Next year’s International Film Festival Rotterdam will open on January 23, and Sundance will follow the very next day. Both festivals will run through February 3, and both have been rolling out their 2019 lineups. We may still be sorting through last week’s announcement of the 112 features slated to screen in Park City, but Sundance has already unleashed another round to catch up with: four special events, twelve episodic works, and seventy-three shorts.
One of the most intriguing of these shorts is As Told to G/D Thyself, a “cosmic journey” directed by Bradford Young, the cinematographer who’s worked with Ava DuVernay, Denis Villeneuve, Dee Rees, and David Lowery; Terence Nance, who’s currently drawing raves for his HBO series, Random Acts of Flyness; and British-Nigerian filmmaker Jenn Nkiru. RaMell Ross, whose Hale County This Morning, This Evening has just won a Gotham Award for best documentary, will bring Easter Snap, a portrait of five men in Alabama who “resurrect the homestead ritual of hog processing.”
The Indie Episodic section will premiere Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men, Sacha Jenkins’s cultural history of what some consider to be the greatest hip hop group of all time. Rosamund Pike and Chris O’Dowd star in State of the Union, created by Nick Hornby and directed by Stephen Frears, and what a set-up: “Every week before their weekly marital therapy session, estranged couple Tom and Louise meet at a pub to try and get their story straight for the therapist.” Kyra Sedgwick directs Girls Weekend, in which a young queer woman deals with troublesome family issues back home in Las Vegas. And Steven Soderbergh is one of the executive producers behind Now Apocalypse, a new half-hour comedy series cowritten and directed by Gregg Araki (The Living End, Mysterious Skin). It’s about a group of friends who “pursue love, sex, and fame” in contemporary Los Angeles.
Some of the most exciting events lined up so far for Rotterdam’s forty-eighth edition will be staged as part of the Art Directions series of installations, performances, and exhibitions. Specialist Daniel Bird, who worked on the restoration of Sergei Parajanov’s The Color of Pomegranates (1969), will present hours of never-before-seen outtakes. The Image Book will be screened in the setting that Jean-Luc Godard originally intended for it, one that resembles his home studio, complete with Persian rugs. And Rotterdam’s Limelight program will offer not only some of the most lauded films of 2018 but also three world premieres, including Brian Welsh’s Beats, which focuses on an unlikely friendship forged during the illegal raves in the UK during the 1990s.
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