Sundance 2020: Thirteen of the most anticipated documentary premieres

by Erene Oberholzer

From Silicon Valley and Taylor Swift, these are the most exciting documentaries screening at Sundance 2020.

About the festival:
The Sundance Film Festival is set to take place from 23 January to 2 February in Salt Lake City in the US and will play host to some of the most highly-anticipated documentaries. The Sundance festival is said to be the largest independent film festival in the US.

Here are thirteen of the most anticipated documentaries to premiere at Sundance this January:

1. Disclosure:
From the USA: Director: Sam Feder, Producers: Amy Scholder, Sam Feder.
An investigation of how Hollywood’s fabled stories have deeply influenced how Americans feel about transgender people, and how transgender people have been taught to feel about themselves. Cast: Laverne Cox, Mj Rodriguez, Lilly Wachowski, Yance Ford, Chaz Bono, Jamie Clayton.

2.The Social Dilemma:
From the USA: Director: Jeff Orlowski, Screenwriters: Vickie Curtis, Davis Coombe, Jeff Orlowski, Producer: Larissa Rhodes.
Never before have a handful of tech designers had such control over the way billions of us think, act, and live our lives. Insiders from Google, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube reveal how these platforms are reprogramming civilization by exposing what’s hiding on the other side of your screen. Cast: Vincent Kartheiser, Skyler Gisondo, Kara Hayward.

3.Crip Camp:
From the USA: Directors: Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht, Producers: Sara Bolder, Jim LeBrecht, Nicole Newnham.
Down the road from Woodstock in the early 1970s, a revolution blossomed in a ramshackle summer camp for disabled teenagers, transforming their young lives and igniting a landmark movement.

4.The Reason I Jump:
From the United Kingdom: Director: Jerry Rothwell, Producers: Jeremy Dear, Stevie Lee, Al Morrow.
Based on the book by Naoki Higashida this immersive film explores the experiences of nonspeaking autistic people around the world. 

5. Be Water:
From the USA and UK: Director: Bao Nguyen, Producer: Julia Nottingham.
In 1971, after being rejected by Hollywood, Bruce Lee returned to his parents’ homeland of Hong Kong to complete four iconic films. Charting his struggles between two worlds, this portrait explores questions of identity and representation through the use of rare archival interviews with loved ones and Bruce’s own writings.

6. Us Kids:
From the USA: Director: Kim A. Snyder, Producers: Kim A. Snyder, Maria Cuomo Cole, Lori Cheatle.
Determined to turn unfathomable tragedy into action, the teenage survivors of Parkland, Florida catalyze a powerful, unprecedented youth movement that spreads with lightning speed across the country, as a generation of mobilized youth take back democracy in this powerful coming-of-age story. 

7. The Cost of Silence:
From the USA: Director: Mark Manning, Producers: Mark Manning, Langdon Page, Reuben Aaronson.
An industry insider exposes the devastating consequences of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, uncovering coordinated efforts by government and industry to silence the victims of a growing public health disaster. The stakes could not be higher as the Trump administration races to open the entire US coastline to offshore drilling.

8. Miss Americana:
From the USA: Director: Lana Wilson, Producers: Morgan Neville, Caitrin Rogers, Christine O’Malley.
A raw and emotionally revealing look at one of the most iconic artists of our time during a transformational period in her life as she learns to embrace her role not only as a songwriter and performer, but as a woman harnessing the full power of her voice. The documentary will make its world premiere at Sundance. 

9. A Thousand Cuts:
From the USA and Philippines: Director and screenwriter: Ramona S. Diaz, Producers: Ramona S. Diaz, Leah Marino, Julie Goldman, Chris Clements, Carolyn Hepburn.
Nowhere is the worldwide erosion of democracy, fueled by social media disinformation campaigns, more starkly evident than in the authoritarian regime of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Journalist Maria Ressa places the tools of the free press—and her freedom—on the line in defense of truth and democracy.

10. Influence:
From South Africa and Canada: Directors and Screenwriters: Diana Neille, Richard Poplak, Producers: Bob Moore, Neil Brandt.
Charting the recent advancements in weaponized communication by investigating the rise and fall of the world’s most notorious public relations and reputation management firm: the British multinational Bell Pottinger.

11. Into the Deep:
From Denmark: Director: Emma Sullivan, Producers: Mette Heide, Roslyn Walker.
In 2016, a young Australian filmmaker began documenting amateur inventor Peter Madsen. One year in, Madsen brutally murdered Kim Wall aboard his homemade submarine. An unprecedented revelation of a killer and the journey his young helpers take as they reckon with their own complicity and prepare to testify.

12. Happy Happy Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story:
From the USA: Directors and Screenwriters: Ron Cicero, Kimo Easterwood, Producer: Ron Cicero.
Exploring the rise and fall of the groundbreaking animated series Ren & Stimpy and its controversial creator, John Kricfalusi, through archival footage, show artwork and interviews with the artists, actors and executives behind the show. Cast: John Kricfalusi, Robyn Byrd, Vanessa Coffey, Chris Reccardi, Richard Pursel, Bobby Lee. 

13. The Truffle Hunters:
From Italy, the USA and Greece: Directors: Michael Dweck, Gregory Kershaw, Producers: Michael Dweck, Gregory Kershaw.
In the secret forests of Northern Italy, a dwindling group of joyful old men and their faithful dogs search for the world’s most expensive ingredient, the white Alba truffle. Their stories form a real-life fairy tale that celebrates human passion in a fragile land that seems forgotten in time. 


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