Go West, young men and women — no, not to California, you’ve gone too far west now, head back a bit — and seek your fame and fortune in the quaint town of Park City, Utah. For 10 days every January, this ski town becomes the center of the American moviemaking, moviegoing, movie-loving universe: the home of the Sundance Film Festival. What once started as a modest affair under an unassuming name (the U.S. Film and Video Festival) has morphed into the major kickoff event of the calendar year for cinephiles eager to discover the next big thing, dip into interesting docs, dig into genuinely independent work … or, at the very least, provide something to distract argumentative Twitter folks in between kvetching over the Oscar-nomination announcements and fighting about the Oscar ceremony itself. (We’re kidding. Kind of.)
Last year, Sundance gave us The Farewell, The Souvenir, American Factory, Honeyland, Honey Boy, Apollo 11, Clemency, Luce, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Monos, The Report, One Child Nation, and a handful of other faith-restoring works of art. And once the 2020 edition starts on January 23rd, we’re likely to get a first look at another handful of works that will generate praise, affection, and no shortage of chatter over the next 12 months. Here are 20 films we’re anxious to see at this year’s Sundance.