Diversity Wins at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival
Tickets and passes to the totally reimagined 2021 Sundance Film Festival are officially on sale! This year’s event will take on an entirely new format given the current COVID-19 pandemic. Sundance, hosted from January 28 through February 3, will offer an online platform featuring seven days of premieres, events, artist talks, and cutting-edge XR exhibitions. They will also partner with independent cinema communities across the U.S. and beyond to safely host in-person events. As with previous years, adventurous audiences and indie film lovers everywhere can come together at Sundance to be the first to discover and celebrate the bold, creative visions and exciting new talent. What’s different about this year, you ask? The lineup is much, much more diverse than in previous years.
Diversity at Sundance Film FestivalICYMI: In February of 2020, the Sundance Institute announced Tabitha Jackson as the new Director of the Sundance Film Festival. Jackson is an award-winning filmmaker, also served as Director of the Institute’s Documentary Film Program for six years. Under Jackson’s leadership, this year’s 2021 festival features 70 of the 140 films and projects — including features, shorts and New Frontier category of art projects — that were directed by one or more women, and 71 were directed by a person of color. Of the 72 feature films in the festival, 47% were directed by women, 3% by non-binary directors, 43% by BIPOC and 8% by one or more LGBTQ+ filmmakers. Included in this year’s slate of content by people of color:
- On the Count of Three by comedian Jerrod Carmichael
- Just a Girl Who Decided To Go For It a film about Rita Moreno directed by Mariem Pérez Riera
- Summer of Soul (…Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) directed by Questlove of The Roots
Women-Helmed Projects at SundanceFor 2021, 53% of the films in the Sundance Festival lineup were directed by women, and 26% of the films were directed by a woman of color. Here are a few you might want to consider: SECRET GARDEN Lead artist: Stephanie Dinkins; key collaborators: Ethan Edwards, John Fitzgerald, Matthew Niederhauser, Danielle McPhatter, Sidney San Martín, Kate Stevenson, Adaora Udoji, Chris White; USA An immersive web experience and installation, illuminating the power and resilience in Black women’s stories. Interactive audio vignettes generate a multi-generational narrative that collapses past, present, and future. Cast: Dayne Board, Erlene Curry, Tianna Mendez, Melissa Moore, Brandi Porter, Lisa Sainville. CODA Director and screenwriter: Siân Heder; producers: Philippe Rousselet, Fabrice Gianfermi, Patrick Wachsberger As a CODA—child of deaf adults—Ruby is the only hearing person in her deaf family. When the family’s fishing business is threatened, Ruby finds herself torn between pursuing her love of music and her fear of abandoning her parents. Cast: Emilia Jones, Eugenio Derbez, Troy Kotsur, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Daniel Durant, Marlee Matlin. WHITE WEDDING Director and screenwriter: Melody C. Roscher; USA Amidst a racially tense Southern wedding, a biracial bride has the chance to confront her estranged Black father after accidentally hiring his wedding band to perform. World Premiere. MY NAME IS PAULI MURRAY Directors: Betsy West, Julie Cohen; producer: Talleah Bridges McMahon; USA Overlooked by history, Pauli Murray was a legal trailblazer whose ideas influenced RBG’s fight for gender equality and Thurgood Marshall’s landmark civil rights arguments. Featuring never-before-seen footage and audio recordings, a portrait of Murray’s impact as a nonbinary Black luminary: lawyer, activist, poet, and priest who transformed our world. BLACK BODIES Director and screenwriter: Kelly Fyffe-Marshall; Canada A Black man laments as he comes face-to-face with the realities of being Black in the 21st century.
Sundance Satellite Screenings in AtlantaWherever possible, Sundance is bringing the Festival to the real world with the help of local partners and very strict health and safety guidelines. The Atlanta Film Society and The Plaza Theatre are hosting an amazing lineup in Film Connx’s HQ of Atlanta. At the Atlanta satellite location, ATLiens can watch the following highly-anticipated films:
- The Blazing World
- My Name is Pauli Murray
- Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It
- Try Harder!
- All Light, Everywhere
- Coming Home in the Dark