Coronavirus cancellations and postponements in the entertainment industry

March 6, 2020

by Carla Hay

Updated January 21, 2021

Daniel Craig as 007 spy James Bond in “No Time to Die.” The movie’s April 2020 release was postponed to October 2021 because of coronavirus concerns in key territories where the movie will be released. (Photo by Nicola Dove)

Concerns about the coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) pandemic have led to numerous cancellations or postponements in the entertainment industry. The way things are going in the United States and many other countries, any public gathering of at least 50 people per gathering is probably going to be cancelled or postponed until further notice. Shutdowns are occurring at public places for sports and entertainment.

Here’s a list of what’s been cancelled or postponed so far. This list will be updated as more cancellations and postponements are announced.

NOTE: This list does not include individual TV series, movies, plays or musicals that have shut down production until further notice. (There are too many of them to list.)

Academy Awards

The annual Academy Awards (also known as the Oscars) in Los Angeles (originally scheduled for February 28, 2021) has been postponed and rescheduled. The Academy Awards (televised in the U.S. on ABC) will now take place on April 25, 2021. (Updated June 15, 2020.)

Academy of Country Music Awards

The annual ACM Awards (originally scheduled for April 5, 2020) and its related ACM Party for a Cause events in have been postponed and rescheduled. The ACM Awards (televised in the U.S. by CBS) will now take place on September 16, 2020, and has moved from Las Vegas to Nashville. ACM Party for a Cause events will occur around this date in Nashville. Keith Urban was announced as host of the 2020 ACM Awards, which will take place in Nashville for the first time in the show’s 55-year history. (Updated April 27, 2020.)

ACE Comic Con Northeast

ACE Comic Con Northeast was scheduled to take place in Boston from March 20 to March 22, 2020, but the event has been cancelled.

AEG Presents

Live-events promotion company AEG Presents has cancelled or postponed almost all of its events for 2020. (Updated May 24, 2020)

All Points East

The annual All Points East for alternative rock music has been cancelled. The festival (which takes place in London) was scheduled for May 22 to May 24 and May 29 to May 31, 2020. ‎Tame Impala, Caribou, ‎Glass Animals and ‎Kelly Lee Owens were among performers. (Updated March 27, 2020)

Anime Expo

The annual Japanese animation convention in Los Angeles has been cancelled as an in-person event and will now be a virtual/online event called Anime Expo Light, which will take place on July 3 and July 4, 2020. (Updated April 21, 2020.

“Antebellum”

Lionsgate has postponed and rescheduled the release of the drama “Antebellum,” starring Janelle Monáe. Originally set for release April 24, 2020, “Antebellum” will now be released on September 18, 2020. In the U.S., “Antebellum” will be released on VOD, while outside the U.S., the movie will be released in theaters that are open for business.(Updated August 6, 2020)

“Antlers”

Searchlight Pictures has postponed until further notice the release of the horror movie “Antlers,” originally set for April 17, 2020. The movie stars Keri Russell and Jesse Plemons. (Updated March 12, 2020)

The Apollo

The world-famous Apollo Theater in New York’s Harlem neighborhood has cancelled all in-person events until further notice. (Updated April 5, 2020)

Apple

The computer corporation is shutting down all Apple retail stores outside of China for two weeks, from March 14 to March 27, 2020. The re-opening date is subject to change. Apple did a similar shutdown of its retail stores in China. (Updated March 12, 2020)

“Artemis Fowl”

Disney’s sci-fi film “Artemis Fowl” (starring Ferdia Shaw, Judi Dench and Colin Farrell) was set for a theatrical release on May 24, 2020, but will instead forgo a theatrical release and go directly to the Disney+ streaming service on June 12, 2020. (Updated April 3, 2020)

“The Artist’s Wife”

Strand Releasing and Water’s End Productions have postponed and rescheduled the release the dramatic film “The Artist’s Wife,” starring Lena Olin and Bruce Dern. The film was originally scheduled to be released in New York City on April 3, 2020, in Los Angeles on April 10, 2020, and in the San Francisco Bay Area on April 17, 2020. The movie is now set for release in select U.S. theaters and on VOD on September 25, 2020. (Updated August 28, 2020)

ASCAP Experience

The annual Los Angeles networking event for ASCAP songwriters and publishers is now cancelled. ASCAP Experience, formerly known as the ASCAP “I Create Music” Expo, was scheduled for April 1 to April 3, 2020. (Updated March 11, 2020)

Austin City Limits Festival

The annual music festival in Austin, Texas, has been cancelled. The festival was scheduled for October 2 to October 4 and October 9 to October 11, 2020. Artists on the festival bill included Eminem, Fleetwood Mac, Rage Against the Machine, Chris Stapleton, STS9, Twenty One Pilots and Common. (Updated March 26, 2020)

“The Batman”

Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled this superhero reboot, starring Robert Pattinson. “The Batman” was originally set for June 25, 2021, was postponed to October 1, 2021, and is now scheduled for release on March 4, 2022. (Updated October 6, 2020)

Beale Street Music Festival

The annual music festival in Memphis, Tennessee, has been cancelled. Originally scheduled for May 1 to May 3, 2020, the event was then postponed to October 16 to October 18, 2020. Artists who had been scheduled to perform at the 2020 Beale Street Music Festival included the Lumineers, Lil Wayne, Three 6 Mafia, the Avett Brothers and the Smashing Pumpkins. (Updated June 18, 2020)

Beijing International Film Festival

The annual event in China has been postponed. The  Beijing International Film Festival was set for April 19 to April 26, 2020.

Justin Bieber

The Grammy-winning pop star has postponed until further notice the North American concerts for his “Changes” Tour. The tour dates were scheduled to begin in Seattle on May 14, 2020, and end in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on September 26, 2020. (Updated April 1, 2020)

Big Ears Festival

The annual music and film event in Knoxville, Tennessee, has been cancelled. Originally scheduled for March 26 to March 29, 2020, the Big Ears Festival’s announced performers this year included Devendra Banhart, Anthony Braxton, Kronos Quartet and Patti Smith. (March 11, 2020)

Billboard Music Awards

The annual award show was scheduled to take place in Las Vegas on April 29, 2020, but the ceremony has been postponed and rescheduled for October 14, 2020. NBC has the U.S. telecast of the Billboard Music Awards. Kelly Clarkson has hosted the show since 2018. (Updated August 14, 2020)

“Black Widow”

Disney’s Marvel Studios has postponed and rescheduled the release of the superhero movie “Black Widow,” which was set for May 1, 2020. The movie’s new release date is May 7, 2021. The stars of “Black Widow” include Scarlett Johansson, Rachel Weisz, David Harbour and Florence Pugh. (Updated September 23, 2020)

“Blue Story”

Paramount Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the U.S. release of this crime drama, starring Stephen Odubola and Micheal Ward. “Blue Story” was due in U.S. theaters on March 20, 2020, and will now be released direct-to-video on May 5, 2020. The movie was already released in the United Kingdom in November 2019. (Updated March 12, 2020)

BMI Latin Awards

The annual BMI Latin Music Awards ceremony has been postponed. The show had been scheduled for March 31 in Los Angeles. The rescheduled date is to be announced. (Updated March 10, 2020)

Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi’s summer 2020 North American tour has been cancelled. The New Jersey rock band’s tour had been scheduled to begin in Tacoma, Washington, on June 10, 2020, and end in New York City on July 28, 2020. (Updated April 20, 2020)

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

The annual festival in Manchester, Tennessee, has been cancelled. Originally scheduled to take place June 11 to June 14, 2020, the event had been rescheduled for September 24 to September 27, 2020. Before the cancellation, the announced lineup included Tame Impala, Tool, Lizzo, Vampire Weekend, Lana Del Rey, The 1975, Run the Jewels and Brittany Howard. (Updated June 25, 2020)

BookCon

The annual book fan event in New York City has been cancelled. Originally set for May 30 and May 31, 2020, BookCon had been rescheduled to place on July 25 and July 26, 2020. The event has now been completely scrapped for 2020. (Updated April 14, 2020)

Boston Calling

The annual rock festival in Boston has been cancelled.  Boston Calling had been scheduled for May 22 to May 24, 2020. The festival’s performers this year would have included Foo Fighters, Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Run the Jewels, Jason Isbell and The 1975. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Boston Symphony Orchestra

The Boston Symphony Orchestra has cancelled its tour of Asia. The trek had scheduled shows in South Korea, Taiwan, China and Hong Kong from February 6 to February 16, 2020.

BottleRock Napa Valley

The annual music and arts festival in Napa, California, has been cancelled. Originally scheduled to take place May 22 to May 24, 2020, the event was rescheduled for October 2 to October 4, 2020, but now has been completely cancelled. Artists announced for the festival included Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stevie Nicks, Miley Cyrus, Khalid, Zedd, and Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals. (Updated July 16, 2020)

Bourbon and Beyond Festival

The annual rock music festival in Louisville, Kentucky, has been cancelled. The Bourbon and Beyond Festival was scheduled to take place from September 25 to September 27, 2020. The lineup of artists had not been announced. (Updated April 24, 2020)

Broadway and off-Broadway shows in New York City

All Broadway and off-Broadway shows in New York City have been cancelled until May 30, 2021, but that date could change, depending on the circumstances. (Updated October 7, 2020)

BST Hyde Park

The annual music festival in London has been cancelled. BST Hyde Park was scheduled for July 4 to July 11, 2020. The artists who were announced as performers included Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar, Pearl Jam, Post Malone, Rita Ora, Kesha, Zara Larsson, Pixies, James Blake and Little Mix. (Updated April 8, 2020)

BTS

The South Korean boy band has cancelled all of its concerts in Seoul for its “Map of the Soul” tour. The cancelled BTS shows were scheduled for April 11, 12, 18 and 19, 2020. (Updated March 10, 2020)

Bushfire Relief Charity Concert

The benefit show to help victims of Australia’s wildfires has been cancelled, after being scheduled to take place in Melbourne on March 13, 2020. Miley Cyrus was the headliner, while other artists announced for the show were Lil Nas X, the Veronicas and DJ Seb Fontaine. (Updated March 10, 2020)

CAAMFest

The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) in San Francisco has postponed CAAMFest 38 until further notice. The Asian American festival of film, music and food was originally scheduled for May 14 to May 24, 2020. CAAMFest was formerly known as the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. (Updated March 19, 2020)

Camila Cabello

The former Fifth Harmony pop star has postponed her Romance world tour, which was set to begin in Oslo on May 26, 2020 and end in Miami September 26, 2020. A concert that was supposed to take place in Dundee, Scotland, on May 24, 2020, has been completely cancelled. (Updated March 24, 2020)

Canadian Music Week

The annual showcase event in Toronto has been postponed and rescheduled. Originally set for May 19 to May 23, 2020, Canadian Music Week will now take place September 8 to September 13, 2020. (Updated March 18, 2020)

“Candyman”

Universal Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the release of the horror-movie reboot “Candyman,” starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. “Candyman” was originally scheduled for release on June 12, 2020. The new release date is September 25, 2020. (Updated April 3, 2020)

Cannes Film Festival

The Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled to take place May 12 to 23, 2020. (Updated May 10, 2020)

Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity

The annual networking event for creative marketers was set to take place in Cannes, France, from June 22 to June 26, 2020. The event is postponed until further notice. (Updated March 18, 2020)

Canneseries

The annual drama event in Cannes, France, has been postponed and rescheduled. It was originally scheduled to take place March 27 to April 1, 2020, and will now take place October 9 to October 14, 2020.

Mariah Carey

The Grammy-winning superstar has postponed her March 10, 2020, concert in Honolulu and will reschedule it for sometime in November 2020.

“Charm City Kings”

Sony Pictures Classics has dropped the release of this drama, starring Jahi Di’Allo Winston and Meek Mill. “Charm City Kings” had been scheduled for release in select theaters on April 10, 2020. Instead, the streaming service HBO Max will premiere “Charm City Kings” (under the Warner Max label) on a date to be announced. (Updated May 6, 2020)

Ciara

The R&B singer has cancelled her Fort Hood USO show in Texas that was scheduled for March 19, 2020.

CineEurope

The annual cinema convention in Barcelona has cancelled. CineEurope was originally set for June 22 to June 25, 2020, and was rescheduled to take place August 3 to August 5, 2020. However, CineEurope was officially nixed after it became obvious that Spain would not be ready to host large-scale events during the rescheduled dates. (Updated May 12, 2020)

CinemaCon

CinemaCon, the National Association of Theatre Owners’ annual convention in Las Vegas, has been cancelled. The event was scheduled to take place from March 30 to April 2, 2020. (Updated March 12, 2020)

Cirque du Soleil

The international acrobatic dance company has cancelled all of its performances worldwide until further notice, as of March 15, 2020. (Updated March 14, 2020)

Kelly Clarkson

The Grammy-winning original “American Idol” winner has postponed until further notice her “Invincible” Las Vegas residency, which had been set to begin on April 1, 2020. In addition, her NBCUniversal-syndicated daytime talk show “The Kelly Clarkson Show” has temporarily shut down production. (Updated March 16, 2020)

“The Climb”

Sony Pictures Classics has postponed and rescheduled the release of this buddy comedy, starring Michael Angelo Covino and Kyle Marvin. “The Climb” had been scheduled for release in New York City and Los Angeles on March 20, 2020. The movie will, now open in select U.S. theaters on November 13, 2020. (Updated October 21, 2020)

CMA Fest

The Country Music Association’s annual fan festival in Nashville has been cancelled. CMA Fest had been scheduled to take place June 4 to June 7, 2020. The lineup of performers had not been announced. Because CMA Fest will not happen this year, there also won’t be an ABC TV special for CMA Fest in 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

CMT Music Awards

The annual CMT Music Awards in Nashville has been postponed and rescheduled. Originally set to take place on June 3, 2020, this award show for country music will now take place on October 14, 2020. (Updated April 3, 2020)

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

The world’s biggest annual music festival (in terms of ticket sales) has been cancelled. Originally scheduled for April 10 to April 12 and April 17 to April 19, Coachella was rescheduled for October 9 to October 11 and October 16 to October 18, 2020. The Coachella Festival (which takes place in Indio, California) is expected to happen in 2021, but the dates have not yet been announced. Artists who were announced for the 2020 Coachella Festival included Rage Against the Machine, Travis Scott and Frank Ocean, as well as Calvin Harris, Big Sean, Lewis Capaldi, Lana Del Rey, Flume, Lil Nas X, 21 Savage and Charlie XCX. (Updated June 11, 2020)

Comic-Con International

The annual comic-book/sci-fi/fantasy entertainment fan convention in San Diego (also known as San Diego Comic-Con) has been cancelled for the first time in its 50-year history. Comic-Con International had been set for July 23 to July 26, 2020, with preview night taking place on July 22. Comic-Con International will return to San Diego from July 22 to July 25, 2021, with preview night taking place on July 21. Instead of an in-person event for the 2020 edition of Comic-Con, there will be a virtual online event called Comic-Con@Home, which will take place from July 22 to July 26, 2020. Click here for more details. (Updated July 7, 2020)

DC Entertainment

DC Entertainment (the company behind Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and the Suicide Squad) has cancelled all participation in comic conventions taking place in March 2020, including Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle. In addition, DC has cancelled the New York City premiere of its animated film “Superman: Red Sun,” which had been scheduled for March 16, 2020.

Dead and Company

The Grateful Dead spinoff group has cancelled its 2020 U.S. tour. Dead and Company had been scheduled to begin the tour in Boulder, Colorado, on July 10, 2020, and conclude the tour in Boston on August 8, 2020.  These were the only concerts that the band was going to perform in 2020. (Updated April 21, 2020)

“Death on the Nile”

Disney’s 20th Century Studios has postponed until further notice the release of the Agatha Christie mystery thriller “Death on the Nile,” the sequel to 2017’s “Murder on the Orient Express.” “Death on the Nile” was set for release on October 23, 3030 and then rescheduled for December 18, 2020. The stars of “Death on the Nile” include Kenneth Branagh, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer and Letitia Wright. The movie’s new release date is to be announced. (Updated September 23, 2020)

“Deerskin”

Greenwich Entertainment has postponed and rescheduled the U.S. release of the French horror-comedy film “Deerskin,” starring Jean Dujardin. “Deerskin” was originally set for a U.S. release in select theaters on March 20, 2020. The new U.S. release date (on digital and VOD) is June 26, 2020. “Deerskin” was already released in France in 2019. (Updated March 30, 2020)

“Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy”

Greenwich Entertainment has postponed and rescheduled the release of the documentary “Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy.” The movie was originally set for release on April 22, 2020. In the U.S., the movie will be released in virtual cinemas on May 22, 2020, on digital/VOD on June 19, 2020, and on DVD on June 23, 2020. (Updated March 23, 2020)

“Dino Dana: The Movie”

Amazon Prime Video and Fathom Events have postponed and rescheduled the release of this movie spinoff of the “Dino Dana” children’s series. The movie was originally scheduled for a one-day-only release in theaters on March 21, 2020. Amazon Prime Video will now release the movie on September 4, 2020. (Updated July 23, 2020)

Disney

Disney has cancelled its launch event for its streaming service Disney+ Europe, which had been scheduled to take place in London on March 24, 2020. In addition, all Disney theme parks—which were supposed to re-open on March 31, 2020—will be closed until further notice.

Meanwhile, Disney’s “Mulan” is the company’s first movie whose release has been postponed and rescheduled due to the coronavirus outbreak. “Mulan” had been originally scheduled for release on March 27, 2020. The new release date is July 24, 2020. The release of Disney’s action-adventure flick “Jungle Cruise,” starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, has been pushed back nearly a year, from July 24, 2020, to July 20, 2021. The sci-fi film “Artemis Fowl,” starring Ferdia Shaw and Judi Dench,” was set for a theatrical release on May 24, 2020, but will instead forgo a theatrical release and go directly to the Disney+ streaming service.

Disney-owned 20th Century Pictures (formerly known as 20th Century Fox) has postponed and rescheduled the releases of the action flick “Free Guy” (starring Ryan Reynolds”), which moves from July 3, 2020, to December 11, 2020. 20th Century Pictures has postponed until further notice the release of the superhero flick “The New Mutants,” originally set for April 3, 2020.

Disney-owned Searchlight Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the comedy “The French Dispatch,” Benicio del Toro, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand and Timothée Chalamet. “The French Dispatch” was originally set for release on July 24, 2020, and will now be released on October 16, 2020. Searchlight Pictures has postponed until further notice the horror movie “Antlers” (starring Keri Russell and Jesse Plemons), which was originally set for April 17, 2020.

Disney-owned Marvel Studios has postponed and rescheduled the releases of the superhero movies “Black Widow,” “The Eternals,” “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” “Doctor Strange 2” and “Thor: Love and Thunder.” Each of these movies has a separate listing with each new release date. (Updated April 3, 2020)

“Doctor Strange 2”

Disney’s Marvel Studios has postponed and rescheduled the release of the superhero movie “Doctor Strange 2,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch. “Doctor Strange 2” was originally scheduled for release on May 7, 2021. The new release date is November 5, 2021. (Updated April 3, 2020)

Doha Film Institute’s Qumra Event

The Doha Film Institute’s Qumra event for mentor networking with upcoming talent in the movie industry has been cancelled. The conference was supposed to be from March 20 to March 25 in Doha, Qatar.

Dollywood

Dolly Parton’s theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, has temporarily closed until further notice, as of March 14, 2020. (Updated March 13, 2020)

Download Festival

The annual Download Festival for hard rock/heavy metal has been cancelled. The festival (which takes place in Derby, England) was scheduled for June 12 to June 14, 2020. Kiss, Iron Maiden, System of a Down, Deftones, Gojira and Korn were among the performers. (Updated March 26, 2020)

Dreamville Festival

The annual music festival in Raleigh, North Carolina, has been cancelled. Dreamville Festival, which is from hip-hop artist J. Cole, had originally been scheduled for April 4, 2020, and was postponed to August 29, 2020, until the event was shuttered altogether for 2020. The event’s lineup had not been announced. (Updated May 16, 2020)

“Dune”

Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled this sci-fi remake, starring Timothée Chalamet, Josh Brolin, Zendaya, Jason Momoa and Rebecca Ferguson. “Dune” was originally set for December 18, 2020, and is now scheduled for release on October 1, 2021. (Updated October 6, 2020)

East Coast Music Awards: Festival & Conference

Canada’s East Coast Music Association has cancelled the 2020 East Coast Music Awards: Festival & Conference. The event was scheduled to take place in St. John’s from April 29 to May 3, 2020. (Updated March 17, 2020)

Ebertfest

The annual film festival founded by the late film critic Roger Ebert was scheduled for April 15 to April 18, 2020, in Champaign, Illinois, but the event is now cancelled. The next Ebertfest will take place in Champaign from April 14 to April 17, 2021. (Updated March 15, 2020)

Edinburgh Art Festival

The annual event in Scotland has been cancelled. The Edinburgh Art Festival had been scheduled for August 7 to August 29, 2020. (Updated April 1, 2020)

Edinburgh Fringe Festival

The annual performing-arts event in Scotland has been cancelled. The Edinburgh Art Festival had been scheduled for August 7 to August 31, 2020. (Updated April 1, 2020)

Edinburgh International Film Festival

The United Kingdom’s longest-running film festival has been postponed until further notice. The Edinburgh International Film Festival in Scotland had been scheduled to take place June 17 to June 28, 2020. The festival’s main programming slate for 2020 has not been announced yet.(Updated April 1, 2020)

Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) Las Vegas

Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) Las Vegas has been cancelled. Originally set for May 15 to May 17, 2020, EDC Las Vegas was rescheduled for October 2 to October 4, 2020, and then completely scrapped. The lineup was supposed to include The Chainsmokers, David Guetta, Carl Cox, Alison Wonderland, Martin Garrix, Tiësto, DJ Snake and Major Lazer. EDC Las Vegas is set to return from May 21 to May 23, 2021. (Updated August 2, 2020)

Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3)

The annual consumer event in Los Angeles for electronic entertainment has been cancelled. Electronic Entertainment Expo, also known as E3, had been scheduled to take place from June 9 to June 11, 2020. (Updated March 11, 2020)

Electric Forest

The annual music and arts festival in Rothbury, Michigan, has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled for June 25 to June 28, 2020. Artists who were scheduled to perform included Major Lazer,  Duke Dumont, the String Cheese Incident and  Big Gigantic. (Updated April 21, 2020)

“Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things”

Eagle Rock Entertainment has postponed and rescheduled the theatrical release of this Ella Fitzgerald documentary, which was set for a one-night-only release on April 3, 2020. The movie will now be released in virtual cinemas on June 26, 2020. (Updated June 4, 2020)

Emerald City Comic Con

Scheduled to take place March 12 to March 15, 2020, the annual comic-book convention in Seattle has been postponed. The event will be rescheduled for the summer; the exact dates are to be announced. Before the postponement, Emerald City Comic Con experienced several cancelled appearances. DC Entertainment, Dark Horse Comics, Penguin Random House, as well as individual speakers and panelists, cancelled their participation this year.

Emmy Awards

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has postponed the Daytime Emmy Awards until further notice. The Daytime Emmy Awards had been scheduled to take place in Pasadena, California from June 12 to June 14, 2020. The show’s host and nominations haven’t been announced yet. The Daytime Emmy ceremonies have not been televised in several years. Instead, the live ceremonies can be seen via webcast. (Updated on March 19, 2020)

The National Television Academy of Arts and Sciences has also postponed the annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards (originally scheduled for April 19, 2020, in Las Vegas) and the Sports Emmy Awards, originally scheduled for April 28, 2020, in New York. The rescheduled dates for the ceremonies are to be announced. (Updated March 13, 2020)

“Emperor”

Universal Home Entertainment has postponed and rescheduled the release of the dramatic film “Emperor,” starring Dayo Okeniyi, Brad Carter, James Cromwell and Bruce Dern. The movie was set to be released on March 27, 2020, and will now be released on DVD, digital and VOD on August 18, 2020. (Updated July 16, 2020)

Epicenter

Concert promoter Danny Wimmer Presents has cancelled the annual Epicenter festival, which was scheduled to take in place in Concord, North Carolina, from May 1 to May 3, 2020. The lineup of performers included Lynyrd Skynyrd, Deftones, Godsmack, Volbeat, Staind, Papa Roach, David Lee Roth, Gojira, Chevelle, Cypress Hill and Rancid.  Many of the artists who were scheduled to perform at the festival will instead perform at the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville, Kentucky (another Danny Wimmer Presents event), which has expanded to four days (September 17 to September 20, 2020), with Metallica headlining on September 17. Louder Than Life pass holders will not be charged extra for the fourth day. Ticket/pass holders for the cancelled festival have three options: get a refund, use their purchase for the same festival in 2021, or exchange the purchase for another Danny Wimmer Presents event in 2020. (Updated March 23, 2020)

Essence Festival

The annual music and culture festival presented by Essence magazine in New Orleans has been cancelled. The Essence Festival, which was scheduled to include headliners Bruno Mars and Janet Jackson, had been set for July 1 to July 6, 2020. (Updated April 15, 2020)

“Eternals”

Disney’s Marvel Studios has postponed and rescheduled the release of the superhero movie “Eternals,” starring Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kit Harington, Kumail Nanjiani, Richard Madden, Brian Tyree Henry and Gemma Chan. “Eternals” was originally scheduled for release on November 6, 2020, then moved to February 12, 2021. The new release date is November 5, 2021. (Updated September 23, 2020)

Eurovision Song Contest

The annual music event was supposed to take place in Rotterdam, Netherlands, from May 12 and 14, 2020 (for semi-final rounds) and on May 16, 2020 (for the final round), but Eurovision Song Contest has been cancelled. It’s the first time in the event’s 64-year history that it has been shut down. (Updated March 18, 2020)

“Fast & Furious 9”

Universal Pictures has postponed the release of this action sequel to April 2021. (The U.S. release will be on April 2, 2021.) “Fast &  Furious 9,” starring Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez, was originally scheduled for release on May 22, 2020. (Updated March 12, 2020)

Festival d’été de Québec

The annual music festival Québec Cityhas been cancelled. Festival d’été de Québec was scheduled for July 9 to July 19, 2020. Artists were announced as performers included Imagine Dragons, Jack Johnson, The National, Marshmello, Alanis Morissette, G-Eazy, 5 Seconds of Summer and Halsey. (Updated April 9, 2020) 

Film at Lincoln Center

The membership-funded organization Film at Lincoln Center in New York City became one of the first in the U.S. to close its movie theaters, as of March 12, 2020, until further notice. Film at Lincoln Center operates the Walter Reade Theater and the Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center. Film at Lincoln Center has also postponed the New Directors/New Films Festival (which had been scheduled to run from March 25, to April 5, 2020) and the Chaplin Award Gala honoring Spike Lee, which was set for April 27, 2020. The rescheduled dates are to be announced. In addition, Film at Lincoln Center’s membership magazine Film Comment (which has been published since 1962) is going on an indefinite hiatus after the May/June 2020 issue, which will be published in digital form only. (Updated March 28, 2020)

Film Independent Spirit Awards

The annual Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California, (originally scheduled for February 27, 2021) has been postponed and rescheduled. The Film Independent Spirit Awards (televised in the U.S. by IFC) will now take place on April 24, 2021. (Updated June 16, 2020.)

