Films - Sundance Film Festival: London 2023

Picturehouse and the non-profit Sundance Institute have announced the line-up for Sundance Film Festival: London 2023, taking place from 6th to 9th July at Picturehouse Central in London ...

Press Release

With both fiction and documentary films, a specially curated programme of UK-produced short films and a Gregg Araki retrospective, the Festival will present 11 feature films that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Salt Lake City, and the Sundance Resort in January. 

The Festival opens on 6th July with the UK premiere of Scrapper, written and directed by Londoner Charlotte Regan. Charlotte is a Sundance Ignite Fellow and was named as a 2020 Screen International Star of Tomorrow. The film stars Harris Dickinson (Beach Rats, Triangle of Sadness) and newcomers Lola Campbell and Alin Uzun. Theo Barrowclough produces, and the executive producers are Michael Fassbender, Eva Yates, Farhana Bhula, Conor McCaughan, Daniel Emmerson and Jim Reeve.

The festival will close on 9th July with the UK premiere of You Hurt My Feelings, from acclaimed filmmaker Nicole Holofcener (Lovely & Amazing, Enough Said). The Brooklyn-set comedy-drama stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep, Seinfeld) and Tobias Menzies (The Crown) as a couple whose marriage is suddenly upended when she overhears his honest reaction to her latest book.

Alongside the opening and closing night films, the Festival will present work by bold filmmakers who explore modern love and identity. Ira Sachs (Little Men, Keep The Lights On) directs Passages, starring Ben Whishaw (Women Talking), Adèle Exarchopoulos (Blue Is The Warmest Colour) and Franz Rogowski (Great Freedom) in the intimate story of a gay couple whose marriage is thrown into crisis when one of them begins a passionate affair with a younger woman. Andrew Durham’s Fairyland is a stylish coming-of-age drama based on Alysia Abbott's memoir Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father. The film is told from the perspective of a young girl being brought up by her single gay father in San Francisco in the 1970s and stars Emilia Jones (CODA), Scoot McNairy (Argo), Geena Davis (Thelma & Louise) and singer-songwriter Adam Lambert.

Past Lives is an astonishing and deeply romantic film which stars Greta Lee (Russian Doll), Teo Yoo (Decision To Leave), and John Magaro (First Cow). It is a stunning debut from writer and director Celine Song and follows a reunion between two childhood friends as they contemplate their relationship and their own lives. Mutt follows Feña (Lio Mehiel), a young trans guy bustling through life in New York City, who is afflicted with an incessantly challenging day that resurrects ghosts from his past. This compelling film is directed, written, and produced by Vuk Lungulov-Klotz, a Chilean-Serbian filmmaker raised between Chile, New York City, and Serbia - and it won the 2023 Sundance Film Festival U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award: Acting for Lio Mehiel’s performance.

The 2023 Festival continues the Sundance tradition of supporting original work from established and emerging voices in filmmaking. Once again, the line-up includes a short film programme that is dedicated to UK productions, highlighting some of the amazing talent in the Short Film art form, in films either produced in the UK or made by filmmakers based in the UK. In addition to hosting the debut features from Andrew Durham, Bethann Hardison, Celine Song, Charlotte Regan and Vuk Lungulov-Klotz, the Festival will also host co-directors Danny Philippou and Michael Philippou’s Talk To Me. A crowd-pleasing horror-thriller for the Instagram-generation, which follows a group of friends who discover how to conjure spirits using an embalmed hand, becoming hooked on the new thrill, until one of them goes too far.

As in previous years, the London edition will provide a compelling documentary strand. Maximilien Van Aertryck and Axel Danielson’s engrossing and topical Fantastic Machine (winner of the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award: Creative Vision at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival), takes the audience on a voyage through the life of the video camera. Weaving and contrasting some of the most iconic, harrowing, and viral images in our collective memory with user-generated footage, Danielson and Van Aertryck intricately fashion an argument about how humans see themselves.

Filmmakers Alejandra Vasquez and Sam Osborn transport their audience to a symphonically, aesthetically, and emotionally vibrant world in Going Varsity in Mariachi (winner of the Jonathan Oppenheim Editing Award: U.S. Documentary at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival). This energetic documentary captures the highs and lows of a high-school mariachi band in Texas, as they compete in the state championship and students must juggle school life while embracing their heritage. Invisible Beauty looks back at the incredible impact Bethann Hardison has had over the last five decades, as an activist, model, and muse. Co-directed by Hardison and Frédéric Tcheng (Halston, Dior and I), the fashion revolutionary reflects on her personal journey and the cost of being a pioneer. Anton Corbijn’s (Control, The American) charming feature documentary debut, Squaring the Circle (The Story of Hipgnosis), is an entertaining tribute to the days of analog creativity and artistic risk. Corbijn’s film explores the duo behind a generation of iconic album covers, Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey "Po" Powell, aka the innovative design studio Hipgnosis. Interviewees in the film include Paul McCartney, Noel Gallagher, Roger Waters and David Gilmour.

