By Tammy Reese
I had the incredible opportunity to cover the 40th edition of the Sundance Film Festival, and it was an absolute blast. From capturing the excitement on the red carpets to immersing myself in the world of independent cinema, every moment was filled with energy and anticipation.
Let me take you on a recap of some of the unforgettable film premieres I had the privilege to cover. The red carpets were a spectacle in themselves, as A-list celebrities and emerging talents and filmmakers graced them with their presence. It was a surreal experience witnessing their arrivals and hearing their insights about their latest projects.
Additionally, attending Variety, Audible, Acura, ASCAP, MACRO, Chase Sapphire, Impact Lounge, Adobe, Shutterstock, and The Cabin events, panels, and activations allowed me to immerse myself in a diverse range of networking, learning and impactful experiences. The atmosphere through the festival was electric, and shockingly Park City, Utah was not as cold as the previous year!
Overall, covering the 40th edition of the Sundance Film Festival was an exhilarating experience that allowed me to witness firsthand the power of independent cinema. It was a truly unforgettable journey that I am grateful to have been a part of.
In no particular order, here are some of the highlights:
Love Me Red Carpet Premiere
Long after humanity’s extinction, a buoy and a satellite meet online and fall in love.
Love Me’s whimsically philosophical, shape-shifting structure ingeniously weaves together the real, the virtual, and the surreal. Its star-crossed, web-paired metallic protagonists — inhabited in different forms by Kristen Stewart and Steven Yeun — awkwardly navigate romance and companionship, equipped only with untold petabytes of archived web data, social media, and online videos. Awash in these mediated experiences and fabricated expressions of love and identity, they yearn to understand who they are, whether their feelings are real, and for that matter, whether they are real.
My interview with cast member Emmy and Golden Globe Winner Steven Yeun
My interview with Producer, Oscar Nominee and NYWIFT Member Shivani Rawat
The American Society of Magical Negroes Red Carpet Premiere
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. The American Society of Magical Negroes is a must-see satire about what it means for Black people to protect and care for ourselves and each other.
My interview with cast member David Alan Grier
As We Speak Red Carpet Premiere
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.
My interview with EP and NYWIFT Member Amanda Culkowski
Exhibiting Forgiveness Red Carpet Premiere
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 Member Grammy Award, Emmy Award, and Golden Globe Award Winner Andra Day shouts out NYWIFT!
My interview with cast member Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor
Presence Red Carpet Premiere
A family moves into a suburban house and becomes convinced they’re not alone.
Working from a taut, mysterious script by David Koepp and featuring an exciting cast of known actors and newcomers, Presence is a thrilling cinematic ride that reifies Steven Soderbergh’s status as an icon of American independent film.
Cast member and NYWIFT Muse Honoree Lucy Liu shouts out NYWIFT!
At Sundance you just never know who you may run into and meet. It was super awesome to meet Colman Domingo, Lionel Richie, DJ Spinderella, SWV and more! Enjoy the photos including my first solo Getty Image which was taken at “Variety X Audible “Cocktails and Conversations” panel at The Audible Listening Lodge. The conversation featured Chiwetel Ejiofor, Giancarlo Esposito, Susanna Fogel, Alok Vaid-Menon and Audible’s Kate Nevin, and explored the importance of creative freedom in storytelling, across different mediums of entertainment.
Be sure to follow me on Instagram @tammyreesemedia for more Sundance fun and highlights!
Here are some of my favorite photos from the festival:
Let’s give a warm NYWIFT welcome to Mariluz Guerra! Originally from Colombia, she is a proud indigenous Kankuaman filmmaker with experience directing, scriptwriting, producing, and editing. Her commitment to helping others heal through art is channeled in her films Body Stories: Suraj & Julieta and Body Stories: Together. Learn more about Mariluz as we discuss how her cultural roots are an ongoing influence on her projects, the innovative filmic style of Body Stories: Together, and the significant role that smartphones contributed towards helping her create an original and cost-efficient film!READ MORE
From NYWIFT blogger Tammy Reese: Stepping onto the red carpet at The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live premiere at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Los Angeles, California was a surreal moment, one that AMC graciously offered me. As I navigated through the glitz and glamour of the evening, the honor to meet my favorite television actor, Andrew Lincoln as well as the iconic actress Danai Gurira, both beloved actors and executive producers of the new spinoff, became the highlight of an unforgettable experience. Join me as I delve into the heart of this extraordinary journey, weaving together personal and professional reflections from this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.READ MORE
During the 40th edition of The Sundance Film Festival, NYWIFT blogger Tammy Reese interviews NYWIFT Member Shivani Rawat, founder of ShivHans Pictures and executive producer of the thought-provoking film Love Me. This captivating film explores a unique premise — long after humanity’s extinction, a buoy and a satellite meet online and unexpectedly fall in love.READ MORE
In a time when women’s reproductive rights are at the forefront of the political and cultural conversation, a group of teenage girls gather to assert their power, prepare for their futures, and determine the best way forward together. Following the smash hit success of their documentary Boys State at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, directors Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss returned to Park City in 2024 with the companion piece Girls State. NYWIFT Member Laela Kilbourn was one of seven cinematographers on Girls State, assigned to follow one of the protagonist’s throughout her week-long journey. She spoke to us about her experience working on the documentary.READ MORE