Richard Linklater, Jesse Eisenberg, and Steven Soderbergh to Host 2024 Sundance Beyond Film Talks

The 2024 Sundance Film Festival has unveiled its Beyond Film programming, including discussions with leading auteurs and rising stars.

A trio of annual series — Power of Story, Cinema Café presented by Audible, and The Big Conversation — have shared their respective filmmaker lineups, with the festival also launching special 40th anniversary celebration events and a New Frontier conversation about artificial intelligence in film. The 2024 Sundance Film Festival runs January 18 to 28, with the talks taking place January 19 to 26. Select Beyond Film offerings available beginning January 25 on the digital platform.

The Beyond Film speakers series includes discussions with Steven Soderbergh, Jesse Eisenberg, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sue Bird, Lucy Lawless, Nzingha Stewart, and Debra Granik, who also serves on the festival jury. For the 40th edition of the festival, alums like Richard Linklater, Dawn Porter, Miguel Arteta, and Christine Vachon will participate in “Power of Story: Four Decades of Taking Chances,” a talk about the importance of independent filmmaking.

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EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!!, from left: Glen Powell, Forrest Vickery, 2016. ph Van Redin / © Paramount Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection

“Our Beyond Film programming is a crucial and inspiring part of the Sundance Film Festival experience. Especially this year, as we celebrate our 40th edition, these events enable audiences to go beyond the screens — whether you’re watching in theaters here in person, or online from home — to meaningfully connect with artists and their stories,” Ania Trzebiatowska, Beyond Film Program Curator, said. “It’s during these intimate conversations that audiences can discover themes across our Festival Program and hear from artists themselves about the vitality of independent storytelling, the interwovenness of art, science, and culture, and so much more.”

In addition to the Beyond Film speaker series, the New Frontier section will include conversation “New Frontier: Let’s Rebrand Artificial Intelligence!” with Rashaad Newsome, Navid Khonsari, Ari Melenciano, and Sandra Rodriguez discussing the intersection between film, art, performance, and new media technology.

A special addition to the film lineup has additionally been revealed, with Bao Nguyen’s documentary “The Greatest Night in Pop” dissecting the untold story of recording “We Are the World” with Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Cyndi Lauper, Diana Ross, and Stevie Wonder in 1985. After the film’s world premiere, there will be an extended conversation with director Nguyen, producer Julia Nottingham, and producer and subject Lionel Richie.

“We’re thrilled to be adding to our program a special screening of ‘The Greatest Night in Pop,’ taking us behind the scenes of how “We Are the World” came together,” Kim Yutani, Sundance Film Festival Director of Programming, said. “Our robust film lineup will be rounded out by a wide range of conversations touching upon themes in the programming and featuring some of today’s most inspiring creators and leaders.”

See the full Beyond Film lineup below and click here for the full programming lineup.

POWER OF STORY

The Sundance Film Festival’s Power of Story looks to deepen public engagement with the art of storytelling, delve into cinema culture, and celebrate artists whose work propels and reinvents the form as we know it. 

Power of Story: Four Decades of Taking Chances

Tuesday, January 23, 3–4:30 p.m.

Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St.

With this conversation, we look back at the legacy of independent storytelling and the Sundance Film Festival over the course of four decades. A group of artists reflect on their work and careers, the empowering nature of risk-taking, and the importance of negotiating creative freedom. We want to talk about the past as we contemplate the future of storytelling and explore how revolutionary narrative experiences can reshape culture through artistic discovery, emerging media, and the reassertion of independence. 

Featuring: Miguel Arteta (Beatriz at Dinner), Richard Linklater (Hit ManGod Save Texas: Hometown Prison), Dawn Porter (Luther: Never Too Much), Christine Vachon (A Different Man)

Moderated by Eugene Hernandez 

CINEMA CAFÉ

Friday January 19–Thursday, January 25, 2024

Filmmaker Lodge, 550 Main St.

This series of informal chats brings together special guests for thought-provoking encounters. Previous Cinema Café guests have included Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Tessa Thompson, Jane Campion, Dave Grohl, Eugenio Derbez, Lena Dunham, Norman Lear, Kumail Nanjiani, Zazie Beetz, Saoirse Ronan, Spike Lee, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Radha Blank, Ira Glass, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bassem Youssef, Charlie Kaufman, Ice-T, Nick Hornby, Winston Duke, Samantha Power, Steve Coogan, Roger Corman, D. Smith, and many others. 

Cinema Café is presented by Audible

Cinema Café: Sue Bird (Sue Bird: In The Clutch) and Jay Ellis (Freaky Tales)

Friday, January 19, 11 a.m.–noon

Cinema Café: André Holland (Exhibiting Forgiveness) and Steven Soderbergh (Presence

Moderated by Aisha Harris (NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour

Saturday, January 20, 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Cinema Café: Jesse Eisenberg (A Real Pain) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Rob Peace)

Sunday, January 21, noon–12:45 p.m.

