Film News: Virtual 2021 Sundance Film Festival Gets Beyond Itself

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CHICAGO – The compact 2021 Sundance Film Festival is on the sixth day of seven, but the offerings are still coming. This year’s festival is virtual and online, meaning anyone with a ticket or a pass can indulge in the film offerings throughout the festival, which runs until Wednesday, February 3rd.

For the premieres of 2021, the cutting edge potential influencer films and all the ancillary new voice filmmakers, the Sundance Film Festival is the one that begins every film year with the movies that ultimately become the talk of the town and the gatherer of year end awards. Your ticket to the festival is your chance to see these films and filmmakers before the general public.

Photo credit: Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival is an annual event organized by the Sundance Institute – an organization founded by actor Robert Redford in 1980 – and dedicated to the growth of independent artists. It usually takes place each January in Park City, Utah, and other locations, and is the largest independent film festival in the United States. It includes competitive categories in documentary and dramatic films, both feature length and short works, as well as out-of-competition categories for showcasing new films.

StarFILMS OF SUNDANCE: Capsule Reviews

All the information about participating in the festival, the On-Demand film downloads and status of accessibility is available by clicking here.

“Pleasure” – This is one harsh film. Sofia Kappel portrays Bella Cherry, a woman fresh off the boat from Sweden, who thinks she wants a career as a performer in adult films in Los Angeles. What follows is a freakish ride down a helliscape rabbit hole of “making porno” … full of deceit, sexist behavior to a degree not fathomable and her ultimate addiction to be the “best.” That superlative has no height or depth in that branch of the film industry. It will be impossible to “look at” pornography in the same way again after experiencing “Pleasure.” Directed with fearlessness by Ninja Thyberg. Available On-Demand February 2nd.

“Jockey” – Essentially a western, substituting the race jockey for the cowboy. The writer/director Clint Bentley comes from that horse racing world, and creates his main jockey character Jackson (Clifton Collins Jr. in a Best Actor level performance) with the old gunslinger mentality, albeit in another profession. When the young upstart (Moisés Arias) comes to town to challenge Jackson’s legacy, the old cowboy has to think about riding into the sunset. Director Bentley uses the sunset as a magic hour light to symbolize this twilight, and actor Collins provides the rest. A film lesson in integrity and morality. Available On-Demand February 2nd.

“Marvelous and the Black Hole” – Watch them pull a rabbit out of their hat. An unusual and emotional story, original in theme and delivered with passion. It was a thrill, seriously, to see the veteran sitcom actor Rhea Perlman (“Cheers”) get the opportunity to deliver a late career eccentricity as a magician named Margot. She begins to mentor a 13-year-old rebel named Sammy (Miya Cech), a girl who is acting out after her mother has passed away, and her father is connecting with another woman. Forced to take a summer class, she happens upon Perlman’s magician as if by magic, and the two teach each other life lessons. While tear jerking in its redemptions, I’d like to see a whole movie with Rhea Perlman as the Marvelous Margot, the character was that intriguing. Presto! Directed by Kate Tsang. Available On-Demand February 2nd.

“Life in a Day 2020” – Ten years after the first “Life in a Day” film, director Kevin Macdonald returns with a glimpse into another day in the pandemic year of 2020 (July 25th). From around the globe, people uploaded clips into YouTube, and the resulting footage was assembled into a snapshot narrative. The result is funny, sad, cleansing (for surfaces during the pandemic), masked, emotional and deeply abiding. For those who have spent nearly a year in isolation, “Life in a Day” gives us a tonic to what we thought 2020 was versus how an “every day” actually is. What a wild and inspiring ride, this frigging day, year and life. Look for release in 2021.

How about a trailer for “Life in a Day 2020” …

Patrick McDonald of will be providing coverage of the Sundance Film Festival 2021 throughout the duration of the festival.

The virtual 2021 Sundance Film Festival will take place January 28th through February 3rd. For tickets, schedule and all information click on senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

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