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Sundance 2020

FIRST LOOK MEDIA

(TOPIC STUDIOS / FIELD OF VISION / TOPIC STREAMING)

2020 SUNDANCE SLATE

First Look Media has an impressive 11 projects bound for the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

Topic Studios has seven projects at Sundance, including the Un Certain Regard, Heart Prize-winning comedy The Climb, the debut feature from Michael Angelo Covino, written by Covino and Kyle Marvin and set for release on March 20th by Sony Pictures Classics; the St. Vincent/Carrie Brownstein comedy The Nowhere Inn; Euros Lyn’s Dream Horse starring Toni Colette and Damian Lewis acquired in partnership with Bleecker Street; Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s docu-series Love Fraud launching May 8 on Showtime; the Cristina Constantini/Kareem Tabsch directed documentary about the late, famed Puerto Rican astrologer Walter Mercado entitled Mucho Mucho Amor, recently acquired by Netflix; the ACLU documentary The Fight, directed by Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman and Eli Despres (with Field of Vision); and Ramona S. Diaz's documentary A Thousand Cuts (Cinediaz/Concordia Studios) which follows key players from two sides of an increasingly dangerous war between press and government in the Philippines.

Field of Vision has supported four Sundance-bound projects, including shorts Do No Split directed by Anders Hammer and Church and the Fourth State directed by Brian Knappenberger, and two features, Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen directed by Sam Feder and The Fight directed by Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegma & Eli Despres (with Topic Studios).

Topic's streaming service has the short Broken Orchestra from director Charlie Tyrell at Sundance, currently streaming on Topic.com.

Please see the full slate with more information and screening times below.

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DREAM HORSE

Directed by Euros Lyn

Starring Toni Collette, Damian Lewis

(Premieres)

SUNDANCE SCREENINGS:

Public Screening 1: Friday, January 24th | 8:00PM | Rose Wagner Center | Salt Lake City

P&I Screening: Saturday, January 25th | 9:00PM | Holiday 2 | Park City

Public Screening 2: Saturday, January 25th | 12:00PM | The Ray Theatre | Park City

Public Screening 3: Thursday, January 30th | Temple Theatre | Park City

Public Screening 4: Friday, January 31st | Rose Wagner Center | Salt Lake City

Public Screening 5: Saturday, February 1st | Temple Theatre | Park City 

In a sleepy working-class community, Jan Vokes (Toni Collette) struggles to find meaning in her life while waiting tables at the local pub. One night, a chance encounter with an arrogant customer, Howard Davies (Damian Lewis), a former racehorse syndicate leader, inspires her to take on a new challenge. Despite her parents’ skepticism, Jan recruits neighbors and barflies alike into a crazy scheme to contribute to a community fund and breed a racehorse. After a rocky start, Dream Alliance—the horse and the syndicate—is born. After the horse wins one race after another, the syndicate’s success enriches the lives of all its members, giving them a sense of purpose they had never imagined before.

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THE CLIMB

Directed by Michael Angelo Covino

Starring Kyle Marvin, Michael Angelo Covino, Gayle Rankin, Talia Balsam, George Wendt, Judith Godreche 

(Spotlight)

SUNDANCE SCREENINGS:

Public Screening 1: Friday, January 24th | 12:00PM | Sundance Mountain Resort Screening Room | Sundance Resort

P&I Screening: Friday, January 24th | 4:00PM | Holiday 4 | Park City

Public Screening 2: Saturday, January 25th | 3:00PM | Rose Wagner Center | Salt Lake City

Public Screening 3: Sunday, January 26th | 6:30PM | The Ray Theatre | Park City 

Public Screening 4: Saturday, February 1st | 6:00PM | Library Center Theatre | Park City

Kyle is getting married. In France. To a French girl. He and his best friend (and best man), Mike, embark on a bike ride, traversing a twisting road in the South of France. Physically unable to keep the ascending pace, Kyle is a sweaty mess. More experienced cyclist Mike encourages his pal until, out of nowhere, he reveals that he slept with Kyle’s fiancée.