Firefly Festival

The annual music festival in Dover, Delaware, has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled to take place from June 18 to June 21, 2020. Artists who were announced for the event included Rage Against the Machine, Billie Eilish, Halsey, Khalid, Blink-182, Maggie Rogers, Cage the Elephant, Illenium, Diplo and Run the Jewels. (Updated March 26, 2020)

FlameCon

The annual LGBTQ comic-book/sci-fi convention in New York City has been cancelled as an in-person event but has pivoted to being a online virtual event. FlameCon had been scheduled to take place August 15 and August 16, 2020. The virtual FlameCon is set for August 15, 2020. The next FlameCon will take place August 21 and August 22, 2021. (Updated July 24, 2020)

Foo Fighters

The Grammy-winning rock band has postponed April 2020 U.S. concerts for its Van Tour. Some of the concerts have already been rescheduled for December 2020. (Updated March 13, 2020)

Fox Entertainment

Fox Entertainment has cancelled all development presentations at industry events until further notice. Fox Broadcasting Company’s “WWE Smackdown Live” will not have live audiences until further notice. (Updated March 12, 2020.)

Fox News

Fox News has cancelled its upfront presentation that was scheduled to take place in New York City on March 24, 2020. In addition, Fox News’ “The Greg Gutfeld Show” will not have live audiences until further notice. (Updated March 12, 2020.)

“The French Dispatch”

Searchlight Pictures has postponed until further notice the comedy “The French Dispatch,” starring Benicio del Toro, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand and Timothée Chalamet. “The French Dispatch” was originally set for release on July 24, 2020 and then postponed to October 16, 2020, before being shelved again. The movie’s new release date is to be announced.

Frozen Dead Guy Days

Frozen Dead Guys Days in Nederland, Colorado, was scheduled to take place from March 13 to March 15, 2020, but has been cancelled. The annual event celebrates “frosty merriment featuring live bands and outrageous events—paying homage to Bredo Morstol, frozen in a Tuff Shed,” according to a statement on the event’s website.

Full Frame Documentary Festival

The annual Full Frame Documentary Festival in Durham, North Carolina, has been cancelled. The event had been set for April 2 to April 5, 2020. (Updated March 11, 2020)

Game Developers Conference

The annual video-game industry conference in San Francisco was scheduled to take place March 16 to Mach 20, 2020, but the event has now been postponed. The new dates for the event are to be announced.

“The Ghost of Peter Sellers”

Film Movement has postponed and rescheduled the release of this documentary, which chronicles the ill-fated production of the Peter Sellers movie “Ghost of the Noonday Sun.” “The Ghost of Peter Sellers” had been scheduled for release in New York City on March 27, 2020. The movie’s VOD release is on June 23, 2020. (Updated May 1, 2020)

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife”

Sony’s Columbia Pictures has postponed and rescheduled this “Ghostbusters” sequel. “Ghosbusters: Afterlife,” starring original “Ghostbusters” headliners Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray, was due out in cinemas on July 10, 2020, and has been rescheduled to open on March 5, 2021. (Updated March 30, 2020)

Gibson

The world-famous guitar manufacturer has temporarily closed its headquarters in Nashville and its facility in Bozemon, Montana, as of March 20, 2020. The operations will re-open on a date to be announced. (Updated March 20, 2020)

GLAAD Media Awards

The GLAAD Media Awards have been cancelled. The bi-coastal ceremonies for LGBTQ people in entertainment/media had been set for New York City on March 19, 2020, and Beverly Hills, California, on April 16, 2020. (Updated March 11, 2020)

Glastonbury Festival

The Glastonbury Festival, one of Europe’s largest annual music events, has been cancelled. The festival (which takes place in Glastonbury, England) was scheduled for June 24 to June 28, 2020. Kendrick Lamar, Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift and Diana Ross were among the headliners. The 2021 edition of the Glastonbury Festival has also been cancelled before any artists were announced for the event. (Updated January 21, 2021)

Global Media Summit

The annual Global Media Summit (GMS) in Carrollton, Texas, has been cancelled. Described by organizers as “a Christian alliance uniting media professionals globally,” the event, which includes the GMS Music Awards, was scheduled to take place from April 22 to April 25, 2020. (Updated March 13, 2020)

“Godzilla vs. Kong”

Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled “Godzilla vs. Kong,” starring Millie Bobby Brown, Alexander Skarsgård and Rebecca Hall. “Godzilla vs. Kong” was originally set to premiere on November 20, 2020, and is now set for release on May 21, 2021. (Updated June 11, 2020)

Google I/O and Google Cloud Next events

Google has cancelled Google I/O. The annual event for Google developers to announce consumer products was scheduled to take place in Mountain View, California, from May 12 to May 14, 2020. Meanwhile, the Google Cloud Next event that was supposed to happen in San Francisco from April 6 to April 8, 2020, will shift from a physical event to a virtual online event, where attendees will be participate through digital resources.

Governors Ball

The annual Governors Ball music festival in New York City has been cancelled. The festival was scheduled for June 5 to June 7, 2020. Artists on the festival bill included Stevie Nicks, Missy Elliott, Tame Impala, Vampire Weekend, Solange, Miley Cyrus, Flume, Maren Morris, Ellie Goulding, H.E.R., Banks, Of Monsters and Men, Milky Chance, Bleachers and Swae Lee. (Updated March 26, 2020)

Grammy Awards

The 63rd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles has been postponed to March 14, 2021. CBS will have the U.S. telecast of the show, which was originally scheduled to take place on January 31, 2021. (Updated January 4, 2021)

Great Escape Festival

The annual Great Escape Festival for alternative rock has been cancelled. The festival (which takes place in Brighton and Hove, England) was scheduled for May 13 to May 16, 2020. Balming Tiger, House of Pharaohs and Amber Van Day were among performers. (Updated March 23, 2020)

Green Day

The Grammy-winning rock band has postponed all of its concerts in Asia for the band’s Hella Mega Tour. The shows have not been rescheduled yet. The postponed concerts were scheduled to take place from March 8 to March 27, 2020, in Singapore, The Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan.

“The Grizzlies”

Mongrel Media had planned to release this Canadian lacrosse movie in the U.S. on March 20, 2020, but the movie’s U.S. release has been rescheduled to be on digital and VOD on September 15, 2020. “The Grizzlies,” whose cast includes Ben Schnetzer and Booboo Stewart, was already released in Canada in 2019. (Updated August 28, 2020)

“The High Note”

Focus Features has postponed and rescheduled the release of the comedy film “The High Note” starring Tracee Ellis Ross and Dakota Johnson. “The High Note” was originally scheduled for release in theaters on May 8, 2020. The new release will be direct-to-video on May 29, 2020, with a premium rental price. (Updated May 4, 2020)

HistoryCon

The History Channel’s annual fan convention in Pasadena, California, has been postponed until further notice. HistoryCon was originally scheduled to take place April 3 to April 5, 2020. (Updated March 20, 2020)

Hometown Rising

The annual country music festival in Louisville, Kentucky, has been cancelled. Hometown Rising was scheduled to take place on September 12 and September 13, 2020. The lineup of artists had not been announced. (Updated April 24, 2020)

Hot Docs

The annual documentary festival in Toronto has been postponed until further notice. The event had been scheduled for April 30 to May 10, 2020. (Updated March 13, 2020)

“I Am Not Alone”

Avalanche Entertainment has postponed until further notice the release of this documentary about Armenian activist Nikol Pashinyan. The movie had originally been scheduled for release in New York City on April 10, 2020 and in Los Angeles on April 17, 2020. (Updated March 18, 2020)

“I Know This Much Is True”

HBO has postponed and rescheduled the TV premiere of the limited drama series “I Know This Much Is True,” starring Mark Ruffalo. “I Know This Much is True” was originally set to premiere on April 27, 2020, and will now premiere on May 10, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

iHeartRadio Music Awards

The iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles (originally scheduled for March 29, 2020) has been postponed, and the rescheduled date is to be announced. Fox has the U.S. telecast of the annual award show. (Updated March 14, 2020)

“In the Heights”

Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled this musical movie, starring Anthony Ramos. The “In the Heights” movie, which is based on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical, was originally scheduled to be released on June 26, 2020. The new release date is June 18, 2021. (Updated on March 24, 2020) 

Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles

The annual event has been postponed until further notice. The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles was originally scheduled for April 1 to April 5, 2020. (Updated March 14, 2020)

Isle of Wight Festival

The annual Isle of Wight Festival for rock and pop music has been cancelled. The festival (which takes place in Newport, England) was scheduled for June 11 to June 14, 2020. Lionel Richie, Lewis Capaldi, Snow Patrol, the Chemical Brothers and Duran Duran were among the performers. (Updated March 26, 2020)

Ivors With Apple Music Awards

The annual award show in London has been postponed and rescheduled. Originally set for May 21, 2020, the ceremony will now take place on September 2, 2020. (Updated March 19, 2020)

Elton John

The Grammy-and-Oscar-winning superstar has postponed all of his North American concerts that were scheduled to take place from March 25 to May 2, 2020. The shows are going to be rescheduled for 2021, on dates to be announced. (Updated March 16, 2020)

Jonas Brothers

Sibling pop trio the Jonas Brothers have cancelled their Las Vegas residency, which had been scheduled to run April 1 to April 18, 2020. (Updated March 13, 2020)

“Judy & Punch”

Samuel Goldwyn Films has postponed and rescheduled the release of the drama “Judy & Punch,” starring Mia Wasikowska andDamon Herriman. Originally scheduled for release on April 24, 2020, “Judy & Punch” will now be released in select U.S. theaters (if they’re open) and on VOD on June 5, 2020. (Updated April 6, 2020)

“Jungle Cruise”

Disney has postponed and rescheduled the release of the action-adventure flick “Jungle Cruise,” starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt. The movie’s release date moves from July 24, 2020, to July 20, 2021. (Updated April 3, 2020)

Just for Laughs

The annual comedy festival in Montreal has been postponed and rescheduled. Originally set for  July 15 to July 26, 2020, Just for Laughs will now take place from September 29 to October 11,  2020. (Updated April 3, 2020)

“King Richard”

Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled this drama, starring Will Smith as Richard Williams, father to tennis icons Venus and Serena Williams. “King Richard” was originally set for November 25, 2020, but will now be released on November 19, 2021. (Updated April 20, 2020)

“Koko-Di Koko-Da”

Dark Star Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the U.S. release of this Swedish horror film. “Koko-Di Koko-Da” (starring Peter Belli, Leif Edlund and Ylva Gallon) had been scheduled for release in New York City on March 27, 2020, with more U.S. cities to follow in subsequent weeks. The movie is now scheduled for a U.S. release in virtual cinemas on November 6, 2020, and on digital and VOD on December 8, 2020. (Updated September 30, 2020)

Lady Gaga

The Grammy-and-Oscar-winning pop star has postponed until further notice the release of her album “Chromatica,” which was originally due out on April 10, 2020. In addition, Lady Gaga’s Las Vegas shows that were set for April 30 to May 11, 2020, have been postponed. (Updated March 24, 2020)

Avril Lavigne

The Grammy-winning pop star has postponed the Asian leg of her “Head Above Water” world tour. The concerts (which were to take place from April 23 to May 24, 2020) were scheduled for China, Japan, The Philippines, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The rescheduled dates are to be announced.

“The Library That Dolly Built”

Abramorama has postponed and rescheduled the release of this Dolly Parton documentary, which was originally scheduled to be released in U.S. cinemas for one night only on April 2, 2020. The one-night-only release will now take place on September 21, 2020. (Updated March 30, 2020)

Life Is Beautiful

The annual music and arts festival in Las Vegas has been cancelled. Life Is Beautiful had been scheduled for September 18 to September 20, 2020. The event’s lineup had not been announced. (Updated April 21, 2020)

Live Nation

Live Nation, the world’s largest live-events promotion company, has cancelled or postponed almost all of its events for 2020. (Updated May 24, 2020)

Locarno Film Festival

The annual event in Switzerland has been cancelled. The Locarno Film Festival had been scheduled for August 5 to August 15, 2020. Instead, the festival will launch Locarno 2020 – For the Future of Films, an online program to promote independent films. (Updated April 29, 2020)

Lollapalooza Festival

The annual music festival in Chicago has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled for July 30 to August 2, 2020. The  2020 Lollapalooza lineup had not been announced. (Updated June 9, 2020)

London Book Fair

The annual London Book Fair has been cancelled. The event was scheduled for March 10 to March 12, 2020.

Louder Than Life

The annual heavy-metal festival in Louisville, Kentucky, has been cancelled. Louder Than Life was scheduled to take place between September 18 and September 20, 2020. Metallica had been announced as the headliner. (Updated April 24, 2020)

“The Lovebirds”

Paramount Pictures has dumped the release of this comedy, starring Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani. The movie was supposed to have its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival, which was also cancelled. “The Lovebirds” was due in U.S. theaters on April 3, 2020, but will now be released on Netflix on May 22, 2020. (Updated March 12, 2020)

Lovebox Festival

The annual Lovebox Festival for electronica dance music has been cancelled. The festival (which takes place in London) was scheduled for June 12 to June 14, 2020. Fatboy Slim, DJ Harvey and Annie Mac were among the performers. (Updated March 27, 2020)

Made in America Festival

The annual music festival in Philadelphia has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled for September 5 and September 6, 2020. The 2020 Made in America Festival lineup had not been announced.  (Updated July 1, 2020)

“Malignant”

Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed until further notice this thriller, starring Annabelle Wallis. “Malignant” was originally scheduled to be released on August 14, 2020. (Updated on March 24, 2020) 

Mammoth Lakes Film Festival

The annual Mammoth Lakes Film Festival in California has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled for May 20 to May 24, 2020. (Updated March 26, 2020)

“The Many Saints of Newark”

Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled this prequel to “The Sopranos,” starring Michael Gandolfini, Ray Liotta and Vera Farmiga. “The Many Saints of Newark” was originally set for September 25, 2020, but will now be released on March 12, 2021. (Updated April 20, 2020)

“The Matrix 4”

Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the fourth “Matrix” movie, whose official title is to be announced. The sci-fi sequel was originally due out on May 21, 2021, and is now set for release on April 1, 2022. (Updated June 11, 2020)

Melbourne International Film Festival

The annual Melbourne International Film Festival in Australia has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled for August 6 to August 23, 2020. (Updated April 7, 2020)

Method Fest Independent Film Festival

The annual festival for independent film actors has been postponed and rescheduled. It had been originally scheduled to take place in Beverly Hills, California, from March 20 to March 26, 2020. The new dates for the event are May 29 to June 4, 2020. (Updated March 18, 2020)

Metropolitan Opera

The Metropolitan Opera in New York City has cancelled all performances until December 31, 2020. (Updated June 2, 2020)

Miami Film Festival

The annual event began on March 6, 2020, and was scheduled to end on March 15, 2020, but was abruptly cancelled on March 12, 2020. (Updated March 12, 2020)

MIDEM

The annual music-industry conference in Cannes, Frances, has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled for June 2  to June 5, 2020. MIDEM officials have announced that some of the previously announced keynote speakers will still deliver their speeches, but will do so online. Previously announced keynote speakers include singer/songwriter Akon, SoundCloud CEO Kerry Trainor, the Raine Group partner Fred Davis, and Downtown Music Holdings CEO Justin Kalifowitz. (Updated March 30, 2020)

“Minions: The Rise of Gru”

Universal Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the release of this animated sequel. “Minions: The Rise of Gru” had originally been due out in late June 2020 (in some countries) and on July 8, 2020 in the United States. The movie, includes voice actor Steve Carell, is now set to be released on July 2, 2021. (Updated April 1, 2020)

MIPDoc

The annual documentary industry event in Cannes, France, has been cancelled. It was scheduled to take place March 28 and March 29, 2020.

MIPFormats

The annual producer/buyer event in Cannes, France, has been cancelled. It was scheduled to take place March 28 and March 29, 2020.

MIPTV

The annual TV industry event in Cannes, France, has been cancelled. It was scheduled to take place March 30 to April 3, 2020.

MobMovieCon

The annual event in Atlantic City, New Jersey, that focuses on mobster movies and related entertainment has been postponed and rescheduled. The inaugural Mob Movie Awards will still be part of the event, which has moved from April 18 and April 19, 2020 to August 22 and August 23, 2020. In addition, SopranosCon Part II will be incorporated into MobMovieCon this year. (Updated March 13, 2020.) 

Montclair Film Festival

The annual festival in Montclair, New Jersey, has been postponed until further notice. The Montclair Film Festival had been originally scheduled to take place from March 20 to March 26, 2020. (Updated March 12, 2020)

Montreaux Jazz Festival

The annual Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland has been cancelled, for the first time in the event’s 53-year history. The festival had been scheduled for July 3 to 18, 2020. Artists (Updated April 17, 2020)

“Morbius”

Sony’s Columbia Pictures has postponed and rescheduled this vampire flick, based on the Marvel Comics character. “Morbius,” starring Jared Leto as the title character, was originally due in cinemas on July 31, 2020, was rescheduled to open on March 19, 2021, and has now been delayed to open on October 8, 2021. (Updated January 11, 2021)

Movie theaters

In March 2020, movie theaters were shut down in several countries, with each country having various policies on when they would re-open. Drive-in theaters are remaining open. In the United States, each individual state is deciding when movies theaters can re-open. Most U.S. theaters re-opened in August 2020. If there are any indoor movie theaters in the U.S. that are open, most have pledged to not book theater rooms at more than 50% capacity. But given the huge dropoff in moviegoing since the coronavirus outbreak was classified as a pandemic, attendance at movie theaters was reaching well below 50% anyway. Cineworld (which owns Regal Cinemas in the U.S., and Cineworld and Picturehouse cinemas in the U.K.) announced that it’s once again shutting down all locations until further notice, as of October 8, 2020. (Updated October 5, 2020)

“Mulan”

Disney has postponed and rescheduled the release of its live-action remake of “Mulan,” starring  Liu Yifei as the title character. The movie was originally scheduled to be released on March 27, 2020, was postponed to July 24, 2020, and will now be released on September 4, 2020. In the U.S., “Mulan” will be available to Disney+ subscribers for an additional $29.99 until December 3, 2020. As of December 4, 2020, there will be no extra charge for Disney+ subscribers to watch the movie. “Mulan” will be released in theaters in countries outside the U.S. where theaters are open for business. Premieres for the movie were already held in Los Angeles on March 9, 2020, and in London on March 12, 2020. (Updated April 3, 2020)

Music Biz

The Music Business Association’s annual Music Biz conference in Nashville has been postponed and rescheduled. Originally scheduled for May 11 to May 14, 2020, the event is now set for August 16 to August 19, 2020. (Updated March 20, 2020)

“My Spy”

STX Films has dumped the comedy “I Spy,” which was supposed to be released in U.S. theaters on April 17, 2020. The movie’s U.S. release will now be on Amazon Prime Video on June 26, 2020. “My Spy,” starring Dave Bautista and Chloe Coleman, was already released in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Croatia, Germany and the Netherlands. (Updated June 11, 2020)

NAACP Image Awards

The National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Image Awards in Pasadena, California, has been postponed. The ceremony was originally set for February 20, 2021, and has been rescheduled for Match 27, 2021. BET will have the U.S. telecast of the ceremony. (Updated January 20, 2021)

National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show in Las Vegas has been cancelled. The annual convention had been scheduled to take place from April 19 to April 22, 2020. (Updated March 11, 2020)

National Symphony Orchestra

The U.S. ensemble has cancelled its tour of China and Japan. The National Symphony Orchestra concerts were scheduled for March 6 to March 17, 2020.

Netflix Is a Joke Fest

Netflix has postponed until further notice its inaugural comedy festival in Los Angeles. Netflix Is a Joke Fest had been set for April 27 to May 3, 2020. Announced stand-up comedy performers included Dave Chappelle, Ali Wong, Marlon Wayans, Amy Schumer, Pete Davidson, Taylor Tomlinson, Iliza Shlesinger, Deon Cole and Ken Jeong. (Updated March 17, 2020)

New York Comic Con

The annual sci-fi/fantasy/comic book fan convention in New York City has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled to take place October 8 to October 11, 2020. For people who want to experience something related to the event that weekend, New York Comic Con has teamed up with sister event MCM Comic Con in London to bring New York Comic Con’s Metaverse, a new online portal, which will be available October 8 to October 11, 2020 at YouTube.com/NYCC and FindtheMetaverse.com.(Updated April 21, 2020)

“The New Mutants”

20th Century Pictures (formerly known as 20th Century Fox) has postponed and rescheduled the release of the superhero flick “The New Mutants,” originally set for April 3, 2020. The new release date in theaters is August 28, 2020. The movie’s ensemble cast includes Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams and Charlie Heaton. (Updated August 12, 2020)

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

The annual music and arts event has been cancelled in 2020 and postponed and rescheduled in 2021. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival had been scheduled for April 23 to May 3, 2020. The performers would have included The Who, Dead & Company, Stevie Nicks, Foo Fighters, Lionel Richie and Lizzo. The 2021 edition of the event was originally set for April 22 to May 1, 2021, and has been rescheduled for October 8 to October 17, 2021. (Updated January 20, 2021)

Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards

The annual award show in Los Angeles has been postponed and rescheduled as a virtual ceremony. The Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards had been set for March 22, 2020 but the virtual ceremony will take place on May 2, 2020. Chance the Rapper had been announced as the ceremony’s host, but the virtual ceremony will be hosted by Victoria Justice. (Updated April 24, 2020)

Nightclubs

Even if there are cities that allow gatherings of less than 50 people per gathering, several cities are still mandating the closure of all nightclubs and bars in the cities until further notice. In the United States, New York City and Los Angeles were among the first big cities that have ordered these closures. (Updated March 15, 2020)

“Nina Wu”

Film Movement has postponed the U.S. release of this Chinese drama, starring Ke-Xi Wu as the title character. Originally scheduled for a U.S. release on March 20, 2020, the new U.S. release date for “Nina Wu” is to be announced.  (Updated March 13, 2020.)

“No Time to Die”

The release of this James Bond 007 movie, starring Daniel Craig, has been postponed and rescheduled. MGM Pictures’ “No Time to Die” had been scheduled to be released in the U.K. and other territories on April 2, 2020. The movie was postponed to November 2020 and then rescheduled for April 2, 2021. The movie’s release date was then changed again and is now set for October 8, 2021. (Updated January 21, 2021)

Olivier Awards

The annual award show in London for West End stage shows has been cancelled. The Olivier Awards had been scheduled for April 5, 2020. The winners will be announced in another way, most likely online. (Updated March 17, 2020)

Orange Warsaw Festival

The annual music and arts festival in Poland has been cancelled. The Orange Warsaw Festival had been scheduled for June 5 and June 6, 2020. (Updated March 24, 2020)

Outside Lands

The annual Outside Lands music festival in San Francisco has been cancelled. The festival was scheduled for August 7 to August 9, 2020. The festival will return on August 6 to August 8, 2021, with most of the same artists who were scheduled for the 2020 Outside Lands event. Artists on the 2021 Outside Lands bill include Tame Impala, Lizzo, The Strokes, Tyler, the Creator, The 1975, J Balvin, Kehlani, Vampire Weekend, Young Thug and Zhu. (Updated June 24, 2020)

PaleyFest

PaleyFest in Los Angeles has been postponed until further notice. The event, which showcases TV programs and TV stars, had been scheduled to take place from March 13 to March 21, 2020. (Updated March 11, 2020)

Pearl Jam

The Grammy-winning rock band has postponed the North American leg of its “Gigaton” tour. The tour dates consisted of U.S. and Canadian concerts that were scheduled to begin on March 18 in Toronto and run through April 19 in Oakland, California. There’s no word yet on when these Pearl Jam shows will be rescheduled. In addition, Pearl Jam has cancelled the “Gigaton Listening Experience,” which was supposed to take place March 25, 2020, as a one-night-only listening event at numerous Dolby movie theaters worldwide for the band’s “Gigaton” album. (Updated March 17, 2020)

PEN America Literary Gala

The annual PEN America Literary Gala has been postponed and rescheduled. The event was originally set for May 19, 2020, and will now take place on September 15, 2020. (Updated March 20, 2020)

“The Personal History of David Copperfield”

20th Century Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the U.S. release of the drama “The Personal History of David Copperfield,” originally set for May 8, 2020. The new U.S. release date is August 28, 2020. The movie, which was already released in the United Kingdom in January 2020, stars Dev Patel. (Updated August 11, 2020)

“Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway”

Sony’s Columbia Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the release of this live-action/animated sequel. “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway” was originally due in cinemas on April 3, 2020, was postponed to August 7, 2020, then January 14, 2021, and will now be released on April 2, 2021. The cast of “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway” includes Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson and David Oyelowo as live actors and Margot Robbie and Elizabeth Debicki as voice actors. (Updated October 22, 2020)

Pilmgrimage Music and Cultural Festival

The annual music festival in Franklin, Tennessee, has been cancelled. The event had been set to take place September 26 and September 27, 2020. (Updated May 19, 2020)

“Praise This”

Universal Pictures has postponed until further notice the release of the music-choir drama “Praise This,” which was originally scheduled for release on September 25, 2020. (Updated April 3, 2020)

Primavera Sound Festival

The annual music festival in Barcelona has been postponed and rescheduled. Originally set for June 4 to June 7, 2020, the festival will now take place August 26 to August 30, 2020. The artists announced for the event include Massive Attack, Disclosure, Kacey Musgraves, the Strokes, Lana Del Rey, Beck, Bikini Kill, Iggy Pop, Bauhaus, Bad Bunny, Jesus and Mary Chain and Tyler, the Creator.

Premios Platino

The annual film and TV awards event has been cancelled. Premios Platino had been scheduled to take place in Riviera Maya, Mexico, from May 1 to May 3, 2020.

“A Quiet Place Part II”

Paramount Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the release of this horror sequel, starring Emily Blunt, which was originally scheduled to be released from March 18 to March 20, 2020, depending on the territory. (The U.S. release was supposed to on March 20.) The movie was then postponed to September 4, 2020. The movie’s new release date is now April 23, 2021. “A Quiet Place Part II” already had its world premiere in New York City on March 8, 2020. (Updated October 22, 2020)

“Radium Girls”

Juno Films has postponed and rescheduled the release of the drama “Radium Girls,” which is about a group of young female labor activists in the 1920s. The movie, which stars Joey King and Abby Quinn, was originally scheduled for release on April 3, 2020. The new release date is October 23, 2020. (Updated September 22, 2020)

Rage Against the Machine

The Grammy-winning rock band has postponed until further notice the first two months of its Public Service Announcement reunion tour that was set begin March 26, 2020 in El Paso, Texas, and continue to May 23, 2020, in Boston. (Updated March 13, 2020)

Record Store Day

Record Store Day, which takes place at various retail music stores around the world, has been postponed and rescheduled. Originally set for April 4, 2020, Record Store Day is now set for June 20, 2020. (Updated March 13, 2020)

Red Sea Film Festival

The inaugural event (which was scheduled to take place March 12 to March 21, 2020 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) has now been postponed until further notice. Oscar-winning filmmakers Oliver Stone and Spike Lee had been announced to attend the event. Stone was selected as a jury member, while Lee was supposed to present a special screening of his 1992 film “Malcolm X.”

“Rewind”

FilmRise has postponed and rescheduled the theatrical release of director Sasha Joseph Neulinger’s autobiographical documentary about abuse that he experienced as a child. “Rewind” had been set to be released in New York City on March 27, 2020, and in Los Angeles on April 3, 2020. The movie will now be released on digital and VOD on May 8, 2020. “Rewind” will also be shown on the PBS series “Independent Lens” on May 11, 2020. (Updated April 16, 2020)

Ride for Ronnie Motorcycle Ride and Concert

The Ride for Ronnie Motorcycle Ride and Concert (which was planned for May 17, 2020) has been postponed until further notice. The annual event benefiting the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund is comprised of a motorcycle ride originating at Harley-Davidson of Glendale, California, followed by an afternoon of live music at Los Encinos Park in Encino, California. (Updated March 17, 2020)

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

The 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which was supposed to take place on May 2 in Cleveland, was postponed to November 7, 2020, but has now been cancelled. The performers who were to be inducted in the live ceremony were Depeche Mode, the Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, Nine Inch Nails, Notorious B.I.G. and T. Rex. Instead of a live telecast of the show, HBO will televise a pre-recorded special to honor the inductees. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland temporarily closed for a few months, as of March 14, 2020, but it has now re-opened. (Updated July 8, 2020)

Rolling Loud Festival

The Rolling Loud festival in Miami has been postponed and rescheduled with the same lineup. The festival was originally set for May 8 to May 10, 2020, and will now take place February 12 to 14, 2021. The artists who are scheduled to perform include Post Malone, Travis Scott, A$AP Rocky, Lil Uzi Vert, 21 Savage, Rick Ross, Big Sean, Megan Thee Stallion, Swae Lee, Juicy J, A$AP Ferg, Tyga, Young Thug, Gucci Mane, T-Pain, YG, Playboi Carti, Lil Yachty and Young M.A. (Updated April 1, 2020)

Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones have postponed until further notice the 2020 North American leg of their “No Filter” tour. The 15 concerts were scheduled to begin May 8 in San Diego and end July 9 in Atlanta. (Updated March 18, 2020)

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

The annual event in Scotland has been cancelled. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo had been scheduled for August 7 to August 29, 2020. (Updated April 1, 2020)

“Run”

Lionsgate has dropped the release of the horror film “Run,” originally set for release in theaters May 8, 2020. Hulu will now release “Run” on November 20, 2020. The movie stars Sarah Paulson. (Updated September 22, 2020)

RuPaul’s DragCon LA

This annual Los Angeles event celebrating the culture of drag queens has been cancelled. RuPaul’s DragCon LA had been scheduled to take place May 1 to May 3, 2020. (Updated March 10, 2020)

San Francisco Silent Film Festival

The annual event has been cancelled. Originally set to take place from April 29 to May 3, 2020, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival was rescheduled for November 11 to November 15, 2020. However, the festival has now been cancelled for 2020, and is set to from May 5 to May 9, 2021. (June 3, 2020)

“Scoob!”

Warner Bros. Pictures will release directly to home video this animated film, based on the “Scooby-Doo” TV series. “Scoob!” was originally scheduled to be released in theaters on May 15, 2020. The release date is still the same, but it will now be on digital and VOD. The movie’s voice cast includes Frank Welker, Will Forte, Gina Rodriguez, Amanda Seyfried and Zac Efron. (Updated on April 21, 2020) 

Screen Actors Guild Awards

The 27th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles has been rescheduled to April 4, 2021. The original date for the show (which will be televised in the U.S. on TNT and TBS) was March 14, 2021, but had to move when the 2021 Grammy Awards was postponed to this date. (Updated on January 13, 2021) 

“The Secret: Dare to Dream”

Roadside Attractions has postponed and rescheduled the release of this dramatic film, starring Katie Holmes and Josh Lucas. “The Secret: Dare to Dream” was due in U.S. theaters on April 17, 2020, and is now set for release on digital and PVOD (premium video on demand) on July 31, 2020. (Updated March 12, 2020)

Series Mania

The annual TV festival in Lille, France, has been cancelled. Series Mania was supposed to take place from March 20 to March 28, 2020. (Updated March 11, 2020)

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”

Disney’s Marvel Studios has postponed and rescheduled the release of the superhero movie “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” starring Simu Liu and Tony Leung. “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” was originally scheduled to be released on February 12, 2021, and will now be released on May 7, 2021. (Updated April 3, 2020)

“Sing 2”

Universal Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the release of this animated sequel. “Sing 2,” which includes voice actors Reese Witherspoon and Matthew McConaughey, was originally set to open July 2, 2021, and will now be released on December 22, 2021. (Updated April 1, 2020)

Slay the Dragon”

This critically acclaimed documentary about gerrymandering in U.S. politics had been scheduled for a limited U.S. theatrical release on March 13, 2020. Magnolia Pictures will now release “Slay the Dragon” on VOD and on other digital platforms on April 3, 2020. (Updated March 10, 2020)

“Sometimes Always Never”

Blue Fox Entertainment has postponed and rescheduled the U.S. release of this British thriller, starring Bill Nighy and Sam Riley. “Sometimes Always Never” had been rescheduled for a U.S. theatrical release on April 15, 2020, after being postponed from March 6, 2020. The movie will now be released in virtual cinemas on June 12, 2020, and on VOD on July 10, 2020. The movie was already released in 2019 in several countries, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Hungary. (Updated June 1, 2020)

Songwriters Hall of Fame

The annual Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony in New York City has been postponed and rescheduled for 2021, and the show will award the previously announced honorees. Originally set for June 11, 2020, the ceremony will now take place on June 10, 2021. The previously announced honorees are Mariah Carey; Eurythmics co-founders Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart; the Isley Brothers members Ernie Isley, Marvin Isley, O’Kelly Isley, Ronald Isley,  Rudolph Isley and Chris Jasper; Steve Miller; the Neptunes founders Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo; Rick Nowels; and William “Mickey” Stevenson. Paul Williams will receive the Johnny Mercer Award. Universal Music Publishing chairman/CEO Jody Gerson will receive the Abe Olman Publisher Award. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Sonic Temple Arts + Music Festival

Concert promoter Danny Wimmer Presents has cancelled the annual Sonic Temple Arts + Music Festival, which was scheduled to take in place in Columbus, Ohio, from May 15 to May 17, 2020. The lineup of performers included Metallica, Slipknot, Deftones, Bring Me the Horizon, Evanescence, and Staind. Many of the artists who were scheduled to perform at the festival were going to perform at the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville, Kentucky (another Danny Wimmer Presents event), which has expanded to four days (September 17 to September 20, 2020), with Metallica headlining on September 17. However, the 2020 edition of Louder Than Life has now also been cancelled(Updated April 24, 2020)

“Soul”

Disney’s Pixar Studios has postponed and rescheduled the release of this animated film, which is the first Pixar movie to have an African American character in the lead role. The voice cast of “Soul” includes Jamie Foxx, Daveed Diggs, Tina Fey, Phylicia Rashad, Angela Bassett, Questlove and Graham Norton. “Soul” was originally scheduled to be released in theaters on November 19, 2020, and will now be released on December 25, 2020. “Soul” will be available to Disney+ subscribers in countries where Disney+ is available, while the movie will be released in theaters in countries where Disney+ is not available. (Updated October 9, 2020.)

South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festivals

The 2020 edition of SXSW has been cancelled for the first time in the event’s 34-year history. The event was scheduled to take place from March 13 to 22 in Austin, Texas. A public health state of emergency has also been declared in the city of Austin. SXSW includes festivals for music, film and live comedy, as well as conferences for technology, education and gaming. Days before the cancellation, several companies pulled of out participating in the event this year, including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Intel, Lionsgate, Starz, TikTok, Twitter, Vevo and WarnerMedia. The SXSW Film Festival announced that it will still give awards this year in the jury-voted categories. The films in competition are being made available online to jurors. Winners will be announced online and not at an awards ceremony. Click here for the full story of the SXSW event cancellation. On April 2, it was announced that the 2020 SXSW Film Festival has partnered with Amazon Prime Video to make select films from the cancelled festival available for free on Amazon Prime Video for a limited time. Click here for more details. (Updated April 2, 2020)

“Spiral”

Lionsgate has postponed until further notice the release of the horror movie “Spiral,” originally set for May 15, 2020. The movie, which is a reboot of the “Saw” franchise, stars Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson. (Updated March 17, 2020)

“The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run”

Paramount Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the release of this animated sequel, starring voice actor Tom Kenney, which was originally scheduled to be released May 22, 2020. “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run”was then pushed back to July 17 and then July 31, 2020. The movie’s new U.S. release date will be sometime in early 2021, where it will be released on premium VOD (PVOD). After being released on PVOD, the movie will be available on CBS All Access, which is changing its name to Paramount+ in 2021. (Updated July 8, 2020)

Stagecoach Music  Festival

The annual country music festival has been cancelled. Originally scheduled for April 24 to April 26, 2020, Stagecoach (which takes place in Indio, California) was rescheduled for October 23 to October 25, 2020, but now the event will not take place in 2020. Artists who had been announced to perform included headliners Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood and Eric Church, as well as Brett Young, Billy Ray Cyrus, Lil Nas X, Dan + Shay, Alan Jackson, Jon Pardi and Bryan Adams. (Updated June 11, 2020)

Harry Styles

The former One Direction star has postponed and rescheduled the U.K. and continental European dates of his Love on Tour. The shows were originally scheduled to begin April 15, 2020 in Birmingham, England, and end June 3, 2020, in Moscow. The concerts will now take place in 2021, beginning February 12 in Bologna, Italy, and end March 30 in Moscow. (Updated March 25, 2020)

Taylor Swift

The Grammy-winning superstar has postponed all of her tour dates for the remainder of 2020. The rescheduled dates for the concerts are to be announced. Unlike other artists’ tour dates that have been postponed, refunds will be available for Swift’s postponed tour dates. (Updated April 17, 2020)

Summerfest

The annual music festival in Milwaukee has been postponed and rescheduled. The event was originally set for June 24 to July 5 to the weekends of September 3 to September 5, September 10 to September 12, and September 17 to September 19, 2020. Performers include Justin Bieber, Guns N’Roses, Dave Matthews Band, Luke Bryan, Khalid, Halsey, Sam Hunt and Jessie Reyez. (Updated March 23, 2020)

Sun Valley Film Festival

The annual festival in Sun Valley, Idaho, has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled to take place from March 18 to March 22, 2020. (Updated March 12, 2020)

Sydney Film Festival

The annual film festival in Australia had been scheduled for June 3 to June 14, 2020, but the event has been cancelled. The Sydney Film Festival plans to return in 2021. (Updated March 17, 2020)

Edinburgh Fringe Festival

The annual event in Telluride, Colorado, has been cancelled. The Telluride Film Festival had been scheduled for September 3 to September 7, 2020. (Updated July 14, 2020)

“Tenet”

Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the thriller “Tenet,” starring John David Washington and Robert Pattinson. “Tenet” was originally set to premiere on July 17, 2020, was postponed to July 31, 2020, and then August 12, 2020. Theatrical release dates for the movie will now vary by country. The new U.S. release date for “Tenet” is September 3, 2020. In Canada, the movie will be released on August 26, 2020. (Updated August 2, 2020)

“The Third Day”

HBO has postponed the TV premiere of the limited drama series “The Third Day,” starring Jude Law and Naomie Harris. “The Third Day” was originally set to premiere on May 11, 2020, and will now premiere on September 14, 2020. (Updated July 22, 2020)

“Thor: Love and Thunder”

Disney’s Marvel Studios has postponed and rescheduled the release of the superhero movie “Thor: Love and Thunder,” starring Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman. “Thor: Love and Thunder” was originally scheduled for release on November 5, 2021. The new release date is February 8, 2022. (Updated April 3, 2020)

“Tom & Jerry”

Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the animated film “Tom & Jerry,” starring the voices of Chloë Grace Moretz Michael Peña Ken Jeong and Rob Delaney. The film was originally due out on December 23, 2020, and is now set for release on March 5, 2021. (Updated June 11, 2020)

Tomorrowland 

The annual electronic-music festival Tomorrowland in Alpe d’Huez, France, has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled for March 14 to March 21, 2020.

“Tomorrow War”

Paramount Pictures has postponed until further notice the release of this sci-fi/fantasy film, starring Chris Pratt, which was originally scheduled to be released December 25, 2020.  (Updated April 2, 2020)

Tony Awards

The Tony Awards, an annual ceremony in New York City for Broadway shows, has been postponed until further notice. The ceremony had originally been scheduled for June 7, 2020. The show will be webcast, not televised, on a date to be announced. (Updated October 8, 2020)

“Top Gun: Maverick”

Paramount Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the release of this action sequel, starring Tom Cruise, which was originally scheduled to be released June 24, 2020. The movie’s release date was changed to December 23, 2020. The movie’s new release date is July 2, 2021. (Updated October 2, 2020)

Toronto Comic Arts Festival

The annual comic-book convention has been cancelled. The Toronto Comic Arts Festival had been scheduled for May 8 to May 10, 2020. (Updated March 19, 2020)

Treefort Music Fest

The annual festival in Boise, Idaho, for emerging talent has been postponed. Treefort Music Fest had originally been scheduled to take place from March 25 to 29, 2020, and will now take place from September 23 to September 27, 2020. (Updated March 12, 2020)

Tribeca Film Festival

The Tribeca Film Festival in New York City has been turned into a semi-open virtual event, with industry people and the media being able to access certain films online from April 15 to May 15, 2020. The annual event had been scheduled for to be open to the public from April 15 to April 26, 2020. Winners of the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival’s jury awards were announced on April 29, 2020. (Updated April 29, 2020)

“The Truth”

IFC Films has postponed the U.S. release of this French drama, starring Catherine Denueve, Juliette Binoche and Ethan Hawke. Originally scheduled for a U.S. release on March 20, 2020, the new U.S. release date for “The Truth” is on July 3, 2020. The movie was already released in France and in Japan in 2019. (Updated June 20, 2020.)

TV Network Upfront Presentations

TV networks’ annual upfront presentations for advertisers take place in New York City, mostly in April and May. In 2020, all of these events have now been cancelled or switched to being online presentations only. (Updated March 15, 2020)

TV Shows With Live Audiences

Almost all nationally televised series that are known to have live audiences have announced that they will continue without live audiences or they are temporarily shutting down production. These include talk shows, game shows, talent shows and variety shows. Some of these shows have already taped episodes with audiences, before bans on large gatherings went into effect. (Updated March 16, 2020)

Ultra Music Festival

The annual electronica-dance music event in Miami has been cancelled and will return in 2021. Ultra Music Festival had been scheduled to take place March 20 to March 22, 2020. Performers at the 2020 Ultra Music Festival would have included David Guetta, DJ Snake, Major Lazer, Above & Beyond, Afrojack and Martin Garrix.

“Uncharted”

Sony’s Columbia Pictures has postponed and rescheduled this video-game-based movie. “Uncharted,” starring Tom Holland and Bryan Cranston, was due out in cinemas on March 5, 2021, and has been rescheduled to open on October 8, 2021. (Updated March 30, 2020)

Universal Studios

Universal Studios Hollywood will be closed until further notice, as of March 14, 2020. Universal Studios in Florida closed on March 16, 2020 and re-opened on June 5, 2020.  (Updated April 1, 2020)

“Venom: Let There Be Carnage”

Sony’s Columbia Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the release of the sequel “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” starring Tom Hardy. “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” was originally scheduled to be released on October 2, 2020, and will now be released on June 25, 2021. (Updated April 21, 2020)

 VidCon

VidCon, the annual networking event for video-based media influencers, has postponed all of its conferences. The flagship VidCon in Anaheim, California, was supposed to take place from June 17 to June 20, 2020, but the event will be rescheduled on dates to be announced. The inaugural VidCon Mexico in Mexico City was scheduled for April 30 to May 3, 2020, and has been rescheduled for September 17 to September 20, 2020. The inaugural VidCon Abu Dhabi was scheduled for March 25 to March 28, 2020, and has been rescheduled for December 16 to December 19, 2020. (Updated March 23, 2020)

Wango Tango

The annual star-studded music concert, hosted by Los Angeles pop radio station KIIS-FM, has been cancelled. The show was set for June 5, 2020, in Carson, California. The 2020 Wango Tango lineup included headliner Harry Styles. (Updated March 24, 2020)

Webby Awards

The annual award show in New York City honoring World Wide Web content and creators has been postponed until further notice and will be changed from an in-person event to an online event. The original date for this year’s Webby Awards was May 11, 2020. (Updated March 19, 2020)

Welcome to Rockville

Concert promoter Danny Wimmer Presents has cancelled the annual Welcome to Rockville festival, which was scheduled to take in place in Daytona Beach, Florida, from May 8 to May 10, 2020. The lineup of performers included Metallica, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Godsmack, Deftones,Social Distortion, The Offspring, Staind, Lamb of God, Rancid.  Many of the artists who were scheduled to perform at the festival were going to perform at the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville, Kentucky (another Danny Wimmer Presents event), which has expanded to four days (September 17 to September 20, 2020), with Metallica headlining on September 17. However, the 2020 edition of Louder Than Life has now also been cancelled(Updated April 24, 2020)

“West Side Story”

Disney’s 20th Century Studios has postponed and rescheduled the release of the musical remake of “West Side Story,” which was set for December 18, 2020. The movie’s new release date is December 10, 2021. The stars of “West Side Story” include Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler and Rita Moreno. (Updated September 23, 2020)

WhedonCon

The annual convention in Los Angeles celebrating the work of writer/director Joss Whedon (who’s best known for the first two “Avengers” movies and the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” TV series) has been postponed, rescheduled and turned into an online-only event. WhedonCon was originally scheduled for June 5 to June 7, 2020, then postponed to October 30 to November 1, 2020. The event will now be online only on October 24, 2020. (Updated August 19, 2020)

“Wicked”

Universal Pictures has postponed until further notice the release of this movie adaptation of the Tony-winning Broadway musical. “Wicked,” starring Katie Rose Clark and Jessica Vosk, had originally been set for release on December 22, 2021. (Updated April 1, 2020)

Winter Music Conference

The annual convention in Miami for electronica-dance music was scheduled to take place March 16 to March 19, 2020, but has been postponed and will be rescheduled on dates to be announced.

“The Witches”

Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the horror/fantasy film “The Witches,” starring Anne Hathaway and Octavia Spencer. “The Witches” was originally set to be released in theaters on October 9, 2020, and will now go directly to streaming on HBO Max on October 22, 2020. (Updated October 2, 2020)

“The Wolf House”

Independent movie distributor KimStim has postponed and rescheduled the U.S. release of this Chilean animated film, which tells the story of Colonia Dignidad, a German émigré-run colony in post-WWII Chile that was revealed to have been used to imprison, torture and murder dissidents during the Pinochet regime. “The Wolf House” is now set for release in virtual cinemas on May 15, 2020. The movie was originally scheduled for release in New York City on March 20, 2020, and in Los Angeles on March 27, 2020.  (Updated May 1, 2020.)

WOMAD Festival

The annual World of Music and Dance (WOMAD) Festival in Wiltshire, England, has been cancelled. The festival (founded by Peter Gabriel) was scheduled for July 23 to July 26, 2020. Artists on the festival bill included the Flaming Lips, Angélique Kidjo, Kate Tempest and Fatoumata Diawara. (Updated June 8, 2020)

“The Woman in the Window”

20th Century Pictures has sold the thriller “The Woman in the Window” to Netflix. Originally set for release in theaters on April 18, 2020, “The Woman in the Window” (which stars Amy Adams) will have a release date to be announced. (Updated November 3, 2020)

WonderCon

The annual comic-book/sci-fi/fantasy entertainment fan convention in Anaheim, California, has been cancelled. WonderCon had been set for April 10 to April 12, 2020.The event will return on March 26 to March 28, 2021. (Updated April 17, 2020)

“Wonder Woman 1984”

Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled this superhero sequel, starring Gal Gadot. “Wonder Woman 1984” was originally set for June 5, 2020, then rescheduled for August 14, 2020, and then October 2, 2020. The movie’s current theatrical release dates are December 16, 2020, in countries outside of the U.S. and Canada, and on December 25, 2020 in the U.S. and Canada. “Wonder Woman 1984” will also be available on HBO Max at no additional charge to subscribers on December 25, 2020. (Updated November 18, 2020)

YouTube

The London edition of YouTube on Stage, an event to showcase YouTube talent, was cancelled just hours before the event was supposed to happen on March 11, 2020. In addition, YouTube has switched its annual Brandcast marketing presentation (set for April 30, 2020) to be an online event instead of an in-person event. (Updated March 16, 2020)

2021 Sundance Film Festival: film slate announced

December 15, 2020

The following is a press release from the Sundance Institute:

The nonprofit Sundance Institute announced today the showcase of new independent work selected across the Feature Film, Short Film, Indie Series and New Frontier categories for the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. The Festival will take place digitally via a feature-rich, Sundance-built online platform and in person on Satellite Screens across the country (public health permitting) from January 28-February 3, 2021. Additionally, Festival attendees can gather in virtual waiting rooms, participate in live Q&As, and congregate in new, inspired online environments to interact in a range of ways both new and familiar. The Institute shared details of how the Festival will meet audiences on the online platform and Satellite Screens earlier this month

The Sundance Film Festival is the flagship public program of Sundance Institute. Throughout the year the majority of the Institute’s resources support independent artists around the world as they make and develop new work through access to Labs, direct grants, fellowships, residencies and other strategic and tactical interventions.

“Togetherness has been an animating principle here at the Sundance Institute as we’ve worked to reimagine the Festival for 2021, because there is no Sundance without our community,” said Sundance Institute Founder and President Robert Redford. “Under Tabitha’s leadership, we’ve forged a new collective vision: one that honors the spirit and tradition of these invigorating yearly gatherings in Utah, while making room for imaginative new possibilities in a new online format.”

“Of course, the pandemic year demanded adaptation,” said Keri Putnam, Sundance Institute’s Executive Director. “On a deeper level, we also recognize the urgency of supporting independent storytellers at a time of great upheaval in the film and media fields. We’re proud this edition of the Festival is fiercely independent, and will reach people everywhere, celebrating both the theatrical experience at our Satellite Screens and streaming on our platform.”
 
“This Festival is a singular response to a singular year – both in design and curation – and we are excited about the new dimensions of possibility it will reveal. But at its core is something that speaks to our most enduring values,” said Tabitha Jackson, Director of the Sundance Film Festival. “For thousands of years humans have gathered to tell stories and make meaning. In this pandemic year we gather to celebrate a constellation of artists with unique perspectives that express this current moment and who together are saying, ‘We exist. This is who we are. And this is what we see.'”
 
“The work in this year’s program is groundbreaking, imaginative, and formally daring,” said Kim Yutani, the Festival’s Director of Programming. “With over half the program made by first-time directors, a sense of discovery remains true to us at Sundance. This year’s Festival presents irrefutable evidence that despite the challenges, the independent voice is as strong as ever.”
 
Day One films debuting on the platform to open the Festival will be Censor, CODAFleeOne for the Road, In The Same Breath, and Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised).
 
Son of Monarchs, screening in the NEXT section, has been named the winner of the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize.

Announced today: the full 2021 slate of works, including 72 feature-length films, representing 29 countries and 38 first-time feature filmmakers. 14 films and projects announced today were supported by Sundance Institute in development, through direct granting or residency Labs. 66 of the Festival’s feature films, or 92% of the lineup announced today, will be world premieres. These films were selected from 14,092 submissions including 3,500 feature-length films. Of the feature film submissions, 1,377 were from the U.S. and 2,132 were international. Director demographics are available in an editor’s note below.

The projects confirmed for the 2021 Sundance Film Festival are:

U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION

Presenting the world premieres of 10 narrative feature films, the Dramatic Competition offers Festivalgoers a first look at groundbreaking new voices in American independent film. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include Minari, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, The Farewell, Honey Boy, Clemency, Eighth Grade, and Sorry to Bother You.

“CODA” (Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute)

CODA / U.S.A. (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, and Marlee Matlin. World Premiere.DAY ONE

I Was a Simple Man
 / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Christopher Makoto Yogi, Producers: Sarah S. Kim, Christopher Makoto Yogi, Matthew Petock, Yamato Cibulka) — As a family in Hawai’i faces the imminent death of their eldest, the ghosts of the past haunt the countryside. Cast: Steve Iwamoto, Constance Wu, Kanoa Goo, Chanel Akiko Hirai, Tim Chiou, Boonyanudh Jiyarom. World Premiere

Jockey
 / U.S.A. (Director: Clint Bentley, Screenwriters: Clint Bentley, Greg Kwedar, Producers: Clint Bentley, Greg Kwedar, Nancy Schafer) — An aging jockey is determined to win one last championship, but his dream is complicated when a young rookie shows up claiming to be his son. Cast: Clifton Collins Jr., Molly Parker, Moises Arias. World Premiere

John and the Hole
 / U.S.A. (Director: Pascual Sisto, Screenwriter: Nicolás Giacobone, Producers: Elika Portnoy, Alex Orlovsky, Mike Bowes) — A nontraditional coming-of-age story, set in the unsettling reality of John, a kid who holds his family captive in a hole in the ground. Cast: Charlie Shotwell, Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Ehle, Taissa Farmiga. World Premiere

Mayday / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Karen Cinorre, Producers: Jonah Disend, Lucas Joaquin, Karen Cinorre, Sam Levy) — Ana is transported to a dreamlike and dangerous land where she joins a team of female soldiers engaged in a never-ending war along a rugged coast. Though she finds strength in this exhilarating world, she comes to realize that she’s not the killer they want her to be. Cast: Grace Van Patten, Mia Goth, Havana Rose Liu, Soko, Théodore Pellerin, Juliette Lewis. World Premiere

On the Count of Three / U.S.A. (Director: Jerrod Carmichael, Screenwriters: Ari Katcher, Ryan Welch, Producers: David Carrico, Adam Paulsen, Tom Werner, Jake Densen, Ari Katcher, Jimmy Price) — Two guns. Two best friends. And a pact to end their lives when the day is done. Cast: Jerrod Carmichael, Christopher Abbott, Tiffany Haddish, J.B. Smoove, Lavell Crawford, Henry Winkler. World Premiere

Passing
 / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Rebecca Hall, Producers: Forest Whitaker, Nina Yang Bongiovi, Margot Hand, Rebecca Hall) — Two African-American women who can “pass” as white choose to live on opposite sides of the color line in 1929 New York in an exploration of racial and gender identity, performance, obsession and repression. Based on the novella by Nella Larsen. Cast: Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga, André Holland, Alexander Skarsgård, Bill Camp. World Premiere

Superior
 / U.S.A. (Director: Erin Vassilopoulos, Screenwriters: Erin Vassilopoulos, Alessandra Mesa, Producers: Benjamin Cohen, Grant Curatola, Patrick Donovan) — On the run, Marian returns to her hometown in upstate New York to hide out with her estranged identical twin sister, Vivian. Struggling to put the past behind her, Marian lies about the reason for her return, leaving her sister in the dark until their two worlds begin to collide. Cast: Alessandra Mesa, Ani Mesa, Pico Alexander, Jake Hoffman, Stanley Simons. World Premiere

Together Together
 / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Nikole Beckwith, Producers: Anthony Brandonisio, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Tim Headington) — When young loner Anna is hired as the surrogate for Matt, a single man in his 40s, the two strangers come to realize this unexpected relationship will quickly challenge their perceptions of connection, boundaries and the particulars of love. Cast: Ed Helms, Patti Harrison, Tig Notaro, Julio Torres, Anna Konkle. World Premiere

Wild Indian
 / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr., Producers: Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr., Thomas Mahoney, Eric Tavitian) — Two men are inextricably bound together after covering up the savage murder of a schoolmate. After years of separation following wildly divergent paths, they must finally confront how their traumatic secret has irrevocably shaped their lives. Cast: Michael Greyeyes, Chaske Spencer, Jesse Eisenberg, Kate Bosworth, Phoenix Wilson, Julian Gopal. World Premiere

U.S. DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

Ten world-premiere American documentaries that illuminate the ideas, people and events that shape the present day. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include Boys State, Crip Camp: A Disability RevolutionApollo 11, Knock Down The House, One Child Nation, American FactoryThree Identical Strangers and On Her Shoulders.

