Sundance Film Festival: London guide

The Sundance Film Festival returns to London in May and June 2018 for a four-day indie spectacular at Picturehouse Central. Here's everything you need to know

Sundance Film Festival London

What is Sundance Film Festival: London?

The Sundance Film Festival: London is an offshoot of Robert Redford's Sundance Film Festival in Utah. It's back for a long weekend in June, featuring UK premieres of some of the hottest movies and docs from the mother festival in January.

This year the whole festival will unspool at the gorgeous Picturehouse Central cinema on Shaftesbury Avenue in the West End.  

When is Sundance Film Festival: London?

The festival plays at Picturehouse Central for four days, from Thursday May 31 to Sunday June 3 2018.  

What’s showing at Sundance Film Festival: London?

See the super-buzzy 2018 line-up below.

How do I get tickets?

General ticket booking is open to the general public and Picturehouse Cinemas’ members now. Head to www.picturehouses.com/sundance for details.

The 2018 Sundance Film Festival: London line-up

Hereditary
Film

Hereditary

Time Out is excited to be presenting this tummy-twistingly scary modern horror classic at Sundance Film Festival: London. Following the death of their ‘difficult’ matriarch, the Graham family seem to have inherited a supernatural curse. But in débutante director Ari Aster’s hands, this premise becomes so much more: a melancholy meditation about family that’s also two hours of escalating dread that never stops jangling your nerves. Toni Collette delivers a tour-de-force performance as a mother on the edge, but it’s Milly Shapiro as her unsettling daughter who will give you nightmares. Absolutely essential.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
3 out of 5 stars
First Reformed
Film

First Reformed

Paul Schrader has made his share of turkeys in recent years but his latest directorial efforts promises a serious return to form. The screenwriter of 'Taxi Driver' and director of 'Cat People' has teamed up with Ethan Hawke for a drama-thriller about a middle-aged priest (Hawke) with a soul in torment. A pregnant parishioner (Amanda Seyfried) brings a new dilemma – and the prospect of redemption or doom. 

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Generation Wealth
Film

Generation Wealth

For over 25 years, photographer and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield’s work has been one long deep dive into the world of excess. ‘Queen of Versailles’ was a barely-believable tale of opulence turned to seed. Her latest, ‘Generation Wealth’, knits together several different stories of hedonism run rampant – including a Russian hedge fund manager, a ’90s rapper and a Playboy Playmate famously involved with Charlie Sheen – that form a coruscating cautionary tale about the dangers of over-emphasising social status. Part personal essay, part disturbing documentary, this is a compelling explainer as to how the likes of Donald Trump and Kim Kardashian rule our cultural landscape.

Users say
3 out of 5 stars
The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Film

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Described by director Desiree Akhavan (who made the brilliant ‘Appropriate Behaviour’) as a ‘queer’ John Hughes film, ‘Cameron Post’ is timely, funny and heartfelt. Caught having sex with the prom queen, teenager Cameron (Chloë Grace Moretz) is sent to ‘pray away the gay’ at a Christian conversion therapy camp. Part ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’, part ‘The Breakfast Club’, Akhavan’s film etches Cameron’s journey with power and compassion, anchored by a never-better Moretz as a reserved girl just trying to figure out who she really is.

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Leave No Trace
Film

Leave No Trace

A father (Ben Foster) and daughter (Thomasin McKenzie) live in the wilderness like a modern-day Swiss Family Robinson until they are reported to the authorities and go on the run. Director Debra Granik’s latest shares much in common with her calling card ‘Winter’s Bone’, which launched the career of Jennifer Lawrence: a feel for nature, an empathy with harsh backwoods lives and a discovery of another great young talent in McKenzie. This low-key, engaging, intelligent treat is the closing night film.

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Half the Picture
Film

Half the Picture

Amy Adrion’s documentary asks a simple but vitally important question: why are there so few female film directors? Arriving at seemingly a tipping point in gender equality in Hollywood, ‘Half the Picture’ gathers together female filmmakers including Lena Dunham, Ava DuVernay, Jill Soloway and Penelope Spheeris to share stories about their lives and careers. It doesn’t dodge issues of harassment and abuse and remains honest, witty and upbeat.

Eighth Grade

Eighth Grade

Comedian Bo Burnham writes and directs a sparky, sweet portrait of a shy kid desperately trying to make friends. Likely breakout star Elsie Fisher plays Kayla, a 13-year-old coping with loneliness by doling out sage advice (which she never follows) on her tiny YouTube channel. She meets mean girls and cute boys, all the while trying to find common ground with her single-parent dad (Josh Hamilton) as high school approaches. It promises to be funny, beautifully observed and moving. In other words, a treat for parents and young teens alike – it just might tear them away from their phones.

