Our Top Ten picks for The 2018 Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival starts today and we’ve picked out ten of our most anticipated

With this years Oscar films all jostling for attention, January also marks the period where we start looking at some of potential hits for the year ahead. The 2018 Sundance Film Festival kicks off today in Salt Lake City, showing 110 feature-length films, representing 29 countries and 47 first-time filmmakers, including 30 in competition. Of these, 100 of the films will be premières.

We’ve picked out a small selection of films we hope live up to their promise over the next 10 days.



Director: David Zellner, Nathan Zellner
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, David Zellner, Robert Forster, Nathan Zellner, Joe Billingiere

Pattinson stars in the lead role as Samuel Alabaster, an affluent pioneer who ventures across the American frontier to marry the love of his life, Penelope. He travels across the Wild West with a drunkard and a tiny horse named Butterscotch; what seems like a straight forward journey soon becomes anything but.




Director: Idris Elba
Starring: Idris Elba, Stephen Graham, Aml Ameen

On a hot night in Kingston, Jamaica, 1973, Jerry Dread stops the music at an outdoor party to encourage a truce between warring gangs. His little brother Denis looks on from the crowd as an assassin’s bullet rings out, taking Jerry’s life. A decade later, Denis is the right-hand man to gang-boss Fox, who sends him on a loyalty-testing mission to London. But when the mission goes wrong, Denis hides out with an old flame and decides to find his brother’s killer.




Director: Paul Dano
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Ed Oxenbould, Bill Camp, Jake Gyllenhaal

Sensitive 16-year-old Joe is the only child of Jeanette and Jerry – a housewife and golf pro in a small town in 1960s Montana. Nearby, an uncontrolled forest fire rages close to the Canadian border, and when Jerry loses his job and his sense of purpose he decides to join the cause of fighting the fire, leaving his wife and son to fend for themselves. Suddenly forced into the role of an adult, Joe witnesses his mother embark on her own adventure, as she transgresses into an affair with an older man.



Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind

Director: Marina Zenovich

This intimate portrait examines one of the world’s most beloved and inventive comedians. Told largely through Robin’s own voice and using a wealth of never-before-seen archive, the film takes us through his extraordinary life and career and reveals the spark of madness that drove him.



American Animals

Director: Bart Layton
Starring: Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner, Jared Abrahamson, Ann Dowd, Udo Kier

The unbelievable but mostly true story of four young men who mistook their lives for a movie and attempted one of the most audacious heists in US history; “American Animals” takes the thrill of the heist genre and turns it inside out, blurring the line between truth and fiction in a wild story of money, movies and the search for meaning.




Director: Ari Aster
Starring: Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, Ann Dowd, Milly Shapiro

The Graham family starts to unravel following the death of their reclusive grandmother. Even after she’s gone, the matriarch still casts a dark shadow over the family, especially her loner teenage granddaughter, Charlie, whom she always had an unusual fascination with. As an overwhelming terror takes over their household, their peaceful existence is ripped apart, forcing their mother to explore a darker realm in order to escape the unfortunate fate they’ve inherited.



The Guilty

Director: Gustav Möller
Starring: Jakob Cedergren, Jessica Dinnage, Johan Olsen, Omar Shargawi

Alarm dispatcher and former police officer, Asger Holm, answers an emergency call from a kidnapped woman. When the call is suddenly disconnected, the search for the woman and her kidnapper begins. With the phone as his only tool, Asger enters a race against time to save the endangered woman. But soon he realizes that he is dealing with a crime that is far bigger than he first thought.




Director: Carlos López Estrada
Starring: Janina Gavankar, Ethan Embry, Daveed Diggs

Oakland residents Collin and his best friend Miles have been friends since childhood, but Collin, who’s black, is tired of getting into trouble while Miles, who’s white and a troublemaker, always gets a pass.



Bisbee ’17

Director: Robert Greene

The story follows several members of the close knit community as they prepare to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Bisbee’s darkest hour: the infamous Bisbee Deportation, where 1200 striking miners were violently taken from their homes by a deputized force, banished to the middle of the desert and left to die.




Director: Nicolas Pesce
Starring: Christopher Abbott, Mia Wasikowska, Marin Ireland, Wendell Pierce

An adaptation of Ryu Mirakami’s novel, Piercing follows Abbott’s crazed protagonist who plans on murdering an unsuspecting call girl at a hotel. Unfortunately for him, he becomes allured by the mysterious woman who shows up, which starts a dangerous game of chance and chase.

Steven Sheehan

Updated: Jan 18, 2018

Get involved
Continue the conversation over on The Digital Fix Forum
Our Top Ten picks for The 2018 Sundance Film Festival | The Digital Fix