A documentary on Little Richard, a reexamination of the history of the Meatpacking District through the lens of trans sex workers, the film adaptation of a viral short story, and more will premiere at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.
The U.S. Documentary competition will boast the world premiere of Lisa Cortés’ Little Richard: I Am Everything, a Rolling Stone co-production. The film will simultaneously chronicle the career of the titular rock and roll pioneer while examining the genre’s Black queer origins in an effort to counterbalance the whitewashed history of American pop.
Somewhat similarly, Kristen Lovell and Zachary Drucker’s documentary The Stroll will tackle the history of New York’s Meatpacking District. The area’s neatly-packaged narrative is one of transformation from a seedy industrial hub to a gentrified playground for the super wealthy, but The Stroll will reframe the neighborhood’s story through the perspective of the transgender sex workers who lived and worked there and built a transgender rights movement.
Other films in the U.S. Doc competition include a film about the famed, influential poet Nikki Giovanni (Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project), the life of feminist sex educator Shere Hite (The Disappearance of Shere Hite), and the competitive world of high school mariachi musicians (Going Varsity in Mariachi). Outside the competition, the 2023 documentary slate includes the world premieres of Still, a new film about Michael J. Fox; Judy Blume Forever, about the celebrated young adult fiction author; and Pretty Baby, about the life of Brooke Shields (the latter was directed by Lana Wilson, who helmed the Taylor Swift doc, Miss Americana).
Outside the documentary sphere, Sundance 2023 will feature the world premiere of Randall Park’s directorial debut, Shortcomings (it’ll also compete in the U.S. Dramatic Competition). Magazine Dreams, starring Jonathan Majors as an amateur bodybuilder, will also premiere, as will Cassandro, in which Gael García Bernal plays a gay amateur wrestler who becomes a superstar after creating the persona of Cassandro, the “Liberace of Lucha Libre.”
There will also be a pair of notable literary adaptations premiering at Sundance. The most anticipated is probably Susanna Fogel’s Cat Person, an adaptation of Kristen Roupenian’s viral short story for The New Yorker about the relationship between a college student and a 33-year-old (it stars Emilia Jones and Nicholas Braun). And Eilieen, directed by William Oldroyd and based on Otessa Moshfegh’s harrowing debut novel of the same name (it stars Thomas McKenzie and Anne Hathaway).
The full 2023 lineup is available on the festival’s website. Sundance will take place Jan. 19 through 29 in Park City, Utah, with in-person screenings returning for the first time in a few years after the festival moved largely online because of the pandemic (there will still be some online screenings this year). Ticket packages for both in-person and online will go on sale on Dec. 13 at 10 a.m. MT.