Sundance Comes Back to Seattle: Here’s How to Watch

A version of this post was originally published on December 14, 2021.


Sundance is coming back to Seattle!

We love Keke. She’s at Sundance this year. Courtesy of Sundance

Strap in movie nerds, Sundance is returning to Seattle again—starting this afternoon!

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In what is now its second digital go-around, Robert Redford’s little film fest is treating indie cinema lovers to premieres of films that’ll set the tone for the next year of movie-going. Usually, people need to jet down to where Real Housewife Meredith Marks lives to see these year-defining movies, but one of the very few positive things to come out of this lethal pandemic is more accessible film festivals, so we’re getting another digital Sundance this year.

From January 20 to 30, Sundance 2022 showcases new U.S. and international features, incisive documentaries, compelling shorts, and special programming (which is very metaverse-y!). It’ll be another strange year of the festival, and The Stranger will have coverage from now until the end of the month. Many of these films are coming to Seattle theaters in the coming weeks, so break out your calendar and start planning.

This year’s film event had initially planned to be a hybrid one with plans for both a virtual and in-person festival in Utah, though Omicron dashed those plans. The show is indeed still going on, with tickets to virtual showings available through the festival website. Most excitingly for Seattle locals: our lovely community arthouse cinema the Northwest Film Forum is again operating as a so-called “Satellite Screen,” which basically just means you’ll get to see a handful of the films from Sundance in Seattle—in a theater! You can still get member passes and individual tickets through the NWFF website. That starts next weekend. We’ll cover many of the movies playing at NWFF on Slog over the next week.

MK, SO HOW DO I WATCH THIS COOL SHIT?

If you get tickets to Sundance’s virtual screenings, you’ll be able to view them through the platform Sundance is bringing back from last year. It’s pretty slick, and there is a very helpful “How To Fest Online” guide that should answer any questions. The lowdown is that you’ll need to make sure to plan out what you want to see. This means going through the process of adding favorites to your schedule, purchasing those tickets to secure your seat, and making sure things don’t overlap.

If you get a ticket to a premiere screening, you’ll have a three-hour window to start watching it. That’s plenty of time to make sure you can still watch if you start a bit late, though we recommend starting as close to the start time as you can if you want to participate in any virtual post-film discussions. For a film’s second screening, which takes place two days after its premiere, you’ll have a much more relaxed window that gives you 24-hours to watch. They are limited in capacity, so make sure you plan it out. Probably try to catch your favorites at their premieres.

When it comes to how you watch them, the tech section outlines how you can use a variety of browsers, with the recommended ones being Safari, Edge, and Opera for high definition. You can watch it via Chrome and Firefox, though those will be in standard definition. Sorry fans of Internet Explorer (whoever you weirdos are), that is not supported. If you’re looking to get fancy, you can also stream from your computer to your TV with Chromecast, AirPlay, or Wi-Fi. If you don’t have that fancy tech, you can always use an HDMI, VGA, or DVI cable. There also is a festival app that you can get on AppleTV, FireTV, Android, Roku, and iOS to watch as well.

With all that out of the way, there is a whole bunch of good stuff that we’re excited to virtually see these first few days.

YES, WHAT SHOULD I WATCH

First off, grab single-film tickets fast. There are a lot available but they get picked up quickly.

One you can see today, Thursday, is Emergency, a dark comedy about a group of Black and Latino college students who are looking to have a night out but face an unexpected crisis when they find a white girl passed out who drunkenly wandered into their home. Fair warning: This type of comedy is stressful, as the situations the characters find themselves in begin to spiral out of control rapidly.

On Friday, there’s the highly-anticipated science-fiction drama After Yang. The second film from writer-director Kogonada, whose debut film Columbus remains outstanding, this new film centers around a family trying to save a robotic member of their family.

On Saturday, there’s another science-fiction film called Dual about a woman who must face down a clone she got to comfort her family members when faced with a terminal illness.

On Sunday, there is the premiere of the mind-melting Something In The Dirt about two unlikely friends who discover a room in their apartment building that seems to have supernatural qualities that could change the course of their lives.

Beyond just a few of those to check out this weekend, there also is a whole bunch of good stuff next weekend at the NWFF you should see as well.

WHAT’S PLAYING AT NORTHWEST FILM FORUM?

We got you.


SIRENS
International Documentary Feature – World Cinema: Documentary Competition, Dir. Rita Baghdadi
Friday, January 28: 6 pm

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Courtesy of Sundance

This documentary focuses on Slave to Sirens, who are “the first and only all-woman thrash metal band in the Middle East,” according to the Sundance release. The film follows the band’s founders—Lilas Mayassi and Shery Bechara—as well as the three other members as they navigate young adulthood against the political unrest of Beirut.


