London’s primo indie film festival, Sundance London, continues to go from strength to strength (barring the odd unexpected contagion) as it delivers hand-picked batches of new movies to Picturehouse Central for a weekend every June. And this year’s 12-strong film line-up, running June 9-12, is no exception.
The festival opener brings west London acting deity Emma Thompson across town to introduce her frank, funny sex dramedy ‘Good Luck to You, Leo Grande’. It’s directed by Sophie Hyde, who brought her raucous girlboss caper ‘Animals’ to the fest in 2019, and sees Thompson playing a woman navigating her sexuality with the help of a male escort (Daryl McCormack).
As its Sundance film, Time Out is proud to be introducing ‘Brian and Charles’, Jim Archer’s deeply loveable comedy about a lonely man and the cabbage-munching robot he built in his shed.
Another immediate eye-catcher on the programme is ‘Sharp Stick’, Lena Dunham’s first big-screen directorial effort since 2010’s ‘Tiny Furniture’. And in a line-up full of female-led filmmaking, Sara Dosa’s ‘Fire of Love’, a jawdropping doc that follows two volcanologists, stands out too.
Rebecca Hall’s latest film as an actor, ‘Resurrection’, a spiky psychological thriller about a young mum and her teenage daughter, is another highlight of a programme that digs deep into love and relationships – and all the strife that can come with them. ‘Brian and Charles’, meanwhile, brings quirky charm to the tale of a lonely inventor who builds an AI out of an old washing machine.
The line-up in full:
‘Sharp Stick’ (dir. Lena Dunham)
‘Resurrection’ (dir. Andrew Semans)
‘Watcher’ (dir. Chloe Okuno)
‘The Princess’ (dir. Ed Perkins)
‘Brian and Charles’ (Jim Archer)
‘Good Luck to You, Leo Grande’ (dir. Sophie Hyde)
‘Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul’ (dir. Adamma Ebo)
‘A Love Song’ (dir. Max Walker-Silverman)
‘Fire of Love’ (dir. Sara Dosa)
‘We Met in Virtual Reality’ (dir. Joe Hunting)
‘Free Chol Soo Lee’ (dirs. Julie Ha and Eugene Yi)
‘Hatching’ (dir. Hanna Bergholm)
As is Sundance tradition, there’s also a surprise film that won’t be revealed until the festival itself, as well as a full programme of shorts.
And if you’re keen to learn more about the inner workings of the film business, look out for the roundtables, talks, masterclasses and panel discussions, as well as some networking drinks. Who knows? It might be a chance to pitch a screenplay idea or two.
‘Alongside some truly original voices and perspectives on the screen, we’re looking forward to joining filmmakers and an array of industry players for some illuminating conversations about the present and future possibilities of independent cinema,’ says Sundance festival director Tabitha Jackson. ‘And there’ll be fun of course. And cocktails.’
Sundance London runs from June 9-12 and festival-long passes are already on sale. If you’re a Picturehouse member or a festival pass holder, you can book for individual films now. If not, pick up tickets from the official site from 9am on May 3.