The following films premiering at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival (January 18-28) showcase work by NYWIFT members. Click the name of the film for the screening schedule.
If you're a member with a film screening at Sundance, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll include your listing here.
US Dramatic Competition
Sorry to Bother You
Women producers: Nina Yang Bongiovi, Debbie Brubaker, Poppy Hanks, Caroline Kaplan, Kim Roth; Mitsuko Alexandra Yabe (Music Editor)
Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield), a 30-something black telemarketer with self-esteem issues, discovers a magical selling power living inside of him. Suddenly he’s rising up the ranks to the elite team of his company, which sells heinous products and services. The upswing in Cassius’s career raises serious red flags with his brilliant girlfriend, Detroit (Tessa Thompson), a sign-twirling gallery artist who is secretly a part of a Banksy-style collective called Left Eye. But the unimaginable hits the fan when Cassius meets the company’s cocaine-snorting, orgy-hosting, obnoxious, and relentlessly optimistic CEO, Steve Lift (Armie Hammer).
The Tale — Abigail E. Disney (Executive Producer) and Simone Pero (Producer)
Jennifer, a globetrotting journalist and professor, lives an enviable life with her boyfriend in New York City. That is, until her mother finds a story Jennifer wrote at age 13 depicting a “special” relationship with two adult coaches. Reading the yellowed pages of "The Tale," Jennifer discovers the coded details she composed 40 years earlier are quite unlike her recollection. Deeply shaken yet determined to square her version of events with the truth, Jennifer sets out to find her two coaches. Returning to the Carolina horse farm where so much transpired, Jennifer's gangly yet tenacious seventh-grade self reawakens, and the loving stories she told herself for decades begin to unravel.
The Kindergarten Teacher — Stephanie Holbrook (Casting Director)
Stuck in Staten Island, married to a kind but oblivious husband, and living with kids that mostly ignore her, 40-year-old Lisa Spinelli (Maggie Gyllenhaal) plods through her days teaching kindergarten with growing numbness. Her one source of joy is an evening poetry class across the bay in Lower Manhattan. But one day everything changes—Lisa discovers that a five-year-old boy in her class may be the poet she can only dream of being. She becomes fascinated. Could this child be a prodigy? A Mozart? Fascination turns to obsession as Lisa pushes boundaries to protect the boy from a banal life she knows too well. In a harrowing climax, Lisa risks her career, her family, and her freedom to nurture his genius and possibly tap into her own.
US Documentary Competition
Inventing Tomorrow — Carolyn Hepburn (Co-Executive producer)
Indonesia, India, Mexico, Hawaii, and many other countries, communities, and islands are rife with the ravages of environmental degradation. But hope comes with a surprising—and touching—group of young people. Meet six brilliant high school students as they prepare for the world's largest high school science competition: the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). Inspired by the issues and problems they’ve witnessed in their own communities, these teens propose big ideas and ingenious solutions to the world’s environmental challenges. With unfettered minds and ambition, they descend upon Los Angeles to participate in ISEF and meet thousands of their peers from all over the world. Soon, a sense of global community forms, focused on making the world a better place.
The Price of Everything — Katharina Otto-Bernstein (Executive Producer)
Basquiat paintings regularly fetch tens of millions of dollars, and the recent sale of a little-known Da Vinci topped $450 million—but what forces are driving the white-hot art market? Who assigns and who pays these astronomical sums? What currency adequately measures art’s value? The Price of Everything leads us into a rarefied labyrinth of galleries, studios, and auction houses to wrestle with these questions and explore what society loses and gains when art becomes a rich person’s commodity.
World Cinema Documentary Competition
MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A. — Lori Cheatle (Producer)
Drawn from a cache of personal tapes shot by Maya and her closest friends over the last 22 years, MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A. captures Maya’s remarkable journey from immigrant teenager in London to international popstar M.I.A.M.I.A. created a mashup, cut-and-paste identity that pulled inspiration from every corner of her journey: a sonic sketchbook that blends Tamil politics, art school punk, hip-hop beats, and the voice of multicultural youth.
Jane Fonda in Five Acts — Susan Lacy (Director, Producer)
Will the real Jane Fonda please stand up? This catchphrase (from the old TV show To Tell the Truth), sums up the heart of master documentarian Susan Lacy’s definitive examination into the life and work of a true American icon who has always confounded labels and outpaced the zeitgeist. Girl next door, sex kitten, political activist, traitor, fitness tycoon, feminist, Academy Award winner—Jane Fonda has lived a life of controversy, tragedy, and transformation, all in the public eye.
King in the Wilderness — Mila Matveeva (Associate Producer)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s leadership during the the bus boycotts, the sit-ins, and the historic Selma-to-Montgomery marches is now considered the stuff of legend. But left out of the history books is much of what happened afterward, during the last three years of his life. King in the Wilderness reveals a conflicted leader who, after the Voting Rights Act passed in 1965, faced an onslaught of criticism from both sides of the political spectrum; the Black Power movement saw his nonviolence as weakness, and President Lyndon B. Johnson saw his anti–Vietnam War speeches as irresponsible. King’s fervent belief in peaceful protest became a testing point for a nation on the brink of chaos.
RBG — Julie Cohen (Director, Producer) and Amy Entelis (Executive Producer)
I ask no favors for my sex. … All I ask of our brethren is that they will take their feet from off our necks.
—Sarah Moore Grimké, activist for women’s suffrage, 1837
As the United States Supreme Court leans increasingly to the right, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s vigorous dissenting opinions and ferocious 20-push-up workouts have earned this tiny, soft-spoken intellectual giant the status of rock star and the title “Notorious RBG.” What many don’t know is Ginsburg’s strategic, trailblazing role in defining gender-discrimination law. Intent on systematically releasing women from second-class status, she argued six pivotal gender-bias cases in the 1970s before an all-male Supreme Court blind to sexism.
Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind — Sheila Nevins (Executive Producer)
When David Letterman saw a young Robin Williams perform stand-up, Letterman quipped, “It was like he could fly.” Williams’s boundless energy, lightning wit, and knack for comedic characters sparked a career on stage and screen unlike any other, making him one of the most beloved stars in modern entertainment. Marina Zenovich carefully collects a trove of intimate archival material and new interviews with Williams’s confidants (including Pam Dawber and Billy Crystal) to summon an intricate portrait of a man who needed an audience just as much as audiences needed someone like him.
Women writers: Tamara Jenkins, Evgenia Peretz
Women editor: Sabine Hoffman
Annie is stuck in a long-term relationship with Duncan—an obsessive fan of obscure rocker Tucker Crowe. Duncan is far more devoted to his music idol than to Annie. When the acoustic demo of Tucker’s hit record from 25 years ago surfaces, it leads to a life-changing encounter between Annie and the elusive rocker himself.
Madeline's Madeline — Donna Di Novelli (Co-Writer), Amenya Makuku (Co-Producer) and Stephanie Holbrook (Casting Director)
Goldcrest Films (NYWIFT corporate partner)
Director: Josephine Decker
Written by: Josephine Decker
Co-Written by: Donna Di Novelli
Women producers: Allison Rose Carter, Amenya Makuku, Krista Parris, Elizabeth Rao
Editor: Josephine Decker
Casting Director: Stephanie Holbrook
Madeline is dedicated to her theatre workshop. Much to the worry of her protective mother (Miranda July), she has become an integral part of a prestigious, progressive, and experimental theatre troupe in the city, one that emphasizes movement, commitment, and an intense focus on authenticity. When the workshop's ambitious theater director (Molly Parker) pushes teenage Madeline to weave her troubled history and rich interior world into their collective art, the lines between performance and reality begin to blur in surprising and potentially destructive ways, spiraling out of the safe rehearsal space and into her everyday interactions.
Nevada — Emily Ann Hoffman (Director)
A young couple's romantic weekend getaway is interrupted by a birth-control mishap in this stop-motion animated comedy.
End of the Line — Amy Emmerich, 2017 Muse honoree (Executive Producer)
Based on a short story by acclaimed writer Aimee Bender about a lonely man who goes to the pet store and buys a tiny man in a cage.
Plus, check out these projects from NYWIFT corporate partner Goldcrest Films which feature women in a key creative role:
The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Director: Desiree Akhavan
Written by Desiree Akhavan, and Cecilia Frugiuele
Based on a novel by Emily M. Danforth
Cinematography: Ashley Connor
Women producers: Desiree Akhavan, and Cecilia Frugiuele
Editor: Sara Shaw
Cameron Post (Chloë Grace Moretz) looks the part of a perfect high school girl. But after she’s caught with another girl in the back seat of a car on prom night, Cameron is quickly shipped off to a conversion therapy center that treats teens “struggling with same-sex attraction.” At the facility, Cameron is subjected to outlandish discipline, dubious “de-gaying” methods, and earnest Christian rock songs—but this unusual setting also provides her with an unlikely gay community. For the first time, Cameron connects with peers, and she’s able to find her place among fellow outcasts.
Director: Christina Choe
Written by: Christina Choe
Cinematography: Zoe White
Women producers: Barbara Broccoli, Michelle Cameron, Geralyn White Dreyfous, Wendy Ettinger, Amy Lo, Mynette Louie, T. Sahara Meer, Julie Parker Benello, Andrea Riseborough, Rachel Xiaowen Song
Nancy is a 35-year-old temp living with her mom and cat in a modest home in a modest town. She is also an aspiring writer whose submissions are consistently rejected by the likes of the Atlantic and the Paris Review. To make up for these failures and the invisibility she feels, Nancy spins elaborate lies and hoaxes under pseudonyms on the internet. When she encounters a couple whose 5-year-old daughter went missing 30 years ago, fact and fiction begin to blur in Nancy’s mind, and she becomes increasingly convinced these strangers are her real parents.
A Kid Like Jake
Women producers: Hilary Davis, Liz Destro, Jenette Kahn, Zhana Londoner, Veronica Nickel, Rachel Xiaowen Song, Julie Zhang
Loving parents Alex (Claire Danes) and Greg (Jim Parsons) are faced with the daunting task of applying to prestigious kindergartens in NYC for their 4-year-old, Jake. Competing in this cutthroat environment means focusing on what is most unique about a child, forcing Alex and Greg to consider Jake’s love of dresses, fairy tales, and princesses. These qualities never seemed unusual before, but when Jake begins to act out in preschool, Alex and Greg—suddenly at odds—must find a way to support Jake’s identity without losing each other in the process.
The Last Race
Women producers: Cecilia Luppi, Margaret Reville, Charlotte Munch Bengtsen
Riverhead Raceway is a rare beast. For decades it has hosted showdowns between local residents who bring their Mad Max–inspired stock cars to do battle on a quarter-mile track, passions spilling out of the cockpit when the checkered flag drops. Forty such tracks used to exist on Long Island alone. Today Riverhead is the last. Acclaimed photographer Michael Dweck’s evocative portraiture turns the raceway into a theater of catharsis while the track’s owners struggle to maintain an American tradition as a real estate boom surrounds them.
Our New President
Women producer: Charlotte Cook
Ever since a fateful visit to a mummy’s glass-encased tomb in 1997, Hillary Clinton has been plagued by fainting spells, drug use, and even allegations of sexual abuse and murder. Don’t believe it? Just ask the reporters at Vesti and NTV, two of the most-watched state-run news shows in Russia, where outlandish stories like these reach millions of viewers every night.