For two weeks every January, Park City, Utah, is converted from a sleepy ski town (population: 3,000) to a film lover's mecca for the annual Sundance Film Festival. Sundance is where the humanistic, poignant, daring films premiere that large studios concerned with superhero franchises might not ever get around to making. It’s where studio and streaming acquisitions executives find those movies, and buy them for larger distribution. And it’s where awards buzz for next year begins to rumble. To put it simply, Sundance is a big deal for independent film.
This year marks a particularly momentous festival for women creators. The percentage of female directors hit an all-time high, with 37% of the festival's films directed by women. Sundance also supports women filmmakers and producers through its Women At Sundance programming, and partnerships with other organisations — like Refinery29's own Shatterbox Anthology, a short film series. This year's festival is also remarkably diverse. Take the US Dramatic Competition category as an example. Of the 16 films up for an award, only seven were directed by white men.
We may not all get to go to Sundance for the classy, high-altitude parties and the indie movie premieres. But we can be excited for the movies that trickle down from Sundance to streaming sites, and to theatres near you. These are the films by women premiering at this year's festival to get excited about.
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