Joana Vicente, CEO of Sundance Institute said, "We are looking forward to introducing a wonderful selection of films to audiences in London and can’t wait to be back at Picturehouse Central. These films are provocative, moving, and entertaining, and created by some truly visionary storytellers. We know that alongside a compelling series of conversations and industry programme, it will be an outstanding 10th edition of the Festival."

Clare Binns, Managing Director, Picturehouse Cinemas added, "We are delighted to host the tenth Sundance Film Festival: London showcasing the finest independent cinema direct from the 2023 Sundance Film Festival held in January. We look forward to celebrating with the London film community in July for an exciting 4 days filled with bold and thrilling UK premieres on the big screen, inspiring talks and special guest appearances, I am personally thrilled that Gregg Araki will be joining us all at the Festival, whose work exemplifies Sundance and independent film."

In an exclusive repertory strand, the Festival will present three films by the radical American filmmaker, producer, writer, and editor, Gregg Araki, whose filmmaking is closely associated with the New Queer Cinema movement. The Festival are thrilled that Araki will be in London to attend the special screenings and Q&A sessions: The Doom Generation, which has been remastered in 4K for an uncensored director’s cut, follows two troubled teenage lovers (Rose McGowan and James Duval) who pick up a drifter (Xavier Red) and embark on a journey full of sex, violence and convenience stores; David (Mark Howell), Craig (John Lacques) and Alicia (Darcy Marta) are a triangle of young lovers in Three Bewildered People In The Night who find angst and despair as they sort out their feelings and sexuality in a late-night coffee shops – the film is having its first public UK showing at Sundance Film Festival: London; Mysterious Skin is adapted from Scott Heim's 1995 novel and tells the story of two pre-adolescent boys who both experienced sexual abuse as children, and how it affects their lives in different ways into their young adulthood. One boy becomes a reckless, sexually adventurous prostitute (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), while the other (Brady Corbet) retreats into a reclusive fantasy of alien abduction.

The Festival’s second-annual Industry Programme will run alongside the Festival’s public screenings and events. Each industry passholder will have exclusive access to more than 15 industry-only events during the festival, including intimate roundtable meetings, keynotes, masterclasses, themed panel discussions and daily networking drinks. The Festival is thrilled to welcome producer Anthony Bregman (Flora and Son, In The Heights, Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind, You Hurt My Feelings) to London to deliver an in-person industry keynote talk. New this year is a live pitching session where emerging filmmakers can pitch their idea and get instant feedback from a panel of experts from across production, financing, distribution and festivals.

Following popular wins for the Academy Award®-winning CODA, Jim Archer’s Brian and Charles, Bo Burnham’s critically acclaimed Eighth Grade and the Academy Award®-winning Icarus, audiences will again have the opportunity to cast votes after screenings, with the Audience Favourite award being announced at the close of the festival.

Sundance Film Festival: London Ticket Passes are on sale now, with priority booking for Picturehouse Members and Sundance Film Festival Ticket Passholders. General ticket sales will open at 10:00am on 9th May. Tickets can be purchased today with a Sundance Film Festival ticket pass; buy yours now at Become a Picturehouse Member now at



Fairyland / United States
(Director and Screenwriter: Andrew Durham, Producers: Sofia Coppola, Andrew Durham, Megan Carlson, Siena Oberman, Greg Lauritano, Laure Sudreau)

Fairyland is the story of a gay, single father raising his young daughter in San Francisco during the 1970s and 1980s.

Cast: Emiila Jones, Scoot McNairy, Geena Davis, Cody Fern, Adam Lambert, Maria Bakalova

Mutt / United States
(Director and Screenwriter: Vuk Lungulov-Klotz, Producers: Alexander Stegmaier, Stephen Scott Scarpulla, Vuk Lungulov-Klotz, Jennifer Kuczaj, Executive Producers: Silas Howard, Andrew Carlberg, Sarah Herrman, Susie Hile, Hannah Kettering)

 Feña, a young trans guy bustling through life in New York City, is faced with an increasingly challenging day. Over 24 hours, his foreign father, his straight ex-boyfriend, and his 13-year old half-sister thrust back into his life. Having lost touch since transitioning, Feña must navigate the new dynamics of these old relationships while tackling the day-to-day challenges that come with living a life in-between.

