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The 2022 Sundance Film Festival runs from Jan. 20 - 30, in Park City, Utah

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Sixteen American Indie Documentaries Compete At Sundance

Thursday, December 28----With documentary films experiencing a commercial and critical peak, the stakes have never been higher (and the rewards greater) for the sixteen American Independent documentary features competing at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Considering the box office clout of such films as AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH and THE MARCH OF THE PENGUINS in the past year, one can expect some of the most ferocious bidding wars will be unleashed for distribution rights to many of these films.

The Sundance Film Festival began the documentary competition in 1985, being one of the first festivals on the festival circuit to give equal footing and profile to non-fiction films. Many Sundance veterans will tell you that the documentary films are, by and large, more accomplished than their fiction feature siblings at the event. That makes the documentary competition films among the hottest tickets at the Festival.

This year’s eclectic program of 16 films were selected from 856 submissions, and cover a thematic range of films with personal, political, and global perspectives on the effects of war, global warming, racism in America, a 50 year love story, and the personal and public role of religion in America. All the films are world premieres, which will have their first showings at the Festival, which runs from January 18 to 28 in the ski resort of Park City, Utah (with additional screenings in Salt Lake City, Ogden and at the Sundance Institute).


INDPENDENT FEATURE FILM COMPETITION: DOCUMENTARY


BANISHED

Director: Marco Williams
This story of three U.S. towns which, in the early 20th century, forced their entire African American populations to leave, explores what—if anything—can be done to repair past racial injustice.

CHASING GHOSTS
Director: Lincoln Ruchti
Twin Galaxies Arcade, Iowa, 1982: the birthplace of mankind's obsession with video games. The fate of this world lies in the hands (literally) of a few unlikely heroes: They are the Original Video Game World Champions and the arcade is their battleground.

CRAZY LOVE
Director: Dan Klores
An unsettling true story about an obsessive relationship between a married man and a beautiful, single 20-year-old woman, which began in 1957 and continues today.

EVERYTHING’S COOL
Directors: Daniel B. Gold and Judith Helfand
A group of self-appointed global warming messengers are on a high stakes quest to find the iconic image, proper language, and points of leverage to help the public go from embracing the urgency of the problem to creating the political will necessary to move to an alternative energy economy.

FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO
Director: Daniel Karslake
Grounded by the stories of five conservative Christian families, the film explores how the religious right has used its interpretation of the Bible to support its agenda of stigmatizing the gay community and eroding the separation between church and state.

GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB
Director: Rory Kennedy
This inside look at the abuses that occurred at the infamous Iraqi prison in the fall of 2003 uses direct, personal narratives of perpetrators, witnesses, and victims to probe the effects of the abuses on all involved.

GIRL 27
Director: David Stenn
When underage dancer Patricia Douglas is raped at a wild MGM stag party in 1937, she makes headlines and legal history, and then disappears. GIRL 27 follows author-screenwriter David Stenn as he investigates one of Hollywood's most notorious scandals.

HEAR AND NOW
Director: Irene Taylor Brodsky
Filmmaker Irene Taylor Brodsky tells a deeply personal story about her deaf parents, and their radical decision—after 65 years of silence—to undergo cochlear implant surgery, a complex procedure that could give them the ability to hear.

MANDA BALA (SEND A BULLET)
Director: Jason Kohn
In Brazil, known as one of the world's most corrupt and violent countries, MANDA BALA follows a politician who uses a frog farm to steal billions of dollars, a wealthy businessman who spends a small fortune bulletproofing his cars, and a plastic surgeon who reconstructs the ears of mutilated kidnapping victims.

MY KID COULD PAINT THAT
Director: Amir Bar-Lev
A 4-year-old girl whose paintings are compared to Kandinsky, Pollock and even Picasso, has sold $300,000 dollars worth of paintings. Is she a genius of abstract expressionism, a tiny charlatan, or an exploited child whose parents have sold her out for the glare of the media and the lure of the almighty dollar?


NANKING

Directors: Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman
A powerful and haunting depiction of the atrocities suffered by the Chinese at the hands of the invading Japanese army during “The Rape of Nanking”, one of the most tragic events of WWII. While more than 200,000 Chinese were murdered and ten of thousands raped, a handful of Westerners performed extraordinary acts of heroism, saving over 250,000 lives in the midst of the horror.

NO END IN SIGHT
Director: Charles Ferguson
A comprehensive examination of the Bush Administration’s conduct of the Iraq war and occupation. Featuring first-time interviews with key participants, the film creates a startlingly clear reconstruction of key decisions that led to the current state of affairs in this war-torn country.

PROTAGONIST
Director: Jessica Yu
PROTAGONIST explores the organic relationship between human life and Greek drama by weaving together the stories of four men—a German terrorist, a bank robber, an "ex-gay" evangelist, and a martial arts student.

WAR DANCE
Directors: Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine
WAR DANCE is set against the backdrop of Uganda's 20 year civil war and its devastating affects on two generations of Ugandans. This film tells the story of Dominic, Rose and Nancy and their school in the Patongo IDP camp as they take an historic journey to compete in Uganda’s national music and dance festival.

WHITE LIGHT/BLACK RAIN
Director: Steven Okazaki
WHITE LIGHT/BLACK RAIN offers a visceral, topical and moving portrait of the human cost of atomic warfare.

ZOO
Director: Robinson Devor
A humanizing look at the life and bizarre death of a seemingly normal Seattle family man who met his untimely end after an unusual encounter with a horse.


Sandy Mandelberger
Sundance Festival Dailies Editor

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Ambiance from Park City Sundance film Festival January 20 - 30, 2022.

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