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Sundance Film Festival 2024 Highlights With Kristen Stewart, Steven Yeun and Will Farrell

By: LaKisa Renee|Sundance Film Festival 2024| Image:Sundance

40th Anniversary Edition of the Sundance Film Festival

Cultured Focus had the honor of covering the 40th Anniversary Edition of the Sundance Film Festival. This was our 3rd year covering it courtesy of Journalist LaKisa Renee. The festival was incredible and action-packed from beginning to end. Set in the beautiful, picturesque mountains of Park City, Utah, the festival featured 92 films with 11 main categories ranging from dramas to documentaries, international, comedies and more. It also features short films and episodic storytelling. Below are some of the film premieres that LaKisa Renee attended. I had the pleasure of interviewing and getting exclusive drops from some of the legendary cast and crew members on the red carpets.


A Real Pain (Director, Screenwriter, & Producer: Jesse Eisenberg, Producers: Dave McCary, Ali Herting, Emma Stone, Jennifer Semler, Ewa Puszczyńska) — Mismatched cousins David and Benji reunite for a tour through Poland to honor their beloved grandmother. The adventure takes a turn when the pair's old tensions resurface against the backdrop of their family history.

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Kieran Culkin, Will Sharpe, Jennifer Grey, Kurt Egyiawan.

Love Me (Directors & Screenwriters: Sam Zuchero, Andy Zuchero, Producers: Kevin Rowe, Luca Borghese, Ben Howe, Shivani Rawat, Julie Goldstein) — Long after humanity's extinction, a buoy and a satellite meet online and fall in love. Cast: Kristen Stewart, Steven Yeun.


Kristen Stewart and Steven Yeun:

Visit our Instagram for additional interviews:

Love Me |Image:Sundance

Exhibiting Forgiveness (Director, Screenwriter, & Producer: Titus Kaphar, Producers: Stephanie Allain, Derek Cianfrance, Jamie Patricof, Sean Cotton) — Utilizing his paintings to find freedom from his past, a Black artist on the path to success is derailed by an unexpected visit from his estranged father, a recovering addict desperate to reconcile. Together, they learn that forgetting might be a greater challenge than forgiving. Cast: André Holland, John Earl Jelks, Andra Day, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor.

As We Speak (Director & Producer: J.M. Harper, Producers: Sam Widdoes, Peter Cambor, Sam Bisbee) — Bronx rap artist Kemba explores the growing weaponization of rap lyrics in the United States criminal justice system and abroad — revealing how law enforcement has quietly used artistic creation as evidence in criminal cases for decades.

  Image: Sundance  | As We Speak

Frida (Director: Carla Gutiérrez, Producers: Katia Maguire, Sara Bernstein, Justin Wilkes, Loren Hammonds, Alexandra Johnes) — An intimately raw and magical journey through the life, mind, and heart of iconic artist Frida Kahlo. Told through her own words for the very first time — drawn from her diary, revealing letters, essays, and print interviews — and brought vividly to life by lyrical animation inspired by her unforgettable artwork.

'Frida' Director Carla Gutiérrez|Image:Sundance

The American Society of Magical Negroes / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, & Producer: Kobi Libii, Producers: Julia Lebedev, Eddie Vaisman, Angel Lopez) — A young man, Aren, is recruited into a secret society of magical Black people who dedicate their lives to a cause of utmost importance: making white people's lives easier. Cast: Justice Smith, David Alan Grier, An-Li Bogan, Drew Tarver, Rupert Friend, Nicole Byer.

'The American Society of Magical Negroes' at Sundance 2024Image:Sundance

Freaky Tales / U.S.A. (Directors, Screenwriters, & Producers: Ryan Fleck, Anna Boden, Producers: Poppy Hanks, Jelani Johnson) — In 1987 Oakland, a mysterious force guides The Town's underdogs in four interconnected tales: Teen punks defend their turf against Nazi skinheads, a rap duo battles for hip-hop immortality, a weary henchman gets a shot at redemption, and an NBA All-Star settles the score. Basically another day in the Bay. Cast: Pedro Pascal, Jay Ellis, Normani Kordei Hamilton, Dominique Thorne, Ben Mendelsohn, Ji-Young Yoo.

Presence / U.S.A. (Director: Steven Soderbergh, Screenwriter: David Koepp, Producers: Julie M. Anderson, Ken Meyer) — A family moves into a suburban house and becomes convinced they're not alone. Cast: Lucy Liu, Chris Sullivan, Callina Liang, Julia Fox, Eddy Maday, West Mulholland.

'Presence' Premiere at Sundance 2024|Image:Sundance

Rob Peace / U.S.A. (Director & Screenwriter: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Producers: Andrea Calderwood, Antoine Fuqua, Kat Samick, Rebecca Hobbs, Jeffrey Soros, Alex Kurtzman) — Robert Peace grew up in an impoverished section of Newark and later graduated from Yale with degrees in molecular biophysics and biochemistry while on scholarship. Peace led a dual life in academia and research while also earning six figures selling marijuana. Based on Jeff Hobbs' bestselling biography.

