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5 Things to Get Excited About at Sundance 2024

Kristen Stewart Double Header

The Indie Queen of Sundance returns to the festival with not one but two films, and with the hope of drumming up funding for her own directorial feature along the way. Stewart’s first film to premiere is “Love Me,” in which she stars opposite recent Golden Globe and Emmy winner Steven Yuen in a futuristic drama where “long after humanity’s extinction, a buoy and a satellite meet online and fall in love.” Her second film, “Love Lies Bleeding,” features her as a gym employee who falls in love with a bodybuilder, played by Katy O’Brian. Stewart was also honored during the festival’s Opening Night Gala with the Visionary Award, which was presented to her by former Sundance film “Adventureland” costar Jesse Eisenberg.

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PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 18: Kristen Stewart attends the 2024 Sundance Film Festival Opening Night Gala: Celebrating 40 Years at DeJoria Center on January 18, 2024 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

Awards Season Favorites Making Appearances 

Steven Yeun is just one of the many stars touching down in Park City on the heels of a busy awards season. After taking home wins at the Golden Globes and Emmys for his role in “Beef,” the actor is back on the indie beat alongside Stewart in “Love Me,” in the starring role of a satellite. Pedro Pascal — sans shoulder sling — is also in town, for the premiere of “Freaky Tales.” The actor established an onstage bit with Kieran Culkin, and the pair might have an opportunity to continue the bit on Main Street; Culkin stars in Jesse Eisenberg’s “A Real Pain.”

Docs Aplenty

Sundance always delivers a strong documentary lineup. Subjects of this year’s premieres include Christopher Reeve, Frida Kahlo and Tammy Faye. “Xena” actress Lucy Lawless is making her directorial debut with a documentary about war photojournalist Margaret Moth, and Will Ferrell is the subject of a road trip film about his friendship with longtime SNL writer Harper Steele. There are several films that tackle tech — “Eternal You” interrogates social implications of AI, and “Seeking Mavis Beacon” looks back at the educational software program from the ’80s.

Frida Kahlo appears in FRIDA by Carla Gutiérrez, an official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Leo Matiz.
Frida Kahlo appears in “Frida” by Carla Gutiérrez, an official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Leo Matiz.

The Movies Worth Keeping an Eye On

The big question out of the festival each year remains which films will be snapped up — and there are plenty of contenders for big sales on this year’s slate. In addition to the Jesse Eisenberg/Kieran Culkin movie “A Real Pain,” Kristen Stewart and Steven Tuen’s “Love Me” and “Freaky Tales,” starring Pedro Pascal, Ben Mendelson, the late Angus Cloud and acting newcomer Normani, Oscar winner Saoirse Ronan leads “The Outrun,” which is generating buzz. There is also interest in Steven Soderburgh’s “Presence,” which stars Lucy Liu and Julia Fox; “My Old Ass,” from Megan Park and starring Aubrey Plaza and Maddie Ziegler; and “Exhibiting Forgiveness,” with Andre Holland and Andra Day.

Kieran Culkin and Jesse Eisenberg appear in A Real Pain by Jesse Eisenberg, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.
Kieran Culkin and Jesse Eisenberg appear in “A Real Pain” by Jesse Eisenberg, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

Poppin’ Up on Main

The Sunrise Collective has taken up residence at Riverhorse on Main Street for the first weekend of Sundance. Programming includes Daniel Dae Kim-hosted fireside conversations with Lucy Liu and Steven Yeun, and panel discussions. The Indigenous House, presented by IllumiNative, is also back at the festival with a weekend lineup of panels and receptions. Chase Sapphire on Main is opening its doors to host several cast parties, a menu takeover by Melissa King, and a musical performance by pop-violinist Ezinma. Nightclub Tao is back in town for a three-night residence, with headliners including Sofi Tukker on Friday  and MelDeBarge on Saturday. Audible is bringing its Listening Lodge back, welcoming visitors to stop by the outdoor patio and heated yurt. They’ll have beverages and fireside s’mores on offer alongside a selection of Audible audiobooks and podcasts.

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