EMERGENCY
U.S., Dir. Carey Williams
Friday, January 28: 8:30 pm

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Courtesy of Sundance

One night, best friends Kunle and Sean endeavor to become the first Black students to complete their college’s epic frat party tour. But when they find a white girl passed out in their home, the boys—along with their Latino roommate, Carlos—have to figure out a way to rectify the situation without getting the police involved.


LA GUERRA CIVIL
International Documentary Feature – Premieres, Dir. Eva Longoria Bastón
Saturday, January 29: 3 pm

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Courtesy of Sundance

Calling all sportsheads!! Actress and producer Eva Longoria Bastón’s directorial debut recounts the epic 1996 boxing match between Mexican-American boxer Oscar De La Hoya hailing from East L.A. and Mexican-born legend Julio Cesár Chávez. Using archival footage as well as talking head interviews with De La Hoya and Chávez, Longoria Baston’s documentary goes deep on the build-up to the match and its cultural significance to Mexicans on either side of the border.


ALICE
U.S. Dramatic Feature – Dramatic Competition, Dir. Krystin Ver Linden
Saturday, Jan 29: 5.30 pm

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Courtesy of Sundance

We’re SUPER excited for Krystin Ver Linden’s debut, Alice. Keke Palmer stars as Alice, a young woman enslaved on a plantation in rural Georgia who runs away following a violent confrontation with plantation owner Paul (Jonny Lee Miller). But she then stumbles onto a highway, learning that the year is 1973—more than 100 years after the official abolition of slavery. Taken in by activist Frank (Common), she learns about the systems that kept her enslaved. Alice is inspired by true events (Sundance describes it as “an audacious mix of grim historical fact and exceptional fiction”), and we’re so curious to see this story unfold.


MARTE UM (MARS ONE)
International Narrative Feature – World Cinema: Dramatic Competition, Dir. Gabriel Martins
Saturday, January 29: 8 pm

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Courtesy of Sundance

Narrative feature film Marte Um follows the Martins, a Black lower-middle-class family living in the suburbs of a Brazilian major city just after far-right extremist Jair Bolsonaro is elected president. Each family member grapples with this new dark political reality as they try to keep their dreams and hopes going in the face of extremism.


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Courtesy of Sundance

Director Alika Tengan’s first feature film follows Naz, a young man who has spent his entire life in O’ahu, Hawai’i fuckin’ around on his skateboard and hosting a nightly radio show. But he is then presented with a chance to move to New York City with his girlfriend, turning his world upside down. As he prepares to shift his entire life, he “wonders whether uprooting his world is the right decision, and if anywhere will ever really feel like home when he’s always been an eternal outsider.” This will screen alongside Brit Hensel’s short film What They’ve Been Taught.


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Courtesy of Sundance

In addition to the eight feature films, the Film Forum will also screen four short film’s from Sundance: Chilly and Milly, Kicking the Clouds, The Hork, and the subconscious art of graffiti removal. Kicking the Clouds‘ director Sky Hopinka will be in attendance at this particular screening.


FREE CHOL SOO LEE
U.S. Documentary Feature – Documentary Competition, Dir. Julie Ha, Eugene Yi
Sunday, January 30: 5:30 pm

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Courtesy of Sundance

Julie Ha and Eugene Yi’s documentary feature explores the story of Chol Soo Lee, a 20-year-old Korean immigrant who was unjustly convicted and sentenced to life in prison for murdering a man in San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1973. After years of imprisonment, journalist K.W. Lee starts to look into Chol Soo Lee’s case and soon galvanizes “a first-of-its-kind pan-Asian American grassroots movement to fight for Chol Soo Lee’s freedom, ultimately inspiring a new generation of social justice activists.” The film also studies the effects of becoming a symbol for a movement has on Lee, who starts to self-destruct once out of prison.


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Courtesy of Sundance

Hallelujah! Just seeing Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown in these tight-ass pantsuits as gaudy leaders of a Southern Baptist megachurch is enough to put this film at the top of our list. In Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul., Hall stars Trinitie, the first lady to Brown’s Pastor Lee-Curtis. In the satirical documentary style, film crews follow Trinitie as she tries to help rebuild their congregation after a scandal involving Lee-Curtis forces the church to close temporarily. Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. is an adaptation of writer-director Adamma Ebo and producer Adanne Ebo’s earlier short film of the same name and “explores both the on-camera desperation in image rebranding and the hard truths that fester behind the scenes.”


Read more about Northwest Film Forum’s partnership with Sundance here. And if you’re interested in a virtual Sundance experience, go here.

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Article Source: https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2021/12/14/63792814/sundance-is-coming-back-to-seattle-here-are-the-films-screening-at-northwest-film-forum