As some of you may already know, the 2022 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, has officially started, and once again everyone is watching their selected movies from the comfort of their homes due to an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant.
This is my first time at Sundance and the very first film festival I have the privilege of attending as accredited press. To say it has been an incredibly surreal experience is an understatement. I simply cannot wait to share with you my most sincere opinion on the latest feature film premieres and award-worthy debuts.
So to start, here’s my recap of the first day.
My first day at Sundance started out slow, testing my equipment and doing some final adjustments to my watching schedule. The most important film on my list, EMERGENCY, wouldn’t debut until 9 P.M. in our local time, which meant I could dedicate a big part of my afternoon to check on some of the short movies and documentaries I had selected.
WAVES ‘98 (Director: Ely Dagher)
A beautiful and eye-catching animated short movie from Lebanon, back at Sundance to celebrate its 6th anniversary since it debuted at the festival for the first time. Directed by Ely Dagher, this short tells the story of Omar, a young man from Beirut completely disconnected from reality and who’s in search of something bigger than himself. Aside from animation style, sound mixing does a fantastic job captivating viewers and moving the story forward.
CHAPERONE (Director: Sam Max)
An LBGTQ+ centered story too strange and emotionless for me to care about. Star Trek actor Zachary Quinto executive-produces and portrays one of the only two characters in the entire short, a mysterious driver who’s sinister arrangement with a young man immediately became a huge disappointment for me.
BUGCRUSH (Director: Carter Smith)
First debuted at Sundance in 2006. A very intense horror short definitely not for the faint of heart. It follows a small-town high school student so mesmerized by a mysterious and dangerous boy that he can’t see the danger that lies right in front of him.
F^₵K’€M R!GHT B@₵K (Director: Harris Doran)
The most hilarious thing I watched all day. Emmanuel ‘DDM’ Williams stars as a queer aspiring rapper who gets into trouble with his villainous boss after accidentally eating a marijuana-laced cake. Absolutely loved how smart and satisfying this story was.
THE MARTA MITCHELL EFFECT (Directors: Anne Alvergue & Debra McClutchy)
A revealing and powerful short documentary on the life of Martha Mitchel, one of the most prominent Republican women in the 1970’s and the wife of John Mitchell, the United States Attorney General during the Nixon administration. This unforgettable and very timely short finally throws light on her participation as a whistleblower during the Watergate scandal. A definitely must see for anyone who loves history.
EMERGENCY (Director: Casey Williams)
The great highlight of my day. A brand-new dark comedy by director Casey Williams and writer K.D. Dávila, and a poignant social commentary on police brutality and white privilege.
The movie follows three exceptionally bright young college students of color who are forced to watch their evening plans go down the drain when they find a completely drunk and unconscious white teenage girl in their living room. Without knowing who to call for help, the group of friends embark on an dangerous and anxiety-inducing adventure to get her some medical assistance.
EMERGENCY has been on my radar since this year’s festival program was revealed, and I am more than happy to say it surpassed my expectations. An incredibly memorable film with the sharpest, most emotional depiction of what it’s like to be a Black young man in America that I have seen in years.
Make sure to check back later for my full review.