12 Best Movies We Saw at Sundance 2016

We came, we saw, we drank way too much coffee — and we watched movies, lots of them, at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Over the past nine days, Robert Redford's annual celebration of "independent" cinema offered up celebrity-studded quirkiness, social-issue documentaries, genuinely DIY visions, a psychotronic midnight-movie pleasure or two, and the sort of scrappy low-budget features that can become underdog-success stories in the span of a single screening. (Say what you will about Nate Parker's moving, messy-as-hell Nat Turner biopic The Birth of a Nation — it's undeniably a labor of love and undeniably the sort of Sundance discovery movie that keeps folks coming back year after year.)

So, after sifting through the addled memories that accompany the experience of watching four to five films a day over a week-plus span, we're highlighting a dozen of the best movies we saw at Sundance 2016. Political docs and Polish mermaid musicals, black-and-white horror flicks and Boston-based grief dramas, fratboy nightmares and female-bonding character studies — these were the films that had us buzzing in Park City.