Okay, so the white dome of the O2 in Greenwich isn’t quite up there with the snowy mountains above Utah’s Park City, home of the Sundance Film Festival. But this weekend we get a taste of America’s favourite celebration of indie cinema as Sundance London hits town.
It’s the second year that Robert Redford’s Sundance has dropped in on London, and from Thursday April 25 until Sunday April 28, new dramas and documentaries will screen in the O2’s cinemas alongside gigs and talks. Most of the films are American, but there’s a sprinkling of British gems too. And there’s still time to put on your virtual snowboots and get involved. Here’s how…
Sundance London is about emerging filmmakers and challenging stories. So the films aren’t dripping with celebrities or directed by stars. But take pot luck with the programme and you’re almost certain to pick a winner. Try a music doc like ‘Muscle Shoals’ or ‘History of the Eagles Part One’. Or take a chance on a drama like ‘Emanuel and the Truth about Fishes’, a tale of a young woman dealing with the death of her mother. You’ll find details of all the films showing on our Sundance London hub.
British filmmaker Michael Winterbottom’s new film ‘The Look of Love’ opens on Friday. But you can see this story of Soho legend Paul Raymond, played in the film by Steve Coogan, a day early at Sundance London. Time Out Film editor Dave Calhoun will be on stage for a post-film chat with Winterbottom and the cast.
Sundance London is as much about music as cinema. Several of the docs feature musicians, including ‘Peaches Does Herself’, a self-portrait by the electro-pop star. Peaches also plays a gig on Friday April 26. On Sunday April 28, British Sea Power will perform a live score to Penny Woolcock’s ‘From the Sea to the Land Beyond’, a film about the British coastline crafted from archive. There are smaller gigs all weekend at the Festival Hub – the event’s social centre (you’ll need a pass to get in).
What makes film festivals special, apart from the movies themselves, are the guests. And every single filmmaker showing a movie will be at the O2 this weekend to talk about their work. That gives everyone the chance to ask questions and debate. You can also boo if you like – but that might not be showing the best of British manners.
If you’ve got the time and money, buy the pass. This gives you access to all 14 films showing on the Superscreen at the Cineworld at the O2, the largest screen in Europe. You’ll have to shell out a hefty £280, but that includes access to the Festival Hub, where there will be talks and gigs. You’ll also get to feel a bit special by having a big old shiny pass hanging round your neck. Most of all, have fun!
To find out more about Sundance London, take a look at our FAQs page.