Cast: Lïo Mehiel, Cole Doman, Mimi Ryder, Alejandro Goic

Past Lives / United States
(Director and Screenwriter: Celine Song, Producers: David Hinojosa, Pamela Koffler, Christine Vachon)

Nora and Hae Sung, two deeply connected childhood friends, are wrest apart after Nora’s family emigrates from South Korea. Two decades later, they are reunited in New York for one fateful week as they confront notions of destiny, love, and the choices that make a life, in this heartrending modern romance.

Cast: Greta Lee, Teo Yoo, John Magaro

Passages / United States
(Director: Ira Sachs, Screenwriters: Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias, Producers: Saïd Ben Saïd, Pamela Koffler, Christine Vachon) 

A gay couple’s marriage is thrown into crisis when one of them begins a passionate affair with a younger woman.

Cast: Adèle Exarchopoulos, Ben Whishaw, Franz Rogowski

Scrapper / United Kingdom
(Director and Screenwriter: Charlotte Regan, Producers: Theo Barrowclough, Executive Producers: Eva Yates, Farhana Bhula, Michael Fassbender, Cono McCaughan, Daniel Emmerson, Jim Reeve)

Georgie, a dreamy 12-year-old girl, lives happily alone in her London flat, filling it with magic. Suddenly, her estranged father turns up and forces her to confront reality.

Cast: Harris Dickinson, Lola Campbell, Alin Uzun, Ambreen Razia, Olivia Brady, Aylin Tezel

Talk To Me / Australia
(Directors: Danny Philippou, Michael Philippou, Screenwriters: Danny Philippou, Bill Hinzman, Producer: Samantha Jennings, Kristina Ceyton, Co-Producer: Christopher Seeto, Executive Producers: Stephen Kelliher, Sophie Green, Compton Ross, Daniel Negret, Noah Dummett, John Dummett, Jeff Harrison, Ari Harrison, Miranda Otto, Dale Roberts, Danny Philippou, Michael Philippou)

When a group of friends discover how to conjure spirits using an embalmed hand, they become hooked on the new thrill, until one of them goes too far and opens the door to the spirit world, forcing them to choose who to trust: the dead or the living.

Cast: Sophie Wilde, Mirando Otto, Alexandra Jensen, Joe Bird, Otis Djanji, Zoe Terakes

You Hurt My Feelings / United States
(Director and Screenwriter: Nicole Holofcener, Producers: Stefanie Azpiazu, Anthony Bregman)

From acclaimed filmmaker Nicole Holofcener comes a sharply observed comedy about a novelist whose long standing marriage is suddenly upended when she overhears her husband give his honest reaction to her latest book. A film about trust, lies, and the things we say to the people we love most.

Cast: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tobias Menzies, Michaela Watkins, Owen Teague, Arian Moayed, Jeannie Berlin


Fantastic Machine / Sweden/Denmark
(Directors, Cinematographers and Producers: Axel Danielson, Maximilien Van Aertryck) 

The camera is a fantastic machine. Filmmakers Axel Danielson & Maximilien Van Aertryck (Ten Meter Tower, Jobs For All!) once again turn their cameras directly on society, this time to explore, explain and expose how our unchecked obsession with image has grown to change our human behavior. From Camera Obscura and the Lumieres Brothers all the way to Youtube and the world of social media, the film chronicles how we went from capturing the image of a backyard to a multi-billion- euro content industry in just 200 years. With an exclusive use of archival and found footage, the film uses the very medium it examines, in a self-reflective yet hilarious montage.

Going Varsity in Mariachi / United States
(Directors: Alejandra Vasquez, Sam Osborn, Producers: James Lawler, Luis A. Miranda Jr., Julia Pontecorvo, Executive Producers: Jenny Raskin, Lauren Haber, Geralyn White Dreyfous, Owen Panettieri, Steve Cohen, Paula Froehle, Debbie L. McLeod, Co-Executive Producers: Meryl Metni, Kelsey Koenig, Jennifer Pellinig)

In the competitive world of high school mariachi, the musicians from the South Texas borderlands reign supreme. Under the guidance of Coach Abel Acuña, the teenage captains of Edinburg North High School’s acclaimed team must turn a shoestring budget and diverse crew of inexperienced musicians into state champions.

