For 30 years, the Sundance Film Festival (January 16 to 26; sundance.org) has spread the gospel of audacious, independent filmmaking from Robert Redford’s mountain fortress nestled high in the peaks of Park City, Utah. While Hollywood elders spend January in Brentwood mansions contemplating their Oscar votes, the next generation of film pioneers braves soul-challenging winter winds to sample 187 selections culled from an eye-popping 12,218 submissions.
The chosen films will end up in your local art-house theaters throughout the year. Those lucky enough to attend the festival will get a crack at them first, scouring the eclectic lineups, discovering bold (sometimes bizarre) choices and dashing off to make the next screening amid the scene (shivering all the way on Park City’s famously difficult bus system).
Yet despite all the parties, publicity events, star sightings and skiing, the movies themselves remain the focus at Sundance. Here, a list of ten intriguing features that people will no doubt be talking about. By no means the last word, it will at least give you a head start.