25 Black Films And Shorts We're Excited To See At Sundance 2018

Lapacazo Sandoval Jan, 18, 2018

This year’s Sundance Film Festival is full of Black star power, and we’ve compiled a list of everything you should have on your radar for entertainment. 

Festival premieres include a new work by Boots Riley, “Sorry to Bother You,” starring Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, and Omari Hardwick and a documentary on Sri Lankan artist and musician M.I.A.  There are also two special events: Spike Lee’s Passover and RuPaul’s Drag Race: A Retrospective of the Cultural Phenomenon. 

Here are our picks for films to check out at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. 

 

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Courtesy of Sundance Insitute | photo by IDIOM Film/RaMell Ross

Composed of intimate and unencumbered moments of people in a community, this film is constructed in a form that allows the viewer an emotive impression of the Historic South - trumpeting the beauty of life and consequences of the social construction of race, while simultaneously a testament to dreaming.

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Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by David Devlin

“Monster” is what the prosecutor calls 17-year-old honors student and aspiring filmmaker Steve Harmon, who in this film is charged with felony murder for a crime he says he did not commit.  Starring Kelvin Harrison Jr., Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Hudson, Rakim Mayers, Jennifer Ehle, and Tim Blake Nelson.

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Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Alystyre Julian

This interwoven narrative explores the aftermath of a police killing of a black man. Told through the eyes of the bystander who filmed the act, an African-American police officer and a high-school baseball phenom inspired to take a stand. Starring John David Washington, Anthony Ramos, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Chanté Adams, Nicole Beharie, and Rob Morgan.

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Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Charlotte Hornsby

Kara Young appears in Hair Wolf by Mariama Diallo, an official selection of the Shorts Programs at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. 

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Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Comedian Franchesca Ramsey finds communion and culture in this digital series which explores beauty and fashion. The pilot episode finds Franchesca escaping ubiquitous internet trolls as she spends the day with friend Michelle Buteau getting an ornate Japanese gel manicure. Starring Franchesca Ramsey.

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Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Clandestine Films

After a minor incident, nine-year-old Shula is exiled to a witch camp where she is told that if she escapes, she'll be transformed into a goat. Starring Margaret Mulubwa, Henry B.J. Phiri, Nancy Mulilo, and Margaret Sipaneia.

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Courtesy of Sundance Institute

In 1983, Los Angeles was spared from utter destruction driven by an ancient evil. The ghetto became ground zero for drug epidemic that transformed citizens into soul-sucking zombies through Z-Drops, until a ragtag crew used one weapon to take their city back: hip-hop. Voice Cast Starring: Rakim, Queen Latifah, Jason Isaacs, Stan Lee, KRS-One, and Slick Rick.

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Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Patrick Russo

Lakeith Stanfield appears in LaZercism by Shaka King, an official selection of the Shorts Programs at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

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Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Flip Schulke Archives/Getty Images.

A portrait of the last years of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s remarkable life. 

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Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Isiah Donté Lee

Directed by producer Mel Jones. Things get complicated when three friends share a house in South LA’s Leimert Park. Starring Ashley Blaine Featherson, Asia’h Epperson, Ashli Haynes, Franz Latten, Wade Allain-Marcus, and Ikenna Okoye. 

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Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Bind Liu

Three young men bond together to escape volatile families in their Rust Belt hometown. As they face adult responsibilities, unexpected revelations threaten their decade-long friendship.

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Courtesy of Sundance Institute | Steve Loveridge

An intimate look into the life of Sri Lankan artist and musician M.I.A using personal footage spanning decades. 

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Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Directed by Qasim Basir.  On the night of the 2016 Presidential election, Cass, an L.A. club promoter, takes a thrilling and emotional journey with Frida, a Midwestern visitor. Starring Omari Hardwick, Meagan Good, Jay Ellis, Kenya Barris, Dijon Talton, and Wesley Jonathan.

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Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Tina Rowden

Internationally-renowned pastor Carlton Pearson — experiencing a crisis of faith — risks his church, family, and future when he questions church doctrine and finds himself branded a modern-day heretic. Based on actual events. Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Danny Glover, Condola Rashad, Jason Segel, Lakeith Stanfield and Martin Sheen.

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Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Participant Media

This limited series captures a year-long look at one of Chicago's most progressive and diverse public schools, located in suburban Oak Park.

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Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Ita Zbroniec-Zaj

At the edge of Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula, two women’s lives will intersect – for a brief moment – while trapped in circumstances unforeseen. Starring Kristín Thóra Haraldsdóttir, Babetida Sadjo, and Patrik Nökkvi Pétursson.

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Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Over four years of unprecedented access, the story of a brave group of black and Latino whistleblower cops and one unrelenting private investigator who, amidst a landmark lawsuit, risk everything to expose illegal quota practices and their impact on young minorities.

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Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Alex Bailey

Jamaica, 1973. When a young boy witnesses his brother’s assassination, a powerful Don gives him a home. Ten years later he is sent on a mission to London. Starring Aml Ameen, Shantol Jackson, Stephen Graham, Fraser James, Sheldon Shepherd, and Everaldo Cleary. 

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Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Gregory Wilson

Zion Clark appears in ZION by Floyd Russ, an official selection of the Shorts Programs at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

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Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Doug Emmett

In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, black telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success – which propels him into a macabre universe. Starring Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Steven Yeun, Jermaine Fowler, Armie Hammer, and Omari Hardwick.

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Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Jeong Park

Circa 1993: after being caught having sex with the prom queen, a girl is forced into a gay conversion therapy center. Based on Emily Danforth's acclaimed and controversial coming-of-age novel. Starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Sasha Lane, Forrest Goodluck, John Gallagher Jr., and Jennifer Ehle.

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Courtesy of Sundance Institute

This special event is created by Spike Lee, Danya Taymor and Antoinette Nwandu. A provocative riff on Waiting for Godot, capturing the poetry, humor, and humanity of this urgent and timely play about two young black men talking shit, passing the time and dreaming of the promised land. Starring Jon Michael Hill, Julian Parker, Ryan Hallahan, and Blake DeLong.

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Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Christopher Waggoner

Angel LaMere is released from juvenile detention on the eve of her 18th birthday. Haunted by her past, she embarks on a journey with her 10-year-old sister. Starring Dominique Fishback, Tatum Hall, John Earl Jelks, Max Casella, and James McDaniel.

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Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by VH1

A retrospective of VH1’s Emmy-winning “RuPaul’s Drag Race” on the heels of the its10th season, and a panel hosted by RuPaul with executive producers Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, along with Tom Campbell and Pamela Post, senior vice president of Original Programming for MTV, VH1, and Logo. Featuring RuPaul Charles, Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley and Ross Mathews. 

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Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Tyler spirals out of control when he realizes he’s the only black person attending a weekend birthday party in a secluded cabin. Starring Jason Mitchell, Christopher Abbott, Michael Cera, Caleb Landry Jones, and Ann Dowd.