Established in 2012, Sundance London is growing into a quiet fixture on the British film calendar — a three-day roundup of highlights from the Sundance Film Festival lineup making their UK premiere, I'm not sure if it's built up much of a public profile — possibly because of its less-than-central location in the vast O2 Dome — but for the many Brit industry folk and film fanatics who can't fork out for the January trip to Park City, it's a handy catch-up, and returns for its third edition next month.
The lineup was announced today — and while many of the bigger Sundance sensations have been pinched by the programmers of the London, Edinburgh and Sheffield festivals, it's a healthy mix. Among the most notable inclusions are: “The Case Against 8,” the same-sex marriage documentary that confirmed its US release date last week; “Obvious Child,” the Jenny Slate-starring feminist romantic comedy that delighted me in Utah; “Frank,” Lenny Abrahamson's wildly offbeat black comedy starring Michael Fassbender in a giant fiberglass head; Alex Gibney's Afrobeat doc “Finding Fela” and Rinko Kikuchi in the quest-with-a-twist oddity “Kumiko the Treasure Hunter.”
Also, finally making its UK debut, more than nine months after its US release, is Ryan Coogler's “Fruitvale Station” — which of course won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance last year. (I gather distributor uncertainty has prevented it premiering at other UK fests.) It's not the only 2013 festival premiere to show up in this lineup: stark, white-knuckle thriller “Blue Ruin” was in Park City this year, but first appeared back in Cannes last May.
Alongside the films, three discussion panels have been confirmed. Coogler and Abrahamson will be joined by Marjane Satrapi (whose recent Sundance selection “The Voices” will also screen) for a panel on script and story hosted by Sundance fest director John Cooper.
Composers Javier Navarrete (an Oscar nominee for “Pan's Labyrinth”) and Alex Heffes (a recent Golden Globe nominee for “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”) will join Sundance music program director Peter Golub to discuss the art of film scoring. Music also factors heavily into a discussion of hybrid documentaries where Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker and Iain Forstyne and Jane Pollard, directors of the Nick Cave doc “20,000 Days,” are on the panel.
Sundance London kicks off on April 25, with London-based band Archive playing at the Opening Night party, and runs through April 27. Check out the full lineup here.