Sundance is coming back to Seattle!
We love Keke. Courtesy of Sundance

For a second blessed year in a row, the little itty bitty indie Sundance Film Festival is making its way to Seattle.

Last week, the film fest—running from January 20-30—dropped its full line-up, consisting of dozens of U.S. and international features, documentaries, shorts, and special programming. Keeping in step with 2021's pandemic version of the fest, Sundance will make films available to virtual audiences online once again, in addition to showing the films in-person in Park City, Utah.

What's special is that this year, seven art house cinemas around the country will also screen eight films in-person on the fest's closing weekend, January 28-30, via Sundance's Satellite Screen program. And lucky for us, Capitol Hill's Northwest Film Forum is one of those screens, bringing a bit of Utah's snowy mountaintop to the rainy streets of Seattle. (Fingers crossed we get some snow by January.)

“Building on our experience last year, we’ve discovered new possibilities of convergence, and we embrace the fact that we are now an expanded community in which active participation matters and audience presence — however and wherever it manifests — changes everything,” said Festival director Tabitha Jackson in a press release about the program.

Starting Wednesday, December 15, the Film Forum will make passes and packages available for Film Forum members, with individual pre-sale tickets going living on Wednesday, January 5. Non-members will not have access to passes or packages, but can buy individual tickets starting on Thursday, January 6.

This is the second year that the Film Forum will be part of the Satellite Screen program, but the first time it will actually show the films to local audiences IRL. It's pretty freakin' cool that Seattleites will have a chance to view some films that will certainly shape 2022's film season. "We know from last year’s online turnout that our audiences in the Pacific Northwest and beyond are eager for Sundance’s world-class programming,” said NWFF's executive director Vivian Hua.

Like we did last year, The Stranger will cover the screenings, including the in-person ones here in Seattle. For those interested in nabbing IRL tickets, here's a quick look at the eight films—five fiction and three documentary—as well as a short film program the Film Forum will screen in January:

SIRENS
International Documentary Feature – World Cinema: Documentary Competition, Dir. Rita Baghdadi
Friday, January 28: 6 pm
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Courtesy of Sundance
This documentary focuses on Slave to Sirens, who are "the first and only all-woman thrash metal band in the Middle East," according to the Sundance release. The film follows the band's founders—Lilas Mayassi and Shery Bechara—as well as the three other members as they navigate young adulthood against the political unrest of Beirut.


EMERGENCY
U.S., Dir. Carey Williams
Friday, January 28: 8:30 pm
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Courtesy of Sundance
One night, best friends Kunle and Sean endeavor to become the first Black students to complete their college's epic frat party tour. But when they find a white girl passed out in their home, the boys—along with their Latino roommate, Carlos—have to figure out a way to rectify the situation without getting the police involved.


LA GUERRA CIVIL
International Documentary Feature – Premieres, Dir. Eva Longoria Bastón
Saturday, January 29: 3 pm
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Courtesy of Sundance
Calling all sportsheads!! Actress and producer Eva Longoria Bastón's directorial debut recounts the epic 1996 boxing match between Mexican-American boxer Oscar De La Hoya hailing from East L.A. and Mexican-born legend Julio Cesár Chávez. Using archival footage as well as talking head interviews with De La Hoya and Chávez, Longoria Baston's documentary goes deep on the build-up to the match and its cultural significance to Mexicans on either side of the border.


ALICE
U.S. Dramatic Feature - Dramatic Competition, Dir. Krystin Ver Linden
Saturday, Jan 29: 5.30 pm
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Courtesy of Sundance
I'm SUPER excited for Krystin Ver Linden's debut, Alice. Keke Palmer stars as Alice, a young woman enslaved on a plantation in rural Georgia who runs away following a violent confrontation with plantation owner Paul (Jonny Lee Miller). But she then stumbles onto a highway, learning that the year is 1973—more than 100 years after the official abolition of slavery. Taken in by activist Frank (Common), she learns about the systems that kept her enslaved. Alice is inspired by true events (Sundance describes it as "an audacious mix of grim historical fact and exceptional fiction"), and I'm so curious to see this story unfold.


MARTE UM (MARS ONE)
International Narrative Feature – World Cinema: Dramatic Competition, Dir. Gabriel Martins
Saturday, January 29: 8 pm
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Courtesy of Sundance
Narrative feature film Marte Um follows the Martins, a Black lower-middle-class family living in the suburbs of a Brazilian major city just after far-right extremist Jair Bolsonaro is elected president. Each family member grapples with this new dark political reality as they try to keep their dreams and hopes going in the face of extremism.



EVERY DAY IN KAIMUKĪ
U.S., Dir. Alika Tengan
Sunday, January 30: 2:15 pm
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Courtesy of Sundance
Director Alika Tengan's first feature film follows Naz, a young man who has spent his entire life in O'ahu, Hawai'i fuckin' around on his skateboard and hosting a nightly radio show. But he is then presented with a chance to move to New York City with his girlfriend, turning his world upside down. As he prepares to shift his entire life, he "wonders whether uprooting his world is the right decision, and if anywhere will ever really feel like home when he’s always been an eternal outsider." This will screen alongside Brit Hensel's short film What They've Been Taught.


SHORT FILM PROGRAM
Sunday, January 30: 4 pm
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Courtesy of Sundance
In addition to the eight feature films, the Film Forum will also screen four short film's from Sundance: Chilly and Milly, Kicking the Clouds, The Hork, and the subconscious art of graffiti removal. Kicking the Clouds' director Sky Hopinka will be in attendance at this particular screening.


FREE CHOL SOO LEE
U.S. Documentary Feature – Documentary Competition, Dir. Julie Ha, Eugene Yi
Sunday, January 30: 5:30 pm
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Courtesy of Sundance

Julie Ha and Eugene Yi's documentary feature explores the story of Chol Soo Lee, a 20-year-old Korean immigrant who was unjustly convicted and sentenced to life in prison for murdering a man in San Francisco's Chinatown in 1973. After years of imprisonment, journalist K.W. Lee starts to look into Chol Soo Lee's case and soon galvanizes "a first-of-its-kind pan-Asian American grassroots movement to fight for Chol Soo Lee’s freedom, ultimately inspiring a new generation of social justice activists." The film also studies the effects of becoming a symbol for a movement has on Lee, who starts to self-destruct once out of prison.


HONK FOR JESUS. SAVE YOUR SOUL.
U.S. Dramatic Feature – Premieres, Dir. Adamma Ebo
Sunday, January 30: 7.30 pm
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Courtesy of Sundance
Hallelujah! Just seeing Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown in these tight-ass pantsuits as gaudy leaders of a Southern Baptist megachurch is enough to put this film at the top of my list. In Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul., Hall stars Trinitie, the first lady to Brown's Pastor Lee-Curtis. In the satirical documentary style, film crews follow Trinitie as she tries to help rebuild their congregation after a scandal involving Lee-Curtis forces the church to close temporarily. Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. is an adaptation of writer-director Adamma Ebo and producer Adanne Ebo's earlier short film of the same name and "explores both the on-camera desperation in image rebranding and the hard truths that fester behind the scenes."


Read more about Northwest Film Forum's partnership with Sundance here. And if you're interested in a virtual Sundance experience, go here.