If you’re a film buff, you may already be aware that the 2018 Sundance Film Festival has recently taken place, and wrapped up on Jan. 28. This celebrated film festival, which is held annually in Park City, Utah, showcases the work on American and international independent filmmakers. It is widely recognized as an opportunity for these men and women to get their “big break,” and for many of them it is the first step on the road to Oscar nominations and wins! Too many amazing films got their start at Sundance to name them all, but here are a few favorites that you can check out from the Westerly Library:
Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons deliver amazing performances in this 2014 psychological drama, which tells the story of Andrew (Teller), a young and ambitious drummer that joins the prestigious school band, headed by a ruthless teacher (Simmons) who pushes his students to their very limits. The film is intense, memorable, and walked away from the 2015 Oscars with 3 well-deserved awards.
In 2015 Ida became the first Polish film to win an Oscar for Best Foreign Film. This 2013 drama follows an orphaned woman who is on the verge of taking her vows as a nun when she meets her aunt and learns about her German roots, sparking an emotional (and literal) journey to discover who she really is.
This comedy-drama starring Viggo Mortenson had its world premiere at Sundance in the beginning of 2016. The film depicts a family of six children who live in the Washington wilderness with their father (Mortenson), and whose informal education focuses largely on survivalist skills and self-reliance. The family is further challenged when changing circumstances force them to integrate into the “real world.” The movie is clever and quirky, and even though Mortenson didn’t ultimately walk away with an Oscar, the acting was magnificent!
Casey Affleck plays Lee Chandler, a loner whose life is turned upside down when his brother passes away and leaves him in charge of his teenaged son. Amidst the tragedy, Chandler must return to a hometown he hates, and the demons of this past. The film is definitely heavy, but also darkly humorous and hopeful; it won an Oscar in 2017 for Best Original Screenplay, as well as Best Actor (Casey Affleck).
This critically acclaimed (and Oscar-winning) 2016 documentary chronicles the life of O.J. Simpson: from his rise to greatness to his 2007 incarceration and everything in between. At the same time, the documentary examines the deeper roles of race, gender and class in America. With a run time of 467 minutes it is certainly comprehensive, but also so compelling that you won’t want it to end.
We’re looking forward to seeing what great films emerge from the Sundance Film Festival this year! Make sure to keep an eye on our constantly changing collection of new movies, right here at the library!
Cassie Skobrak is a reference librarian at the Westerly Library.