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Sundance Film Festival adds two movies, Hollywood tales of domestic abuse and income inequality

The documentaries bring the total number of films at the online-only festival to 83.

(Sundance Institute) Actor-turned-activist Evan Rachel Wood tells of her years of suffering from domestic abuse, in the documentary "Phoenix Rising," directed by Amy Berg. The film is an official selection in the Special Screenings program of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.

Two documentaries — one where a well-known actor chronicles the domestic abuse she endured for years, the other a look at income inequality told by an heir to one of Hollywood’s most profitable names — are being added to the slate of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.

The Sundance Institute, the nonprofit arts organization that presents the festival, announced the additions Wednesday, just eight days before the festival starts on Jan. 20 online at festival.sundance.org.

Individual tickets for Sundance’s online screenings go on sale to the public Thursday; Sundance members can start buying individual tickets Wednesday.

The two documentaries, both presented as Special Screenings, are:

• “The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales,” in which filmmaker and activist Abigail E. Disney — the grand-niece of animation legend Walt Disney — examines America’s dysfunctional and unequal economy, using her famous family’s own story to look at how this systemic injustice got its grip on the country. Disney co-directed with Kathleen Hughes.

(Sundance Institute) A wage protest outside the Disneyland resort is featured in the documentary "The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales," directed by Abigail E. Disney (Walt's grand-niece) and Kathleen Hughes. The film is an official selection in the Special Screenings program of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.

• “Phoenix Rising,” in which actor and activist Evan Rachel Wood (“Westworld,” “Kajillionaire”) reclaims her story of being a survivor of domestic abuse, as she names her abuser for the first time. (In February 2021, Wood charged that the singer Marilyn Manson had abused her during their relationship, from 2007 to 2010. Manson has denied the accusation.) Director Amy Berg has taken on the issue of sexual abuse before, both in the Roman Catholic Church in 2006′s “Deliver Us From Evil” and in Warren Jeffs’ FLDS church in 2015′s “Prophet’s Prey.” “Phoenix Rising” is a two-part documentary; the festival will screen the first part.

The two films bring the number of features screening at the festival to 83.

The makers of a film originally slated to play at Sundance pulled the title Monday. The film, “Final Cut,” is a French horror comedy — a remake of the 2017 Japanese film “One Cut of the Dead” — in which a movie crew finds their zombie horror film interrupted by a real zombie attack. “Final Cut” is directed and written by Michel Hazanavicius, whose 2011 silent comedy “The Artist” won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and for directing.

In a statement released on Monday, the filmmaker said they “fully support” Sundance’s decision to cancel in-person screenings because of a surge in COVID-19 cases, but added, “We believe that it is best to premiere ‘Final Cut’ in a theater with a live audience.”

A statement from Sundance Institute in response said, “We respect the filmmaker’s wishes to share their work in a different capacity. We remain committed to supporting filmmakers as we navigate the changing landscape to ensure independent artists get the visibility they deserve and while we’re deeply disappointed to not gather as intended, the safety of our entire community must come first.”

(Wild Bunch International/Sundance Institute) Romain Duris, Bérénice Bejo and Simone Hazanavicius play members of a film crew whose zombie movie is invaded by real zombies in "Final Cut," directed by Michel Hazanavicius. The film was pulled from the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, after the festival canceled in-person Utah screenings because of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

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