Many of the most anticipated titles in the festival come from the Premieres section, which also generates some of the highest-profile distribution sales. Titles from last year's Premieres selection included "Manchester By the Sea," "Certain Women," "Hunt for the Wilderpeople," "Indignation," "Little Men," "Love & Friendship" and "Sing Street."
This year the section includes many returning Sundance filmmakers, including Miguel Arteta and Mike White with "Beatriz At Dinner," Ry Russo-Young with "Before I Fall," Michael Showalter with "The Big Sick," Luca Guadagnino with "Call Me by Your Name," Charlie McDowell with "The Discovery," Jim Strouse with "The Incredible Jessica James," Mark Pellington with "The Last Word," Michael Almereyda with "Marjorie Prime," Dee Rees with "Mudbound," Maya Forbes with "The Polka King" and Craig Johnson with "Wilson."
Also in the section will be Alethea Jones' "Fun Mom Dinner," Julian Rosefeldt's "Manifesto," Danny Strong's "Rebel In the Rye," Mark Palansky's "Rememory," Shawn Christensen's "Sidney Hall," Andrew Dosunmu's "Where is Kyra?" and Taylor Sheridan's "Wind River."
Speaking about the number of festival alum debuting new films in Premieres, director of programming Trevor Groth said, "It actually is pretty much what the section was created for. There was a time a few years ago where directors were having a hard time getting their next film made and the sustainability of careers was a little more challenging. … It's being made up of the kind of director we've always envisioned to be in there."
The Documentary Premieres section likewise features many returning filmmakers and high-profile subjects. Among the titles playing in the section will be Lucy Walker's untitled film on the Buena Vista Social Club, Pamela Yates' "500 Years," Evgeny Afineevsky's "Cries From Syria," Austin Peters' "Give Me Future: Major Lazer in Cuba," Greg Barker's "Legion of Brothers," Barak Goodman's "Oklahoma City," Rory Kennedy's "Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton," Stanley Nelson's "Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities" and Barbara Kopple's "This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous."
Also in Monday's announcement was the lineup for the Midnight section. Among the titles there are Alexandre Philippe's "78/52," Marianna Palka's "Bitch," Cary Murnion's "Bushwick," Damien Power's "Killing Ground," Steven Ellison's "Kuso," Jeff Baena's "The Little Hours" and the anthology film "XX" with sections directed by Karyn Kusama, Roxanne Benjamin, Jovanka Vukovik and Annie Clark (better known as musician St. Vincent).
The Spotlight section includes films that have already premiered at other festivals, including Nacho Vigalondo's ""Colossal," Francois Ozon's "Frantz," William Oldroyd's "Lady Macbeth" and "Julia Ducournau's "Raw."
Sundance, like numerous other festivals, has over the last few years also found ways to program work from television. This year in the Special Events section there will be an event around "I Love Dick," the new show executive produced by Jill Soloway, Sarah Gubbins, Andrea Sperling and Victor Hsu. The series "Shots Fired," executive produced by Gina Prince-Bythewood, Reggie Rock Bythewood, Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo, will also be featured.
There will also be two episodes shown from an upcoming Netflix documentary series, with "Abstract: The Art of Design" from Morgan Neville and "Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On" from Rashida Jones. Among other events dedicated to episodic storytelling, three independent television pilots will also be shown.
The Sundance Film Festival runs Jan. 19-29. For a full list of the program announced to date, visit sundance.org/festival.