. The film promises piles of unseen and classic performances. They’ve even said they’ll play shows to celebrate.

8. A Real Pain

Jesse Eisenberg has been a Sundance staple since Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale back in 2005. This year, he turns director again to follow up his 2022 filmmaking debut When You Finish Saving the World with an intensely personal outing. Eisenberg and Succession’s Kieran Culkin play cousins who travel to Poland on a journey of familial self-discovery and healing, while unpacking the grim personal legacy of World War II. Inspired by his family’s own wartime trauma, Eisenberg’s film takes on an even deeper meaning after recent events in the Middle East.


9. Sasquatch Sunset

Sundance stalwarts David and Nathan Zellner roar back into town with this typically offbeat two-hander starring Jesse Eisenberg and Riley Keough as you’ve never seen them before. Famed for films such as 2018’s Damsel and 2014’s Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter, the Zellner brothers have a uniquely idiosyncratic take on the world where convention is brushed aside in a suitably fabulous fashion. Expect this fresh take on Big Foot to surprise all the way.

10. Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story

Twenty years after his death, the Man of Steel’s family open up their private archive for this intimate look at a remarkable life. A global superstar aged 26, Reeve’s career was cut tragically short in 1995 by a horse-riding accident that left him paralysed from the shoulders down. Turning horror into triumph, Reeve campaigned hard for stem-cell research from his wheelchair, forcing it to the forefront of medicine and media attention. Ian Bonhote and Peter Ettedgui’s film looks at the rich duality of Reeve’s life, both before and after his life-changing accident, with activism embedded in his DNA.


11. The Moogai 

Aussie filmmakers have an impressive track record with serving up scare-the-bejesus-out-of-us horror that stays with us long after the fact. This year’s serving, from filmmaker Jon Bell, promises to be no different. An Aboriginal couple bring home a newborn baby, only to discover an evil spirit attempting to abduct it. Rooted in indigenous lore and co-produced by the makers of The Babadook and Talk to Me (both Sundance breakout hits), The Moogai explores the complex psyche of a mother struggling with post-partum depression together with the wider trauma of the Stolen Generation.

12. My Old Ass

Produced by Margot Robbie and directed by Canadian actor-turned-filmmaker Megan Park, this fresh twist on the coming-of-age meets time-travel genre pitches Maisy Stella and Aubrey Plaza as two versions of the same person. They meet after the younger version goes on a mad mushroom trip. Park’s debut feature, The Fallout, won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at SXSW in 2021, and she’s been named as one of Variety’s Director’s to Watch. Expect My Old Ass to swing.


13. Eno

Famed for his work with Berlin-era Bowie, briefly a part of early Roxy Music, and always relentlessly inventive – he’s recently added Fred Again.. to his long list of collaborators – British music experimentalist Brian Eno hardly seems the type to go for a conventionally authorised film about himself. Cue this so-called ‘generative’ documentary from indie filmmaker and all-round design geek Gary Hustwit (Helvetica, Objectified), which claims to change into something new every time it’s shown. It’s screening, appropriately enough, in the festival’s experimental New Frontier strand.

14. Love Me

Kristen Stewart features again, in this off-the-wall, A.I.-themed outing from Californian filmmaking duo Sam and Andy Zuchero. Stewart and co-star Steven Yaun (Netflix’s Beef, The Walking Dead, Nope, etc) take on human forms of a pair of metallic objects who are madly in love. Sounds kooky, right?  The film spans a billion years and probes the mysteries of life and being. Prepare for the real, the unreal and the surreal, as the film absorbs and mashes up all three.


15. I Saw the TV Glow

In what could be the most barking mad midnight screening of the festival, director Jane Schoenbrun’s (We’re All Going to the World’s Fair) emo horror sees a pair of suburban teens gets sucked into a virtual world of the supernatural after watching a late-night TV show. The lines between reality and the virtual world soon blur beyond recognition in this A24 chiller. Phoebe Bridgers and Fred Durst are among the supporting cast, with Emma Stone producing.

16. Luther: Never Too Much

A global superstar and live concert sensation with millions in record sales, Luther Vandross remains adored by music lovers the world over, 20 long years after his sudden passing. A huge influence on iconic artists including David Bowie, Whitney Houston and Diana Ross (all of whom he worked with), Vandross was the smoothest of soul singers, whose self-penned hits lit up dance floors everywhere. But as Dawn Porter’s (John Lewis: Good Trouble) documentary about the man reveals, a darkness lay behind the success. Forever single, unable to find lasting love, and professionally closeted, the intensely-driven Vandross turned to food, with severe consequences. Hours of unseen archive feature, together with that incredible music.

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