Films - Sundance Film Festival: London


Sundance Institute and Picturehouse has announced some new additions to the 2021 Sundance Film Festival: London programme...


Press Release

Alongside the feature films, two short film strands and special events previously announced, the festival will also feature the UK Premiere screening of Ninja Thyberg’s feature debut Pleasure; a masterclass with Herself director Phyllida Lloyd; while Host director Rob Savage joins the previously announced horror panel, “Scare Tactics – Making Modern Horror”.

Writer-director Ninja Thyberg’s feature debut Pleasure, which made its world premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, has been added to the feature film programme; the feature extends the exploration of her 2014 short which was shown in official selection at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.



Newly arrived Swedish transplant Bella Cherry coyly announces to an airport immigration official that she’s come to Los Angeles for “pleasure,” but upon her subsequent dive into the world of adult entertainment, she soon realizes it is clearly business. Though she warms to the friendly affirmations of the more seasoned girls, eager-but-green Bella relies on her instincts to navigate her experiences with predatory managers, male-dominated sets, and backbiting competitors.

Thyberg cunningly ties audiences’ experiences to Bella’s as the daring, immersive Pleasure uses its explicit portrayal to expose rather than titillate, offering a no-holds-barred worker’s-eye view of the industry. Leading a cast mined from the adult entertainment world, first-time actress Sofia Kappel fearlessly embodies a character who constantly renegotiates and recrafts her persona as a means of asserting her agency.


Rounding out this year’s talks is the Phyllida Lloyd - Masterclass, the director of the acclaimed film Herself which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, will discuss her career and filmmaking. Best known for directing The Iron Lady, along with hit musical Mamma Mia! and an all-female Shakespeare trilogy at King’s Cross Theatre, Lloyd has forged a long and successful career which seeks to place women and their stories at centre stage.


Joining the Scare Tactics - Making Modern Horror’ panel, is Host director Rob Savage whose short Dawn of the Deaf was in official selection at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Savage was the youngest director ever to win a BIFA for his micro-budget feature film Strings, for which he was also named a Screen International Star of Tomorrow in 2012. He joins Censor director Prano Bailey Bond on the panel hosted by Wendy Mitchell.

The full line-up of panel and talks at this year’s edition are:

‘Scare Tactics - Making Modern Horror’ panel hosted by Wendy Mitchell and featuring guests including Censor director Prano Bailey Bond and filmmaker Rob Savage.
‘Shaping The Truth - Discussing Documentary Ethics and Filmmaking’ panel hosted by Doc Society’s Shanida Scotland and featuring guests including, directors Kristina Lindström and Kristian Petri (The Most Beautiful Boy In The World), and Sam Hobkinson (Misha and the Wolves).
Phyllida Lloyd - Masterclass – director of Herself, The Iron Lady, Mamma Mia! will discuss her filmmaking.

Sundance Film Festival: London takes place 29 July – 1 August at Picturehouse Central, presented in association with Adobe. Sundance Film Festival Ticket Passes and General Tickets are on sale now at picturehouses.com/sundance. Become a Picturehouse Member at picturehouses.com/membership.

You can find out more information and book tickets at picturehouses.com/sundance.

Images - Top - Sundance London and IMDb