An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn

An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn

Jim Hosking’s follow-up to cult breakout sensation ‘The Greasy Strangler’ showcases some of the brightest comedy talent around (Aubrey Plaza, Jemaine Clement, Matt ‘Toast of London’ Berry as Rodney Von Donkensteige) to deliver a genuine one-off. Plaza is disenchanted wife Lulu Danger, who sees the eponymous TV personality (Craig Robinson) as a way out of her deadbeat marriage to café owner Shane (Emile Hirsch). What follows defies description, but imagine a silent slapstick comedy shot like David Lynch... and you’re only halfway there. A weird and wonderful delight.

The Tale

The Tale

The first fiction film from documentarian Jennifer Fox, opening night film ‘The Tale’ is ripped straight from her own life. Laura Dern plays Fox, who rediscovers a short story that she wrote aged 13 describing a sexual relationship with her running coach (Jason Ritter). The film flits between past and present as Fox (the character) tries to determine just what happened, with Fox (the director) examining the unreliable nature of memory and the way childhood shapes our adult selves. Bold, unflinching filmmaking, ‘The Tale’ could well be the talk of the festival. And you can catch Fox talking about it in a Sundance London panel discussion on Sunday June 3.

Skate Kitchen

Skate Kitchen

If the Oscars recognised the category ‘Best Film Adapted from an Instagram Feed’, ‘Skate Kitchen’ would be a red-hot favourite. Director Crystal Moselle (‘The Wolfpack’) makes her narrative debut with this film about an all-girl New York skateboarding crew she discovered on social media. Outsider Camille (Rachelle Vinberg) finds a new sense of self joining the gang, all the while lying to her mother about her extra-curricular activities. The mix of high-octane skateboarding and female bonding should have you fantasising about landing heel-flips all the way down Shaftesbury Avenue.

Yardie

Yardie

Hackney’s finest, Idris Elba, makes his directorial debut with this crime drama based on Victor Headley’s 1992 novel. In Jamaica, 1973, a young boy, D (Aml Ameen), watches his older brother shot dead in gang warfare. Ten years on, D is sent to London on a drug-running mission. When he tries to sell his wares on his own, he falls foul of a local crime lord (Stephen Graham). A film that promises plenty of atmosphere and great music, ‘Yardie’ should be a vital depiction of an important, often-ignored era of black British history.

Never Goin’ Back

Never Goin’ Back

This flick is a wild, energetic girl-powered romp. High school drop-out BFFs Jessie (Cami Morrone) and Angela (Maia Mitchell) only want to eat doughnuts by the beach. So, after they get robbed, lose their waitressing jobs and face eviction, the pair embark on a series of madcap schemes to finance their dream vacation. Writer/director Augustine Frizzell makes sure the pace and laughs don’t flag while never judging her protagonists (an all-female crew which also eschews the male gaze). It’s cool, raunchy and funny, with a banging soundtrack. If you’re looking for a film debut with riotous energy and a hardy-partying spirit, this one is for you.

Special events at 2018 Sundance Film Festival: London

The Big Culture Shift

Want to find out how the film industry is changing and reacting to the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements? Representatives from Film London, BBC Films and Sundance will be joined by director Amy Adrion, whose film ‘Half the Picture’ explores the hiring of Hollywood directors and features talent including Ava DuVernay (‘Selma’), Lena Dunham (‘Girls’), Jill Soloway (‘Transparent’) and Rosanna Arquette. This event sees some of UK film’s key players take the stage to discuss how we create a culture shift that is more inclusive and representative. Fri, Jun 1

Triple Threat

See three major filmmakers in conversation, including Jennifer Fox (‘The Tale’), Debra Granik (‘Winter’s Bone’, ‘Leave No Trace’) and 2018 Sundance Grand Jury prizewinner Desiree Akhavan (‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’, ‘Appropriate Behaviour’). They’ll be discussing their careers and approach to their craft. Sat, Jun 2

Art of the Real: the Intersection between Documentary and Fiction

How does making a documentary differ from feature filmmaking? How do you manoeuvre from one genre to the other as a director? And what even is a ‘docudrama’? Joining ‘The Tale’ director Jennifer Fox to discuss these questions are Lauren Greenfield (‘Generation Wealth’, ‘The Queen of Versailles’) and Crystal Moselle, whose feature debut, ‘Skate Kitchen’, is her follow-up to acclaimed doc ‘The Wolfpack’. It’s an enthralling panel hosted by Doc Society. Sun, Jun 3

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