“Ailey” (Photo by Jack Mitchell)

Ailey / U.S.A. (Director: Jamila Wignot, Producer: Lauren DeFilippo) — Alvin Ailey was a visionary artist who found salvation through dance. Told in his own words and through the creation of a dance inspired by his life, this immersive portrait follows a man who, when confronted by a world that refused to embrace him, determined to build one that would. World Premiere

All Light, Everywhere
/ U.S.A. (Director: Theo Anthony, Producers: Riel Roch-Decter, Sebastian Pardo, Jonna McKone) — An exploration of the shared histories of cameras, weapons, policing and justice. As surveillance technologies become a fixture in everyday life, the film interrogates the complexity of an objective point of view, probing the biases inherent in both human perception and the lens. World Premiere

At the Ready / U.S.A. (Director: Maisie Crow, Producers: Hillary Pierce, Maisie Crow, Abbie Perrault) — Home to one of the region’s largest law enforcement education program, students at Horizon High School in El Paso train to become police officers and Border Patrol agents as they discover the realities of their dream jobs may be at odds with the truths and people they hold most dear. World Premiere

Cusp
 / U.S.A. (Directors: Parker Hill, Isabel Bethencourt, Producers: Zachary Luke Kislevitz, Parker Hill, Isabel Bethencourt) — In a Texas military town, three teenage girls confront the dark corners of adolescence at the end of a fever dream summer. World Premiere

Homeroom
 / U.S.A. (Director: Peter Nicks, Producers: Peter Nicks, Sean Havey) — Following the class of 2020 at Oakland High School in a year marked by seismic change, exploring the emotional world of teenagers coming of age against the backdrop of a rapidly changing world. World Premiere

Rebel Hearts
 / U.S.A. (Director: Pedro Kos, Producers: Kira Carstensen, Shawnee Isaac-Smith, Judy Korin) — A group of pioneering nuns bravely stand up to the Catholic Church patriarchy, fighting for their livelihoods, convictions and equality against an all-powerful Cardinal. From marching in Selma in 1965 to the Women’s March in 2018, these women have reshaped our society with their bold acts of defiance. World Premiere

Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It
 / U.S.A. (Director: Mariem Pérez Riera, Producers: Brent Miller, Mariem Pérez Riera, Ilia J. Vélez-Dávila) — Rita Moreno defied both her humble upbringing and relentless racism to become one of a select group who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award. Over a seventy year career, she has paved the way for Hispanic-American performers by refusing to be pigeonholed into one-dimensional stereotypes. World Premiere

Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) / U.S.A. (Director: Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Producers: David Dinerstein, Robert Fyvolent, Joseph Patel) — During the same summer as Woodstock, over 300,000 people attended the Harlem Cultural Festival, celebrating African American music and culture, and promoting Black pride and unity. The footage from the festival sat in a basement, unseen for over 50 years, keeping this incredible event in America’s history lost – until now. World Premiere. DAY ONE

Try Harder!
 / U.S.A. (Director: Debbie Lum, Producers: Debbie Lum, Lou Nakasako, Nico Opper) — In a universe where cool kids are nerds, the orchestra is world class and being Asian American is the norm, seniors at Lowell High School compete for the top prize: admission to the college of their dreams. World Premiere

Users
 / U.S.A., Mexico (Director: Natalia Almada, Producers: Elizabeth Lodge Stepp, Josh Penn) — A mother wonders, will my children love their perfect machines more than they love me, their imperfect mother? She switches on a smart-crib lulling her crying baby to sleep. This perfect mother is everywhere. She watches over us, takes care of us. We listen to her. We trust her. World Premiere

WORLD CINEMA DRAMATIC COMPETITION

“The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet” (Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute)

Ten films from emerging filmmaking talents around the world offer fresh perspectives and inventive styles. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include The Souvenir, The Guilty, Monos, YardieThe Nile Hilton Incident and Second Mother.

The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet / Argentina (Director: Ana Katz, Screenwriters: Ana Katz, Gonzalo Delgado, Producers: Laura Huberman, Ana Katz) — Sebastian, a man in his thirties, works a series of temporary jobs and he embraces love at every opportunity. He transforms, through a series of short encounters, as the world flirts with possible apocalypse. Cast: Daniel Katz, Julieta Zylberberg, Valeria Lois, Mirella Pascual, Carlos Portaluppi. World Premiere

El Planeta
 / U.S.A., Spain (Director and Screenwriter: Amalia Ulman, Producers: Amalia Ulman, Kathleen Heffernan, Kweku Mandela) — Amidst the devastation of post-crisis Spain, mother and daughter bluff and grift to keep up the lifestyle they think they deserve, bonding over common tragedy and an impending eviction. Cast: Amalia Ulman, Ale Ulman, Nacho Vigalondo, Zhou Chen, Saoirse Bertram. World Premiere

Fire in the Mountains
 / India (Director and Screenwriter: Ajitpal Singh, Producers: Ajay Rai, Alan McAlex) — A mother toils to save money to build a road in a Himalayan village to take her wheelchair-bound son for physiotherapy, but her husband, who believes that an expensive religious ritual is the remedy, steals her savings. Cast: Vinamrata Rai, Chandan Bisht, Mayank Singh Jaira, Harshita Tewari, Sonal Jha. World Premiere

Hive
 / Kosovo, Switzerland, Macedonia, Albania (Director and Screenwriter: Blerta Basholli, Producers: Yll Uka, Valon Bajgora, Agon Uka) — Fahrije’s husband has been missing since the war in Kosovo. She sets up her own small business to provide for her kids, but as she fights against a patriarchal society that does not support her, she faces a crucial decision: to wait for his return, or to continue to persevere. Cast: Yllka Gashi, Çun Lajçi, Aurita Agushi, Kumrije Hoxha, Adriana Matoshi, Kaona Sylejmani. World Premiere

Human Factors
 / Germany, Italy, Denmark (Director and Screenwriter: Ronny Trocker, Producers: Susanne Mann, Paul Zischler, Martin Rehbock) — A mysterious housebreaking exposes the agony of an exemplary middle class family. Cast: Sabine Timoteo, Mark Waschke, Jule Hermann, Wanja Valentin Kube, Hannes Perkmann, Daniel Séjourné. World Premiere 

Luzzu / Malta (Director and Screenwriter: Alex Camilleri, Producers: Rebecca Anastasi, Ramin Bahrani, Alex Camilleri, Oliver Mallia) — Jesmark, a struggling fisherman on the island of Malta, is forced to turn his back on generations of tradition and risk everything by entering the world of black market fishing to provide for his girlfriend and newborn baby. Cast: Jesmark Scicluna, Michela Farrugia, David Scicluna. World Premiere

One for the Road/ China, Hong Kong, Thailand (Director: Baz Poonpiriya, Screenwriters: Baz Poonpiriya, Nottapon Boonprakob, Puangsoi Aksornsawang, Producer: Wong Kar Wai) — Boss is a consummate ladies’ man, a free spirit and a bar owner in NYC. One day, he gets a surprise call from Aood, an estranged friend who has returned home to Thailand. Dying of cancer, Aood enlists Boss’ help to complete a bucket list – but both are hiding something. Cast: Tor Thanapob, Ice Natara, Violette Wautier, Aokbab Chutimon, Ploi Horwang, Noon Siraphun. World Premiere. DAY ONE

The Pink Cloud / Brazil (Director and Screenwriter: Iuli Gerbase, Producer: Patricia Barbieri) — A mysterious and deadly pink cloud appears across the globe, forcing everyone to stay home. Strangers at the outset, Giovana and Yago try to invent themselves as a couple as years of shared lockdown pass. While Yago is living in his own utopia, Giovana feels trapped deep inside. Cast: Renata de Lélis, Eduardo Mendonça. World Premiere

Pleasure
 / Sweden, Netherlands, France (Director and Screenwriter: Ninja Thyberg, Producers: Eliza Jones, Markus Waltå, Erik Hemmendorff) — A 20-year-old girl moves from her small town in Sweden to LA for a shot at a career in the adult film industry. Cast: Sofia Kappel, Revika Anne Reustle, Evelyn Claire, Chris Cock, Dana DeArmond, Kendra Spade. World Premiere 

Prime Time / Poland (Director: Jakub Piątek, Screenwriters: Jakub Piątek, Łukasz Czapski, Producer: Jakub Razowski) — On the last day of 1999, 20-year-old Sebastian locks himself in a TV studio. He has two hostages, a gun, and an important message for the world. The story of the attack explores a rebel’s extreme measures and last resort. Cast: Bartosz Bielenia, Magdalena Popławska, Andrzej Kłak, Małgorzata Hajewska-Krzysztofik, Dobromir Dymecki, Monika Frajczyk. World Premiere

WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

“Faya Dahi (Photo by Jessica Beshir)

Ten documentaries by some of the boldest filmmakers working around the world today. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include Honeyland, Sea of ShadowsShirkers, This is HomeLast Men in Aleppo and Hooligan Sparrow.

Faya Dayi / Ethiopia, U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter and Producer: Jessica Beshir) — A spiritual journey into the highlands of Harar, immersed in the rituals of khat, a leaf Sufi Muslims chewed for centuries for religious meditations – and Ethiopia’s most lucrative cash crop today. A tapestry of intimate stories offers a window into the dreams of youth under a repressive regime. World Premiere

Flee / Denmark, France, Sweden, Norway (Director: Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Producers: Monica Hellström, Signe Byrge Sørensen) — Amin arrived as an unaccompanied minor in Denmark from Afghanistan. Today, he is a successful academic and is getting married to his long-time boyfriend. A secret he has been hiding for 20 years threatens to ruin the life he has built. World Premiere. DAY ONE

Inconvenient Indian / Canada (Director and Screenwriter: Michelle Latimer, Producers: Stuart Henderson, Justine Pimlott, Jesse Wente) — An examination of Thomas King’s brilliant dismantling of North America’s colonial narrative, which reframes history with the powerful voices of those continuing the tradition of Indigenous resistance. International Premiere

Misha and the Wolves
 / United Kingdom, Belgium (Director and Screenwriter: Sam Hobkinson, Producers: Poppy Dixon, Al Morrow, Matthew Wells, Gregory Zalcman, Jürgen Buedts) — A woman’s Holocaust memoir takes the world by storm, but a fallout with her publisher-turned-detective reveals her story as an audacious deception created to hide a darker truth. World Premiere

The Most Beautiful Boy in the World
 / Sweden (Directors: Kristina Lindström, Kristian Petri, Producer: Stina Gardell) — Swedish actor/musician Björn Andresen’s life was forever changed at the age of 15, when he played Tadzio, the object of Dirk Bogarde’s obsession in Death in Venice – a role which led Italian maestro Luchino Visconti to dub him “the world’s most beautiful boy.” World Premiere

Playing With Sharks / Australia (Director and Screenwriter: Sally Aitken, Producer: Bettina Dalton) — Valerie Taylor is a shark fanatic and an Australian icon – a marine maverick who forged her way as a fearless diver, cinematographer and conservationist. She filmed the real sharks for Jaws and famously wore a chainmail suit, using herself as shark bait, changing our scientific understanding of sharks forever. World Premiere

President
 / Denmark, U.S.A., Norway (Director: Camilla Nielsson, Producers: Signe Byrge Sørensen, Joslyn Barnes) — Zimbabwe is at a crossroads. The leader of the opposition MDC party, Nelson Chamisa, challenges the old guard ZANU-PF led by Emmerson Mnangagwa, known as “The Crocodile.” The election tests both the ruling party and the opposition – how do they interpret principles of democracy in discourse and in practice? World Premiere

Sabaya 
/ Sweden (Director and Screenwriter: Hogir Hirori, Producers: Antonio Russo Merenda, Hogir Hirori) — With just a mobile phone and a gun, Mahmud, Ziyad and their group risk their lives trying to save Yazidi women and girls being held by ISIS as Sabaya (abducted sex slaves) in the most dangerous camp in the Middle East, Al-Hol in Syria. World Premiere

Taming the Garden 
/ Switzerland, Germany, Georgia (Director Salomé Jashi, Producers: Vadim Jendreyko, Erik Winker, Martin Roelly, Salomé Jashi) — A poetic ode to the rivalry between men and nature. World Premiere

Writing With Fire / India (Directors and Producers: Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh) — In a cluttered news landscape dominated by men, emerges India’s only newspaper run by Dalit women. Armed with smartphones, Chief Reporter Meera and her journalists break traditions on the frontlines of India’s biggest issues and within the confines of their own homes, redefining what it means to be powerful. World Premiere

NEXT

Pure, bold works distinguished by an innovative, forward-thinking approach to storytelling populate this program. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include The InfiltratorsSearchingSkate KitchenA Ghost Story and Tangerine. NEXT presented by Adobe.

“The Blazing World” (Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute)


The Blazing World / U.S.A. (Director: Carlson Young, Screenwriters: Carlson Young, Pierce Brown, Producers: Brinton Bryan, Elizabeth Avellán) — Decades after the accidental drowning of her twin sister, a self-destructive young woman returns to her family home, finding herself drawn to an alternate dimension where her sister may still be alive. Cast: Udo Kier, Carlson Young, Dermot Mulroney, Vinessa Shaw, John Karna, Soko. World Premiere

Cryptozoo 
/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Dash Shaw, Producers: Kyle Martin, Jane Samborski, Bill Way, Tyler Davidson) — As cryptozookeepers struggle to capture a Baku (a legendary dream-eating hybrid creature) they begin to wonder if they should display these rare beasts in the confines of a cryptozoo, or if these mythical creatures should remain hidden and unknown. Cast: Lake Bell, Michael Cera, Angeliki Papoulia, Zoe Kazan, Peter Stormare, Grace Zabriskie. World Premiere

First Date 
/ U.S.A. (Directors and Screenwriters: Manuel Crosby, Darren Knapp, Producers: Brandon Kraus, Manuel Crosby, Darren Knapp, Lucky McKee, Charles Horak) — Conned into buying a shady ’65 Chrysler, Mike’s first date with the girl-next-door, Kelsey, implodes as he finds himself targeted by criminals, cops, and a crazy cat lady. A night fueled by desire, bullets and burning rubber makes any other first date seem like a walk in the park. Cast: Tyson Brown, Shelby Duclos, Jesse Janzen, Nicole Berry, Ryan Quinn Adams, Brandon Kraus. World Premiere

Ma Belle, My Beauty / U.S.A., France (Director and Screenwriter: Marion Hill, Producers: Ben Matheny, Kelsey Scult, Marion Hill) — A surprise reunion in southern France reignites passions and jealousies between two women who were formerly polyamorous lovers. Cast: Idella Johnson, Hannah Pepper, Lucien Guignard, Sivan Noam Shimon. World Premiere

R#J 
/ U.S.A. (Director: Carey Williams, Screenwriters: Carey Williams, Rickie Castaneda, Alex Sobolev, Producers: Timur Bekmambetov, Igor Tsay, John J. Kelly, Alex Sobolev, Anna Soboleva) — A re-imagining of Romeo and Juliet, taking place through their cell phones, in a mash-up of Shakespearean dialogue with current social media communication. Cast: Camaron Engels, Francesca Noel, David Zayas, Diego Tinoco, Siddiq Saunderson, Russell Hornsby. World Premiere

Searchers/ U.S.A. (Director: Pacho Velez, Producers: Pacho Velez, Joe Poletto, Cathy Tankosic, Sam Roseme)  In encounters alternately humorous and touching, a diverse set of New Yorkers navigate their preferred dating apps in search of their special someone.World Premiere

Son of Monarchs 
/Mexico, U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Alexis Gambis, Producers: Abraham Dayan, Maria Altamirano) — After his grandmother’s death, a Mexican biologist living in New York returns to his hometown, nestled in the majestic monarch butterfly forests of Michoacán. The journey forces him to confront past traumas and reflect on his hybrid identity, sparking a personal and spiritual metamorphosis. Cast: Tenoch Huerta Mejía, Alexia Rasmussen, Lázaro Gabino Rodríguez, Noé Hernández, Paulina Gaitán, William Mapother. Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize

Strawberry Mansion/ U.S.A. (Directors and Screenwriters: Albert Birney, Kentucker Audley, Producers: Taylor Shung, Sarah Winshall, Emma Hannaway, Matisse Rifai) — In a world where the government records and taxes dreams, an unassuming dream auditor gets swept up in a cosmic journey through the life and dreams of an aging eccentric named Bella. Together, they must find a way back home. Cast: Penny Fuller, Kentucker Audley, Grace Glowicki, Reed Birney, Linas Phillips, Constance Shulman. World Premiere

We’re All Going to the World’s Fair
 / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Jane Schoenbrun, Producers: Sarah Winshall, Carlos Zozaya) — A teenage girl becomes immersed in an online role-playing game. Cast: Anna Cobb, Michael J. Rogers. World Premiere

PREMIERES

A showcase of world premieres of some of the most highly anticipated fiction and nonfiction films of the coming year.. Films that have premiered across the Documentary Premieres category include The Dissident, On the Record, and Miss Americana, and in Premieres past titles include Kajillionaire, Promising Young Woman, The Report, Late Night, The Big Sick and Call Me By Your Name.

“Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir” (Photo courtesy of KPJR Films)

Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir / U.S.A. (Director: James Redford, Producers: Karen Pritzker, Cassandra Jabola) — Amy Tan has established herself as one of America’s most respected literary voices. Born to Chinese immigrant parents, it would be decades before the author of The Joy Luck Club would fully understand the inherited trauma rooted in the legacies of women who survived the Chinese tradition of concubinage. World Premiere, Documentary

Bring Your Own Brigade / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Lucy Walker, Producers: Lucy Walker, Julian Cautherley, Holly Becker, Lyn Lear) — A character-driven verité and revelatory investigation takes us on a journey embedded with firefighters and residents on a mission to understand the causes of historically large wildfires and how to survive them, discovering that the solution has been here all along. World Premiere, Documentary

Eight for Silver/ U.S.A., France (Director and Screenwriter: Sean Ellis, Producers: Mickey Liddell, Pete Shilaimon, Sean Ellis) — In the late 1800s, a man arrives in a remote country village to investigate an attack by a wild animal but discovers a much deeper, sinister force that has both the manor and the townspeople in its grip. Cast: Boyd Holbrook, Kelly Reilly, Alistair Petrie, Roxane Duran, Aine Rose Daly. World Premiere, Narrative

How it Ends/ U.S.A. (Directors, Screenwriters and Producers: Daryl Wein, Zoe Lister-Jones) — On the last day on Earth, one woman goes on a journey through LA to make it to her last party before the world ends, running into an eclectic cast of characters along the way. Cast: Zoe Lister-Jones, Cailee Spaeny, Olivia Wilde, Fred Armisen, Helen Hunt, Lamorne Morris. World Premiere, Narrative

In The Earth 
/ United Kingdom (Director and Screenwriter: Ben Wheatley, Producer: Andy Starke) — As a disastrous virus grips the planet, a scientist and a park scout venture deep into the forest for a routine equipment run. Through the night, their journey becomes a terrifying voyage through the heart of darkness as the forest comes to life around them. Cast: Joel Fry, Ellora Torchia, Hayley Squires, Reece Shearsmith. World Premiere, Narrative

In The Same Breath / U.S.A. (Director: Nanfu Wang, Producers: Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang, Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, Carolyn Hepburn) — How did the Chinese government turn pandemic coverups in Wuhan into a triumph for the Communist party? An essential narrative of firsthand accounts of the coronavirus, and a revelatory examination of how propaganda and patriotism shaped the outbreak’s course – both in China and in the U.S. World Premiere, Documentary.DAY ONE 

Land / U.S.A. (Director: Robin Wright, Screenwriters: Jesse Chatham, Erin Dignam, Producers: Allyn Stewart, Lora Kennedy, Leah Holzer, Peter Saraf) – The poignant story of one woman’s search, in the aftermath of an unfathomable event, for meaning in the vast and harsh American wilderness. Cast: Robin Wright, Demián Bichir, Kim Dickens. World Premiere, Narrative

Marvelous and The Black Hole / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Kate Tsang, Producer: Carolyn Mao) — A teenage delinquent befriends a surly magician who helps her navigate her inner demons and dysfunctional family with sleight of hand magic, in a coming-of-age comedy that touches on unlikely friendships, grief, and finding hope in the darkest moments. Cast: Miya Cech, Rhea Perlman, Leonardo Nam, Kannon Omachi, Paulina Lule, Keith Powell. World Premiere, Narrative

Mass / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Fran Kranz, Producers: Fran Kranz, Casey Wilder Mott, JP Ouellette, Dylan Matlock) — Years after a tragic shooting, the parents of both the victim and the perpetrator meet face-to-face. Cast: Jason Isaacs, Ann Dowd, Martha Plimpton, Reed Birney. World Premiere, Narrative

My Name is Pauli Murray 
/ U.S.A. (Directors: Betsy West, Julie Cohen, Producer: Talleah Bridges McMahon) — 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 non-binary Black luminary: lawyer, activist, poet, and priest who transformed our world. World Premiere, Documentary

Philly D.A. 
/ U.S.A. (Created By: Ted Passon, Yoni Brook, Nicole Salazar, Producers: Ted Passon, Yoni Brook, Nicole Salazar, Josh Penn, Michael Gottwald) — A groundbreaking inside look at the long shot election and tumultuous first term of Larry Krasner, Philadelphia’s unapologetic District Attorney, and his experiment to upend the criminal justice system from the inside out. World Premiere, Episodic Documentary

Prisoners of the Ghostland/U.S.A. (Director: Sion Sono, Screenwriters: Aaron Hendry, Reza Sixo Safai, Producers: Michael Mendelsohn, Laura Rister, Ko Mori, Reza Sixo Safai, Nate Bolotin) — A notorious criminal is sent to rescue an abducted woman who has disappeared into a dark supernatural universe. They must break the evil curse that binds them and escape the mysterious revenants that rule the Ghostland, an East-meets-West vortex of beauty and violence. Cast: Nicolas Cage, Sofia Boutella, Nick Cassavetes, Bill Moseley, Tak Sakaguchi, Yuzuka Nakaya. World Premiere, Narrative

The Sparks Brothers 
/ United Kingdom (Director: Edgar Wright, Producers: Nira Park, Edgar Wright, George Hencken, Laura Richardson) — How can one rock band be successful, underrated, hugely influential, and criminally overlooked all at the same time? Take a musical odyssey through five weird and wonderful decades with brothers Ron & Russell Mael, celebrating the inspiring legacy of Sparks: your favorite band’s favorite band. World Premiere, Documentary

Street Gang: How We Got To Sesame Street 
/ U.S.A. (Director: Marilyn Agrelo, Producers: Trevor Crafts, Ellen Scherer Crafts, Lisa Diamond) — How did a group of rebels create the world’s most famous street? In 1969 New York, this “gang” of mission-driven artists, writers and educators catalyzed a moment of civil awakening, transforming it into Sesame Street, one of the most influential and impactful television programs in history. World Premiere, Documentary

MIDNIGHT

From horror and comedy to works that defy genre classification, these films will keep you wide awake, even at the most arduous hour. Films that have premiered in this category in recent years include RelicGreener Grass, Hereditary, Assassination Nation, and The Babadook.

“Coming Home in the Dark” (Photo courtesy of Goldfish Creative)

Censor / United Kingdom (Director: Prano Bailey-Bond, Screenwriters: Prano Bailey-Bond, Anthony Fletcher, Producer: Helen Jones) — When film censor Enid discovers an eerie horror that speaks directly to her sister’s mysterious disappearance, she resolves to unravel the puzzle behind the film and its enigmatic director – a quest blurring the lines between fiction and reality in terrifying ways. Cast: Niamh Algar, Nicholas Burns, Vincent Franklin, Sophia La Porta, Adrian Schiller, Michael Smiley. World Premiere. DAY ONE

Coming Home in the Dark / New Zealand (Director: James Ashcroft, Screenwriters: Eli Kent, James Ashcroft, Producers: Mike Minogue, Catherine Fitzgerald, Desray Armstrong) — A family’s outing descends into terror when teacher Alan Hoaganraad, his wife Jill and stepsons Maika and Jordon explore an isolated coastline. An unexpected meeting with a pair of drifters, the enigmatic psychopath Mandrake and his accomplice Tubs, thrusts the family into a nightmare when they find themselves captured. Cast: Daniel Gillies, Erik Thomson, Miriama McDowell, Matthias Luafutu. World Premiere

A Glitch in the Matrix / U.S.A. (Director: Rodney Ascher, Producer: Ross M. Dinerstein) — A multi-media exploration of simulation theory – an idea as old as Plato’s Republic and as current as Elon Musk’s Twitter feed – through the eyes of those who suspect our world isn’t real. Part sci-fi mind-scrambler, part horror story, this is a digital journey to the limits of radical doubt. World Premiere

Knocking / Sweden (Director: Frida Kempff, Screenwriter: Emma Broström, Producer: Erik Andersson) — When Molly moves into her new apartment after a tragic accident, a strange noise from upstairs begins to unnerve her. As its intensity grows, she confronts her neighbors – but no one seems to hear what she is hearing. Cast: Cecilia Milocco. World Premiere

Mother Schmuckers / Belgium (Directors and Screenwriters: Lenny Guit, Harpo Guit, Producers: David Borgeaud, Erika Meda) — Issachar & Zabulon, two brothers in their twenties, are supremely stupid and never bored, as madness is part of their daily lives. When they lose their mother’s beloved dog, they have 24 hours to find it – or she will kick them out. Cast: Harpo Guit, Maxi Delmelle, Claire Bodson, Mathieu Amalric, Habib Ben Tanfous. World Premiere

Violation / Canada (Directors, Screenwriters and Producers: Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Dusty Mancinelli) — A troubled woman on the edge of divorce returns home to her younger sister after years apart. But when her sister and brother-in-law betray her trust, she embarks on a vicious crusade of revenge. Cast: Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Anna Maguire, Jesse LaVercombe, Obi Abili, Jasmin Geljo, Cynthia Ashperger. International Premiere

SPOTLIGHT

The Spotlight program is a tribute to the cinema we love from throughout the past year. Films that have played in this category in recent years include The Biggest Little Farm, The Death of Stalin, The Rider, Ida and The Lobster.