Cinema Café: Lucy Lawless (Never Look Away

Tuesday, January 23, 11 a.m.–noon

Cinema Café: Episodic Storytellers

Mark Duplass (Penelope), Steve James (City So Real) and Nzingha Stewart (Me/We)

Wednesday, January 24, 11 a.m.–noon

Cinema Café: Debra Granik (Conbody VS Everybody) and Dee Rees (Pariah)

Thursday, January 25, 11 a.m.–noon

THE BIG CONVERSATION

The Big Conversation tackles science, art, culture, and the movements that are fueling the imaginations of today’s independent artists. A compelling selection of speakers discuss topics centered on the themes of this year’s program and explore broader trends in art and culture around the world. In considering how artists — through their practice and their work — make meaning of the world, we’re reminded that it’s the big conversation that connects us to the big ideas.

The Big Conversation: Screen of Consciousness 

Monday, January 22, 11 a.m.noon

Filmmaker Lodge, 550 Main St.

Amid a groundswell of public fascination with AI, our guest filmmakers and scientists consider the science and technology of machine learning and the range of imaginative, dystopian, and sometimes prophetic narratives that storytellers have put forth in exploring it. For all of cinema’s android apocalypse scenarios, films like HerAfter YangMoonMarjorie Prime, and this year’s Love Me offer artful, philosophical perspectives on AI (as a technology, a tool, a companion), the emotional connection humans build with it, and the complexities of sentience and consciousness.

Supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Featuring: Andy Zuchero (Love Me) and Sam Zuchero (Love Me) and others

Moderated by Dr. Heather Berlin (Associate Clinical Professor, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai) 

The Big Conversation: First Steps, First Films

Wednesday, January 24, 23 p.m.

Filmmaker Lodge, 550 Main St.

In a session geared toward emerging artists, we explore career-building and forging a creative identity. Although the landscape of independent storytelling continues to evolve dramatically and the nature of opportunity shifts, the path to starting a career, getting a first project off the ground, forming meaningful collaborations, and finding a personal storytelling voice has never been easy to navigate. A small group of remarkable filmmakers discuss how they’ve done just that. 

Featuring: Carlos López Estrada (Dìdi (弟弟)) and others

NEW FRONTIER: LET’S REBRAND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE!

Sunday, January 21, 2–3:30 p.m.

Filmmaker Lodge, 550 Main St.

Technology is simply and fundamentally a human expression formed by the values held by its designer. New Frontier alumni artists and creative technologists who have been working on the vanguard of design and technology for decades come together to interrogate the profile of so-called AI technologies in popular culture, share their creative practice, and ask, “What do we need this powerful tech to do for us right now?” Do we need to rebrand artificial intelligence altogether?

Featuring: Navid Khonsari (Block PartyHeroRevolution 1979), Ari Melenciano (Computational Anthropology), Rashaad Newsome(Being (the Digital Griot)), Sandra Rodriguez (CHOM5KY vs. CHOMSKY)

Moderated by Amelia Winger-Bearskin (Banks Chair of AI and the Arts at the University of Florida, Digital Worlds Institute, New Frontier Story Lab, and IDP alumna)

SUNDANCE TRIVIA: THE 40TH EDITION

Thursday, January 25, 2–3 p.m.

Filmmaker Lodge, 550 Main St.

Four Decades of history; one trivial hour. How well do you know your Sundance history? Who’s had the most features at Sundance? Name this 2017 film: “I mean, I told you not to go into that house.” Did the 1989 program really include Zadar! Cow From Hell? If you think your knowledge of Sundance history is laughable, try our ragtag assembly of comedians, filmmakers, and Festival veterans when we put them to the test.

FILM CHURCH

Friday, January 26, 2–3:30 p.m.

Filmmaker Lodge, 550 Main St.

What could be more divine than 11 days of film watching? Finish off your Sundance Film Festival experience by sharing a near-spiritual occasion with a group of film lovers who also happen to be world-renowned filmmakers. Come confess your likes and dislikes in a highly nondenominational setting. Joining us for this sermon will be a variety of special guests, including former Sundance Film Festival director John Cooper, Zoe Lister-Jones (How It Ends), our inaugural critic-at-large, and a few filmmakers who took home awards that morning. All will be forgiven.

Hosted by Eugene Hernandez and Kim Yutani

SUNDANCE COLLAB

For over 40 years, Sundance Institute has supported and championed independent artists because we believe their stories and perspectives are essential to a thriving, informed, and connected society. As a program of Sundance Institute, Sundance Collab provides an unparalleled, open, inclusive digital destination and experience where independent global creators have a safe space to learn and grow as artists, share their stories, and connect to one another. Sign up today at collab.sundance.org.

FILMMAKER MEETUP AND PANEL: MAKING YOUR FIRST FEATURE FILM

Presented by Canon U.S.A., Inc. and Sundance Collab

Monday, January 22, 9:30–11 a.m. 

Canon Creative Studio, 528 Main St.

Join Sundance Collab for a candid panel with Festival filmmakers Sean Wang (Dìdi (弟弟)), Josh Margolin (Thelma), and Julian Brave NoiseCat and Emily Kassie (Sugarcane) about the process of making their first feature film. Following the discussion, we invite attendees to stay for coffee, snacks, and casual networking.

Featuring: Sean Wang (Dìdi (弟弟)), Josh Margolin (Thelma), and Julian Brave NoiseCat and Emily Kassie (Sugarcane)

Moderated by Patty West (Sundance Institute)

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