The lineup for the 2021 Sundance Film Festival also encompasses a curated program of free special events, conversations and activations available to the global public. These Talks and Events, presented on the Sundance platform, will include a new Opening Ceremony, Sundance Dailies, and The Big Conversation series, trademark gatherings at Cinema Café and the Power of Story, Awards Night and the concluding “It’s A Wrap” session.
Here are some highlights that will be available free to view globally. To access these events, you need to sign up for an account at Festival.Sundance.org. All times are US Mountain time.
2021 Sundance Film Festival Opening Night Welcome
Thursday, Jan 28, 5:00- 5:30pm
During the Opening Ceremony, you can expect to hear from Festival Director Tabitha Jackson, celebrate Utah — our spiritual home — and see plenty of familiar faces from our Festival family.
The Sundance Dailies
Friday, Jan29–Tuesday, Feb 2, 9:00–9:30am
The Sundance Dailies will roll out each morning with host Tabitha Jackson, Utah correspondent John Cooper, and an assortment of special guests. Guests include: Eugenio Derbez (CODA), Rebecca Hall (Passing), Ed Helms (Together Together), Zoe Lister-Jones and Daryl Wein (How It Ends), and more.
Presented by Acura
The Cinema Café series includes informal chats brings together special guests for thought-provoking encounters.
Presented by Audible
2021 Cinema Café guests will include:
Shaka King & Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
Friday, January 29, 10:30–11:15 am
Sonia Manzano & Rita Moreno
Saturday, January 30, 10:30–11:15 am
Rebecca Hall & Robin Wright
Sunday, January 31, 10:30–11:15am
Tyson Brown, Patti Harrison & Emilia Jones
Monday, February 1, 10:30–11:15am
While at Sundance last year, I enjoyed various Cinema Café series. I highly recommend these.
Sundance Big Conversation
Friday, Jan 29–Monday, Feb 1, 1:00–2:00pm,
individual slots TBA
The Big Conversation tackles science, art, culture, and the movements that are fueling the imaginations of today’s independent artists. A compelling selection of speakers discuss topics centered on the themes of this year’s program and explore broader trends in art and culture around the world.
Barbed Wire Kisses Redux
The year 1992 was a watershed one for LGBTQ+ film, giving birth to the term “New Queer Cinema” and introducing a revolutionary generation of films and filmmakers with energetic irreverence and disruptive aesthetics. At the 1992 Sundance Film Festival, B. Ruby Rich convened and moderated a panel of preeminent artists (including the late Derek Jarman) to discuss their work and the historic moment of its emergence. This year, Rich and other LGBTQ+ titans gather 30 years later to look back and imagine forward in this contemporary edition of Barbed Wire Kisses.
Moderator B. Ruby Rich (Editor, Film Quarterly; Author, New Queer Cinema: The Director’s Cut); guests Andrew Ahn (Spa Night), Gregg Araki (The Living End), Lisa Cholodenko (High Art), Cheryl Dunye (The Watermelon Woman), Silas Howard (By Hook or By Crook), Isaac Julien (Young Soul Rebels), and Rose Troche (Go Fish).
That the first image of a black hole was achieved through a global network of synchronized radio observatories shows what humans can accomplish when we come together. Beyond astronomy and across a myriad of fields—from space exploration and climatology to bioscience and virology (as the pandemic plainly illustrates)—science and technology are propelled by collaboration, cooperation, and the breaking of barriers.
Moderator Janna Levin (Tow Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Barnard College); guests Scott Z. Burns (writer, Contagion; writer & director, The Report), Leland Melvin (engineer and retired NASA astronaut), and more TBA. Supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
The Past In the Present: A Personal Journey through Race, History, and Filmmaking
“History is not the past, it’s the present.” James Baldwin’s words reverberate throughout Raoul Peck’s work, his activism, and his remarkable filmmaking career. Peck joins Festival director Tabitha Jackson in a conversation about white supremacy, history, creative expression, and his personal journey from the Academy Award–nominated I Am Not Your Negro to his upcoming work Exterminate All the Brutes, which interrogates over 600 years of history, from the Native American genocide, to the systemized enslavement of Africans, to Hitler’s extermination of the European Jews—a history to which our present is inextricably bound.
Power Of Story
The Sundance Film Festival’s Power of Story looks to deepen public engagement with storytelling, delve into cinema culture, and celebrate artists whose work propels the form and reinvents storytelling as we know it.
Presented by Netflix
Power of Story: Speculative Fiction Is the Place
Black speculative fiction and historiography, Afrofuturism, and utopian/dystopian visions speak to an enduring, evolving, and vibrant storytelling sensibility. A group of artists reflects on storytelling forms that reframe Black experiences through imagined or alternative narratives connecting the people, technology, culture, and collective memory of the African diaspora.
Moderator Jacqueline Stewart (Chief Artistic and Programming Officer, Academy Museum and TCM Host); guests TBA.
Conjuring the Collective: Womxn at Sundance Speakeasy
Saturday, Jan 30, 2021, 8:00–9:00pm
Join an evening of dynamic performance and energizing conversation. Continuing the tradition of gathering and celebrating the womxn in our Festival community, this year’s event will reclaim the idea of a coven as a source of magic, healing, and power.
Theater directors nicHi douglas and Annie Tippe collaborate to create unique ways to bring womxn together to creatively respond to an intentional prompt for 2021.
Poet Apiorkor, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison (Ailey), actor Rita Moreno (Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided to Go For It), actor SOKO (Mayday, The Blazing World), and more TBA.
Tuesday, February 2, 6:00pm
Tune in to the 2021 Sundance Film Festival’s Awards Night Ceremony to see which projects were selected for juried and audience awards. Free and open to all, the event will be live-streamed on our online screening platform—join us (and some very special presenters) to see who takes home top prizes in the Festival’s competition categories.
It’s A Wrap
Wednesday, February 3, 9:00–9:30am
Finish off your Sundance Film Festival experience by looking back on the Festival that was. Festival director Tabitha Jackson leads a ceremonial end to this all-new Sundance experience by bringing audiences together for one last moment together in the virtual space.
These are a few Talks and Events that I highly recommend at Sundance this year. Stay tuned for more announcements in the coming days. For full festival details, please go to Festival.Sundance.org.