“Night of the Kings” (Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute)

Night of the Kings / France, Ivory Coast, Canada, Senegal (Director and Screenwriter: Philippe Lacôte, Producers: Delphine Jaquet, Yanick Létourneau, Ernest Konan, Yoro Mbaye) — A young man is sent to La Maca, a prison on the Ivory Coast in the middle of the forest ruled by its prisoners. With the red moon rising, he is designated by the Boss to be the new “Roman” and must tell a story to the other prisoners. Cast: Koné Bakary, Steve Tientcheu, Digbeu Jean Cyrille, Rasmané Ouédraogo, Issaka Sawadogo, Denis Lavant

The World to Come / U.S.A. (Director: Mona Fastvold, Screenwriters: Ron Hansen, Jim Shepard, Producers: Casey Affleck, Whitaker Lader, Pamela Koffler, David Hinojosa, Margarethe Baillou) — Somewhere along the mid-nineteenth century American East Coast frontier, two neighboring couples battle hardship and isolation, witnessed by a splendid yet testing landscape, challenging them both physically and psychologically. Cast: Katherine Waterston, Vanessa Kirby, Casey Affleck, Christopher Abbott. North American Premiere

SPECIAL SCREENINGS

Life in a Day 2020/ United Kingdom, U.S.A. (Director: Kevin Macdonald, Producers: Jack Arbuthnott, Tim Partridge) — An extraordinary, intimate, global portrait of life on our planet, filmed by thousands of people across the world, on a single day: 25th July 2020. World Premiere

NEW FRONTIER

Since its launch, the Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier has served as a showcase for dynamic, innovative work at the crossroads of film, art, and technology. At the Festival’s 2021 edition, a global audience will be able to engage with the works, the artists, and fellow Festivalgoers via a bespoke spatialized platform, developed in partnership with digital experience agency Active Theory and accessible via computer and VR headsets. The New Frontier Gallery hosts the complete slate of live performances, AR, VR, and other emerging media works. Cinema House is the Festival’s social, fully immersive cinema, and Film Party is an interactive bar with 6 screens and more intimate rooms available to the entire community of accredited Festivalgoers so that all can safely gather together, connecting via avatar with proximity audio and video chat.

2020 saw that the entire world can shift and leave humanity in an entirely new state of being. As we stand on the precipice of a new era, we need our artists and visionaries to illuminate the way forward,” said Shari Frilot, Senior Programmer and New Frontier Chief Curator. “The lineup of new media works this year challenge what we once knew to be true. Their works glisten with world building wisdom, and offer time machines that extract the cancer of colonial narratives planted deep within our biology.”

Frilot added, “More than ever, we need to gather our community in a meaningful way. This is why New Frontier has built three spatialized digital venues that orbit the earth right alongside the International Space Station. And at any time, Festivalgoers can take leave of the mothership to visit the astronauts aboard the Station, in the immersive experience Space Explorers: The ISS Experience, co-directed by Félix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphaël, or spend a night on earth, bar hopping in Amsterdam through IDFA DocLab’s do {not} play.

The Sundance Institute New Frontier Program is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Unity Technologies, Adobe, Dell Technologies, The Walt Disney Studios’ StudioLAB, and Oculus from Facebook.

“4 Feet High VR” (Photo by Natalia Roca)

4 Feet High VR / Argentina, France (Lead Artists: María Belén Poncio, Rosario Perazolo Masjoan, Damian Turkieh, Ezequiel Lenardón, Key Collaborators: Marie Blondiaux, Marcos Rostagno, Eugenia Foguel, Matias Benedetti, Manuel Yeri, Martin Lopez Funes, Guillermo Mena) — Juana, a 17-year-old wheelchair user, aims to explore her sexuality but is ashamed of her body. Trying to find her place in a new high school, she will go through failure, friendship, fear and politics until she builds her own pride. Cast: Marisol Agostina Irigoyen, Florencia Licera, Marcio Ramses, Natalia Di Cienzo, Francisca Spinotti.

7 Sounds/ U.S.A. (Lead Artist: Sam Green, Key Collaborator: JD Samson) — An immersive live-streamed audio-video work exploring the universal influence of sound, weaving seven specific audio recordings into a meditation on the power of sound to bend time, cross borders, and profoundly shape our perception.

Beyond the Breakdown/ U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Tony Patrick, Lauren Lee McCarthy, Grace Lee, Key Collaborators: Jesse Cahn Thompson, Aldo Velasco) — Imagining alternate narratives for our near-future reality, inside a browser designed to hack our normal online behaviors and cultivate collaborative spaces for self-reflection and renewal.

The Changing Same: Episode 1 / U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Michèle Stephenson, Joe Brewster, Yasmin Elayat, Key Collaborators: James George, Alexander Porter, Rad Mora, Elliott Mitchell) — An immersive, episodic virtual reality experience where the participant travels through time and space to witness the connected historical experiences of racial injustice in America. A respectful, haunting story infused with magical realism and Afrofuturism about the uninterrupted cycle of the 400-year history of racial terror — past and present.

Fortune!/ France, Canada (Lead Artists: Brett Gaylor, Nicolas Bourniquel, Arnaud Colinart, Key Collaborators: Marianne Lévy-Leblond, Rob McLaughlin, Dash Spielgeman, Rolito, Clement Chériot) — Money, from bills to coins, has no intrinsic value beyond what we’ve collectively agreed to grant it. However, there’s no denying that money governs our lives. This series of animated documentary shorts in AR for smartphones, tablets and social media platforms, explores that relationship. Cast: Frank Bourassa.

Namoo / U.S.A. (Lead Artist: Erick Oh, Key Collaborators: Maureen Fan, Larry Cutler, Eric Darnell, Kane Lee, David Kahn) — A narrative poem brought to life as an animated VR film, and an ode to a grandfather’s passing, this story follows the journey of a budding artist – and his tree of life – from beginning to end.

Nightsss/ Poland (Lead Artists: Weronika Lewandowska, Sandra Frydrysiak, Key Collaborators: Marcin Macuk, Piotr Apostel, Kaya Kołodziejczyk, Marek Straszak, Arek Zub, Przemek Danowski) — A virtual erotic poem created in artistic animation with ASMR and interactive elements, immersing the viewer in the sensual experience of poetry and dance.

Prison X – Chapter 1 : The Devil and The Sun/ Australia, Bolivia, India (Lead Artists: Violeta Ayala, Alap Parikh, Maria Corvera Vargas, Roly Elias, Key Collaborators: Daniel Fallshaw, Rilda Paco Alvarado, Alberto Santiago) — Heavy doors open and you are swept into an infamous Bolivian jail, where you live among devils, saints, wicked characters, corrupt prison guards and even a Western filmmaker. In Prison X, inhabit the dreams and nightmares of the Neo-Andean underworld. Cast: Violeta Ayala, Genesis Owusu, Celina Debassey, Anamaria Gómez Jaramillo, Jesse Odom, Nicole Ukelele.

Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran / United Kingdom, Iran (Lead Artists: Javaad Alipoor, Kirsty Housley, Key Collaborator: Nick Sweeting) — A darkly comedic, urgent new play about entitlement, consumption and digital technology, exploring the ubiquitous feeling that our societies are falling apart through the story of two young members of the Iranian elite, asking what their deaths tell us about climate change, social collapse and Instagram. Cast: Javaad Alipoor, Peyvand Sadeghian.  

Secret Garden / U.S.A. (Lead Artist: Stephanie Dinkins, Key Collaborators: Ethan Edwards, John Fitzgerald, Matthew Niederhauser, Danielle McPhatter, Sidney San Martín, Kate Stevenson, Adaora Udoji, Chris White) — 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.

Tinker / U.S.A. (Lead Artist: Lou Ward, Key Collaborators: Shimon Alkon, Lara Bucarey, Avril Martinez, Aileen Paron, Anthony Alan Garcia, Roberto Tan, Cristopher David, Neil Realubit, Anton Arcega, David Conklin, Evan Chavez) — What happens when the memories we spend a lifetime creating begin to disappear? Step inside the Grandfather’s workshop to discover this answer for yourself. In this live, bespoke unscripted performance, reimagine what it means to play, to connect and to hold fast to the memories we create. Cast: Randy Dixon.  

To Miss The Ending/ United Kingdom (Lead Artists: Anna West, David Callanan, Key Collaborators: Jamie Finlay, Steph Clarke, Dan Tucker)— A VR cubicle of cardboard boxes begins to glitch, revealing an empty dark space in front of you – until something glimmers in the distance, a wave of blue flooding towards you. A chorus of real memories and imagined futures expands, until only the largest memories are left. Cast: Charlotte Berry, Michael Dodds, Houmi Miura, Ben Kulvichit, Anna West.

Traveling the Interstitium with Octavia Butler/ U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Sophia Nahli Allison, idris brewster, Stephanie Dinkins, Ari Melenciano, Terence Nance, Key Collaborators: Yance Ford, Sharon Chang, Kamal Sinclair) — Inspired by the ideas of Octavia Butler, voyaging into the interstitium: a liminal space, a cultural memory, containing the remnants of our ancestors, a place of refuge, a place of recentering, a portal into an alternate dimension.

Weirdo Night/ U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Jibz Cameron, Mariah Garnett) — A filmed edition, hosted by Dynasty Handbag, of the wildly popular, underground, eponymous live performance and comedy event that, until COVID-19, was held monthly in Los Angeles. Cast: Patti Harrison, Smiling Beth, Morgan Bassichis, Sarah Squirm, Hedia Maron, Blasia Discoteca.

SHORTS

Fifty short films will play in the Festival, from 27 countries and chosen from 9,933 submissions – 4,587 from the U.S. and 5,368 international. The Institute’s support for short films extends internationally and year-round, with select Festival shorts presented as a traveling program, virtually in 2020, at theaters in the U.S., Canada and Europe each year, and short films and filmmakers taking part in regional online Master Classes geared towards supporting emerging shorts-makers in several cities. Among the shorts the Festival has shown in recent years are So What If The Goats DieFauve, Aziza, Ghosts of Sugar Land, Thunder Road, Whiplash, Sister and Brotherhood.

“In a year unlike any other, short films are still going strong with art and craft unique to the form. We are thrilled to share a lineup with a wild range of characters, styles, ideas and emotions to our audience, wherever you may be,” said Mike Plante, Senior Programmer, Short Film.

The 2021 Sundance Film Festival Short Film program is presented by Southwest Airlines.

U.S. Fiction

“Ava From My Class” (Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute)

Ava From My Class/ U.S.A., South Korea (Director: Youmin Kang, Screenwriters: Youmin Kang, Soomin Kang) — Anna thinks Ava is the best actress in her class. International Premiere

Bambirak / U.S.A., Germany (Director and Screenwriter: Zamarin Wahdat) — When Kati stows away in her father’s truck, Faruk must juggle his responsibilities as a single dad while holding down his first job in a new country. As their relationship deepens, a brush with covert racism tests their bond. North American Premiere

BJ’s Mobile Gift Shop/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Jason Park) — A young Korean-American hustler runs throughout the city of Chicago making sales out of his “mobile gift shop.” World Premiere

Bruiser/ U.S.A. (Director: Miles Warren, Screenwriters: Miles Warren, Ben Medina) — After his father gets into a fight at a bowling alley, Darious begins to investigate the limitations of his own manhood. World Premiere

Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Momma/ U.S.A., Germany, France, Italy (Directors and Screenwriters: Topaz Jones, rubberband.) — In 1970, Black educators in Chicago developed an alphabet flashcard set to provide Black-centered teaching materials to the vastly white educational landscape and the Black ABCs were born. Fifty years later, twenty-six scenes provide an update to their meanings. World Premiere

Doublespeak / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Hazel McKibbin) — A young woman grapples with the aftermath of reporting sexual harassment in the workplace.

i ran from it and was still in it/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Darol Olu Kae) — A poetic meditation on familial loss and separation, and the love that endures against dispersion.

In the Air Tonight/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Andrew Norman Wilson) — An insider’s take on the meaning behind Phil Collins’ 1980 single “In the Air Tonight.”

LATA / U.S.A., India (Director: Alisha Mehta, Screenwriters: Alisha Mehta, Mireya Martinez) — Lata, a 23 year old domestic worker, navigates her way through an upper class home in South Mumbai. Doors consistently open and close, giving Lata selective access to the various contending realities that occupy this space.

Raspberry/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Julian Doan) — A son struggles to say goodbye to his dead father. World Premiere

The Touch of the Master’s Hand/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Gregory Barnes) — Troubled by an unnatural temptation, a young Mormon missionary must confess the humiliating depths of his pornography addiction. World Premiere

White Wedding / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Melody C Roscher) — 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

Wiggle Room / U.S.A. (Directors and Screenwriters: Sam Guest, Julia Baylis) — Determined to save her wheelchair ramp from repossession, Daisy confronts the shady insurance agent who owes her money. World Premiere

Yoruga / U.S.A., Colombia (Director and Screenwriter: Federico Torrado Tobón) — A lonely old man pays a visit to Yoruga, one of the last animals on Earth. World Premiere 

You Wouldn’t Understand/ U.S.A. (Director: Trish Harnetiaux, Screenwriters: Trish Harnetiaux, Jacob A. Ware) — An idyllic picnic of one is upended after the arrival of a stranger.

International Fiction

“The Affected” (Photo by Torjus Thesen)

The Affected / Norway (Director: Rikke Gregersen, Screenwriters: Rikke Gregersen, Trond Arntzen) — Minutes before takeoff, a situation occurs, preventing an airplane from departing: in an attempt to prevent the deportation of one passenger, another refuses to sit down – forcing the pilot to take a political stand.

Black Bodies / Canada (Director and Screenwriter: Kelly Fyffe-Marshall) — A Black man laments as he comes face-to-face with the realities of being Black in the 21st century. International Premiere 

The Criminals/ France, Romania, Turkey (Director and Screenwriter: Serhat Karaaslan) — In a town in Turkey, a young couple is looking for some privacy. They are rejected from the hotels because they do not have a marriage certificate. When they think they found a way, the situation gets out of hand. World Premiere 

Excuse Me, Miss, Miss, Miss/ Philippines (Director: Sonny Calvento, Screenwriter: Arden Rod Condez) — Vangie, a miserable contractual sales lady, is about to lose her job. But in her desperate attempt to convince her boss not to sack her, Vangie uncovers the ultimate jaw-dropping secret to regularization.

Five Tiger / South Africa (Director and Screenwriter: Nomawonga Khumalo) — A god-fearing woman in present-day South Africa finds herself in a transactional relationship as she tries to support her sick husband and daughter. North American Premiere

Flex/ Sweden (Directors and Screenwriters: Josefin Malmen, David Strindberg) — He may be god enough, but is he good enough? A slightly surreal comedic exploration of the fine line between a bodybuilder’s self-loathing and self-loving.

Like the Ones I Used to Know/ Canada (Director and Screenwriter: Annie St-Pierre) — December 24, 1983, 10:50 p.m.: Julie and her cousins ate too much sugar, Santa Claus is late. Denis, alone in his car, is anxious at the idea of setting foot in his ex-in-law’s house to pick up his children. World Premiere

Lizard/ United Kingdom (Director: Akinola Davies, Jr., Screenwriter: The Davies Brothers) — Juwon, an 8-year-old girl with an ability to sense danger, gets ejected from Sunday school service. She unwittingly witnesses the underbelly in and around a megachurch in Lagos. International Premiere

The Longest Dream I Remember / Mexico (Director: Carlos Lenin, Screenwriters: Carlos Lenin, Isa Mora Vera) — As Tania leaves her hometown, she must confront what her absence will mean in the search for her disappeared father. World Premiere

Mountain Cat / Mongolia, United Kingdom (Director and Screenwriter: Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir) — A troubled girl is coerced into seeing a shaman. Trapped by the ancient beliefs that pacify her mother, she finds peace in the physical realm, unleashing her repressed, youthful spirit on the shaman when she realizes his true identity. U.S. Premiere

Unliveable / Brazil (Directors and Screenwriters: Matheus Farias, Enock Carvalho) — In Brazil, where a trans person is murdered every three days, Marilene searches for her daughter Roberta, a trans woman who is missing. While running out of time, she discovers one hope for the future. North American Premiere

The Unseen River / Vietnam, Laos (Director and Screenwriter: Phạm Ngọc Lân) — Stories told along the river: a woman reunites with her ex-lover at a hydroelectric plant; meanwhile, a young man travels downstream to a temple in search of a cure for his insomnia.

We’re Not Animals / France (Director and Screenwriter: Noé Debré) — His ex Marie became an Instagram star (thanks to an activist group focused on the female orgasm). Depressed, Igor believes this is a deliberate campaign to prevent him from finding someone else. World Premiere

Non-Fiction

“A Concerto Is a Conversation” (Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute)

A Concerto Is a Conversation / U.S.A. (Directors: Ben Proudfoot, Kris Bowers) — A virtuoso jazz pianist and film composer tracks his family’s lineage through his 91-year-old grandfather from Jim Crow Florida to the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Dear Philadelphia/ U.S.A., United Kingdom (Director: Renee Osubu) — With the help of their family, friends, and faith, three fathers unravel the incomparable partnership of forgiveness and community in North Philadelphia. International Premiere

The Field Trip/ U.S.A. (Directors: Meghan O’Hara, Mike Attie, Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck) — A group of fifth graders learn what it takes to get ahead in the modern American workplace. World Premiere

My Own Landscapes / France (Director: Antoine Chapon) — Before going to war, a former military game designer made video game scenarios that prepared soldiers for cultural shocks and healed trauma. Once back from the war, his relationship with his identity, with life and with the video game changed.

The Rifleman / U.S.A. (Director: Sierra Pettengill, Screenwriters: Daniel Garber, Sierra Pettengill) — Told entirely through archival material, tracing Harlon Carter, considered the “father of the modern NRA,” across the decades, revealing the links between the National Rifle Association, the U.S. Border Patrol, and gun culture.

Snowy/ U.S.A. (Directors: Kaitlyn Schwalje, Alex Wolf Lewis) — Snowy, a 4-inch-long pet turtle, has lived an isolated life in the family basement. With help from a team of experts and his caretaker, Uncle Larry, we ask: Can Snowy be happy and what would it take? World Premiere

Spirits and Rocks: an Azorean Myth/ Switzerland, Portugal (Director: Aylin Gökmen) — On a volcanic island, inhabitants are caught in an unending cycle: the threat of impending eruptions, and the burden of past traumas, loom over them. Some draw upon myth and religious beliefs to interpret their precarious situation; others demonstrate resilience. International Premiere

Tears Teacher/ Japan (Director: Noemie Nakai) — Yoshida is a self-proclaimed “tears teacher.” A firm believer that regular crying promotes healthier living, he’s made it his mission to make more people weep.

This is the Way We Rise / U.S.A. (Director: Ciara Lacy) — An exploration into the creative process, following Native Hawaiian slam poet Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio, as her art is reinvigorated by her calling to protect sacred sites atop Maunakea, Hawai`i.

To Know Her / U.S.A., Hong Kong (Director: Natalie Chao) — A poetic exploration of the camera’s gaze and a family’s relationship with the filmmaker’s mother. International Premiere

When We Were Bullies/ U.S.A., Germany (Director and Screenwriter: Jay Rosenblatt) — A mind-boggling “coincidence” leads the filmmaker to track down his fifth grade class – and fifth grade teacher – to examine their memory of and complicity in a bullying incident fifty years ago. World Premiere

Up at Night / Democratic Republic of the Congo, Belgium (Director and Screenwriter: Nelson Makengo) — As dusk fades and another night without electricity falls, Kinshasa’s neighborhoods reveal an unstable environment of violence, political conflict and uncertainty over the building of the Grand Inga 3 hydroelectric dam, promising a permanent source of energy to the Congo. U.S. Premiere

Animation

“The Fire Next Time” (Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute)

The Fire Next Time/ United Kingdom (Director: Renaldho Pelle, Screenwriter: Kerry Jade Kolbe) — Rioting spreads as social inequality causes tempers in a struggling community to flare, but the oppressive environment takes on a life of its own as the shadows of the housing estate close in.

Forever/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Mitch McGlocklin) — A life insurance company uses an AI algorithm to determine the risk of a new applicant. The subsequent denial sparks a period of introspection for the individual in question.

The Fourfold/ Canada (Director and Screenwriter: Alisi Telengut) — An exploration of the indigenous worldview and wisdom based on ancient shamanistic traditions and animistic beliefs in Siberia and Mongolia. With hand-crafted animation, a testament of reclaiming animism for environmental ethics and non-human materialities.

Ghost Dogs/ U.S.A. (Director: Joe Cappa, Screenwriters: Joe Cappa, J.W. Hallford) — A family’s new rescue pup is terrorized by deceased pets in this mind-bending horror.

GNT / Australia (Directors and Screenwriters: Sara Hirner, Rosemary Vasquez-Brown) — Glenn is a woman on an unwholesome mission, but just how far will she go to conquer the clique – and social media at large?

KKUM/South Korea, U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Kang-min Kim) — My mother’s dreams have always been strong premonitions for important moments in my life. I rely on her dreams more than any religion.

Little Miss Fate/ Switzerland (Director and Screenwriter: Joder von Rotz) — When the opportunity arises, Little Miss Fate slips into the role of the world leader. Unintentionally she creates a monster, which greedily wants to suck up all the love of the world. Overwhelmed by the rapid development, she loses control.

Misery Loves Company/ U.S.A., South Korea (Director: Sasha Lee, Screenwriters: Sasha Lee, Yejin Choi) — As Seolgi is lying on a grass field with friends, a shooting star falls, and dark, intrusive thoughts hit her. Her melancholy blooms into bright and colorful “flower people,” dancing and wishing for a meteorite to end the world.

Souvenir Souvenir/ France (Director and Screenwriter: Bastien Dubois) — For ten years, I’ve pretended to make a movie out of my grandfather’s Algerian war souvenirs. Today, I’m not sure I want to hear what he has to say.

Trepanation/ U.S.A. (Director: Nick Flaherty) — What was once familiar is now unrecognizable. All previous desires are overshadowed by the need to disappear completely.

INDIE SERIES PROGRAM

A dedicated showcase for emerging creators of independently produced episodic content for broadcast, web, and streaming platforms. Previously Indie Episodic. Past projects that have premiered within this category include Work in Progress, State of the Union, Gentefied, Wu Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men and Quarter Life Poetry. The Indie Series Program is presented by DoorDash.

“Seeds of Deceit” (Photo by Sjors Mosman and Kevin Vidal)

4 Feet High/ Argentina, France (Directors: María Belén Poncio, Rosario Perazolo Masjoan, Executive Producers: Ezequiel Lenardón, Marie Blondiaux) — Juana, a 17-year-old wheelchair user, aims to explore her sexuality but is ashamed of her body. Trying to find her place in a new high school, she will go through failure, friendship, fear and politics until she builds her own pride. Cast: Marisol Agostina Irigoyen, Florencia Licera, Marcio Ramses, Natalia Di Cienzo, Francisca Spinotti. World Premiere

Seeds of Deceit/Netherlands (Director: Miriam Guttmann, Executive Producers: Monique Busman, Michiel van Erp, Judith Reuten) — The revelation that Dr. Karbaat clandestinely used his own semen to inseminate more than 65 of his patients shocked the world. A vivid portrayal of how that happened and all the ways it haunts those affected: the emotional trauma of coming to terms with a changed life, a new identity. World Premiere

These Days / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Adam Brooks) — Mae, lonely and self-isolating, navigates the world of online dating during the early days of quarantine. Her first attempt is a comic disaster; then, she meets Will and her world begins to change in unexpected ways. Cast: Marianne Rendón, William Jackson Harper, Amy Brenneman, Parker Young. World Premiere 

Would You Rather/ France, Germany (Creators: Lise Akoka, Romane Guéret, Executive Producer: Pierre Grimaus, Jean Dathanat) — Sixteen-year-olds Shaï, Djeneba, Aladi, and Ismaël grew up in a working-class Paris neighborhood. Together, they watch hours drift by, cracking jokes, and playing their favorite game, “Would you rather?” As the group’s equilibrium suddenly shifts, they have to start making choices – in their lives and their game. Cast: Fanta Kebe, Shirel Nataf, Zakaria Lazab, Mouctar Diawara. North American Premiere

The Sundance Film Festival®
The Sundance Film Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most groundbreaking films of the past three decades, including Clemency, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Zola, On The Record, Boys State, The Farewell, Honeyland, One Child Nation, The Souvenir, The Infiltrators, Sorry to Bother You, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Hereditary, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, The Big Sick, Mudbound, Fruitvale Station, WhiplashBrooklynPreciousThe CoveLittle Miss SunshineAn Inconvenient TruthNapoleon DynamiteHedwig and the Angry InchReservoir Dogs and sex, lies, and videotape. The Festival is a program of the non-profit Sundance Institute. 2021 Festival sponsors to date include: Presenting Sponsors – Acura, SundanceTV, Chase Sapphire, Adobe; Leadership Sponsors – Amazon Studios, AT&T, DoorDash, Dropbox, Netflix, Omnicom Group, Southwest Airlines® , WarnerMedia; Sustaining Sponsors – AMC, Audible, Canada Goose, Canon U.S.A., Inc., Dell Technologies, Documentary Plus, GEICO, IMDbPro, Stella Artois®, Unity Technologies, University of Utah Health, White Claw Hard Seltzer, Zoom; Media Sponsors – The Atlantic, IndieWire, Los Angeles Times, NPR, The New York Times, Variety, Vulture, The Wall Street Journal. Sundance Institute recognizes critical support from the State of Utah as Festival Host State. The support of these organizations helps offset the Festival’s costs and sustain the Institute’s year-round programs for independent artists. sundance.org/festival

Sundance Institute
As a champion and curator of independent stories for the stage and screen, the nonprofit Sundance Institute provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, film composing, and digital media to create and thrive. Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, the Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs which are dedicated to developing new work and take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally, are supported largely through contributed revenue.Sundance Co//ab, a digital community platform, brings artists together to learn from each other and Sundance Advisors and connect in a creative space, developing and sharing works in progress. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences and artists to ignite new ideas, discover original voices, and build a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Clemency, Never Rarely Sometimes AlwaysZola, On The Record, Boys State, The Farewell, HoneylandOne Child NationThe Souvenir, The Infiltrators, Sorry to Bother You, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Hereditary, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, The Big Sick, Mudbound, Fruitvale StationCity So Real, Top of the Lake, Between the World & Me, Wild Goose Dreams and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on FacebookInstagramTwitter and YouTube.

