17 Must-See Films With Black Star Power at This Year's Sundance Film Festival

This year's Sundance Film Festival premieres include biopics on Nat Turner and Miles Davis, documenatries on Maya Angelou Michael Jackson, and a retelling of President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama's first date. Here are our picks of films to check out at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

Lapacazo Sandoval Jan, 19, 2016

1 of 17 Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Written and directed by actor Nate Parker, Birth of A Nation is set in the antebellum South where literate slave and preacher Nat Turner (Nate Parker) devises a plan to lead his people to freedom. Co-starring Aja Naomi King, Gabrielle Union, Armie Hammer, Jackie Earle Haley, and Mark Boone Jr.

2 of 17 Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Director and co-written by Don Cheadle, Miles Ahead is inspired by events in the late legendary jazz trumpeter/composer Miles Davis's life, this is a wildly entertaining no holds barred portrait of one of music’s creative geniuses.

3 of 17 Courtesy of Sundance Institute

This charming film, written and directed by Richard Tanne, chronicles a single day in the summer of 1989 when Barack Obama, future President of the United States, wooed his future First Lady on an epic first date across Chicago's South Side. Starring Tika Sumpter, Parker Sawyers, Vanessa Bell Calloway.

4 of 17 Courtesy of Sundance Institute

This telling, and retelling, of a relationship between three teenagers traces the course of their friendship through a construction of disparate memories prompted by a police investigation. Starring Amandla Stenberg.

5 of 17 Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Through rare archival footage and interviews director Spike Lee traces Jackson’s trajectory from child star to “King of Pop” which culminated in the release of his 1979 solo album, “Off The Wall.”

6 of 17 Courtesy of Sundance Institute

For Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, directors Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack tell the remarkable story of Maya Angelou—iconic writer, poet, actress, and activist—whose life has intersected some of the most profound moments in recent American history.

7 of 17 Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Written and directed by Tahir Jetter, this engaging romantic comedy follows a misogynist who falls head-over-heels in love. Starring Charles Brice, DeWanda Wise, William Jackson Harper, Alexander Mulzac, Jenna Williams, and Tonye Patano.

8 of 17 Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Mr. Pig is a road movie about an aged farmer (Danny Glover) who smuggles his last prized hog into Mexico and ends up reunited with his estranged daughter (Maya Rudolph).

9 of 17 Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Four passionate teenage boys devote their summer to escaping the gritty streets of Cleveland, Ohio, by pursuing a dream life of professional skateboarding. But when they get caught in the dangerous web of the local queenpin, their motley brotherhood is tested, threatening to make this summer their last. Starring Michael K. Williams, Erykah Badu, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Moises Arias, Rafi Gavron, Ezri Walker.

10 of 17 Courtesy of Sundance Institute

A young street magician turns to dealing drugs to help his little sister who has been kidnapped. Starring Jacob Latimore, Dulé Hill.

11 of 17 Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Director Sara Jordenö follows LGBTQ youth of color who have created a safe space in a complex world through the transformative art of voguing. Through an intimate and visually daring lens, these young people demand happiness and political power.

12 of 17 Courtesy of Sundance Institute

O.J.: Made in America is a 7-1/2-hour documentary miniseries by ESPN Films that looks at O.J. Simpson's rise and fall, through the prisms of race and celebrity. The full miniseries will be shown, followed by an extended Q&A.

13 of 17 Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Political comedian W. Kamau Bell explores the racial subcultures of America for this CNN original series premiering at Sundance. In one episode he uses humor to challenge Klansmen looking to rebrand their message.

14 of 17 Courtesy of Sundance Institute

The Fit is a haunting coming-to-age story about a tomboyish preteen boxer trying to be assimilated into a tight knit dance team. Starring Royalty Hightower, Alexis Neblett, Da'Sean Minor, Makyla Burnam, Inayah Rodgers.

15 of 17 Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Thirteen-year-old Morris (Markees Christmas), a hip-hop loving American, moves to Heidelberg, Germany, with his father (Craig Robinson). In this completely foreign land, he falls in love with a local girl, befriends his German tutor-turned-confidant, and attempts to navigate the unique trials and tribulations of adolescence.

16 of 17 Courtesy of Sundance Institute

This drama transports you to a day in the life of a tight-knit community in South Central Los Angeles. Directed by Janicza Bravo; starring Keith Stanfield, Brandon Scott, Idara Victor, Jodie Smith.

17 of 17 Courtesy of Sundance Institute

His Spike Lee-produced documentary Evolution of a Criminal was a sleeper hit on the festival circuit last year and tracked his journey from bank robber to filmmaker. Here, director Darius Clark Monroe shifts back to the narrative arena he explored in previous short films with a project described simply as, "Some things must die to live." Aided by Daniel Patterson’s cinematography (he shot Lee's Da Sweet Blood of Jesus as well), this curiosity is worth anticipating for the talent behind the camera alone.