Put away the sequins and tuxedos and pull out the parkas and snow boots because the 31st year of the Sundance Film Festival is underway in Park City, Utah. For 10 days, Hollywood (and Madison Avenue) decamp to a winter wonderland for a celebration of independent film. Last year’s highlights include the now Academy Award-nominated Boyhood and Whiplash.
With hundreds of films, shorts, documentaries, panels and of course, parties to attend, fitting it all in is nearly impossible. Here are five films that our NCM team put on the top of their must-see list this week in Park City:
The D Train
With his twentieth reunion looming, Dan can’t shake his high school insecurities. In a misguided mission to prove he’s changed, Dan rekindles a friendship with the popular guy from his class and is left scrambling to protect more than just his reputation when a wild night takes an unexpected turn.
Directors/Screenwriters: Jarrad Paul, Andrew Mogel
Starring: Jack Black, James Marsden, Kathryn Hahn, Jeffrey Tambor, Mike White, Kyle Bornheimer
The Diary of A Teenage Girl
Minnie Goetze is a 15-year-old aspiring comicbook artist, coming of age in the haze of the 1970s in San Francisco. Insatiably curious about the world around her, Minnie is a pretty typical teenage girl. Oh, except that she’s sleeping with her mother’s boyfriend.
Directors/Screenwriters: Marielle Heller
Starring: Bel Powley, Alexander Skarsgård, Christopher Meloni, Kristen Wiig
In an attempt to acclimate to Los Angeles, a young couple spends an increasingly bizarre evening with the parents of their son’s new friend
Directors/Screenwriters: Patrick Brice
Starring: Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman, Judith Godrèche
The Stanford Prison Experiment
Based on the actual events that took place in 1971, Stanford professor Dr. Philip Zimbardo created what became one of the most shocking and famous social experiments of all time.
Director: Kyle Patrick Alvarez
Screenwriter: Tim Talbott
Principal Cast: Billy Crudup, Ezra Miller, Michael Angarano, Tye Sheridan, Johnny Simmons, Olivia Thirlby
Z for Zachariah
In a post-apocalyptic world, a young woman who believes she is the last human on Earth meets a dying scientist searching for survivors. Their relationship becomes tenuous when another survivor appears. As the two men compete for the woman’s affection, their primal urges begin to reveal their true nature.
Director: Craig Zobel
Screenwriter: Nissar Modi
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Margot Robbie, Chris Pine
(All film descriptions were taken from the Sundance Film Festival 2015 Film Guide.)