We are almost a week into the 2020 edition of the Sundance Film Festival but that doesn’t mean that anything is slowing down anytime soon. Day 6 will go down as an all-time day for Nathan and Ty as the surprises, discoveries, and once in a lifetime opportunities ruled the day.
Nathan’s Best Thing He Saw Today:
One of the best things about Sundance can sometimes be one of its worst. After each screening, the filmmakers and castmembers take questions from the audience. About 80% of the time the audience asks really smart, interesting questions, The other 20% of the time, they are asking if some of the scenes were improvised, if the actors actually did the drugs their characters used, and other cliché or uncomfortable questions.
But during the Q&A of Nine Days, an audience member stood up and said he has been coming to Sundance for 20 years, and Nine Days was one of the greatest things he has ever seen here. And I don’t think I can disagree with him.
Nine Days is one of the most thought-provoking, unique, beautiful movies I have ever seen in Park City, It is a master class in writing, acting, and originality. The film which follows Winston Duke, in the best performance of the festival, as he interviews different subjects for the right to be rewarded life on Earth. An ambitious premise that soars past its potential. The movie was written and directed by Edson Oda and it is clear what a talent he is. The cast is also filled with pitch-perfect performances by Zazie Beetz, Benedict Wong, Bill Skarsgard, Tony Hale and more.
This is guaranteed to be a movie people will be talking about a year from now.
Ty’s Best Thing He Saw today:

Having walked into Charm City Kings knowing only that the film had something to do with dirt bikes, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by this film.  Sure, the first act may resemble the plot of an early 2000’s Disney Channel original film (Brink anyone?), but as events slowly begin spiraling towards their climactic conclusion, it became clear that this was not some cookie-cutter family film. What results is a wonderfully moving, yet intensely heartbreaking story about personal identity, and the choices we make on our path to adulthood. Oh and did I mention that Meek Mill was in it?

Charm City Kings — Still 1
Jahi appears in Charm City Kings by Angel Manuel Soto, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition program at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by William Gray.

Nathan’s Sundance Moment of the Day:
When the lineup came out the first thing I circled was the We Are Freestyle Love Supreme. The Special Event that Sundance put on chronicling Lin Manuel-Miranda’s passion project before Hamilton,
I knew it was going to be incredibly entertaining and I held out the hope, that maybe, just maybe they might perform after the screening. Well, guess what!? They freakin did!
We Are Freestyle Love Supreme - Still 1
A still from We Are Freestyle Love Supreme by Andrew Fried, an official selection of the Special Events program at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Bryant Fisher.

It was exhilarating and incredible and brought so much joy to my time here, It’s another reason why everyone should make an attempt to make it to Sundance just once in their life. Where you can watch a movie then immediately see it come to life on stage just minutes later. There is absolutely nothing like it.

Ty’s Sundance Moment of the Day

It is not often that a Sundance midnight film causes a woman in the audience to scream out “No!!!” In the middle of the screening.  That just goes to show you just how utterly terrifying the new feminist-horror film Run Sweetheart Run truly is.

Run Sweetheart Run — Still 2
Ella Balinska appears in Run Sweetheart Run by Shana Feste, an official selection of the Midnight program at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

As great as that all was though, my favorite moment(s) of the day came during that very same screening as one audience member after another poured out of the theater every time something scary or insane was about to happen.  As somebody who startles easily, it helps to have a mobile distraction force exiting the theater during the parts most likely to have you jumping out of your seat.  What an amazing thrill ride it was!

Ty’s Lasting Thought of the Day

Having now seen over half of the midnight films in this year’s lineup, I can now say with some air of confidence that the landscape of the modern horror genre is truly in good shape.  I haven’t seen one film in the midnight category that I’ve hated this far, and films like Run Sweetheart Run and Night House were so good that I could conceivably see myself revisiting them in the future, a true rarity for horror films.  It has been almost a decade since Sundance has had such a stellar midnight lineup and has restored hope to a section of the programming that had been on quite the downhill spiral.

Nathan’s Lasting Thought:
As my 10th Sundance comes to a close, I am yet again reminded why I keep coming back. For a week in the mountains, moviegoers get the chance to experience just about anything they can ever want. A documentary about the unrest in Venezuela? Sure. A narrative film based solely on 144 tweets? Why not!? A thriller about a serial killer Uber driver? Ok. For those few hours spent in a theater, there is so much to learn and so many opportunities to escape. And every single person here shares one thing in common, the love of cinema. At the end of the day, Sundance is just one big party. A party I wish everyone could experience.
See you all next year!