Sundance was in full swing and you would have known by the throngs of movie stars walking the snow covered streets of Park City, that this was the place to be.

Day 4 of Sundance saw major world premieres with films like Downhill starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell as well as Behn Zeitlin returning to Sundance with his much awaited follow up to Beasts of the Southern Wild with second feature Wendy, and many many others.

wendyHere are the highlights from Day 4:

Best Thing Nathan Saw Today:
One of the greatest gifts of Sundance is the lack of expectation and knowledge that goes into every premiere. With no trailer, early reviews, or buzz you can go into every screening with a blank slate.

Uncle Frank
Paul Bettany, Sophia Lillis, and Peter Macdissi appear in Uncle Frank by Alan Ball, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Brownie Harris.

For Alan Ball’s Uncle Frank I had no idea what the film was going to be about. I only knew that Alan Ball is one heck of a writer and he had a very solid cast including Paul Bettany, Steve Zahn and It’s Sophia Lillis.

What unraveled was a beautiful written and incredibly well acted touching tale of identity, family, and acceptance. Bettany was outstanding, Lillis proves she has quite the career in front of her and Peter Macdessi nearly steals the entire movie.

Best Thing Ty Saw Today:

beast beast
Those who know me well would not be surprised to find that my favorite film of the day was Beast Beast. Right off the bat the film established its credibility by choosing Jose Angeles, a lead actor who not only knows how to skate, but does it well and with his own personal flair and style. This film will also certainly land its director (Danny Madden) quite a few jobs in the future by showcasing his ability to extract brilliant performances by both Jose Angeles and Shirley Chen, but also for his ability to take on some truly cinematic action sequences.

Nathan’s Sundance Moment of the Day:

us kidsThe first screening of the day was the documentary Us Kids. A chronicle of some of the most courageous, brave, brilliant kids on this planet.

The film follows several of the Parkland High school shootings survivors and many other young activists who all overcame some of the worst possible experiences and somehow started a massive movement.

The entire doc was inspiring. The access they got and the vulnerability captured by the crew crated a documentary so heartbreaking but so important. This is definitely a doc that will be available worldwide for all to see.

Ty’s Sundance Moment of the Day:

the night house
The film that left the largest impression on me today would have had to be The Night House by Sundance director David Bruckner. I have this secret stare that I do during films such as these. Essentially I pretend to look at the screen while my eyesight is completely focused on the dark space below it and thus allowing me to save some face.

This movie probably had me spending more time looking down out of fright that I even began to suspect something sinister might pop out from said darkness. Utterly terrifying.

Ty’s Lasting Thought of the Day:
If you have ever wanted to know what zombies do in their spare time between eating brains and learning how to form basic parts of speech, then the P&I screenings at the fest would usually be the place to do so. This was not the case today though! Dinner in America, the Night House, Promising Young Woman and Uncle Frank managed to invigorate the press and industry audiences. I heard laughter, screaming, and perhaps the rarest of all—applause.

Nathan’s Lasting Thought of the Day:

The readers of HeyUGuys probably know me as a massive movie fan, but I actually share that same amount of passion and love equally with sports. As many of you probably know, one of the greatest American basketball players of all time died tragically, along with his daughter and seven other people as well.

kobe bryant

The shockwaves and ripple of the news of Kobe Bryant’s passing throughout Sundance was staggering to see. People on their cellphones talking to their loved ones with tears welled in their eyes, and conversations on the shuttles of attendees sharing their favorite Kobe story.

What struck me most was his importance and footprint he left on this planet in his way too short time on Earth. But is also made me realize how Sundance becomes its own little community that is all in it together for this 10 day stretch in the mountains. And while we all usually smile, laugh, and cry together in theaters, this was one of those once in a lifetime moments where we all came together to celebrate something that had nothing to do with the festival. To me, that is all you need to know about what Kobe Bryant meant to the world. His incredible basketball career was only a small part of his impact, he was an Academy Award winner, brilliant commentator, inspirational leader, and most importantly an incredible Father. He will be missed, but most importantly forever remembered.