The 10 Must-See Sundance Films For Art Lovers

Beginning January 22, Park City, Utah will play home to a cinephile’s favorite time of year, the Sundance Film Festival. While the whole shebang makes us drool with envy over those who’ve snagged tickets, we’ve got our eyes firmly fastened on the New Frontier portion of the festivities.

Focusing on the intersection of film, technology and — of course — art, the New Frontier champions experimental forms of storytelling that aren’t your average indie film fare. From a series of 61 one-minute mini-films to a virtual reality experience meant to simulate that of a bird, the New Frontier films are changing the future language of cinema.


“The primary thing I look for when considering works, both for the New Frontier films section, and the [coinciding] exhibition, is how an artistic or scientific practice innovates or expands the art and craft of cinematic storytelling. Innovation often happens when intelligence, passion, and drive meet limited resources. It also happens when diverse forms of creative expression entangle and hybridize,” Shari Frilot, Sundance Film Festival Senior Programmer and curator of the New Frontier exhibition, wrote in an email to The Huffington Post. “New Frontier is filled with filmmakers and content creators who were unsatisfied with conventional modes of expression, and consequently pushed beyond traditional paths of practice to reach for something new and undiscovered.”

“I’m interested in films, art works, media experiments that speak powerfully to the art and craft of storytelling,” she added, and “to imagining the future of what telling cinematic stories can be.”

This year’s pickings with gather together everyone from music video director Chris Milk to fine artist Doug Aitken to virtual reality visionaries Félix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphaël. “The film lineup completely eschews any notion of theme, style or category, unless the category is incredible diversity,” said Frilot. “The sheer geographic diversity, and the diversity of the filmmakers themselves, is matched only by the diverse and eclectic visions of their films in the line up.”

“A theme that might unify the work in this year’s edition of the New Frontier exhibition is that they bring the viewer to occupy full immersion inside the storyworld. The works by this year’s New Frontier creators allow the viewer to inhabit a consciousness inside the moving image itself, and enter a state of becoming. They compel a penetration of our own bodily presence into the digital tableau. As we make choices in the heat of the moment and wander through virtual storyworlds, our state of being evolves and we become something both additional, and parallel, to ourselves.”

Behold, the 10 must-see films at Sundance’s New Frontier. If you’re lucky enough to attend this year’s fair, don’t let these go unseen.

1. The Forbidden Room Directors: Guy Maddin, Evan…

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