Next week, Hollywood and Letterboxd fiends will descend upon Park City, Utah for the United States’ crown jewel of independent film festivals: Sundance. There will be no shortage of celebrities rocking alpine-chic styles, nor directors wheeling and dealing in Canada Goose puffers — but most importantly, there won’t be a shortage of films. This year promises a slew of dynamic, visionary movies sure to capture our minds and hearts — like Molly Manning Walker’s How To Have Sex and Jack Bergert’s Little Death — and others to anoint a new class of directors and actors to watch in the months and years to come. Ahead, find the 13 films we’re most excited to see at 2024’s Sundance.
Little Death is a dark comedy about taco-truck entrepreneurs, a screenwriter’s midlife crisis, and opioid fixes — which is to say that it’s a story about Los Angeles. David Schwimmer, Talia Ryder, Dominic Fike, and Jena Malone star in this feature debut by acclaimed music-video director Jack Bergert, who is best known for working with artists like Doja Cat, Schoolboy Q, and Kendrick Lamar.
Love Lies Bleeding
Kristen Stewart is a Sundance sweetheart with 10 festival premieres under her belt, including The Runaways, Adventureland, and Lizzie. Lucky for K-Stew fans, the actress is starring in not one, but two love stories this year. Love Lies Bleeding is a hedonistic, sweet, and violent lesbian romance following a reclusive gym manager (Stewart) with a criminal family, and a bodybuilder (Katy O’Brian) in search of a dream that can only be found in Las Vegas. The film is directed by Rose Glass, whose 2019 psychological thriller Saint Maud garnered critical acclaim.
Love Me is Kristen Stewart’s other love story premiering at the festival — and it’s as strange as it is sweet. Also starring Beef’s Steven Yeun, Love Me marks the directorial debut of duo Sam & Andy, a young married couple who’ve been making films together since they were teenagers. The shapeshifting and philosophical romance takes place after the collapse of humanity and tells the love story of a smart buoy and an orbiting satellite that Stewart and Yeun inhabit in different forms. “It’s hard to explain,” Stewart told Entertainment Weekly in 2021. “I hope I don’t botch it, because it’s a really revolutionarily written script.” Needless to say, it’s going to be freaky, and we will be seated.
My Old Ass
In what is our favorite film title of Sundance 2024, My Old Ass is a heartfelt coming-of-age story about a teenager (Maisy Stella) who takes mushrooms the summer before her senior year of college and encounters her future self (Aubrey Plaza). Yes, we’re skeptical of yet another teen mushroom trip on screen, but who wouldn’t want to meet Aubrey Plaza as their future self? The film is directed by Megan Park, who made the transition from acting to directing in 2019 with the school-shooting drama The Fallout, starring Jenna Ortega and Maddie Ziegler.
In Layla, a struggling Arab drag queen (Bilal Hasna) falls in love for the first time. This drama from burgeoning director Amrou Al-Kadhi takes us to the queer enclaves of the nightclub, the beauty-supply store, and most poignantly, into the heart of Layla, a new heroine with plenty of sparkle.
It’s What’s Inside
From writer-director Greg Jardin comes a playful sci-fi film following a pre-wedding party that devolves into chaos when an estranged pal appears with a mysterious suitcase. Starring Australian up-and-comer Alycia Debnam-Carey, Brittany O’Grady of The White Lotus, and James Morosini of The Sex Lives of College Girls, It’s What’s Inside is shaping up to be the scream of Sundance.
How To Have Sex
People are already raving about How to Have Sex, which won the distinguished Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes last year and feels like the 2024 spiritual sequel to Skins. Molly Manning Walker’s directorial debut stars English actress Mia McKenna-Bruce and follows party-going British teens as they drink, dance, and hook up across the streets of Greece on holiday. What could go wrong?
I Saw the TV Glow
Jane Schoenbrun introduced audiences to the genre of “emo horror” with their 2021 Sundance debut We’re All Going to the World’s Fair. Their latest feature I Saw the TV Glow follows Owen, (Justice Smith), a teenager whose world gets turned upside down when a classmate (Brigette Lundy-Paine) introduces him to a mysterious late-night TV show. Themes of adolescence, suburbia, and memory are explored with a clever, icy ambiguity.
Ponyboi follows a young intersex sex worker on the run from the mob after a drug deal goes south. Set on a Valentine’s Day in New Jersey, Esteban Arango’s Sundance debut chops and skews LGBTQ coming-of-age and mobster genres to create a film that’s equally thrilling and tender.
Lolla: The Story of Lollapalooza
This three-part documentary series traces the history of Lollapalooza, which started as a farewell tour for Jane’s Addiction in 1991 and went on to effectively harness the caustic energy of ‘90s youth counterculture. Through archival footage and interviews with audiences and bands, filmmaker Michael John Warren — best known for his concert films for Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z, as well as Rent — traces the early beginning of the rock festival and its lasting legacy.
This surreal and silly claymation short film is about a woman whose life is upended when the disappearance of her sock at the laundromat causes her to get sucked into a washing machine. Directed by Adam Wilder and Nicole Daddona, the film is voiced by veteran comedian Kate Micucci and High Maintenance’s Ben Sinclair.
Sebastian follows Max, a young writer in London who begins working as a sex worker to research his debut novel. The sophomore feature from Finnish-British writer-director Mikko Mäkelä is a transgressive take on sex work, rejecting moralizing and exploring how it can lead to greater self-understanding.
Say Hi After You Die
In this touching, surreal meditation on grief, a woman believes her best friend has been reincarnated into a porta-potty. Written, directed, and starring Kate Jean Hollowell, who goes by the pseudonym Number One Popstar, the short is a hilarious and existentialist journey into the psyche, complete with a musical number choreographed by Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Kathryn Burns.