Shot in one long take, the confession and resulting exchange are akin to the ups and downs of the mountainous road—invigorating and painful at the same time. Throughout The Climb, their damaged bond is chronicled in course-altering segments as they navigate the ins and outs of a codependent male relationship. Based on the short film of the same name (2018 Sundance Film Festival), director Michael Angelo Covino and co-writer Kyle Marvin utilize ingeniously self-aware dialogue to detail the chaos of fractured friendships and family life.

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THE NOWHERE INN

Directed by Bill Benz

Starring Annie Clark, Carrie Brownstein

(Midnight)

SUNDANCE SCREENINGS:

Public Screening 1: Saturday, January 25th | 11:59PM | Library Center Theatre | Park City

P&I Screening: | Sunday, January 26th | 3:30PM | Holiday 3 | Park City

Public Screening 2: Sunday, January 26th | 10:00PM | Redstone Cinema 2 | Park City 

Public Screening 3: Thursday, January 30th | 3:45PM | Broadway Centre Cinema 3 | Salt Lake City

Public Screening 4: Friday, January 31st | 11:30AM | Prospector Square Theatre | Park City

Public Screening 5: Saturday, February 1st | 11:45PM | Egyptian Theatre | Park City

Annie Clark’s musical persona, St. Vincent, is a shapeshifting anomaly of sounds, styles, and acclaimed artistic ingenuity. But what about Clark offstage? “We snack on radishes,” says a bandmate. “Anything that tastes like dirt. We go to farmers’ markets.”

This comical disconnect between the fantastical Vincent and the quotidian Clark sparks the central tension of The Nowhere Inn, a playful, fictitious skewering of celebrity and the creative process that pits Clark’s best friend, filmmaker Carrie Brownstein (Portlandia), against an increasingly self-conscious Clark. She’s been told repeatedly that the music documentary Brownstein is making about her portrays nothing but boring ab workouts, Scrabble games, and sad scenes where she accommodates needy fans and critics.

In an attempt to spice up the story, Clark incorporates her alluring St. Vincent persona into the doc, turning Brownstein’s initial search for the “authentic Annie” into an absurdist rabbit hole of false narratives, constructed dressing-room meltdowns, and bizarre relationship drama. The result is a funny metacritique of fame that relishes the power of reinvention while calling out our incessant demand for entertainment over authenticity.

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MUCHO MUCHO AMOR 

Directed by Cristina Constantini/Kareem Tabsch

Subject: Walter Mercado

(U.S. Documentary Competition)

SUNDANCE SCREENINGS:

Public Screening 1: Friday, January 24th | 11:30AM | Prospector Square Theatre | Park City

P&I Screening: Friday, January 24th | 7:00PM | Holiday 4| Park City

Public Screening 2: Saturday, January 25th | 3:30PM | Redstone Cinema 1 | Park City

Public Screening 3: Sunday, January 26th | 6:30PM | Rose Wagner Center | Salt Lake City

Public Screening 4: Tuesday, January 28th | 12:00PM | Sundance Mountain Resort Screening Room | Sundance Resort

Public Screening 5: Thursday, January 30th | 11:30AM | Egyptian Theatre | Park City

Public Screening 6: Friday, January 31st | 12:30PM | The Ray Theatre | Park City

Extravagant Puerto Rican astrologer, psychic, and gender nonconforming legend Walter Mercado charmed the world for over 30 years with his televised horoscopes. Equal parts Oprah, Liberace, and Mr. Rogers, Walter was a celebrated daily part of Latin culture—until one day in 2007 he mysteriously disappeared. Over a decade later, the filmmakers find Walter and invite us into his home and interior world as he prepares to restore his legacy in the public eye.

