The 2022 edition of the Sundance Film Festival returns to Park City, Utah as a hybrid in-person/virtual presentations event, Jan. 20-30, 2022. TFT is well represented in this year’s program with 14 projects from alumni and faculty, including Call Jane (above), directed by Professor Phyllis Nagy, which has its world premiere on Friday, Jan. 21. Additionally, TFT alumni Garrett Bradley (MFA ’12), Joan Churchill (BA ’68) and Marielle Heller (BA ’01) have been named festival jurors. For a complete program schedule, visit festival.sundance.org.
After receiving a terminal diagnosis, Sarah commissions a clone of herself to ease the loss for her friends and family. When she makes a miraculous recovery, her attempt to have her clone decommissioned fails, and leads to a court-mandated duel to the death.
U.S. DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
FREE CHOL SOO LEE
Aldo Velasco (MFA ’98), editor
After a Korean immigrant is wrongly convicted of a 1973 San Francisco Chinatown gang murder, Asian Americans unite as never before to free Chol Soo Lee. A former street hustler becomes the symbol for a landmark movement. But once out, he self-destructs, threatening the movement’s legacy and the man himself.
Nina Menkes (MFA ’89), director/producer Maria Giese (MFA ’94) co-producer Summer Xinlei Yang (MFA ’12), co-producer
Based on Nina Menkes’s acclaimed talk “Sex & Power: The Visual Language of Cinema,” a mesmerizing journey into how shot design intersects with the twin epidemics of sexual abuse/assault and employment discrimination against women. Containing over 175 film clips, the film will unalterably change the way we view and make movies. Non-fiction.
Phyllis Nagy (professor), director
Chicago, 1968: As a city and the nation are poised on the brink of violent political upheaval, suburban housewife Joy leads an ordinary life with her husband and daughter. When Joy’s pregnancy leads to a life-threatening condition, she must navigate a media establishment unwilling to help. Her journey to find a solution to an impossible situation leads her to the “Janes,” a clandestine organization of women who provide Joy with a safter alternative — and in the process, change her life. Fiction.
EMILY THE CRIMINAL
Adriana Rotaru (MFA ’18), line producer
Emily is saddled with student debt and locked out of the job market due to a minor criminal record. Desperate for income, she takes a shady gig as a “dummy shopper,” buying goods with stolen credit cards supplied by a middleman named Youcef. Faced with a series of dead-end job interviews, Emily soon finds herself seduced not only by the quick cash and illicit thrills of black market capitalism, but also by her ardent mentor Youcef. Fiction.
HONK FOR JESUS. SAVE YOUR SOUL.
Adamma Ebo (MFA ’18), director/screenwriter
As the proud first lady of a Southern Baptist megachurch, Trinitie Childs carries immense responsibility on her shoulders. Her church, Wander To Greater Paths, once served a congregation in the tens of thousands, but after a scandal involving her husband, Pastor Lee-Curtis Childs, forced the church to close temporarily, Trinitie is struggling to manage the aftermath. Now Trinitie and Lee-Curtis must rebuild their congregation and reconcile their faith by all means necessary to make the biggest comeback that commodified religion has ever seen. Fiction.
Silas Howard (MFA ’10), actor
After discovering case files from a 1950s gender clinic, a cast of transgender actors turn a talk show inside out to confront the legacy of a young trans woman forced to choose between honesty and access. Fiction/Non-fiction.
Kevin Messick (BA ’89, MFA ’89), producer
Frustrated by scrolling dating apps only to end up on lame, tedious dates, Noa takes a chance by giving her number to the awkwardly charming Steve after a produce-section meet-cute at the grocery store…only to later find that her new paramour has some unusual appetites. Fiction.
Unable to move on from a breakup, Gabi, a queer Latina freelance editor, impulsively drops into an old job at an underground lap dance party, where she unexpectedly runs into a friend from her past. Fiction.
Garrett Bradley (MFA ’12), director/editor
An investigation into the layers of mass incarceration and its shaping of the modern Black American family, seen through the eyes of a single mother in New Orleans, Louisiana. Non-fiction.
Marc Reshovsky (BA ’80), director of photography
A poignant and liberating look at a 13-year-old as he begins to discover his sexual identity. Non-fiction.
Ham Tran (MFA ’10), screenwriter/director
After a meteor falls to Earth, 8-year-old Hung meets an alien girl from the planet Maika, searching for her lost friend. As Hung helps his otherworldly friend search, the alien inadvertently helps Hung make new friends and heal a broken heart. But danger lurks everywhere… Fiction/Vietnamese.
James Ponsoldt, screenwriter/director
During their last days of summer and childhood — the weekend before middle school begins — four girls struggle with the harsh truths of growing up and embark on a mysterious adventure. Fiction.
NEW FRONTIER PERFORMANCES
Elizabeth Whitney (BA ’80, executive board member), executive producer
An immersive documentary and sensory film experience that explores the elemental phenomenon of sound and its power to bend time, cross borders, and profoundly shape our perception of the world around us. The film will be presented in its “live cinema” form, featuring live music and live narration.
FROM THE SUNDANCE COLLECTION AT UCLA
JUST ANOTHER GIRL ON THE I.R.T. (1992)
Chantal has plans. She’s going places. She’s on track to graduate early, go to college, become a doctor, and get out of the Brooklyn projects where she’s grown up. Life for Chantal swirls with teenage emotions — she is brash, bold, self-possessed, and irrepressibly spirited, traits that inevitably clash with the world around her. Whether it’s her feisty resistance to the whiteness of her educational curriculum or her confrontations with the wealthy white patrons of the upscale gourmet food store where she works, her complexity and energetic sense of purpose are balanced by a hazy self-awareness of adolescence. Screenwriter, director, producer: Leslie Harris; Producer: Erwin Wilson. Fiction.
Source: Sundance Film Festival. Top: Elizabeth Banks stars in Phyllis Nagy’s Call Jane. Photo by Wilson Webb. Bottom: Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown star in Adamma Ebo’s Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.