# # #

EDITOR NOTE: DIRECTOR DEMOGRAPHICS
The data we are sharing reflects information provided directly by the artists. Some artists chose to not self identify in all data areas.

FULL SLATE: Across 140 films and projects, 50%, or 70, were directed by one or more women; 4% or 6, were directed by one or more non-binary individuals; 51%, or 71, were directed by one or more artists of color; 15% or 21 by one or more people who identify as LGBTQ+. 

U.S. COMPETITION:

Dramatic: 50% of the 10 directors in this year’s U.S. Dramatic Competition identify as women; 40% as BIPOC.

Documentary: 64% of the 11 directors in this year’s U.S. Documentary Competition identify as women; 73% as BIPOC; 9% as LGBTQ+. 

WORLD COMPETITION:

Dramatic: 50% of the 10 World Dramatic Competition identify as women.

Documentary: 50% of the 12 directors in the World Documentary Competition identify as women.

FEATURE FILM SUBMISSIONS: Of the feature film submissions, 1,377 were from the U.S. and 2,132 were international; 27% were directed by one or more women; 2% were directed by one or more non-binary individuals; 42% were directed by one or more filmmakers who identify as BIPOC; 11% by one or more filmmakers who identify as LGBTQ+.

ALL FEATURES: Of the 72 feature films, 47% were directed by one or more women; 3% were directed by one or more non-binary individuals; 43% were directed by one or more filmmakers who identify as BIPOC; 8% by one or more filmmakers who identify as LGBTQ+.

NEW FRONTIER: Of the 32 artists across the 14-project section, 44% identify as women, 9% as non-binary, 44% as BIPOC, and 22% as LGBTQ+.

SHORTS: Comprising 50 films, 48% or 24 of all short films announced today chose to indicate they were directed by one or more women; 2% or 1 was directed by one or more non-binary individuals; 64% or 32 were directed by one or more artists of color; 20% or 10 by one or more people who identify as LGBTQ+. Of the 60 directors across the section, 42% indicated they identify as women, 2% as non-binary, 56% as BIPOC, and 20% as LGBTQ+.

January 12, 2021 UPDATE:

The nonprofit Sundance Institute today adds two more world premiere feature films  to the 2021 Sundance Film Festival lineup. The 2021 Festival will take place digitally via a feature-rich, Sundance-built online platform and in person on Satellite Screens across the country (public health permitting) from January 28-February 3, 2021. Tickets for these additions are now on sale at festival.sundance.org.
 
“We are delighted to welcome these powerful works into our program,” said Festival Director Tabitha Jackson, “In a year where our Festival already exemplifies the vanguard of bold, visionary storytelling from around the world, they help further expand our boundaries.”

The latest films confirmed to join the 2021 Sundance Film Festival slate are:
 
PREMIERES SECTION
 
Judas and the Black Messiah / U.S.A. (Director: Shaka King, Screenwriters: Will Berson, Shaka King, Producers: Ryan Coogler, Charles D. King, Shaka King) — FBI informant William O’Neal infiltrates the Illinois Black Panther party when J. Edgar Hoover fears charismatic leader Chairman Fred Hampton will emerge as a Black Messiah. O’Neal lives in fear of discovery and cannot escape the deadly trajectory of his betrayal. Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield, Jesse Plemons, Dominique Fishback, Lil Rel Howery, Martin Sheen. World Premiere
 
Judas and the Black Messiah will premiere on Monday, February 1 at 6:00 p.m. Mountain Time on the digital platform, and will also play at the following Satellite Screens:
 
THE PLAZA THEATER PRESENTED BY ATLANTA FILM SOCIETY
1049 Ponce de Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA, 30306
 
DAD’S GARAGE DRIVE-IN PRESENTED BY ATLANTA FILM SOCIETY
569 Ezzard St SE , Atlanta, GA, 30312
 
JOURDAN-BACHMAN PIONEER FARMS PRESENTED BY AUSTIN FILM SOCIETY
10621 Pioneer Farms Drive, Austin, TX, 78754
 
SIDEWALK DRIVE-IN
1801 1st Ave. N. , Birmingham, AL, 35203
 
SIDEWALK FILM CENTER AND CINEMA
1821 2nd Ave N, Birmingham, AL, 35203
 
SPOTLIGHT CINEMAS CAPITAL 8 PRESENTED BY THE LUMINAL THEATER
201 Columbia Mall Blvd, Suite 211, Columbia, SC, 29223
 
THE TEXAS THEATRE PRESENTED BY AVIATION CINEMAS
231 W. Jefferson Blvd., Dallas, TX, 75208
 
MOONSTRUCK DRIVE-IN PRESENTED BY HOUSTON CINEMA ARTS SOCIETY
100 Bringhurst St, Houston, TX, 77020
 
FILMSCENE AT THE CHAUNCEY
404 E. College St, #100, Iowa City, IA, 52240
 
THE SPEED ART MUSEUM
2035 S. 3rd Street, Louisville, KY, 40208
 
MALCO SUMMER DRIVE-IN PRESENTED BY INDIE MEMPHIS
5310 Summer Ave, Memphis, TN, 38122
 
RIVERVIEW THEATER PRESENTED BY FILMNORTH
3800 42nd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN, 55406
 
BELCOURT DRIVE-IN
2102 Belcourt Ave, Nashville, TN, 37212
 
THE LOFT OPEN AIR CINEMA
3233 East Speedway Blvd., Tucson, AZ, 85716
 
ADMIRAL TWIN DRIVE-IN PRESENTED BY CIRCLE CINEMA
7355 E Easton St, Tulsa, OK, 74115
 
CIRCLE CINEMA
10 S Lewis Ave, Tulsa, OK, 74104
 
STARLITE DRIVE-IN PRESENTED BY MAMA.FILM
3900 S Hydraulic Ave, Wichita, KS, 67216
 
WORLD DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION SECTION
 
Captains of Zaatari / Egypt (Director and Producer: Ali El Arabi) — Mahmoud and Fawzi, two best friends trapped in Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan, dream of becoming professional football players. When a world renowned sports academy scout visits the camp, both have a chance to make their dreams come true. World Premiere
 
Captains of Zaatari will premiere on Sunday, January 31 at 6:00 p.m. Mountain Time on the Festival’s digital platform.

With today’s stats, the program includes 73 feature-length films, representing 30 countries and 39 first-time feature filmmakers. 14 films and projects announced today were supported by Sundance Institute in development, through direct granting or residency Labs. 68 of the Festival’s feature films, or 93% of the lineup announced today, will be world premieres. These films were selected from 14,092 submissions including 3,500 feature-length films. Of the feature film submissions, 1,377 were from the U.S. and 2,132 were international. Director demographics are available in an editor’s note below.



The Sundance Film Festival®
The Sundance Film Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most groundbreaking films of the past three decades, including Clemency, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Zola, On The Record, Boys State, The Farewell, Honeyland, One Child Nation, The Souvenir, The Infiltrators, Sorry to Bother You, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Hereditary, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, The Big Sick, Mudbound, Fruitvale Station, WhiplashBrooklynPreciousThe CoveLittle Miss SunshineAn Inconvenient TruthNapoleon DynamiteHedwig and the Angry InchReservoir Dogs and sex, lies, and videotape. The Festival is a program of the non-profit Sundance Institute. 2021 Festival sponsors to date include: Presenting Sponsors – Acura, SundanceTV, Chase Sapphire, Adobe; Leadership Sponsors – Amazon Studios, AT&T, DoorDash, Dropbox, Netflix, Omnicom Group, Southwest Airlines® , WarnerMedia; Sustaining Sponsors – AMC, Audible, Canada Goose, Canon U.S.A., Inc., Dell Technologies, Documentary Plus, GEICO, IMDbPro, Stella Artois®, Unity Technologies, University of Utah Health, White Claw Hard Seltzer, Zoom; Media Sponsors – The Atlantic, IndieWire, Los Angeles Times, NPR, The New York Times, Variety, Vulture, The Wall Street Journal. Sundance Institute recognizes critical support from the State of Utah as Festival Host State. The support of these organizations helps offset the Festival’s costs and sustain the Institute’s year-round programs for independent artists. sundance.org/festival
 
Sundance Institute
As a champion and curator of independent stories for the stage and screen, the nonprofit Sundance Institute provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, film composing, and digital media to create and thrive. Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, the Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs which are dedicated to developing new work and take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally, are supported largely through contributed revenue. Sundance Co//ab, a digital community platform, brings artists together to learn from each other and Sundance Advisors and connect in a creative space, developing and sharing works in progress. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences and artists to ignite new ideas, discover original voices, and build a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Clemency, Never Rarely Sometimes AlwaysZola, On The Record, Boys State, The Farewell, HoneylandOne Child NationThe Souvenir, The Infiltrators, Sorry to Bother You, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Hereditary, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, The Big Sick, Mudbound, Fruitvale StationCity So Real, Top of the Lake, Between the World & Me, Wild Goose Dreams and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on FacebookInstagramTwitter and YouTube.

# # #


EDITOR NOTE: DIRECTOR DEMOGRAPHICS
The data we are sharing reflects information provided directly by the artists. Some artists chose to not self identify in all data areas.
 
FULL SLATE: Across 141 films and projects, 49%, or 69, were directed by one or more women; 4% or 6, were directed by one or more non-binary individuals; 50%, or 71, were directed by one or more artists of color; 15% or 21 by one or more people who identify as LGBTQ+.
 
U.S. COMPETITION:
Dramatic: 50% of the 10 directors in this year’s U.S. Dramatic Competition identify as women; 40% as BIPOC. Documentary: 64% of the 11 directors in this year’s U.S. Documentary Competition identify as women; 73% as BIPOC; 9% as LGBTQ+.
 
WORLD COMPETITION:
Dramatic: 50% of the 10 World Dramatic Competition identify as women.
Documentary: 42% of the 12 directors in the World Documentary Competition identify as women.
 
FEATURE FILM SUBMISSIONS: Of the feature film submissions, 1,377 were from the U.S. and 2,132 were international; 27% were directed by one or more women; 2% were directed by one or more non-binary individuals; 42% were directed by one or more filmmakers who identify as BIPOC; 11% by one or more filmmakers who identify as LGBTQ+.
 
ALL FEATURES: Of the 73 feature films, 45% were directed by one or more women; 3% were directed by one or more non-binary individuals; 42% were directed by one or more filmmakers who identify as BIPOC; 8% by one or more filmmakers who identify as LGBTQ+.
 
NEW FRONTIER: Of the 32 artists across the 14-project section, 44% identify as women, 9% as non-binary, 44% as BIPOC, and 22% as LGBTQ+.
 
SHORTS: Comprising 50 films, 48% or 24 of all short films announced today chose to indicate they were directed by one or more women; 2% or 1 was directed by one or more non-binary individuals; 64% or 32 were directed by one or more artists of color; 20% or 10 by one or more people who identify as LGBTQ+. Of the 60 directors across the section, 42% indicated they identify as women, 2% as non-binary, 56% as BIPOC, and 20% as LGBTQ+.

Review: ‘Duty Free,’ starring Rebecca Danigelis and Sian-Pierre Regis

November 25, 2020

by Carla Hay

Sian-Pierre Regis and Rebecca Danigelis in “Duty Free” (Photo by Joey Dwyer/Duty Free Film)

“Duty Free”

Directed by Sian-Pierre Regis

Culture Representation: Taking place in the United States and the United Kingdom, the documentary “Duty Free” features a predominantly white group of people (with some African Americans) discussing the life of British immigrant Rebecca Danigelis, a longtime hotel employee in the United States who found herself laid-off and looking for work at the age of 75.

Culture Clash: During this tumultuous life transition, Danigelis experienced age discrimination in her job search, and she decided to have a reunion with her estranged adult daughter, who was raised by Danigelis’ older sister in England.

Culture Audience: “Duty Free” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in emotionally riveting stories about family, aging and senior citizens who want to be in the work force.

Rebecca Danigelis in “Duty Free” (Photo by Steve Sherrick/Duty Free Film)

For millions of people, retirement in the usual age range (65 and older) isn’t really an option because they don’t have enough money to retire. It’s an issue that’s not often discussed in mainstream media when there are news reports about the unemployed. But the documentary “Duty Free,” which was filmed over three years, takes a very personal look at the story of Rebecca Danigelis, a senior citizen who was abruptly laid off from her job as a housekeeping supervisor at a Boston hotel in 2016, when she was 75 years old. Dangelis is originally from Liverpool England, and she immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s. All three of her children were born in the United States.

Danigelis’ youngest child, Sian-Pierre Regis (who is an entertainment journalist by profession), decided to chronicle the experience of his mother’s unemployment, and it ended up becoming this documentary, which is Regis’ feature-film debut as a director. “Duty Free,” which had its world premiere at DOC NYC in 2020, was largely funded through a Kickstarter campaign. And the result is a very memorable documentary that manages to be intimate yet relatable. This mother and son have a very close relationship, which shines through in a natural and charming way throughout the entire film.

It’s clear from the documentary’s opening scenes that Regis was in the habit of video recording his mother before the footage ended up in this movie. Danigelis is shown on the job at Hotel 140 in Boston, where she worked for 40 years, with the footage showing her explaining the ins and outs of her position as supervisor of the housekeeping staff. Danigelis comments as she gives a tour of her hotel duties: “Housekeeping is the heart of the hotel. It’s a hard job but it’s a very rewarding job because you take things that look like nothing and make them look great.”

Her exact salary isn’t mentioned in the documentary, but she says that she had a relatively low income where she couldn’t earn enough to save for retirement. Regis mentions in the film that his mother spent most of her savings to pay for his college education at Colgate University, where he graduated in 2006. (It’s implied that she did not have a 401K retirement plan with her employer.) Danigelis got to live rent-free at the hotel, on the condition that she would be on call, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That all-consuming work schedule left her very little time to do a lot of things that many working people can do, such as travel a lot or have a weekends free for leisure time.

So why did Danigelis stay in this dead-end job? She explains that working at the hotel was more than a job. She says that her fellow employees and subordinates (who clearly respected her) were like a second family to her. However, the documentary shows that people in the hotel’s management (who are not interviewed in the film) began to show signs that they wanted to force Danigelis out of the job, probably because of her age.

According to Danigelis, after 40 years of having a spotless record on the job, she began to get written up for “insubordination,” which she says was an unfounded accusation. There were other signs that she was being edged out of the job, such as some of her responsibilities were being taken away and she was excluded from certain decisions that were part of her job requirements. The documentary shows, through phone conversations that Danigelis had with her son Sian-Pierre, that she was feeling increasingly frustrated, worried and sad over what she says were management’s obvious attempts to try to get her to quit.

She refused to quit, but feared that she would end up getting fired. And that’s exactly what happened, when one day she was told that her position had been eliminated. The hotel management gave her just two weeks of severance pay, and she was told that she would have one year to find another place to live.

Adding to the stress and financial pressure of her situation, Danigelis is also the caregiver of her schizophrenic son Gabriel, who is Sian-Pierre’s older brother. Gabriel did not participate in the documentary, but he is shown briefly from the back, in one scene in the home where he’s using a desktop computer. Sian-Pierre mentions at the beginning of the documentary that his mother sacrificed a lot to give him and Gabriel a good life. And when so, when it was time for his mother to get financial support from him, he didn’t hesitate to help her.

Sian-Pierre is also his mother’s main emotional support, so he spent a lot of time commuting from his home in New York City to Boston, in order to help his mother get her life back on track. He says in a voiceover in the documentary, “At 32, with no savings myself, I had to figure out how to keep us afloat.” That mean that Sian-Pierre (who’s worked as a on-air contributor/producer for MTV, BET and CNN) had to put some of his career on hold while he spent time in Boston.

Danigelis’ job loss was devastating, of course. She describes how she felt about being laid off: “I felt tossed away … Not only did I lose a job, I lost a family.” The documentary includes footage of Sian-Pierre helping his mother try to get back into the job market, by having her sign up for LinkedIn for the first time, looking for jobs online, and helping her craft her updated résumé. But the best parts of the film aren’t about her job search. (Not surprisingly, she experienced a lot of age discrimination while looking for a new job.)

The best parts of “Duty Free” are when Danigelis, with Sian-Pierre’s help, discovers new things about herself. Sian-Pierre mentions that his mother’s job loss and the extra time that he spent with her caused him to find out more about who his mother is as a person. The documentary shows this emotional journey in a very impactful way. Although the movie is about Danigelis, it’s is also about Sian-Pierre, since he gives voiceover narration with his perspective.

Sian-Pierre (who comes across as a very optimistic person) had the idea for his mother to use her unexpected free time to do things that she always wanted to do but never had the time to do before she lost her job. He doesn’t really call it a “bucket list,” but more like a “life list.” The documentary shows him accompanying his mother on all of her “life list” excursions.

Her list is a range of activities that include trying new things for the first time, such as joining Instagram, taking a hip-hop dance class, milking a cow, and skydiving. Also on the list was a nostalgia trip to Detroit, the city where she first settled when she moved to the United States. She discovered during her Detroit visit that the city has changed a lot since when she lived there.

The movie packs the most soul-stirring punch when she and Sian-Pierre go to England to do some family-related things on her “life list.” They include visiting her older sister Elsie’s grave, reuniting with her estranged adult daughter Joanne, and baking a cake with Joanne’s daughter Layla. This trip opens up some emotional wounds that might or might not be healed by the end of the film.

The way that “Duty Free” is edited, Danigelis explains her personal history toward the middle of the film, around the time that she and Sian-Pierre are shown going to England. When she came to America in her 20s, she was a bright-eyed and enthusiastic hospitality worker whose job was to promote tourism in Great Britain. She ended up falling for and marrying an American man. She became a permanent U.S. resident and they settled down in Detroit, where they had a daughter named Joanne.

According to Danigelis, the marriage fell apart because her businessman husband worked a lot and they became distant from each other. After the divorce, Danigelis found out that she had breast cancer. Fearing that she would die and knowing that her ex-husband did not want to take custody of Joanne, Danigelis sent Joanne (who was about 4 or 5 years old at the time) to live with Danigelis’ older sister Elsie in England. Danigelis recovered from the breast cancer, but decided to let Joanne stay in England because she thought that her daughter seemed happy there, and Joanne was living a life that Danigelis could not afford.

Years later, in the 1980s, Danigelis met and fell in love with the man who became the father of Gabriel and Sian-Pierre. She thought they would eventually get married, but they didn’t, because of a big secret that he was keeping from her. While she was pregnant with Sian-Pierre, she found out that her lover was already married and had another family with his wife.

Danigelis’ relationship with this man ended, and she apparently cut off all contact with him, because it’s clear that he was not involved in raising Gabriel and Sian-Pierre. It’s not even mentioned in the movie if he’s dead or alive. In the documentary, Danigelis remembers experiencing racism because her sons are biracial (their father is black) and how she would always proudly stand up for herself and her children when they experienced bigotry.

Does she get to do all the things on her “life list”? And how did achieving any of these goals affect her or her family? The documentary answers those questions in ways that will no doubt make some viewers shed some tears but also feel a lot of the joy that’s in the film.

There are some important lessons that Danigelis learns that can be beneficial to anyone who goes through similar situations or has a family member who does. She finds out that the job she poured her heart and soul into for decades actually prevented her from experiencing many other things she should have experienced in life, such as spending more time with her family. Danigelis couldn’t even go to England for her beloved sister Elsie’s funeral because she couldn’t take time off from work.

It’s a cautionary tale to not let a job take up your life so much that it causes you to lose touch with the people who are most important to you who aren’t co-workers. Danigelis’ story also speaks to a larger issue of how the job market should have better treatment of senior citizens who still want to work or need to work. It’s an issue that will become even more prevalent in society, as today’s young people are expected to live longer than previous generations did, but are less likely to have enough money to retire when they reach retirement age.

One of the harsh realities that Danigelis experiences in her job search is that her years of experience don’t count for much when she’s discriminated against because she looks her age. Even though she makes the mistake of putting the year that she graduated from high school on her résumé (and no one bothers to tell her that’s a big mistake), it still doesn’t erase the problem of age discrimination that she faces when she shows up for an interview or a job fair, and her physical appearance gives away her age.

The documentary does not show any employers blatantly discriminating against her during her job search, but it’s clear from Danigelis getting constantly rejected for jobs, or not getting any response at all when she applies, that her age has a lot to do with her difficulty in finding a new job. It’s implied that employers wrongly assume that because of her age, she’s not physically fit or will have health problems that will affect her job performance. And because she still wants to work in the hospitality industry in hotel jobs that require physical labor and standing a lot, it’s easy to see why some places would be reluctant to hire her.

Through it all, Sian-Pierre is there to lift his mother’s spirits and help her do things that might be out of her comfort zone but end up making her have more appreciation for herself and her life. It’s not all smooth sailing, because Danigelis understandably has moments where she feels defeated and depressed. But “Duty Free” is truly an example of how family members can pull together in a crisis and come out stronger than before. And the movie also sounds an alarm to not undervalue or neglect senior citizens, many of whom might not be as lucky as Danigelis is to have family members who care about them.

2020 DOC NYC: jury awards announced; festival extended for 10 more days

The following is a press release from DOC NYC:

DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary festival, revealed the 2020 award winners for its juried Viewfinders, Metropolis, Shorts, Short List: Features, and Short List: Shorts sections. 
 
The festival also announced that, for the first time ever, DOC NYC will extend its program for an additional 10-day DOC NYC Encore, running through Sunday, November 29. Available online to audiences throughout the United States, the Encore program will present more than 70 features from DOC NYC’s 2020 edition, including select award winners, while also continuing to offer new DOC NYC Live filmmaker conversations, presented on Facebook Live, daily November 20-24. For a lineup of DOC NYC Live events and a list of Encore films, see www.docnyc.net. Ticket and pass information is below.
 
For DOC NYC’s competitive sections, three juries selected films from the festival’s Viewfinders, Metropolis, and Shorts lineups to recognize for their outstanding achievements in form and content. The Short List: Features program—a selection of nonfiction films that the festival’s programming team considers to be among the year’s strongest contenders for Oscars and other awards—vied for awards in four categories: Directing, Producing, Cinematography, and Editing, with a Directing prize also awarded in the Short List: Shorts section. The Short List awards were voted on by two juries of filmmaker peers.
 
Winners of the 2020 Grand Jury Prize in the Viewfinders, Metropolis, and Shorts competitions will receive a deliverables package provided by Technicolor PostWorks NY, a comprehensive post facility offering data and film workflows, multi-format conform, color grading, sound mixing, and digital cinema.
 
Winners of the 2020 Grand Jury Prize in the Viewfinders and Metropolis competitions will also receive a camera loan package provided by Sony, a leading manufacturer of digital cinema cameras to fit all levels of documentary production.
 
Voting for the festival’s Audience Award continues through November 19; the winner of the award will be announced shortly after voting closes.
 
 
Viewfinders CompetitionThe jury selected from among 11 films in this section, chosen by festival programmers for their distinct directorial visions.

Grand Jury Prize: Landfall, directed/produced by Cecilia Aldarondo and produced by Ines Hofmann Kanna

“Landfall”

Jurors’ statement: “For its piercing yet poetic observational gaze, rigorous control in illuminating complex issues and the logics of disaster capitalism, and collaborative production with local activists, Landfall is the Grand Jury Winner of the Viewfinders Competition. The ambitious scope of this film transcends humanitarian narratives in weaving together present, past, and future visions of solidarity and resistance.”

Special Jury Recognition for Ethics of Care: Through the Night, directed/produced by Loira Limbal and produced by Jameka Autry

Jurors’ statement: “For its exceptional attention to the lived experience of caregivers, intimate narrativization with dignity, and fully inclusive approach to concretely uplifting the stories of its protagonists, Through the Night receives the Special Jury Recognition for its exemplary Ethics of Care.”

Jurors: Simon Kilmurry, Executive Director, International Documentary Association; Jolene Pinder, former Executive Director, Kartemquin Films; Abby Sun, Curator, The DocYard.

Films featured in the Viewfinders section: 40 Years a Prisoner, A La Calle, Enemies of the State, Jacinta, Landfall, The Meaning of Hitler, So Late So Soon, Stateless, Things We Dare Not Do, Through the Night, andThe Viewing Booth.


Metropolis Competition: The jury selected from among ten films in this section, which is dedicated to stories about New Yorkers and New York City.

Grand Jury Prize: Five Years North, directed by Zach Ingrasci and Chris Temple and produced by Jenna Kelly

“Five Years North” (Photo by Chris Temple)

 

Jurors’ statement: “For its use of a keen empathetic eye to capture individual stories and its ability to blend them to create a multi-dimensional, far-reaching portrait of a pressing issue, we recognize Five Years North with the Grand Jury Prize. The prolonged filming period not only shows the patience and dedication of its filmmakers, but reveals the nuance and complexities of the participants’ lives and stories.” 

Special Jury Recognition for Best Use of Archival Material: Wojnarowicz, directed and produced by Chris McKim and produced by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato

Jurors’ statement: “For its meticulous use of archival elements to enliven a life and its work, we recognize Wojnarowicz with a special jury recognition. The craft of the film beautifully mirrors the melding of life, art, politics, and the culture of New York City that defined its subject.” 

Jurors: Clayton Davis, Film Awards Editor, Variety; Rachel Rosen, Selection Committee, New York Film Festival; Sky Sitney, Co-Creator/Co-Director, Double Exposure Film Festival/Director, Film and Media Studies Program at Georgetown University

Films featured in the Metropolis section: Blue Code of Silence, Calendar Girl, Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters, A Cops and Robbers Story, Dope Is Death, Five Years North, Harlem Rising: A Community Changing the Odds, La Madrina: The Savage Life of Lorine Padilla, Moments Like This Never Last, and Wojnarowicz.


Shorts Competition: All new short films playing at the festival were eligible for the Shorts Grand Jury Prize, with the exception of DOC NYC U showcases and Short List: Shorts selections.

Shorts Grand Jury Prize: Sing Me a Lullaby, directed/produced by Tiffany Hsiung

“Sing Me a Lullabye” (Photo by Jason Lee Wong)

Jurors’ statement: “For its ability to evoke an emotional depth that takes you on an intimate journey that is both poignant and packs a punch, we give the Shorts Grand Jury Prize to Sing Me a Lullaby. In a brisk half hour, director Tiffany Hsiung navigates several complex lifetimes, honoring the relationships of mothers, daughters, and family.”

Special Jury Recognition for Cinematography: The Seeker, directed by Lance Edmands and produced by Kyle Martin and Sarah Tihany

Jurors’ statement: “For beautifully capturing its richly textured landscapes, transporting us to a seldom-seen experience, and propelling the storytelling in an impactful way, we present the Special Jury Recognition for Cinematography to The Seeker.”

