Film & TV

Sundance 2020: The Ultimate Guide to What to Do and What to See at the Film Festival

From exciting new film premieres to unmissable panels, see L'Officiel USA's guide of what's not to be missed at this year's Sundance Film Festival.
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With 2020 now well underway, it’s time to enjoy the first winter of the decade with all sorts of fun activities, like the Sundance Film Festival. There are, of course, a million amazing things to do while at Sundance 2020. Possibly an overwhelming amount. We get it. For those of you lucky enough to attend, L’Officiel USA has pulled together a list of some of the best things to do and see at Sundance 2020. You are, as always, so welcome. See our picks below. 

Inside the Writer’s Room: An Interactive Experience

First on our list of things not to miss at Sundance 2020 is a panel called "Inside the Writer’s Room: An Interactive Experience." During this event, an experienced showrunner will reboot a classic TV show to reveal to attendees all that goes on when writing a TV series. This event is open to all Festival credential holders.

Thursday, January 30, 2:00–3:00 pm

Filmmaker Lodge, 550 Main St. (2nd floor)

Downhill

​​​​​​Next on our list, of course, is one of the exciting new films premiering at Sundance 2020. Downhill, featuring the always-incredible Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell, tells the story of a family whose idyllic winter holiday is interrupted by an avalanche (the family is unharmed), and the aftermath that follows. Catch the premiere at one of its six showings, the first of which is January 26 at 9:30 pm at Eccles Theatre. 

The Last Thing He Wanted

​​​​​​Another Sundance 2020 premiere, The Last Thing He Wanted features the likes of Anne Hathaway and Ben Affleck. Directed by Dee Rees, an alumna of Sundance Institute's Directors and Screenwriters Lab, this film adaptation of Joan Didion’s book by the same name is sure to be a hit. See the film at one of its four screenings, with the first being on January 27 at 9:30 pm at Eccles Theatre. 

Uncle Frank

In Uncle Frank, Sophia Lillis plays Beth, who, in 1973, leaves her rural hometown to go to NYU, where her estranged uncle is a professor. She’s exposed to his life in New York City, which includes him living with his lifelong partner, Wally, a fact that had been kept a secret. When the patriarch of the family dies, Frank returns home with Beth and Wally and is forced to reckon with his past. Catch the premiere at one of five showings, the first on January 25, 3:30 pm, at Eccles Theatre.  

Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen

​​​​​​One of the unmissable documentary premieres at this year’s Sundance Film Festival is Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen, which takes a look at how trans people are depicted in film and TV, as well as Hollywood’s role in reflecting and manufacturing our gender anxieties. The documentary, directed by Sam Feder, features trans thinkers and creatives like Laverne Cox and Chaz Bono, to name a few. Catch the film at one of its four showings, the first of which is January 27, 11 am at the MARC Theater. 

A Conversation with Quibi

​​​​​​Another panel to add to your Sundance 2020 bucket list! This is an inside look at one of the new streaming services coming in 2020. Quibi is the first streaming service built exclusively for mobile, and it already has some top celebrity TV shows to come: Chrissy’s Court, with Chrissy Teigen, and Killing Zac Efron, with (obviously) Zac Efron. Join Quibi’s founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, along with Lena Waithe, Veena Sud, and Kaitlin Olson, as they talk about this new kind of storytelling.

Friday, January 24, 9:30–10:15 am

Chase Sapphire on Main, 573 Main St. 

Palm Springs

The last Sundance 2020 premiere on our list, Palm Springs is another star-studded movie not to miss. Featuring Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, and Riverdale's Cami Mendes, the movie tells the story of Sarah (Milioti), the black sheep of the family and maid of honor at her sister’s destination wedding, and Nyles (Samberg), the date of a bridesmaid, as they embrace the idea that nothing really matters. Catch one of the five showings, the first being Sunday, January 26 at 3 pm at Library Center Theater. 

McMillion$

Another screening not to miss is McMillion$, a docuseries that looks at the McDonald’s Monopoly fraud—a somewhat forgotten piece of American history. With the first indictments of the case coming just before 9/11, the country was focused elsewhere. In this docuseries, directors James Lee Hernandez and Brian Lazarte present the true story of what seemed like a victimless crime and turned into a conspiracy. Catch the first three episodes of the docuseries at either of the two showings:

Tuesday, January 28, 11:45 am, Library Center Theater.

Saturday, February 1, 5:30 pm, Salt Lake City Library Theater. 

Sundance ASCAP Music Café

Looking for something a little different to do whilst at Sundance 2020? Look no further than Sundance’s ASCAP Music Café. Featuring artists like Matthew Koma of Winnetka Bowling League (sometimes known as Lizzie McGuire’s husband), LÉON, and CYN, the Café will be open daily and is open to all Festival credential holders over the age of 21 (as space allows). 

Open daily, 2 –6 pm.

751 Main St.

​​​​​​Women Hold Up Half the Sky Panel

​​​​​​"Women Hold Up Half the Sky" is another great panel option to check out at Sundance 2020. We’re seeing more women both in front of and behind the camera (thank god), but the women who are blazing this path have plenty of stories to tell. Janet Yang, Academy governor-at-large and The Joy Luck Club producer, will moderate a candid conversation between eight actors/directors/producers about these stories.

Saturday, January 25, 5:30–7:30 pm.

Kimball Art Center, 1401 Kearns Blvd.

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