Sundance 2019 First-Looks: Velvet Buzzsaw, The Nightingale, More

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Sundance 2019 First-Looks: <i>Velvet Buzzsaw</i>, <i>The Nightingale</i>, More

The Sundance Institute has revealed the massive 112-film slate for the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, and with the announcement comes a number of first-looks at some exciting forthcoming projects. Here are several highlights from next year’s Sundance lineup.

Velvet Buzzsaw

Making its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival before landing on Netflix in 2019, Velvet Buzzsaw reunites Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo with Oscar-nominated Nightcrawler writer-director Dan Gilroy. Earlier this year, Netflix announced the film’s buzzy ensemble, which also includes John Malkovich, Zawe Ashton, Tom Sturridge, Daveed Diggs, Toni Collette and Stranger Things’ Natalia Dyer.

The Sundance Institute shared the following synopsis for Velvet Buzzsaw, as well as a first-look photo featuring Gilroy’s Nightcrawler stars Gyllenhaal and Russo:

A thriller set in the contemporary art world scene of Los Angeles, where big money artists and mega-collectors pay a high price when art collides with commerce.


Courtesy of Sundance Institute | Photo by Claudette Barius

The Nightingale

The follow-up from The Babadook writer-director Jennifer Kent, The Nightingale makes its North American premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival after screening at this year’s Venice Film Festival. The Nightingale was announced in March 2017 as Kent’s follow-up to her acclaimed 2014 directorial debut.

The film comes with the following synopsis:

1825. Clare (Game of Thrones star Aisling Franciosi), a young Irish convictwoman, chases a British officer (Sam Claflin) through the Tasmanian wilderness, bent on revenge for a terrible act of violence he committed against her family. On the way she enlists the services of Aboriginal tracker Billy (Baykali Ganambarr), who is marked by trauma from his own violence-filled past.

The film also stars Damon Herriman, Harry Greenwood and Ewen Leslie.


Courtesy of Sundance Institute | Photo by Kasia Ladczuk

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Based on the 2009 William Kamkwamba autobiography of the same name, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind follows the true story of a 13-year-old Malawian boy who invents a windmill that then saves his village from famine. Netflix acquired the film earlier this month. The directorial debut of Oscar-nominated actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind makes its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival before landing on Netflix, as well as in select U.S. and U.K. theaters, later in 2019.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind stars Ejiofor and newcomer Maxwell Simba as 13-year-old William Kamkwamba, in addition to Lily Banda, Noma Dumezweni, Aissa Maiga and Joseph Marcell.




Courtesy of Sundance Institute | Photos by Ilze Kitshoff

Honey Boy

From screenwriter Shia LaBeouf comes Honey Boy, a film based on his own life starring LaBeouf as James Lort, a character based on his own father, with Lucas Hedges playing Otis Lort, a child TV star inspired by LaBeouf himself in his Even Stevens days. Directed by Alma Har’el, Honey Boy also stars FKA Twigs, making her film debut, plus Natasha Lyonne, Martin Starr and Noah Jupe as young Otis.

Honey Boy makes its world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

Sundance shared the following synopsis for Honey Boy:

A child TV star and his ex-rodeo clown father face their stormy past through time and cinema.


Courtesy of Sundance Institute | Photo by Natasha Braier

Native Son

Based on the perennial 1940 novel by Richard Wright, Native Son comes from conceptual artist and debut filmmaker Rashid Johnson, and features a script by Pulitzer-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks. The film makes its world premiere on the first day of the festival, and stars Ashton Sanders, Margaret Qualley, Nick Robinson, KiKi Layne, Bill Camp and Sanaa Lathan.

Sundance shared the following synopsis:

In this modern reimagining of Richard Wright’s seminal novel, a young African-American man named Bigger Thomas takes a job working for a highly influential Chicago family, a decision that will change the course of his life forever.


Courtesy of Sundance Institute | Photo by Matthew Libatique

The 2019 Sundance Film Festival will take place from Jan. 24 through Feb. 3, 2019, in Park City, Utah.

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