12 Films Already Getting Buzz at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival

January 17, 2019 by Nick Nadel

Late night talk shows, controversial political figures and an infamous serial killer are just some of the topics being explored in the bevy of buzzworthy films getting ready to make waves at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. In addition to the premieres of several red hot narrative and documentary films, this year’s festival (which kicks off January 24th and runs through February 3rd) will also feature a special screening of The Blair Witch Project in honor of its debut at Sundance 20 years ago. Read on for a peek at some films that are already picking up steam on the road to Sundance 2019.

Filmmaker Ursula Macfarlane (One Deadly Weekend in America) charts the rise and fall of Miramax chief Harvey Weinstein following multiple accusations of sexual harassment and assault. The film includes accounts from several accusers as well former colleagues of the disgraced Hollywood mogul.

Troop Zero
Viola Davis and Allison Janney star in this dramedy, set in rural 1977 Georgia, about a young girl (Mckenna Grace) who organizes a ragtag group of Birdie Scouts in the hopes of getting her voice on the NASA Golden Record time capsule.

The Brink
Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon is the subject of director Alison Klayman’s documentary, which follows the ex-Breitbart News head as he tries to promote his controversial brand of politics. Magnolia has acquired the doc ahead of the festival and plans to release it in theaters this spring.

The Farewell
Rapper/actress Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians) continues her cinematic hot streak with this drama about a young Chinese-American woman who travels to China to see her ailing grandmother, who is being kept in the dark about her terminal condition.

Leaving Neverland 
This four-hour documentary offers a probing look into the sexual assault allegations against the late pop legend Michael Jackson through interviews with two of the survivors.

Native Son 
Acclaimed playwright Suzan Lori-Parks adapts Richard Wright’s novel about a young man (Moonlight‘s Ashton Sanders) coming of age in Chicago’s South Side during the 1930s. KiKi Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk), Sanaa Lathan and Margaret Qualley are among the cast.

Knock Down the House
This documentary follows four working-class women (including newly elected Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) as they run for Congress in the 2018 election.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Zac Efron stars as Ted Bundy in documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger’s (Paradise Lost; Sundance’s Cold Blooded) take on the famed serial killer, as told from the perspective of his longtime girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer (Lily Collins). Haley Joel Osment, Jim Parsons and Metallica’s James Hetfield also turn up in this true crime tale.

Late Night
Diversity in television is the subject of director Nisha Ganatra’s topical comedy about a long-running talk show host (Emma Thompson) who hires her first female staff writer. Mindy Kaling, who also penned the screenplay, stars as the writer who shakes up the late-night host’s life.

After the Wedding
Julianne Moore teams with her husband and frequent collaborator, writer/director Bart Freundlich, for this remake of the 2006 Danish drama about a woman (Michelle Williams) who seeks money for an orphanage in India at the wedding of a wealthy benefactor (Moore).

Honey Boy
Shia LaBeouf wrote this autobiographical drama about a child actor (Noah Jupe) dealing with his alcoholic father (played by LaBeouf.) Lucas Hedges (Boy Erased) plays the adult actor struggling to come to terms with his troubled childhood.

Velvet Buzzsaw 
Writer/director Dan Gilroy reteams with his Nightcrawler star Jake Gyllenhaal for an art world satire with a side of supernatural horror. The eclectic cast includes John Malkovich, Toni Collette, Rene Russo and Daveed Diggs. Following its premiere at Sundance, the creepy thriller will hit Netflix on February 1st.

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