  Rob Peace| Image:Sundance


Luther: Never Too Much / U.S.A. (Director: Dawn Porter, Producers: Trish D Chetty, Ged Doherty, Jamie Foxx, Datari Turner, Leah Smith) Cast: Luther Vandross, Clive Davis, Dionne Warwick, Mariah Carey, Niles Rodgers, Lisa Fischer

The Greatest Night in Pop / U.K., U.S.A. (Director: Bao Nguyen, Producers: Julia Nottingham, Lionel Richie, Bruce Eskowitz, Larry Klein, Harriet Sternberg, George Hencken) — In 1985, 46 music icons, including Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Cyndi Lauper, Diana Ross, and Stevie Wonder, came together for the most star-studded recording session in history. This is the untold story of the legendary global pop song “We Are the World” — which very nearly didn’t happen.

Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story / U.K., U.S.A. (Director & Producer: Ian Bonhôte, Director and Screenwriter: Peter Ettedgui, Producers: Lizzie Gillett, Robert Ford)

Cast: Christopher Reeve

Will & Harper / U.S.A. (Director & Producer: Josh Greenbaum, Producers: Rafael Marmor, Will Ferrell, Jessica Elbaum, Christopher Leggett) Cast: Will Ferrell

'Will & Harper' Premiere at Sundance 2024|Image:Sundance

Never Look Away / New Zealand (Director, Screenwriter, & Producer: Lucy Lawless)

Cast: Margaret Moth

Devo / U.K., U.S.A. (Director: Chris Smith, Producers: Chris Holmes, Anita Greenspan, Danny Gabai)

Cast: The Band "Devo"

Krazy House / Netherlands (Directors & Screenwriters: Steffen Haars, Flip van der Kuil, Producer: Maarten Swart)

Cast: Nick Frost, Alicia Silverstone, Jan Bijvoet, Gaite Jansen, Walt Klink, Kevin Connolly.

Little Death / U.S.A. (Director & Screenwriter: Jack Begert, Dani Goffstein); Producers: Darren Aronofsky, Andy S. Cohen, Dylan Golden, Brendan Naylor, Sam Canter, Noor Alfallah)

Cast: David Schwimmer, Gaby Hoffmann, Dominic Fike, Talia Ryder, Jena Malone, Sante Bentivoglio.

Love Lies Bleeding / U.S.A., U.K. (Director & Screenwriter: Rose Glass, Producers: Andrea Cornwell, Oliver Kassman)

Cast: Kristen Stewart, Katy O'Brian, Ed Harris, Dave Franco, Jena Malone, Anna Baryshnikov.

Love Lies Bleeding |Image:Sundance

Hit Man / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, & Producer: Richard Linklater, Producer and Screenwriter: Glen Powell, Producers: Mike Blizzard, Jason Bateman, Michael Costigan)

Cast: Glen Powell, Adria Arjona, Austin Amelio, Retta, Sanjay Rao

'Hit Man'  Premiere at Sundance 2024|Image:Sundance

The Heart/ U.S.A (Short Film Director & Writer Malia Ann Obama)


I also had a chance to attend some of the wonderful activations and lounges during the festival such as The Acura/ASCAP Village, The NFP Lounge, The MACRO Lodge], The Sommsation Wine Lounge, The Cabin, Adobe, Shuttershock, White Claw, Variety x Audible, The Chase Sapphire Lounge and The Impact Lounge x Caspian Agency's Beats & Burgers ft. a DJ set by DJ Jon Gosselin (Jon & Kate Plus 8). There were featured performances, film premiere after parties, photo booths, food, drinks, giveaways and even oxygen & IV stations to keep guests and attendees in good health. I enjoyed the Variety x Audible Conversations with the "Rob Peace" cast and Giancarlo Esposito as well the conversation with Director Kenya Barris. I had an amazing time at the Chase Sapphire events ft. Chef Melissa and the Freaky Tales, Presence and Sasquatch afterparties. StayMACRO CEOs/Founders Charles K. King & Stacey Walker King hosted a weekend full of events at the MACRO Lodge and they did not disappoint. Some of the events the Freaky Tales Panel & afterparty ft. a performance by Rapper/Producer Too Short, a fireside chat with Audra Day and The American Society of Magical Negros panel. I felt like a star every time I walked into the MACRO Lodge. Everyone gravitated towards me, took pictures and wanted to network with me. I even ended up on the StayMACRO Instagram page.

Ericka Nicole Malone presented her annual Indie Director's and Creator's Spotlight Panel with. conversations ft. the Academy Award-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter. (Black Panther), Rose Catherine Pinkney. (Sr. VP of Scripted Programming at BET & BET+, David Alan Grier, SWV and DJ Spindella (Salt n Pepa), who both performed at the afterparty. Other performers included Dwele, Alfred Jackson, Dwele, Kindred the Family Soul, Mali Music and more.

The concert series at The Marquis featured a DJ set by Lil' Jon, who was also celebrating his birthday. Lil Jon knows how to get a party crunk, he had the crowd jumping all night! Grammy award nominated singer Leon Bridges performed a beautiful live set to a sold out crowd and the legendary group Devo performed in celebration of their documentary film premiere at Sundance to fans wearing the signature Devo red hats.

This Sundance was another one for the history books, it's truly a journalist's dream come true! It will always be an experience of a lifetime for me. Until next year Sundance!

For more about The Sundance Film Festival:

Sundance Instagram - @sundanceorg

Instagram - @culturedfocusmagazine @lakisarenee 


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