The film explores Walter’s complex story from the rural sugarcane fields of Puerto Rico to international astrology superstardom, rising above homophobia and the heteronormative beliefs of Latin society with a message of love and hope. From Latinx co-directors Kareem Tabsch and Cristina Costantini (Science Fair, Festival Favorite Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival), Mucho Mucho Amor is a love letter to Walter Mercado. The filmmakers, who grew up watching him with their abuelitos, craft a film with levity and a playful spirit. Light-years ahead of his time, Walter has become a nostalgic cult icon of self-expression and positivity for the gender-fluid youth of today. 

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LOVE FRAUD

Directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady

(Special Events)

SUNDANCE SCREENINGS:

Public Screening 1: Thursday, January 23rd | 8:15PM | The MARC Theatre | Park City

Public Screening 2: Friday, January 24th | 5:00PM | Tower Theatre | Salt Lake City

Public Screening 3: Wednesday, January 29th | 8:30PM | The Ray Theatre | Park City

For the last twenty years, Richard Scott Smith’s wooing of women has followed a consistent path: romance, commitment, identity theft, fraud. Preying on unsuspecting women who yearned for connection and passion, Smith would lure them in with charm and promises before ultimately robbing them of both their money and their dignity—and then vanishing. As the women left in his wake find out about each other and discover strength in their growing numbers, they seek to bring the justice he continues to evade—aided by a chain-smoking, no-nonsense bounty hunter named Carla.

Crafting a story of redemption that tracks embattled victims as they become their own heroes, co-directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady present each woman’s pain as unique even though their stories may be similar. They deftly navigate intimate moments of recollection, the rage of powerlessness, and the singular focus of action. Hell has no fury like a woman scorned, and these women are ready to burn.

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A THOUSAND CUTS  Directed by Ramona S. Diaz  (U.S. Documentary Competition)

SUNDANCE SCREENINGS:

Public Screening 1: Saturday, January 25th | 5:30PM | Egyptian Theatre | Park City

P&I Screening: Sunday, January 26th | 12:30PM | Holiday 3 | Park City

Public Screening 2: Sunday, January 26th | 6:00PM | Tower Theatre | Salt Lake City

Public Screening 3: Monday, January 27th | 7:00PM | Redstone Cinema 2 | Park City

Public Screening 4: Thursday, January 30th | 3:00PM | Temple Theatre | Park City

Public Screening 5: Friday, January 31st | 8:45PM | Park Avenue Theatre | Park City

In 2016, outsider candidate Rodrigo Duterte upset the political establishment in the Philippines by winning the presidency and promising vengeance and violence. Within hours of taking office, bodies piled up in the streets. Rappler, the country’s top online news site, investigated the murders and revealed a government-sanctioned drug war targeting poor addicts instead of lucrative dealers. In an attempt to suppress independent reporting, Duterte unleashed a powerful disinformation campaign that spread like wildfire throughout social media.

Filmmaker Ramona S. Diaz follows key players from two sides of an increasingly dangerous war between press and government. Representing the journalists is fearless Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, who, despite arrests and harassment, continues to publish articles holding a lawless regime accountable. On the other side, influencers such as pop-star-turned-government-secretary Mocha Uson start incendiary social media movements and General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa spearheads a public execution campaign against addicts. As each side digs in, we become witness to an epic and ongoing fight for the integrity of human life and truth itself—a conflict that extends beyond the Philippines into our own divisive backyard.