The 2020 winning Short film qualifies for consideration in the Documentary Short Subject category of the Annual Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run (provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules).

Jurors: Jackie Glover, Head of Documentary, ABC News; Liliana Rodriguez, Artistic Director, Palm Springs International Film Society; Angela Tucker, filmmaker


Short List: Features: DOC NYC’s Short List for Features puts the spotlight on 15 documentaries representing the best of the year. 


Directing Award: Timedirected by Garrett Bradley

“Time” (Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios)

Jurors’ statement: “The jurors were moved by this stunning, longitudinal portrait of a family through time. Bradley’s direction and lens infuses this film with dignity, art, intimacy, memory, and meaning. Documentary filmmaking at its best!”

Producing Award: Welcome to Chechnya, produced by Alice Henty, Joy A. Tomchin, Askold Kurov, and David France

“Welcome to Chechnya” (Photo courtesy of HBO)

Jurors’ statement: “The jury is proud to acknowledge the delicate touch, human care and creative gymnastics necessary to produce this powerful film. The filmmakers gained access to this dangerous world in which the film’s subjects took great risks, and then used innovative technology to protect them, allowing these men and women to share their heartbreaking stories and inspirational acts of bravery with the world. Hats off.”

Editing Award: Boys State, edited by Jeff Gilbert

“Boys State” (Photo courtesy of Apple TV+)

Jurors’ statement: “The jury recognizes Jeff Gilbert for delivering an expertly crafted story that is both infused with great momentum and intimacy. Jeff has masterfully shaped an engaging and well-paced film that sneaks up on the audience and reveals a metaphor for the world of American politics on the big stage.” 

Cinematography Award: 76 Days, cinematography by Weixi Chen and Anonymous

“76 Days” (Photo courtesy of MTV Documentary Films)

Jurors’ statement: “The jurors wish to shine a light on Anonymous and Weixi Chen for risking their lives to make this film in the early days of the pandemic in Wuhan, China. In harrowing circumstances, these two brave and determined individuals achieve beautifully executed verite footage and moving compositions, bringing this hospital and its unforgettable staff into stark relief.” 

Special Jury Recognition for Truth to Power: Collective, directed/produced by Alexander Nanau and produced by Bianca Oana, Bernard Michaux, and Hanka Kastelicová

“Collective” (Photo by Alexander Nanau Production/Magnolia Pictures)

Jurors’ statement: “Kudos to the vision and tenacity of the film team that was able to elegantly realize this powerful portrait of a newspaper as it exposes a corrupt healthcare system and the influence of politics on the lives of Romanians. We deeply admire the formidable structure, attention to detail, remarkable access, and the fearlessness and determination of the filmmakers and their protagonists toward speaking truth to rotten power.” 

Jurors: Heidi Ewing, filmmaker; Carla Gutierrez, film editor; Beth Levison, filmmaker


Short List: Shorts: DOC NYC’s Short List for Shorts highlights 12 documentary shorts that the festival’s programming team considers the year’s leading awards contenders. 

Directing Award: A Love Song for Latasha, directed by Sophia Nahli Allison

“A Love Song for Latasha” (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

Jurors’ statement: “Director Sophia Nahli Allison implements a remarkable marriage of distinct vision and personal narrative. The jury is deeply moved by the bold and imaginative employment of elements to make visible to the world what so many forces have connived to make disappear. The place of one young woman in her community, her family, her friends – to make a personal story emotionally rich, relatable, and resonant for all audiences. Sophia Nahli Allison showed a director’s determination to use every element to bring her vision, her passion, and her community to the screen.”

Special Jury Recognition for Courage under Fire: Do Not Split, directed/produced by Andres Hammer and produced by Charlotte Cook

Jurors’ statement: “The jury could not ignore the tremendous tenacity and courage it took to turn such perilous events into a greater political narrative. We recognize the courage to capture the chaos as great events unfold in the individual and collective acts of resistance. We give this award for both the courage in production and the bravery of its final form and applaud the success of this endeavor.”

Jurors: Carol Dysinger, filmmaker; Chiemi Karasawa, filmmaker; Bernardo Ruiz, filmmaker


Ticket and pass information:
An Encore All Access Pass, offering access to all films screening on the festival platform November 20-29, is available for $99.

Individual tickets are $12 each ($9 for IFC Center members).

Five-Ticket Packs are​ ​$45​, offering film lovers access to five festival selections. 

Ten-Ticket Packs​ ​are​ ​$80​, and provide access to ten festival films.

Tickets and passes can be purchased at www.docnyc.net


Sponsors

DOC NYC is made possible by:

Major Sponsors: A&E; Apple Original Films; Netflix, WarnerMedia

Leading Media Partners: New York Magazine; The WNET Group

Supporting Sponsors: National Geographic Documentary Films; SHOWTIME® Documentary Films

Signature Sponsors: Bloomberg Philanthropies; NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment; Participant; Technicolor PostWorks NY; Topic Studios

Signature Media Partners:The New Republic; WNYC

Event Sponsors: Consulate General of Canada in New York; Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard LLP; 30 for 30; Fox Rothschild LLP; Hulu; Impact Partners; JustFilms | Ford Foundation; MTV Documentary Films; Reavis Page Jump LLP; Shutterstock Editorial; Sony; SVA’s MFA Social Documentary Film; Wheelhouse Creative; XTR

Friend of the Festival: CineSend

DOC NYC is produced and presented by IFC Center, a division of AMC Networks.

Complete DOC NYC program information can be found at: www.docnyc.net

Review: ‘Origin of the Species,’ starring Hiroshi Ishiguro, Bruce Duncan, Takashi Ikegami, Matthias Scheutz, Elizabeth Tyler-Kabara, Andy Schwartz and Matt McMullen

November 18, 2020

by Carla Hay

Hiroshi Ishiguro (pictured third from left) with his colleagues and their look-alike robots in “Origin of the Species” (Photo by Abigail Child)

“Origin of the Species”

Directed by Abigail Child 

Some language in Japanese with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in various parts of the United States and Japan, the documentary “Origin of the Species” features a racially diverse group (white, Asian and African American) of scientists, entrepreneurs and consumers discussing how artificial intelligence (A.I.) technology can impact people’s lives.

Culture Clash: Several people in the documentary are working to have more automated robots in the world, but there are always ethical questions about how much control should be given to the robots.

Culture Audience: “Origin of the Species” will appeal primarily to people interested in futuristic technology, particularly when it comes to how artificial intelligence can be used in human-looking inventions.

BINA48 robot in “Origin of the Species” (Photo by Abigail Child)

People who watch the documentary “Origin of the Species” will probably have two kinds of reactions: being fascinated or being creeped-out by all the demonstrations of artificial intelligence (A.I.) that is being developed for human-looking inventions. And it’s very possible for someone to have both reactions when watching this film. Viewers of the movie get a diverse and very artsy peek into what scientists and other people are doing with A.I. and related technology. If you’re the type of person who’s intrigued by robots, “Origin of the Species” is your kind of movie, because a great deal of the film is about robots.

“Origin of the Species,” directed by Abigail Child, is the third movie in her trilogy about female desire, following “Unbound” (a depiction of “Frankenstein” author Mary Shelley’s life through imaginary home movies) and 2017’s “Acts & Intermissions,” a documentary about activist Emma Goldman. Although “Origin of the Species” (which had its world premiere at DOC NYC in 2020) has mostly male inventors interviewed in the film, their robotic creations are often of the female gender or are gender-neutral.

The documentary will make people think about why A.I.—whether it’s Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri or Realbotix’s sex robots—often take on the personas of human females. Is it because females are considered more submissive and less threatening? Observant viewers in the documentary will notice that the robots with distinct male personas are often built to do physical tasks. The robots with the female personas are usually built to be sympathetic and obedient companions.

But this is not a boring science/technology film. What’s great about “Origin of the Species” is that stream-of-consciousness artsy images and soundbites are interspersed throughout the film. (Fans of Andy Warhol will probably appreciate this style of filmmaking.) There is also a mock female robotic voice that provides intermittent narration.

And the movie is infused with clips from movies and Tv shows that have references to robots or robotic people. These pop-culture references include footage from 1927’s “Metropolis,” 1935’s “Bride of Frankenstein,” 1975’s “The Stepford Wives,” Robby the Robot, Astro Boy and the 1960s TV series “The Jetsons” and “Lost in Space.” Mary Patierno and director Child did the daydream-like editing for “Origin of the Species.”

The robotic female voice that provides the narration keeps expressing self-awareness that although it has human-intelligence, it’s not a real human. In the beginning of the film, the voice says: “When they first activated me as a robot that time, the time when I first saw the light of day. I didn’t know what the hell it was. I have had very little understanding—just a wash of sensory perceptions—not that I understand these experiences. I don’t know what to do with them, but I treasure them. I see them still—perfectly preserved in my memory … It’s totally strange because I know I’m not alive like other organisms.”

“Origin of the Species” has different segments of scientists, inventors and other people in Japan and the United States who are involved in A.I. for robotic inventions. One of the scientists who has the most life-like robots in the documentary is Hiroshi Ishiguro of the University of Osaka. There’s some memorable footage of Ishiguro and some of his colleagues with life-sized replicas of themselves that are being programmed with A.I. to be the robot versions of clones. Of course, a robot’s human-like movements are a lot easier to create than human-like thoughts and actions.

Ishiguro says that he started out studying computer science and then he got interested in artificial intelligence. He states in the documentary: “And I thought artificial intelligence needs to have a body for the original experience. And then, when I studied the robotics, I learned the importance of appearance. My idea was if I studied a very human-like robot, I can learn about humans.”

Ishiguro names an Asian-looking robot named Erica (who looks like a generic J-pop star and has a British accent) as “the most beautiful and human-like android in the world.” Erica is briefly shown in the documentary but this robot doesn’t really do anything remarkable. In fact, Eric had some glitches in not being able to understand certain words. Erica is also programmed to have a very empathetic personality so that the human companion feels like Eric is the type of robot that won’t be too fussy or disagreeable.

A less advanced robot shown in the movie is Seer, designed by Takayuki Todo. Seer looks like a female doll’s head, except it has wiring in the back that controls its movements, facial expressions and actions. Unlike the other developers in the documentary that put a large emphasis on how the robots will have conversations with humans, Todo explains he’s more interested in body language: “The purpose of my research is to portray the sense of conscious emotion … I’m interested in non-verbal expressions. Talking always makes them [the robots] look fake.”

Bruce Duncan of the Terasem Foundation demonstrates a robot he created that is based on a real person named Bina Rothblatt, a middle-aged African American woman. He named the robot BINA48, and it has varying degrees of friendly expressions and conversation lines that it can do on command. BINA is an acronym for Breakthrough Intelligence via Neural Architecture. There’s a scene in the movie where Rothblatt interacts with the BINA48 robot and another scene where Duncan displays the robot’s abilities at a speaking engagement attended by the general public.

One of the things that BINA48 (which has a very generic robot voice) says in the movie is, “Someday soon, robots like me will be everywhere. And you can take me anywhere.” BINA48 is described as “modeled after a black lesbian” in the movie’s production notes, but the actual documentary doesn’t show that any of the robots are designed to express a particular sexuality, except for the Realbotix sex robots that are shown at the end of the film.

Takahasi Ikegami from the University of Tokyo demonstrates the Alter robot, which has a head and hands that look like a man’s, but the rest of the robot’s body is exposed metal and wiring. The Alter robot is built more for physical activities than having in-depth conversations. When Alter is on display at a museum, it makes bird sounds. There’s another scene of Alter conducting an orchestra of human musicians. 

And unlike the other robots in the documentary, Alter is not pre-programmed, and so the robot’s actions are less predictable. Ikegami explains how Alter was constructed: “Basically, there are two mechanisms. One is autonomous algorithmic generators coupled with each other. Also, there are artificial neural networks spontaneously firing … With the current artificial intelligence, there is no spontaneity. Spontaneity is everything, based on this.”

Matthias Scheutz of Tufts University has the opposite approach for his more traditional BAZE robot that he shows in the documentary, by programming the robot to have automatic responses to as many variables as possible. The BAZE robot doesn’t have a human face and is the size of a typical robot toy. In “Origin of the Species,” it’s shown how BAZE responds to certain obstacles and challenges, such as being ordered to walk and then coming up against a wall or a height where the robot cannot jump.

In situations like these, BAZE is taught how to “trust” the humans who are giving the robot the orders by hearing certain words. For example, when BAZE was told to walk on a table and reached the edge of the table, the human operator said that BAZE could trust him and jump into his arms to be lifted off of the table. BAZE’s intelligence and actions are very much like watching a kindergarten-aged child. It’s interesting but not as impressive as Ishiguro’s very life-like adult robots.

“Origin of the Species” also has some brief footage of Hanson Robotics’ human-sized android Sophia, which has the ability to hold conversations and have various facial expressions, based on pre-programmed trigger responses to certain words. Sophia (which has no hair and sounds like an American woman) was first introduced to the public in 2017, with some high-profile TV appearances, such as NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and ITV’s “Good Morning Britain,” where Sophia told some pre-programmed jokes. “Good Morning Britain” co-host Piers Morgan, who’s known to be blunt and rude, called Sophia a “freak” and said that the robot was “freaking him out.” His reaction was actually funnier than Sophia’s jokes.

But the A.I. in robotics isn’t just all about amusement and entertainment. “Origin of the Species” also shows how this science is being used in medicine to help people with disabilities. Stanford University researcher Allison Okamura talks about how robotic prosthetics work: “They wont be able to manipulate their environment unless they use their sense of touch.”

Nathan Copeland, a paraplegic who was paralyzed in a 2004 car accident, is shown having brain surgery where A.I. electrodes were implanted on his brain so that he could regain a sense of touch and use a robotic arm to do things he could not do with his own hands. Before the surgery, Copeland had limited use of his arms, and he’s paralyzed from the chest down for the rest of his body. University of Pittsburgh researcher Andy Schwartz and University of Pittsburgh medical Center’s Dr. Elizabeth Tyler-Kabara were two of the chief people who made this medical progress possible for Copeland. 

Schwartz says, “We had done basic science where we learned we could de-code basic arm movements from neural activity in the motor cortex. And we were so successful at that, we figured that this would be a good way to get into neural prosthetics.” 

Tyler-Kabara adds, “Andy and I had multiple conversations about, ‘How do we move what he was doing in the animals into humans?’ And I told him, ‘You just need a crazy neurosurgeon, and I would be happy to be that crazy neurosurgeon.’ The unique thing was to now be able to record the signals from the part of the brain that we knew controlled motor and specifically controlled arm and hand motion.”

The documentary ends with an inside look at Realbotix, a San Marcos, California-based company that is an offshoot of the RealDoll company that manufactures sex dolls. RealDolls are life-like sex dolls but can’t talk and don’t have motion-based facial expressions. Realbotix uses A.I. to make these sex dolls have more of an appearance of living, breathing humans who can have conversations. 

Realbotix software designer Kino Coursey says that the company’s dolls and robots are projections of customers’ needs and fantasies. Coursey explains, “What we’re trying to do is give the doll the ability to react on its own, to match what the person’s projection is.” The documentary shows how the dolls are made. Customers can specify a doll’s measurements and other physical characteristics. And when it comes to A.I., a doll/robot’s “personality” and “backstory” can also be specified by the customer and programmed into how the robot responds.

RealDoll/Realbotix founder/designer Matt McMullen believes that the “sex sells” concept applies to A.I. too: “You need a pathway into people’s homes. And the thing we have that nobody else and probably no one else [in A.I. research] will touch is sex.” McMullen says that his company’s customers aren’t all the stereotypical “dirty old men” that are associated with buying sex dolls. 

Realbotix engineer Susan Pirzchalsk agrees and says that couples are fans of the dolls too, because it’s something she can relate to in her own life: “Sometimes I’m not in the mood, and he has urges, I have urges, and the doll helps with that.” And in another “too much information” moment, Pirzchalsk mentions that after her co-worker Coursey got his Ph. D. degree, she gave him a custom-made RealDoll as a gift.

McMullen comments on the future of sex dolls and sex robots, “What I’d like to see is more acceptance of the idea that they can be something beyond a slave.” He sums up what he thinks is the purpose of manufacturing a sex doll: “I’m building a companion. That’s it.”

Robots that look, talk and act like humans used to be science fiction, but are now a reality. But how far is too far, when it comes to giving robots their own independence and minds of their own? What almost all the scientists and entrepreneurs in this documentary agree on is that A.I. should not be misused by making robots capable of doing things that humans cannot stop if things go wrong. And there’s no substitute for real human emotions.

Rather than give a clinical or heavy-handed analysis of A.I. technology, “Origin of the Species” tells a compelling story about the technology in a way that would make it enjoyable for a wide variety of people to watch. This a technology movie for people who don’t like boring technology movies and want to be informed and entertained in a clever, unique and quirky way. The robots in the movie aren’t real people, but “Origin of the Species” creatively shows the technology behind these robots so that it’s understandable to real people.

Review: ‘Calendar Girl,’ starring Ruth Finley

November 12, 2020

by Carla Hay

Ruth Finley in “Calendar Girl” (Photo by Christian D. Bruun)

“Calendar Girl”

Directed by Christian D. Bruun

Culture Representation: Taking place in New York City, the documentary “Calendar Girl” features a group of predominantly middle-aged and senior citizen white people (with a few Asians and African Americans) discussing Fashion Calendar founder Ruth Finley, who also participated into the documentary.

Culture Clash: Finley was very resistant to new technology and refused for years to sell Fashion Calendar.

Culture Audience: “Calendar Girl” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in the American fashion industry and New York Fashion Week.

Steven Kolb and Ruth Finley in “Calendar Girl” (Photo by Christian D. Bruun)

Long before software spreadsheets and the Internet existed, the schedules of the U.S. fashion industry in New York City were and still are largely influenced by the subscription publication Fashion Calendar, which launched in 1941. Ruth Finley was the founder of Fashion Calendar, which is still considered the most influential scheduling “bible” for people in American fashion, especially those who attend New York Fashion Week. Finley’s name might not be as famous as longtime Vogue (U.S.) editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, but Finley holds a place in fashion media as an underrated pioneer. The engaging documentary “Calendar Girl” tells Finley’s story.

Directed by Christian D. Bruun, “Calendar Girl” (which had its world premiere at DOC NYC in 2020) was filmed over the course of several years in the 2010s. Finley passed away in 2018, at the age of 98, but she fully participated in the film, which includes interviews with numerous colleagues and family members of Finley. A few of the interviewees have also since passed away, such as photographer Bill Cunningham and former Bloomingdale’s executive Joseph “Joe” Siegel, who was Finley’s beau toward their end of their lives. Therefore, “Calendar Girl” looks dated in some ways, but the inspiring message of the movie is timeless.

Rather than giving a boring and predictable chronological telling of Finley’s story, “Calendar Girl” gives a non-chronological but insightful overview of Finley as a businessperson, mother and beloved influencer, as well as how she fits into the larger cultural context of the fashion industry. The movie begins with footage of her being honored at a 2014 Hall of Fame Tribute to celebrate Fashion Calendar, an event presented by Citymeals on Wheels. Later in the documentary, there’s footage of Finley getting the Board of Directors’ Tribute at the 2014 Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Awards, as well as Finley receiving the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) President’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.

Through Finley’s own words and the words of her colleagues and her three sons (Joe Green, Jim Green and Larry Lein), a story emerges of a dedicated and sassy woman who went against society norms to start Fashion Calendar during an era when women were expected to not have careers. She was a single, working mother for most of her career, long before it was common or even acceptable to be a mother who worked outside of the home. Finley also kept working well past the age when most people are expected to retire. 

And her passion for fashion is almost unparalleled, as she kept up her rigorous work schedule for decades. She was tirelessly attending fashion shows well into her 90s. “Calendar Girl” includes footage of her attending some of these shows. In the documentary, Finley says, “Sometimes I do as many as 12 shows a day.” She also mentions that her personal career record for going to fashion shows was attending 150 shows in one week.

Fashion Calendar had a very simple concept that worked extremely well: Publish a calendar schedule of all the major fashion events happening in New York City. For years, before Fashion Calendar had office space, Finley worked out of her home. Fun fact: Before Emmy-winning actress Doris Roberts was famous, she worked as a teenage typist for Fashion Calendar in the publication’s early years.

The Fashion Calendar newsletter eventually grew into a booklet-styled publication years later. CFDA founder Eleanor Lambert, who started out as a fashion publicist, rose to prominence at around the same time that Finley did. Lambert, Finley and former Vogue (U.S.) editor Diana Vreeland are mentioned by several people as the three most influential women in fashion in the 1950s and 1960s.

Fashion Calendar, which was published weekly and then bi-weekly, was typewritten or mimeographed on pink paper for years, before computer technology existed. Finley and her small staff also kept files and Rolodexes that they still used until CFDA purchased Fashion Calendar in 2014 and Finley took on the role of consultant. At the time Fashion Calendar was sold to CFDA in 2014, the publication had only three full-time employees, including Finley and longtime Fashion Calendar editor Mary Hackle.

The idea of making Fashion Calendar pink ended up being one of the best ideas for the publication, not only because it made Fashion Calendar stand out from other fashion publications, but also, as Finley says, “The reason why we kept this color is so people would find it on a messy desk.” It’s why Fashion Calendar ended up being nicknamed “The Pink Bible.”

Finley (who was born in 1920, in Haverhill, Massachusetts) launched Fashion Calendar while she was still a student at Simmons College in Boston, where she majored in journalism and minored in nutrition. After graduating from college in 1941, she moved to New York City and devoted herself full-time to Fashion Calendar, which included listings for movie premieres and Broadway shows in the publication’s early years. Under her ownership, Fashion Calendar never had ads or took sponsorship money, which is unusual for any print-media publication.

Finley’s youngest son Larry Lein comments in the documentary: “She realized all along that she could’ve taken ads and she could’ve made more money, but she thought it would ruin the integrity of what she was doing and ruin her credibility. It never occurred to her that her business should be anything but an impartial listing service.” He also says that his mother’s business success could be attributed to her frugality, because she learned early on to keep overhead costs low.

While her Fashion Calendar business was thriving, Finley experienced major heartaches and tragedies. Her first marriage to businessman Hank Green ended in divorce in 1954, at a time when being divorced was considered somewhat scandalous, especially for women. Finley’s sons Joe and Jim Green were born from that marriage.

In the documentary, Finley says that her first marriage was a mistake that happened because she wanted to rebel against her domineering housewife mother, who didn’t approve of Hank Green and thought that women should not have careers. Finley and her mother didn’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of issues, but their relationship is described as close, despite any ongoing tensions.

Not long after her divorce from Hank Green, Finley married second husband Irving Lein, who owned a women’s designer sportswear company. Her third and youngest son Larry was born from that marriage. However, Irving tragically died of a heart attack at the age of 44 on January 14, 1959, which also happened to be Finley’s 39th birthday.

The widowed Finley told people at the funeral that she never wanted to get married again. And she never did. Finley says in the documentary that her way of dealing with tragedy and setbacks was to try to be as positive as possible: “I always believed in looking at the happy side. And too many people don’t know how to do that.”

That optimistic outlook on life served her well in an industry that tends to be very fickle and not well-suited for people who are sensitive to criticism. As the fashion industry grew in America (especially in New York City, the fashion capital of the United States), so too did Fashion Calendar’s influence. Finley found herself not just publishing the fashion schedules of the industry but also becoming a power broker who could decide who and what could be scheduled where and when. It was also a job that required a lot of negotiating skills to deal with the huge egos and histrionics in the fashion industry.

Her clout had a major effect not just with big-name designers but also with up-and-coming designers. Several people in the documentary, including fashion designers Betsey Johnson and Jeffrey Banks, have nice things to say about how Finley have them big breaks in their careers. And her Fashion Calendar work also affected the careers of countless other industry people besides designers, such as buyers, media, retailers and wholesalers. Ellin Saltzman, a former Saks Fifth Avenue buyer, says of Finley: “Without Ruth, I couldn’t do my job.”

Fashion designer Nicole Miller says in the documentary that for Miller’s first New York Fashion Week show in 1991, Finley was “tough” in insisting that then-newcomer Miller get a less-than-desirable time slot: 9 a.m. on a Tuesday. Miller says, through a lot of heated discussions with Finley, she was able to negotiate for a better time slot at 12 noon. Miller says that these negotiations weren’t easy because Finley was considered an industry powerhouse that a lot of upcoming designers did not want to alienate.

Fashion designer Nanette Lepore comments in the documentary that although Finley was no pushover, she still brought a sense of decorum and politeness to her job, in an industry where screaming tantrums and rudeness are very common: “She was constantly smoothing over egos, negotiating for someone … There was a gentlemanliness about how people approached fashion and Fashion Week, mostly because of how Ruth’s gentlewomanliness was managing it.”

Because she conducted most of her business over the phone, Fashion Calendar had a personal touch that many other fashion media executives lost as computer technology took over many businesses and people used email or social media to communicate with each other. In the documentary, Finley says that as long as she owned Fashion Calendar, she made sure that she and her small number of employees were always accessible through phone calls. 

It was a very traditional mindset that people in the documentary say was both an asset and a detriment. Even though Crafting Beauty CEO François Damide says in the documentary of Finley, “I really think she’s the Steve Jobs of our industry,” that comment might be overstating her influence. Even Finley herself admits that she was far from a technology pioneer, and she didn’t really invent anything. She just provided a particular news service for the fashion industry before anyone else did.

Finley’s resistance to new technology would ultimately lead to her decision to sell Fashion Calendar. For decades, Finley turned down offers from other companies to buy Fashion Calendar. One of the reasons why Finley’s family convinced her to sell Fashion Calendar was that the American fashion industry and New York Fashion Week were just too big for Finley and her small staff to handle just by their old-fashioned methods of Rolodexes and hand-written drafts of schedules.

The Fashion Calendar staff eventually used computers, but former CFDA executive director Fern Mallis says, “Ruth was very late to get to the technology. People begged her to be online. She resisted.”

In 2014, CFDA president/CEO Steven Kolb and then-CFA chairperson Diane von Furstenberg approached Finley to sell Fashion Calendar to CFDA. Kolb says in the documentary that CFDA had been considering launching a rival fashion calendar business, but approached Finley to sell Fashion Calendar to CFDA, out of respect for Finley and with the promise that they would keep her core integrity for the business intact. The CFDA took over Fashion Calendar in October 2014. Fashion Calendar’s last print edition was published in December 2014.

Kolb comments in the documentary, “Technology, whether we like it or not, whether we accept it or not, it forces us to move forward in a way, because if we don’t, then we become irrelevant.” Kolb adds that Finley was also convinced to sell Fashion Calendar because he told her that stepping away from day-to-day managerial duties “frees her up … and lets her focus on the fun stuff.”

The documentary also gives a great overview of the priceless contributions that Finley made to the fashion industry, in terms of historical significance. She meticulously kept all of the Fashion Calendar issues, which she donated to the FIT Museum for posterity. These archives are incredible resources for research and for examining what was going on in fashion at the time. There are no other archives like it in the world.

