Questlove, Robin Wright, Rita Moreno among the stars set to appear in Sundance Film Festival online talks
An opening-night pre-show, Awards Night, and Music Cafe concerts are also scheduled.
(Jordan Strauss | Associated Press file photo) Musician Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, seen here at the 2019 Academy Awards, is one of the people scheduled to appear in online panels and talks at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Thompson, best known as the leader of The Roots, is director of “Summer of Soul (… Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised),” which has been selected for the festival's U.S. Documentary competition.
Even though it’s all online, the 2021 Sundance Film Festival is aiming to simulate the Park City atmosphere with a series of talks, panels and other events.
It announced a slate of events for the festival, which runs Jan 28 through Feb. 3, via the digital portal festival.sundance.org
“Opening Night Welcome” • Thursday, Jan. 28, 5 to 5:30 p.m. • Festival director Tabitha Jackson kicks off the reimagined film festival before the opening-night screenings. The event will include a celebration of the festival’s “spiritual home” of Utah, and some faces familiar to festival regulars.
“The Sundance Dailies” • Friday, Jan. 29, through Tuesday, Feb. 2, 9 to 9:30 a.m. • A morning recap with Jackson as host, “Utah correspondent” John Cooper, and an assortment of guests, including actors Eugenio Derbez, Ed Helms, actor/filmmakers Rebecca Hall and Zoe Lister-Jones, and director Daryl Wein.
Cinema Cafe • Friday, Jan. 29, through Monday, Feb. 1, 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. • Conversations between artists. This year’s lineup features: Director Shaka King (“Judas and the Black Messiah”) and director/musician Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson (“Summer of Soul”) on Friday; Rita Moreno (“West Side Story”) and Sonia Manzano (formerly of “Sesame Street”) on Saturday; actors-turned-directors Rebecca Hall (“Passing”) and Robin Wright (“Land”) on Sunday; and young actors Tyson Brown (“First Date”), Patti Harrison (“Together Together”) and Emilia Jones (“CODA”) on Monday.
“The Big Conversation” • Friday, Jan. 29, through Monday, Feb. 1, 1 to 2 p.m. • Larger panel discussions with thought-provoking topics. (Dates for each talk are still to be announced.) The talks include:
• “Barbed Wire Kisses Redux,” in which journalist and scholar B. Ruby Rich considers her landmark 1992 LGBTQ+ panel about the “New Queer Cinema” movement. Rich will moderate a panel that includes directors Andrew Ahn (“Spa Night”), Gregg Araki (“The Living End”), Lisa Cholodenko (“High Art”), Cheryl Dunye (“The Watermelon Woman”), Silas Howard (“by Hook or By Crook”), Isaac Julien (“Young Soul Rebels”) and Rose Troche (“Go Fish”).
• “Come Together,” which will delve into the collaborative aspect of scientific discovery, with Janna Levin, Tow Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Barnard College, moderating. The panel will include Scott Z. Burns, who wrote “Contagion” and wrote and directed “The Report,” and engineer and retired astronaut Leland Melvin.
• “The Past in the Present: A Personal Journey Through Race, History, and Filmmaking,” a conversation with Raoul Peck, director of the James Baldwin documentary “I Am Not Your Negro” and the upcoming “Exterminate All the Brutes,” which examines 600 years of history that include the genocide of Native Americans, systemic enslavement of Africans, and the Holocaust. Tabitha Jackson will moderate.
ASCAP Music Cafe • Friday, Jan. 29, through Monday, Feb. 1, 3 p.m. onward • An online variation of the festival’s annual concert series — with two days of musical performances, one day featuring the podcast “Versed,” and a final day with archival performances. Among the live performers slated are the indie-folk quartet Darlingside, soul singer-songwriter Devon Gilfillian, and roots musician Allison Russell; more are to be announced. The cafe is part of the Festival Village, open without a festival pass.
“Power of Story” • Time to be announced • The topic is “Speculative Fiction Is the Place,” examining black speculative fiction, Afrofuturism and other genres that have allowed Black artists to reenvision the future. Jacqueline Stewart, one of the hosts of Turner Classic Movies, and chief artistic and programming officer for the Academy Museum, will moderate; panelists to be announced.
“Conjuring the Collective: Womxn at Sundance Speakeasy” • Saturday, Jan. 30, 8 to 9 p.m. • An array of performers, organized by theater directors nicHi douglas and Annie Tippe. Performers include the poet Apiorkor, dance legend Judith Jamison, musical and acting legend Rita Moreno, and the actor SOKO.
Ignite Day • Monday, Feb. 1 • Free events for young artists, including a morning panel exploring storytelling traditions from historically marginalized communities; screenings of short films; and networking events for audiences 18 to 25 years old. The event is part of the Festival Village, open without a festival pass.
Awards Night • Tuesday, Feb. 2, 6 p.m. • Winners will be announced in the juried and audience categories.
“It’s a Wrap” • Wednesday, Feb. 3, 9 to 9:30 a.m. • Tabitha Jackson recaps the festival, bringing a ceremonial end to the virtual festival.