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THE FIGHT

Directed by Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman, Eli Despres

(U.S. Documentary Competition)

SUNDANCE SCREENINGS:

Public Screening 1: Friday, January 24th | 11:30AM | The MARC Theatre | Park City

Public Screening 2: Saturday, January 25th | 12:00PM | Redstone Cinema 7 | Park City

P&I Screening: Saturday, January 25th | 12:30PM | Holiday 3 | Park City

Public Screening 3: Saturday, January 25th | 9:30PM | Rose Wagner Center | Salt Lake City

Public Screening 4: Wednesday, January 29th | 2:30PM | The MARC Theatre | Park City

Public Screening 5: Friday, January 31st | 12:00PM | Sundance Mountain Resort Screening Room | Sundance Resort

Public Screening 6: Saturday, February 1st | 2:30PM | Prospector Square Theatre | Park City

Seven days after President Trump’s inauguration, the country’s airports and courthouses were clogged with protesters fighting to protect immigrants facing deportation due to the administration’s “Muslim ban” policy. It was to be the opening salvo of a relentless attack on civil liberties—and a tsunami of lawsuits waged against the Trump administration.

What must it be like to be an ACLU lawyer in this day and age?

The Fight is an inspiring, emotional insider look at how these important battles are fought and the legal gladiators on the front lines fighting them. Directors Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman, and Eli Despres capture the rollercoaster ride of the thrill and defeat in these deeply human battles. When a mother is separated from her child, a soldier is threatened to lose his career, a young woman’s right to choose is imperiled at the pleasure of a government official, and the ability to exercise our basic right to vote is threatened, the consequences can be devastating to us and to future generations. The Fight celebrates the unsung heroes who fiercely work to protect our freedoms.

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DO NOT SPLIT

Directed by Anders Hammer

(Documentary Shorts Section)

SUNDANCE SCREENINGS:

Public Screening 1: Friday, January 24th | 11:30AM | Egyptian Theatre | Park City

Public Screening 2: Saturday, January 25th | 10:00PM | Redstone Cinema 2 | Park City

Public Screening 3: Sunday, January 26th | 12:45PM | Broadway Centre Cinema 3 | Salt Lake City

Public Screening 4: Thursday, January 30th | 9:00PM | Park Avenue Theatre | Park City

The story of the 2019 Hong Kong protests, told through a series of demonstrations by local protestors that escalate into conflict when highly armed police appear on the scene.

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CHURCH AND THE FOURTH ESTATE

Directed by Brian Knappenberger

(Documentary Shorts Section)

SUNDANCE SCREENINGS:

Public Screening 1: Sunday, January 26th | 12:00PM | Temple Theatre | Park City

Public Screening 2: Monday, January 27th | 9:30PM | Redstone Cinema 1 | Park City

Public Screening 3: Thursday, January 30th | 12:00PM | Park Avenue Theatre | Park City

Public Screening 4: Saturday, February 1st | 9:00PM | Tower Theatre | Salt Lake City

A reporter uncovers a file that reveals a shocking series of child-abuse allegations in Idaho's Boy Scouts, which rattle the community and implicate the Mormon church. The story reveals long-running crimes that threaten to bankrupt the Boy Scouts.

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DISCLOSURE: TRANS LIVES ON SCREEN

Directed by Sam Feder

Starring Laverne Cox, Mj Rodriguez, Lilly Wachowski, Yance Ford, Chaz Bono, Jamie Clayton

(Documentary Premieres)

SUNDANCE SCREENINGS:

P&I Screening: Sunday, January 26th | 8:30PM | Holiday 1 | Park City

Public Screening 1: Monday, January 27th | 11:00AM | The MARC Theatre | Park City

Public Screening 2: Tuesday, January 28th | 12:00PM | Redstone Cinema 7 | Park City

Public Screening 3: Wednesday, January 29th | 3:45PM | Broadway Centre Cinema 3 | Salt Lake City

Public Screening 4: Saturday, February 1st | 11:45PM | Park Avenue Theatre | Park City

This unprecedented documentary offers an eye-opening look at transgender depictions in film and television, revealing how Hollywood simultaneously reflects and manufactures our deepest anxieties about gender. Leading trans thinkers and creatives, including Laverne Cox, Lilly Wachowski, Yance Ford, Mj Rodriguez, Jamie Clayton, and Chaz Bono, share their personal reactions and resistance to gender stereotypes in some of Hollywood’s most beloved moments. Grappling with films like A Florida Enchantment, Dog Day Afternoon, and Boys Don’t Cry, and with shows like All in the Family, The L Word, and Pose, Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen traces a history that is dehumanizing yet also evolving, complex, and at times humorous. Examining this collective narrative provides a striking view of how our perceptions of trans characters have been shaped through the decades.

