For those of us not lucky enough to be in Park City, Utah, right now, the biggest stories coming out of the Sundance Film Festival detail the standing ovations and the distribution deals that filmmakers sign for millions of dollars.
With so many films making their premieres at Sundance, it can be difficult to keep track of which ones you need to be paying attention to and looking out for later this year. To help you out, we’ve rounded up the five films that are coming out of Park City with the biggest buzz.
Here is our list of the five most talked-about Sundance films.
With Oscar nominations being announced Tuesday, looking forward to the 2013 Oscar nominees may seem a little premature. That hasn’t stopped festival attendees from heralding the performances from John Hawkes, Helen Hunt and William H. Macy and predicting Academy Award nominations come next January. In the film, Hawkes plays Mark, a man in an iron lung. Mark decides that he must finally lose his virginity and contacts a sex surrogate played by Hunt. “The Surrogate” earned standing ovations and some of the earliest Oscars talk we’ve ever heard.
“Beasts of the Southern Wild”
One of the outright surprises of the festival came in the form of 6-year old Quvenzhané Wallis and her breakout role in Benh Zeitlin’s “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” The film virtually came out of nowhere and won over audiences handedly. Set in some alternate but fairly relatable reality, Wallis plays Hushpuppy, who has to navigate a brave new world after her father becomes ill. Arguably the festival’s most coveted distributor, Fox Searchlight, snapped up the distribution rights for “Beasts” after paying $6 million for “The Surrogate.”
What better praise can a horror film get than an audience member fainting during a screening? The horror anthology “V/H/S” supposedly had that exact effect on one unlucky audience member. Six of horror’s hottest up-and-coming directors contributed segments to this found-footage film, which follows a group of burglars breaking into a mysterious house to search for a specific VHS tape. The movie scared audiences throughout the festival and is considered a must-see for horror fans.
“The First Time”
Once you find out that a movie called “The First Time” follows a blossoming romance between two teenagers, you’d probably assume you know what’s going on. Most of the reviews for the film acknowledge their expectations going into the teen comedy from writer-director Jon Kasdan, but many of those reviews then describe how “The First Time” surprised them with its infectious charm. Set over the course of one weekend, “The First Time” stars Britt Robertson of “The Secret Circle” and Dylan O’Brien of MTV’s “Teen Wolf” as high school kids who meet but are tied up in other relationships.
“Celeste and Jesse Forever”
Rashida Jones has charmed audiences in movies and television for years but always remained just outside the realm of leading lady. Perhaps deciding to make the change herself, Jones co-wrote and starred in “Celeste and Jesse Forever,” an indie romance with Andy Samberg. The two play a recently divorced couple attempting to remain friends after the breakup. Critics applauded the film’s script, which strikes a balance between comedy and poignant romantic drama.
Which of these five films are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments!