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Sundance Next Fest brings an 'indie oasis' to Los Angeles with new movie lineup

Sundance Next Fest brings an 'indie oasis' to Los Angeles with new movie lineup
Riley Keough, from left, Jessie Gray, co-writer/producer Bradley Rust Gray, Jena Malone, director/writer So Yong Kim, Rosanna Arquette, Sky Gray, Brooklyn Decker and Ryan Eggold for the film "Lovesong." (Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times)

The Sundance Next Fest program was announced Wednesday, filling in most of the gaps for the fourth installment of an event that has become a Los Angeles summer fixture.

A mix of movies with post-screening events that brings films from January's Utah-based Sundance Film Festival to Los Angeles, the festival has changed and expanded over the years. Anchored again at the Theatre at Ace Hotel, this year's event will include the L.A. premieres of six feature films, as well as a new space known as Next Door, a free outdoor entertainment venue for attendees.

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"This weekend celebration is an indie oasis in a summer of big-budget blockbusters," John Cooper, director of the Sundance Film Festival, said in a statement.

The festival opens Aug. 12 with So Yong Kim's "Lovesong," starring Riley Keough and Jena Malone. The film will be followed by a performance from R&B artist Shamir.

From the cast of the film "Morris from America," Craig Robinson, left, and Markees Christmas.
From the cast of the film "Morris from America," Craig Robinson, left, and Markees Christmas. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Saturday's program will begin with a screening of Chad Hartigan's "Morris From America," starring Craig Robinson and newcomer Markees Christmas. The movie will be followed by a local youth talent show hosted by Robinson. Then there will be a screening of Elizabeth Woods' raucous "White Girl" followed by a conversation between Woods and a special guest still to be announced. A screening of Andrew Neel's "Goat," starring Nick Jonas, will be followed by a musical performance by the trio Sunflower Bean.

Sunday will begin with a showcase of comedy short films from the 2016 Sundance Film Festival hosted by Nick Kroll, followed by a short film master class. Then, Babak Anvari's horror movie "Under the Shadow" will be followed by a conversation with a guest still to be named.

There also will be the world premiere of the short film "Royal," the directorial debut from Steven Ellison, better known as musician Flying Lotus. To close out the weekend, Jim Hosking's "The Greasy Strangler" will be followed by a musical performance from a surprise artist to be announced sometime before the event.

"Next Fest has become a summer staple for independent film and music fans in Los Angeles who want to experience what's new and next in culture," Trevor Groth, director of programming for the Sundance Film Festival, said in a statement. "This is our biggest and weirdest lineup to date, and I can't wait for people to see what we've dreamt up this year."

As previously announced, the weekend will be preceded by the Night Before Next benefit evening on Aug. 11. Nate Parker, who won both the grand jury and audience awards for his film "The Birth of a Nation" at this year's Sundance Film Festival, will receive the Sundance Institute's Vanguard Award. There also will be a performance by White Sea.

Tickets for Next Fest are on sale beginning Wednesday, July 6, for members of the Sundance Institute and go on sale to the public on Thursday, July 7. For more information, go to sundance.org/next.

Follow on Twitter: @IndieFocus

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