From a boy’s own government to a gay man’s road trip with his niece, a mini-feast of film captures the Utah festival’s progressive spirit
In a year that has seen the usually crammed film festival circuit thrown into disarray by coronavirus, January’s Sundance film festival was one of the lucky few such events to unfold without disruption — and nary a murmur about how the film industry would grind to a halt in a matter of weeks. The festival’s British offshoot, Sundance London, has not been so fortunate. Normally it’s a hot ticket in the early summer, bringing selected highlights from Park City, Utah, to local cinema screens for the first time. Like most other summer cultural events, it seemed that 2020 was simply going to be a washout — yet, happily, Sundance London has been revived in a smaller, streaming-based form, with a mini-programme available to view at home this week from 7-9 August.
The selection comprises three feature films and eight shorts: a fraction of what the lineup would be in a physical edition, yet still a pleasingly diverse snapshot that captures the festival’s progressive, conscientious programming spirit. Via the Sundance London site, punters can book individual digital tickets to a single feature premiere (or the whole shorts programme) for £5.99, while a £20 festival pass offers access to everything shown over the weekend. An assortment of online panel discussions, meanwhile, will be free to stream internationally, though having the context of the films would probably help.