Invisible Beauty / United States
(Directors: Bethann Hardison, Frédéric Tcheng, Producers: Lisa Cortes, Co-Producer: Paul Dallas, Co-Executive Producer: David Chan, Robina Riccitiello, Chris Stolte, Heidi Stolte, Executive Producers: Hallee Adelman, John Boccardo, Derek Esplin, Ivy Herman, Rick Rosenthal, Nancy Stephens, Andrew Van Beuren)

Invisible Beauty is the story of Bethann Hardison, a fashion revolutionary who has been on the front lines of racial justice in her industry for over five decades. Through her life journey a pioneering Black model, modelling agent and activist, the film explores race, beauty and

Squaring The Circle (The Story of Hipgnosis) / United Kingdom
(Director: Anton Corbijn, Producers: Trish D Chetty, Ged Doherty, Colin Firth, Co-Producer: Christian Holland, Guy Thompson, Executive Producers: Stuart Souter, Merck Mercuriadis, Nick Angel, Andrew Hulme, Thorsten Schumacher, George Chignell)

Celebrated filmmaker, photographer, and creative director Anton Corbijn’s first feature documentary tells the story of Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey "Po" Powell, the creative geniuses behind the iconic album art design studio, Hipgnosis. As Hipgnosis, the pair were responsible for some of the most recognizable album covers of all time, including Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Paul McCartney and Wings’ Band on the Run, and Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy, all three of which celebrate their 50th anniversaries this year. While Storm and Po never played a note, they forever changed how we look at music.


Birdsong (Documentary)
(Directors: Omi Zola Gupta, Sparsh Ahuja)

Birdsong is an intimate portrait of the dying whistled language of the Hmong people in northern Laos

Christopher at Sea (Animation)
(Directors: Tom CJ Brown) 

Christopher embarks on a transatlantic voyage as a passenger on a cargo ship. His hopes of finding out what lures so many men to sea sets him on a journey into solitude, fantasy and obsession.

Claudio’s Song (Fiction)
(Director: Andreas Nilsson)

A young man faces the wrath of a family of criminals that target people who are famous on the internet and extort money from them. When their scheme fails, the plan to kill him takes an unexpected turn.

Giraffe (Fiction)
(Director: Caleb Femi) 

Before their 17th birthdays, two black boys attempt to bury contraband in order to save their cultural identity from being erased by the UK government, however, they unearth new truths that test their friendship.

My Eyes Are Up Here (Fiction)
(Director: Nathan Morris) 

Sonia is a super-busy, sought-after model, and dating doesn't really fit her lifestyle. However, a one-night stand with a clumsy but considerate man changes her perspective.

She Always Wins (Fiction)
(Director: Hazel McKibbin) 

She Always Wins captures all the complicated moves in the dance of dominance, deference and self-diminishment that takes place when a young woman brings her new boyfriend to his first family visit.

The Veiled City (Documentary)
(Director: Natalie Cubides-Brady) 

The Veiled City is a speculative city symphony inspired by London’s Great Smog of 1952. Created from archive footage, the film unfolds through fictional letters from a post-apocalyptic future. The film invites us to understand the smog in the context of the present-day climate emergency.

White Ant (Fiction)
(Director: Shalini Adnani) 

A man is summoned from Mumbai to his village to deal with a termite infestation threatening to destroy his childhood home.


GREGG ARAKI RETROSPECTIVE - The Totally F*cked Up Cinema of Gregg Araki

The Doom Generation (1995)
(Director and Screenwriter: Gregg Araki, Producers: Gregg Araki, Andrea Sperling) 

Jordan White and Amy Blue, two troubled teens, pick up an adolescent drifter, Xavier Red. Together, the threesome embark on a sex-and-violence-filled journey through an America of psychos and quickie marts.

Cast: James Duval, Rose McGowan, Jonathan Schaech

Three Bewildered People In The Night (1987)
(Director, Cinematographer and Screenwriter: Gregg Araki) 

David, Craig and Alicia are a triangle of young lovers who find angst and despair as they sort out their feelings and sexuality in a late-night coffee shop.UK premiere screening

Cast: Mark Howell, John Lacques, Darcy Marta

Mysterious Skin (2004)
(Director and Screenwriter: Gregg Araki, Producers: Gregg Araki, Jeffrey Kusama-Hinte, Mary Jane Skalski, Executive Producer: Wouter Barendrecht, Michael J. Werner, Based on the novel by Scott Heim) 

A teenage hustler and a young man obsessed with alien abductions cross paths, together discovering a horrible, liberating truth.

Cast: Brady Corbet, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Elisabeth Shue

Images - Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival:London.
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