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BROKEN ORCHESTRA

Directed by Charlie Tyrell

(Shorts Programs)

The Symphony for a Broken Orchestra project collected hundreds of broken instruments from the Philadelphia public school system, fixed them, and then returned them to the hands of students.

SUNDANCE SCREENINGS:

Public Screening 1: Friday, January 24th | 11:30AM | Egyptian Theatre | Park CityPublic Screening 2: Saturday, January 25th | 10:00PM | Redstone Cinema 2 | Park CityPublic Screening 3: Sunday, January 26th | 12:45PM | Broadway Centre Cinema 3 | Salt Lake CityPublic Screening 4: Thursday, January 30th | 9:00PM | Park Avenue Theatre | Park City When the Philadelphia public-school system began losing almost all the funding for its music-education programs in 2007, thousands of instruments in need of repair were forced into retirement, and community members moved to action. In this triumphant new documentary by Charlie Tyrell, we are introduced to a few of the innovators, educators, volunteers, advocates, and musicians behind Symphony for a Broken Orchestra, a music and art project begun in 2017 that raised awareness for the issue, helping to get those broken instruments back into Philadelphia students’ hands. Symphony for a Broken Orchestra was originally created and commissioned by Temple Contemporary at Temple University, USA. Original support for Symphony for a Broken Orchestra was provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Philadelphia.

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ABOUT TOPIC STUDIOS: Topic Studios is the award-winning entertainment studio from First Look Media, dedicated to supporting creators at the forefront of culture. From Academy Award® winning films (Spotlight) to television (Losers on Netflix), and podcasts (Missing Richard Simmons and Anthem), we explore a wide range of subject matter, both fiction and nonfiction. Other noted projects from Topic Studios include Debra Granik’s critically acclaimed Leave No Trace; Julius Onah’s thriller Luce starring Octavia Spencer, Naomi Watts and Kelvin Harrison Jr., nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards; Netflix Docu-series Losers; and Steven Soderbergh’s Panama Papers drama The Laundromat, starring Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas, developed at Topic Studios alongside Grey Matter Productions, also on Netflix. Upcoming projects include political drama Prisoner 760 directed by Kevin Macdonald and starring Jodie Foster, Benedict Cumberbatch and Tahar Rahim; and a film exploring the connection between Chinatown restaurants in the rise of punk music produced by and starring Golden Globe winner Awkwafina.

ABOUT FIELD OF VISION: Field of Vision is the filmmaker-driven documentary unit from First Look Media which commissions and creates original, non-fiction short-form and feature films about developing and ongoing stories around the globe. We produce cinematic work that tells the stories of our world from new perspectives. Field of Vision is proud to support two films nominated for this year’s Academy Awards®, including Yi Seung-Jun’s In the Absencenominated for Best Documentary Short Subject and Julia Reichert, Steven Bognar and Jeff Reichert’s, American Factory, nominated for Best Documentary Feature.

ABOUT TOPIC: Topic is the new streaming service from First Look Media, curated for a curious and engaged audience seeking smart, provocative and meaningful entertainment. Topic features North American premieres and programming from around the world, complemented by a diverse slate of originals including scripted comedies and dramas, talk shows, documentaries, features and more. Topic is available to US and Canadian audiences on Topic.com, Apple iOS, and tvOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, with more coming soon. Currently streaming on Topic is the original series What’s Your Ailment?! hosted by comedian Maria Bamford; the acclaimed Italian drama The Miracleand the action-packed German crime series Pagan Peak.

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