The more time your film editor spends working this particular beat, the clearer it becomes that the movie calendar simply never pauses. Two days ago, with the announcement of the Oscar nominations, we entered the final phase of 2018 at the movies – but today, more than a month before they’ll hand those trophies out, the starter pistol fires for 2019. Yes, friends, the Sundance Film Festival is kicking off in Park City, unleashing a tidal wave of the independent movies, foreign films, and documentaries we’ll likely be talking about until this time next year. And there’s a reason that Sundance – which began in 1978 as the Utah/US Film Festival, moved from August to January three years later in an effort to lure Hollywood types to Utah because they could ski while they were there, and renamed itself after chairman in Robert Redford in 1985 – has become the preeminent showcase for off-studio filmmaking: they have their pick of the litter, and often pick the very best. (Four of my top five movies of 2018 screened there this time, last year.)
So what will be this year’s Leave No Trace, Sorry to Bother You, Blindspotting, or Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Who knows, but here are a few of the titles we’re anticipating most.
So what’s Mindy Kaling been up to since the conclusion of The Mindy Project? Apparently, using her years as a show-biz insider to write a media satire for director Nisha Ganatra (whose directorial credits include Transparent and hey, look at that, The Mindy Project). To be clear, Late Night is a work of fiction; it’s about a female late night talk show host, which network heads keep treating like Tolkien-level fantasy. Said host (played by Emma Thompson) finds herself in the hot seat for her all-male writers’ room, so she brings in Molly (Kaling), who determines to prove herself as more than a diversity hire. John Lithgow, Amy Ryan, and Reid Scott co-star.