2024 Sundance Film Festival: Supporting storytellers for 40 years 

Reading Time: 2 minutes The Sundance Film Festival has begun, and the Sundance Institute was excited to discuss this season’s lineup at the Sundance Scoop press conference.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Sundance Film Festival (SFF) kicked off on Jan 18 at 9 AM with a press conference involving prominent figures within the Sundance Institute. It was hosted by Jason Blum, the founder and CEO of Blumhouse Productions. 

With it being the 40th anniversary of the Festival, they were excited to use this opportunity to reflect on how far they have come. Joana Vicente, the Sundance Institute CEO, stated, “We are so excited to boast, look back and celebrate this incredible legacy…It gives us an opportunity to talk about…the work we do day in and day out of supporting storytellers.” 

As part of the celebration, alongside the slate of new features making their entrance, they are showing eight prominent films that premiered there in the past. These films boast 4K restorations and include “Napoleon Dynamite,” “Go Fish,” “Three Seasons,” “Mississippi Masala,” “The Times of Harvey Milk,” “The Babadook,” and “Pariah.” 

Kim Yutani, SFF Director of Programming, explained that the Festival received a record number of over 17,000 submissions. Out of that monolithic amount, which their team meticulously combed through the entirety of, they are showing 91 features and 53 shorts. 95% of them are world premieres, 80% are still looking for buyers, and 40% are from first-time feature filmmakers. 

A topic of interest was that of AI. With AI having such a huge impact recently, it comes as no surprise that it plays a big part thematically throughout the films being showcased. Eugene Hernandez, the SFF Director and Head of Public Programming, stated, “We see artificial intelligence…as a topic and subject that is coming up in a bunch of places.” He elaborated by explaining how many of the documentaries showcase how AI can be a powerful tool for sustaining, supporting, and navigating human connection. Some films are using AI to experiment with what film is capable of, such as in the case of “Eno.” 

This year is set to be an unforgettable moment within Sundance Film Festival history.