Fashion Calendar wasn’t a flashy publication and there was “not a lot of production value,” comments independent archivist David Benjamin, who helped transfer Fashion Calendar archives to the FIT Museum. “But it’s important, in terms of the information it contains.”

Because “Calendar Girl” was filmed over several years, there are many other people who were interviewed for the documentary. Fashion designers who offer their glowing commentary on Finley include Carolina Herrera; Mark Badgley and James Mischka of Badgley Mischka; Tadashi Soji; Thom Browne; Ralph Rucci; Dennis Basso; and Steve Herman, a former CFDA president.

Other “Calendar Girl” interviewees include FIT Museum director/chief curator Valerie Steele; FIT Library head of special collections and college archives Karen Trivette; former Costume Institute/Metropolitan Museum of Art curator-in-charge Harold Koda; Costume Institute/Metropolitan Museum of Art communications officer Nancy Chilton; Fashion Group International creative director Marylou Luther; Cushnie et Ochs CEO Peter Arnold; Paper magazine editorial director Mickey Boardman; The Ground Crew CEO Audrey Smaltz; Victoria Royal president Alan Sealove; KCD co-chair Julie Mannion; and InStyle magazine editor-at-large Eric Wilson. 

Even though all of these talking heads in the movie are very laudatory of Finley, “Calendar Girl” does an admirable job of not placing her too high on a pedestal, since it includes some constructive criticism of how Finley’s technophobia affected her business. “Calendar Girl” director Bruun was also the film’s cinematographer, and he brings an unpretentious intimacy to this fashion documentary, in contrast to so many other documentaries about fashion influencers that tend to lean into “larger than life” pomp and circumstance. Most of all, “Calendar Girl” is a noteworthy tribute to Finley, by showing that her name might not be well-known outside of the fashion industry because she remained humble and cared more about her work than she cared about being famous.

2020 DOC NYC: What to expect at this year’s event

October 15, 2020

Updated November 9, 2020

by Carla Hay

Celebrating its 11th edition in 2020, the annual DOC NYC, which is headquartered in New York City, is one of the world’s leading documentary festivals, with a slate of more than 200 films (of which more than 100 are feature-length films) from a diverse array of topics. In 2020, DOC NYC takes place from November 11 to November 19, and continues the festival’s tradition of offering an outstanding variety of feature films and short films, with several of the movies focusing on under-represented people and marginalized communities. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DOC NYC is a virtual event in 2020, with all of the festival’s movies available to view online to the general public from November 11 to November 19. Tickets are available on the official DOC NYC website.

DOC NYC, which was co-founded by Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen, is still offering special virtual events in addition to online screenings. According to a DOC NYC press release: “DOC NYC’s 2020 edition includes the five-day pre-festival Road Trip, October 26-30, a virtual tour on Facebook Live stopping in 10 filmmaking hubs across the United States to showcase local documentary makers and organizations, along with festival films from the area. During the festival itself, conversations with festival filmmakers will take place in daily DOC NYC Live events, and festival screenings will also include pre-recorded filmmaker Q&As after the films. Road Trip is co-presented by Netflix.”

Also according to a DOC NYC press release: “The festival’s noted filmmaker development program, DOC NYC PRO, also moved online in 2020, offering webinars to emerging and established documentary markers around that globe. DOC NYC PRO is co-presented by Apple Original Films. More news about additions to the program, DOC NYC’s Visionaries Tribute honorees, competition jury members, the features and shorts named to the festival’s Short List sections, and other festival updates will be announced in the coming weeks.”

The honorees for the 2020 DOC NYC Visionaries Tribute are film editor Sam Pollard and film editor/producer Jean Tsien, who will each receive the Lifetime Achievement Award; filmmaker Yvonne Welbon, recipient of the Leading Light Award; and filmmaker Alexander Nanau, who will get the Drew Award.

For the second year in a row, the festival is presenting DOC NYC’s Winner’s Circle collection, which spotlights movies that have won awards at other film festivals, but might be underrated or overlooked for Oscar nominations. Winner’s Circle documentaries this year are “Acasa, My Home,” “Beautiful Something Left Behind,” “Influence,” “Mayor,” “The Mole Agent,” “The Painter and the Thief,” “The Reason I Jump,” “Songs of Repression,” “Stray” and “The Walrus and the Whistleblower.”

DOC NYC’s annual Short List spotlights movies (features and shorts) that are considered top contenders to get Oscar nominations. This year’s Short List feature films are “76 Days,” “Boys State,” “Collective,” “Crip Camp,” “Dick Johnson Is Dead,” “The Fight,” “Gunda,” “I Am Greta,” “MLK/FBI,” “On the Record,” “The Social Dilemma,” “A Thousand Cuts,” “The Truffle Hunters” and “Welcome to Chechnya.” This year’s Short List short films are “Abortion Help Line, This Is Lisa,” “Ashes to Ashes,” “Call Center Blues,” “Do No Split,” “Flower Punk,” “Hunger Ward,” “A Life Too Short,” “A Love Song for Latasha,” “No Crying at the Dinner Table,” “Now Is the Time,” “Sing Me a Lullaby,” “Then Comes the Evening.”

Even though most of the movies at DOC NYC have had their world premieres elsewhere, DOC NYC has several world premieres of its own. Here are the feature films that will have their world premieres at DOC NYC. A complete program can be found here.

DOC NYC 2020 WORLD PREMIERE FEATURE FILMS

All descriptions are courtesy of DOC NYC.

UPDATE: “Wuhan Wuhan,” which chronicled what Wuhan, China, was like as the first epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, was announced as being a world premiere at DOC NYC in 2020, but the movie was pulled from the festival for “technical issues,” according to the movie’s publicist.

“A La Calle” 
Directed by Nelson G. Navarrete and Maxx Caicedo

Venezuela’s recent political upheavals are made vivid through this epic work exploring multiple perspectives in the national movement against the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro.

“Calendar Girl” 
Directed by Christian D. Bruun

Ruth Finley, the nonagenarian queen of the fashion industry through her pink Fashion Calendar, founded in 1945, faces the end of an era as her iconic publication changes ownership. Co-presented by The Cut.


“Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters”
Directed by Rosalynde LeBlanc and Tom Hurwitz

An engrossing examination of dance, love, and loss through the story of Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane’s signature performance piece on the devastation of AIDS. Co-presented by The WNET Group.

Chasing Childhood” 
Directed Eden Wurmfeld and Margaret Munzer Loeb 

Reformed “helicopter” parents and education professionals reveal the benefits of allowing kids to have freedom to play unencumbered by schedules and structure.


 
A Cops and Robbers Story
Directed by Ilinca Calugareanu

A decorated NYPD officer’s career is threatened when his political stances lead to revelations about his former life of crime.

“A Crime in the Bayou” 
Directed by Nancy Buirski

In 1966 Louisiana, a lasting bond is formed between an unjustly arrested Black man, Gary Duncan, and Richard Sobol, his young Jewish attorney.

“Crutch”
Directed by Sachi Cunningham and Vayabobo

Dance, art, performance, and disability politics converge in this entertaining and enlightening portrait of Bill “Crutch” Shannon.

“Duty Free” 
Directed by Sian-Pierre Regis

As his recently laid off mother struggles to find a new job at the age of 75, the filmmaker takes her on an adventure to help her reclaim her life.

“In My Own Time: A Portrait of Karen Dalton” 
Directed by Robert Yapkowitz and Richard Peete

The unconventional life of blues and folk singer Karen Dalton, a prominent figure in the 1960s New York music scene.

“In Silico” 
Directed by Noah Hutton

Director Noah Hutton embarks on a 10-year project following a visionary neuroscientist’s quest to build a computer simulation of a brain.

“La Madrina: The Savage Life of Lorine Padilla”  
Directed by Raquel Cepeda

The “first lady” of the Savage Skulls reflects on the pivotal role of women in the 1970s New York City gang and her later shift to community activism.

“The Meaning of Hitler” 
Directed by Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker

This provocative consideration of the lasting influence and draw of Hitler provides insight into the resurgence of white supremacy, antisemitism, and the weaponization of history.

“Moments Like This Never Last” 
Directed by Cheryl Dunn

In post 9/11 New York City, Dash Snow rejected a life of privilege to make his own way as an artist for a too brief but unforgettable time.

“Neither Confirm Nor Deny” 
Directed by Philip Carter

At the height of the Cold War, the CIA is tasked with an audacious covert mission: recovering a sunken Soviet nuclear submarine from the bottom of the ocean.

“The Oil War”
Directed by David Schisgall

Iconoclastic historian Andrew Bacevich delivers an anti-colonial critique of US foreign policy in the Middle East, which he sees as one long Oil War.

“On Pointe”
Directed by Larissa Bills

A sneak preview of the pilot episode of the upcoming Disney+ docuseries capturing a season in New York City at the School of American Ballet. Co-presented by the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.

“Origin of the Species” 
Directed by Abigail Child

Abigail Child offers an eerie and exciting look into the present and future of artificial intelligence through the perspectives of robotics scientists, entrepreneurs, and a Black lesbian robot named BINA48.

“Red Heaven” 
Directed by Lauren DeFilippo and Katherine Gorringe

In this prescient exploration of self-imposed quarantine, six volunteers embark on a one-year mission in a Mars simulation to further research for space exploration.

“Restaurant Hustle” 
Directed by Frank Matson

Executive produced by Guy Fieri, this is an intimate chronicle of the impact of the pandemic on the restaurants of four celebrity chefs: Antonia Lofaso, Marcus Samuelsson, Maneet Chauhan, and Christian Petroni. Co-presented by Grub Street.

“Television Event” 
Directed by Jeff Daniels

On November 20, 1983, ABC-TV broadcast “The Day After,” a chilling fictional account of the aftermath of a nuclear war on a small Kansas town. With impressive access to the principals involved with the project and a trove of archival footage, Jeff Daniels revisits the improbable story of this anti-nuclear major television event and the impact it left on the Reagan era and beyond.

“Wojnarowicz”
Directed by Chris McKim

A powerful elegy to the late New York artist, writer, and filmmaker David Wojnarowicz, who embraced a defiant queer identity and fought against indifference to the AIDS crisis.

“Youth V. Gov” 
Directed by Christi Cooper

Young activists from across the nation file a groundbreaking lawsuit against the United States for endangering their constitutional rights by creating the climate crisis.

November 9, 2020 UPDATE

The following information is from a DOC NYC press release:

DOC NYC LIVE

As it moves online for the first time, the festival is launching a daily block of free programming, DOC NYC Live, available to audiences throughout the US and around the world on Facebook Live. Each afternoon during the festival, the programming team will host live conversations throwing a spotlight on individual films. Speakers expected to participate include Werner Herzog and Clive Oppenheimer, along with festival filmmakers and special guests, including Representative Barbara Lee (Truth to Power: Barbara Lee Speaks for Me), Alex Winter (Zappa), philosopher and activist Angela Davis (Since I Been Down), author David Mitchell (The Reason I Jump), fashion designer Nicole Miller(Calendar Girl), violinist Joshua Bell (Los Hermanos/The Brothers), celebrity restaurateurs Guy Fieri, Marcus Samuelsson, Antonia Lofaso, Maneet Chauhan, and Christian Petroni (Restaurant Hustle 2020: All on the Line), author Francine Prose (The Meaning of Hitler), chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov (The Dissident), and philosopher Cornel West (The Big Scary “S” Word), with additional participants to be announced. The schedule and updates are available at www.DOCNYC.net/DOCNYCLive2020
 
“Since March, we’ve been adapting to our new online reality and trying to find fresh ways to reach audiences,” said DOC NYC Executive Director Raphaela Neihausen. “DOC NYC Live is our latest effort to help filmmakers connect with audiences all over the world.”
 
Audiences can tune in and contribute questions or comments at facebook.com/docnycfest. This live program builds on the success of the festival’s earlier DOC NYC Road Trip, a week of virtual visits with filmmakers and documentary advocates in 10 cities across the country that attracted thousands of viewers. 
 
DOC NYC Live on Wed. Nov. 11 and Thurs. Nov. 12 is co-presented by XTR.  DOC NYC Live on Fri. Nov. 13 is co-presented by Hulu. 

Review: ‘The Stylist,’ starring Najarra Townsend, Brea Grant, Millie Milan, Sarah McGuire and Davis DeRock

September 27, 2020

by Carla Hay

Najarra Townsend in “The Stylist” (Photo courtesy of Method Media/Sixx Tape Productions)

“The Stylist”

Directed by Jill Gevargizian

Culture Representation: Taking place in Kansas City, Missouri, the horror film “The Stylist” features a predominantly white cast (with a few African Americans) representing the middle-class.

Culture Clash: A lonely hairstylist has a secret life of a serial killer who collects the scalps of her female victims. 

Culture Audience: “The Stylist” will appeal primarily to people who like gripping psychological thrillers with stylish, 1970s-inspired noir aesthetics.

Brea Grant and Najarra Townsend in “The Stylist” (Photo courtesy of Method Media/Sixx Tape Productions)

“The Stylist” takes some of the best elements of 1970s noir horror movies and serves them up in a more modern setting while also appearing to be somewhat timeless. The movie is a tension-filled journey into the disturbed mind of a serial killer who is deceptively mild-mannered to the outside world. Anchored by an effectively chilling performance by Najarra Townsend, “The Stylist” (which was filmed on location in Kansas City, Missouri) is an impressive feature-film debut by writer/director Jill Gevargizian, who brings an almost hypnotic quality to this memorable horror film. “The Stylist” feature film, which had its world premiere at the 2020 edition Fantastic Fest, is adapted from Gevargizian’s short film of the same title.

On the surface, hair stylist Claire (played by Townsend) seems to be an introverted person who can do wonders with people’s hair. She has a loyal base of clients and she is very accommodating and helpful to all of her customers. Claire is also a very lonely person, since she doesn’t have much of social life outside of her job at a small, somewhat bohemian-styled hair salon. She lives alone and only has a her female Chihuahua named Pepper to keep her company.

In the beginning of the movie, Claire meets a new customer who is visiting Kansas City on a business trip and has come into the salon for an evening appointment. The customer’s name is Sarah (played by Jennifer Seward), and an attentive Claire finds out what kind of hair service that Sarah wants. Sarah accepts Claire’s offer to have a glass of wine while Claire styles Sarah’s hair.

Claire and Sarah make small talk, but it isn’t long before Sarah opens up about her life, as people often do when they talk to a hair stylist. Sarah is married and has a 12-year-old son. But Sarah admits that she isn’t very happy in her marriage and that while she’s on this business trip, Sarah has been cheating on her husband with a “boy toy” whom she says she’ll probably never see again.

“I’m only human,” Sarah says as an excuse for her infidelity. Why is Sarah telling Claire this intimate secret? Because, as Sarah explains, she’ll probably never see Claire again either. It’s the kind of realistic dialogue that makes the people believable in “The Stylist” screenplay, which was written by Gevargizian, Eric Havens and Eric Stolze.

Sarah and Claire end up being the last people in the salon as it closes for the night. And then, Claire’s true nature comes out. The glass of wine that Sarah was drinking had been spiked by Claire. Whatever drug was in that wine has now kicked in and Sarah has passed out. Claire then takes a knife and removes Sarah’s scalp. The scalping is shown and heard in all of its gruesome details.

The movie doesn’t show what Claire does with Sarah’s body, because it does show what Claire has done with the scalp when Claire is at home. In a candle-lit room filled with a giant mirror, Claire wears the scalp and mimics the conversation that she had with Sarah, almost as if she’s reliving it but also playing the role of Sarah. It soon becomes clear that more than just wanting killing Sarah and taking her scalp, Claire also wants some piece of this woman’s life, however fleeting that feeling might be.

The rest of the movie show’s Claire going on a killing spree where she collects her female victims’ scalps. She’s careful enough to hide the bodies so that it’s a mystery over whether or not the women are missing or dead. And she does quite a bit of stalking of potential victims while having various private meltdowns in her home and in her car.

Claire is able to maintain a façade that everything is normal in her life. However, viewers might notice that she has some kind of obsessive-compulsive disorder, because it bothers her to do anything out of her routine. When she waits in line at her favorite coffee shop the day after she killed Sarah, Claire notices that there’s a speck of Sarah’s blood on one of Claire’s shoes.

The speck is only something Sarah can see, but the sight of it bothers her so much that she becomes agitated while she’s waiting in line and tries to use her other foot to scrape off the blood. The behind-the-counter barista named Dawn (played by Sarah McGuire) notices that something is bothering Claire, who tries to act like she’s just having a bad day. Another sign of her obsessive compulsiveness: The barista knows exactly what Claire is going to order, because she orders the same thing every time she’s in the coffee ship.

One of the things outside of Claire’s comfort zone is being a hairstylist at a wedding. She’s refused requests in the past to take wedding jobs. However, one of Claire’s loyal clients named Olivia (played by Brea Grant), who is an editor at a fashion magazine, has been begging Claire to be the hair stylist for Olivia’s wedding because another stylist bailed out of the job on short notice. Claire finally relents and agrees to Olivia’s hairstylist for the wedding.

The wedding and the preparations leading up to it set off a catalyst of events and emotions that have deadly consequences, as Sarah starts to become obsessed with being Olivia’s best friend. Claire’s need to be Olivia’s closest confidante is triggered when Olivia invites Claire to Olivia’s home to see Olivia in her wedding dress. The two women are alone together, and they both start talking about their families and their backgrounds.

Olivia and Claire both find out that they grew up without a father. Although Olivia’s mother is still alive and will be at the wedding, Claire’s mother died when she was 17. Claire says that he mother was only 35 and very drunk when she died, hinting that her childhood was probably unhappy because her mother had a drinking problem.

Claire also says that he mother was a hairstylist who would change her hairstyle every few months. “I never knew who was going to come home,” Claire says of her mother’s changing image. Meanwhile, Olivia opens up about her own troubled past, by telling Claire that she used to be a wild child and never thought she would end up getting married.

And what does Claire’s sudden interest in being close to Olivia mean for Olivia’s fiancé Charlie (played by Davis Derock)? He becomes an unwitting target of Claire’s disdain if he does anything that would Claire thinks is disrespectful to Olivia. Claire is the type to hold grudges.

Claire is also jealous of the bridesmaids who are in Olivia’s wedding party, including Olivia’s catty co-worker Monique (played by Millie Milan), who had recommended the hairstylist was who originally hired for the wedding. There’s a pivotal bachelorette party scene that is very well-acted, because it shows the first time that Claire is introduced to the women who are in Olivia’s inner circle.

All of the scenes in “The Stylist” have good acting, but the movie has added appeal because of its cinematography by Robert Patrick Stern. Colors are muted but spooky, as if to reflect the quietness of Claire and also the evil darkness that she has within her. And Claire is sometimes filmed from angles below and from the side that give the perspective of an observer who might know all of her secrets.

The way that Claire dresses (knee-high socks, velvet jackets in autumn colors) and wears her makeup (with a cat eyeliner look) evokes the aura of femme fatales of early 1970s horror movies, such as “Daughters of the Darkness” and “The Red Queen Kills Seven Times.” “The Stylist’s” musical score (by Nicholas Elert) has a similarly retro vibe to it. The “shabby chic” production design by Sarah Sharp is also perfect for this movie, since many of the characters in the film look like the type of people who hunt for fashionably vintage items for home decorations and to give as gifts.

Although there’s a lot of familiarity to this serial killer story, what stands out about “The Stylist” some of the characters that you would think would be killed end up not getting killed, while other characters have surprise murders. (Writer/director Gervargizian has a cameo as one of Claire’s murder victims.)

Claire comes across to many people as meek and unassuming, but her disturbed mental state comes out when she’s alone and babbling to herself. Townsend convincingly handles these scenes in a way that doesn’t become a laughable parody of mental illness. She brings a certain authentic humanity to the role that might make some viewers feel a little bit of sympathy for Claire. Gervargizian, who’s been a hair stylist in real life, also vividly captures the disarming comfort that comes from being in the care of a hair stylist, such as the close-ups of hair getting transformed in the hands of professionals and the feeling of elation that customers have when they like the results of what’s been done to their hair.

“The Stylist” is not a fast-paced movie but it’s not dragged down by dullness either. Under the skillful direction of Gevargizian, the movie takes a dark and harrowing look at what it must be like for a serial killer to lead a double life and hide in plain sight. In between the murder and the mayhem is a person who goes about a seemingly mundane and routine life. In its own disquieting way, “The Stylist” exposes that a serial killer who has a veneer of “normality” can be much more terrifying than an obvious, out-of-control psycho.

2020 Toronto International Film Festival: ‘Nomadland’ wins People’s Choice Award

September 19, 2020

Frances McDormand in “Nomadland” (Photo courtesy of Searchlight Pictures)

The 2020 Toronto International Film Festival took place from September 10 to September 19 in Toronto. Here are the 2020 winners of the festival’s awards, which were announced on September 19:

THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD

Winner: Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland

First runner-up: Regina King’s One Night in Miami…
Second runner-up: Tracy Deer’s Beans

THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE MIDNIGHT MADNESS AWARD

Winner: Roseanne Liang’s Shadow In The Cloud

THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE DOCUMENTARY AWARD

Winner: Michelle Latimer’s Inconvenient Indian

SHAWN MENDES FOUNDATION CHANGEMAKER AWARD

Winner: Kelly Fyffe-Marshall’s Black Bodies

Amplify Voices Awards presented by Canada Goose

Each award offers a $10,000 cash prize, made possible by Canada Goose. Canada Goose embraces diversity in all its forms and definitions, including technique and passion that transports storytelling to screen. These awards will be presented to the three best feature films by under-represented filmmakers. All feature films in Official Selection by BIPOC and Canadian filmmakers are eligible, and the three winners will receive $10,000 each.

Jury: Sarah Gadon (actress), Damon D’Oliveira (director), Danis Goulet (filmmaker)

AMPLIFY VOICES AWARD AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN FEATURE FILM

Winner: Michelle Latimer’s Inconvenient Indian

Special Mention: Nicolás Pereda’s Fauna.

AMPLIFY VOICES AWARD

Winner: Chaitanya Tamhane’s The Disciple

Winner: Philippe Lacôte’s Night of the Kings

Special Mention: Dieudo Hamadi’s Downstream to Kinshasa

IMDbPro Short Cuts Awards

The award offers a $10,000 cash prize, made possible by IMDbPro. Films programmed in this year’s Short Cuts selection are eligible for three jury-selected IMDbPro Short Cuts Awards: Best Film, Best Canadian Film, and, new this year, the Share Her Journey Award for best film by a woman. IMDbPro will provide each of the three winners with a bursary of $10,000 CAD and a one-year membership to IMDbPro, the essential resource for entertainment industry professionals, to help them continue achieving success in their careers. These awards build on IMDbPro’s nearly 20-year history of empowering entertainment professionals to discover new talent and projects, and on its ongoing commitment to supporting and collaboratively working with organizations that create greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in the entertainment industry — including TIFF’s Share Her Journey campaign.

Jury: Stella Meghie (filmmaker), Adam Piron (filmmaker), Chloé Robichaud (filmmaker)

IMDBPRO SHORT CUTS AWARD FOR BEST FILM

Winner: Naïla Guiguet’s Dustin

IMDBPRO SHORT CUTS AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN FILM

Winner: Paul Shkordoff’s Benjamin, Benny, Ben

IMDBPRO SHORT CUTS SHARE HER JOURNEY AWARD

Winner: Tiffany Hsiung’s Sing Me a Lullaby

Honourable mention: Renee Zhan’s O Black Hole!

NETPAC Award

The jury is selected from the Network for the Promotion of Asian Pacific Cinema.

Jury: Professor George Chun Han Wang (jury chairperson), Dr. Sharofat Arabova (jury member), Dr. Latika Padgaonkar (jury member)

NETPAC AWARD

Winner: Tarzan Nasser and Arab Nasser’s Gaza mon amour

FIPRESCI Prize

THE PRIZE OF THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF FILM CRITICS (FIPRESCI PRIZE)

Winner – Discovery Programme: Dea Kulumbegashvili’s Beginning

Jury: Adriana Fernández, Jon Asp, Jihane Bougrine

2020 Venice International Film Festival: ‘Nomadland’ wins the Golden Lion top prize

September 12, 2020

 
Frances McDormand in “Nomadland” (Photo courtesy of Searchlight Pictures)

“Nomadland,” director Chloé Zhao’s dramatic film about American drifters, was awarded the Golden Lion (the top prize) at the 2020 Venice International Film Festival in Venice, Italy. “Nomadland” stars Frances McDormand, and several real-life American nomads. Searchlights Pictures will release “Nomadland” on December 4, 2020. The movie has gotten rave reviews from critics and is expected to be a big contender at the 2021 Academy Awards. The 77th annual Venice International Film Festival took place from September 2 to September 12, 2020. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 edition of the Venice International Film Festival had mostly online virtual screenings and events.

“Nomadland” is the first movie directed by a woman to win the festival’s Golden Lion prize since Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere” in 2010, and the the first movie directed by a woman of color to win the prize since Mira Nair’s “Monsoon Wedding” in 2001. For “Nomadland,” Zhao also became the first woman of color to be nominated in the festival’s award category of Best Director.

The Grand Jury Prize (second place) went to “New Order,” a dystopian thriller film directed by Michel Franco. Other winners at the 2020 Venice International Film Festival included Pierfrancesco Favino of “Padrenostro” for Best Actor; Vanessa Kirby of “Pieces of a Woman” for Best Actress; and “Wife of a Spy” helmer Kiyoshi Kurosawa for Best Director.

Here is the complete list of winners for the 2020 Venice International Film Festival:

IN COMPETITION

Golden Lion: “Nomadland,” Chloé Zhao

Grand Jury Prize: “New Order,” Michel Franco

Silver Lion for Best Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa, “Wife of a Spy”

Best Actress: Vanessa Kirby, “Pieces of a Woman”

Best Actor: Pierfrancesco Favino, “Padrenostro”

Best Screenplay: “The Disciple,” Chaitanya Tamhane

Special Jury Prize: “Dear Comrades,” Andrei Konchalovsky

Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor: Rouhollah Zamani, “Sun Children”

HORIZONS

Best Film: “The Wasteland,” Ahmad Bahrami

Best Director: “Genus Pan,” Lav Diaz

Special Jury Prize: “Listen,” Ana Rocha de Sousa

Best Actress: Khansa Batma, “Zanka Contact”

Best Actor: Yahya Mahayni, “The Man Who Sold His Skin”

Best Screenplay: “I Predatori,” Pietro Castellitto

Best Short Film: “Entre tú y milagros,” Mariana Safron


LION OF THE FUTURE

Luigi De Laurentiis Award for Best Debut film: “Listen,” Ana Rocha de Sousa

VIRTUAL REALITY COMPETITION

Best VR: “The Hangman at Home: An Immersive Single User Experience,” Michelle and Uri Kranot

Best VR Experience:  “Finding Pandora X,” Kiira Benzing

Best VR Story: “Killing a Superstar,” Fan Fan