PARK CITY, Utah - The 2017 Sundance Film Festival is well underway, bringing dozens of Hollywood A-listers, and thousands of movie fans to the small mountain town of Park City, Utah. Established by Robert Redford in 1981, Sundance Institute has hosted this film festival since 1985. Its goal is straightforward: to bring the work of independent filmmakers to audiences.
I was lucky enough to get the chance to go and cover the red carpet movie premieres, attend the pop-up parties and interview today’s biggest names in Hollywood.
In every film festival there are a few films that grip the attention of movie buffs while mesmerizing audiences alike. This year’s competition is no exception. There are two in particular that are already gaining some award show buzz.
Writer-Director Brett Haley’s Sundance premier of “The Hero,” delivers an original finish to a classic plotline. The film Stars Sam Elliott as Lee Hayden, a washed-up stoner actor trying to get his life back on track after a startling cancer diagnosis.
Nick Offerman, Laura Prepon and Katherine Ross also co-star in the drama. The Orchard bought the North American rights for “The Hero,” and is planning a wide release of the feature this fall.
Another film generating Oscar buzz for next year is the period drama “Mudbound,” written and directed by Dee Rees. Based on the 2008 novel with the same name, the story follows two men returning home post World War II to work on a farm in rural Mississippi.
The film depicts the real-life challenges they face as they struggle to deal with racism and effects of life after war. This feature film, starring Carey Mulligan, Mary J. Blige, Jason Clarke and Garret Hedlund was well received at Sundance, as audiences burst into applause complete with a standing ovation as the credits rolled.
“Mudbound” is still waiting for a distributor to buy the rights of the film and as of now a theatrical release date has not been set.
The 2017 film festival wraps up on Sunday with an awards ceremony, where both of these films should come away as winners.