NYWIFT Members at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival

The nonprofit Sundance Institute announced their showcase of screenings bursting with features and shorts from new and emerging filmmakers around America and the world for the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. You can experience the magic and energy of the Festival online with bold new films and XR work, and discover new storytellers, direct encounters with artists, and an innovative globally accessible social platform and gallery space.

The Festival begins Thursday, January 20. There will be 11 days of online programming, with screening schedule adjustments to account for an online-only schedule. With seven satellite partners hosting screenings for their local communities from January 28-30. Single tickets will now go on sale on January 13 (January 12 for the membership pre-sale) at 10 a.m. MT. 

2022 Sundance Film Festival Update regarding COVID

The Sundance Film Festival is Sundance Institute’s flagship public program, widely regarded as the largest American independent film festival and attended by more than 120,000 people and 1,300 accredited press, and powered by more than 2,000 volunteers last year.

There are 13 NYWIFT Members involved in the production of 11 different films being screened at the festival this year. Congratulations to them all! 

The NYWIFT member films below are sorted by category.

U.S Documentary Competition

Co-Director & Producer – NYWIFT Member Paula Eiselt
Executive Producer – NYWIFT Member Dawn Porter
“An alarmingly disproportionate number of Black women are failed every year by the U.S. maternal health system. Shamony Gibson and Amber Rose Isaac were vibrant, excited mothers-to-be whose deaths due to childbirth complications were preventable. Now, their partners and families are determined to sound a rallying cry around this chilling yet largely ignored crisis. 

Directors Paula Eiselt and Tonya Lewis Lee follow Gibson’s and Isaac’s bereaved partners, Omari Maynard and Bruce McIntyre, as they fight for justice and build communities of support, bonding especially with other surviving Black fathers. Their tragic, individual experiences are punctuated with condemning historical context, showing that gynecology has a long-standing history of exploiting and neglecting Black women in America. In the arresting words of mother-to-be Felicia Ellis, “A Black woman having a baby is like a Black man at a traffic stop with the police.” She emphasizes that paying attention is paramount. Aftershock brings an unsettling reality to the forefront while uplifting the families, activists, and birth workers who are striving to bring institutional change and legislative reform. These mothers will not be forgotten.”

U.S Dramatic Competition

Director of Photography – NYWIFT Member Charlotte Hornsby

“At an elite New England university built on the site of a Salem-era gallows hill, three women strive to find their place. Gail Bishop (Regina Hall), just instated as “Master,” a dean of students, discovers what lies behind the school’s immaculate facade; first-year student Jasmine Moore (Zoe Renee) confronts a new home that is cold and unwelcoming
, and literature professor Liv Beckman (Amber Gray) collides with colleagues who question her right to belong. Navigating politics and privilege, they encounter increasingly terrifying manifestations of the school’s haunted past… and present.

Writer-director Mariama Diallo’s first feature is an ingenious blend of horror, drama, psychological thriller, and social critique. Through a deeply unnerving aesthetic, Master demonstrates the expressive power of genre storytelling, delivering a visceral and emotional reflection on racism and white supremacy. What begins as a search for belonging becomes a chilling struggle for survival, and Diallo shrewdly reframes a basic horror trope — escaping an evil force — asking what escape is possible for communities of color confronting a racial terror that is everywhere.”


DOWNFALL: The Case Against Boeing
Executive Producer – NYWIFT Member Sara Bernstein
 “Many of us take for granted that commercial air travel is safe. In 2018, with some 10,000 aircraft in service in more than 150 countries, industry leader Boeing had built its reputation on a dogged commitment to safety. But after 346 passengers are killed when two Boeing 737 MAX jets crash less than five months apart, dedicated journalists, surviving family members, and the United States Congress fight to reveal a culture of concealment and deceit within the venerated company.

Acclaimed director Rory Kennedy returns to the Sundance Film Festival with this comprehensive investigation into the crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. Families of the victims relate the human cost of these tragedies, while aviation experts and former Boeing employees reveal what went wrong at the company, offering damning evidence of lies, negligence, and cover-up. DOWNFALL: The Case Against Boeing serves as a searing indictment of a once-principled company corrupted by the influence of Wall Street to prioritize profits above all else.”

Lucy and Desi
Executive Producer – NYWIFT Member Sara Bernstein
“One day in 1940, two budding stars met for the first time in the RKO Pictures commissary, unaware that together they would change the face of pop culture. After surviving a tumultuous upbringing, a teenage Lucille Ball left her family for New York City, where she first found success as a model before moving to Hollywood to begin working in movies. Hailing from Santiago de Cuba, Desi Arnaz was a paid musician by 16 and quickly broke out as a multitalented entertainer. The two would go on to consistently challenge the status quo in entertainment both in front of and behind the camera.For her documentary debut, director Amy Poehler respects these two iconic trailblazers as driven individuals and a loving couple until the end.

For her documentary debut, director Amy Poehler respects these two iconic trailblazers as driven individuals and a loving couple until the end. Clearly influenced by Poehler’s own history in entertainment, Lucy and Desi not only chronicles the pair’s personal and professional lives, it also smartly breaks down concepts like the rehearsed choreography of comedy, their innovations in studio production, the sisterhood of comedy, and much more. It’s a thoughtful telling made for those who loved Lucy (and Desi).”

To The End
Executive Producer – NYWIFT Member Liz Garbus
“The world is in crisis as it misses target after target to stop climate change. The Green New Deal has captured the imagination of millions with its visionary promise for systemic economic and environmental change that will build a better and more just world. In this moment of political upheaval with clashes in the streets and the halls of Congress, climate policy is taking center stage for the first time in American history, and the fight is on.

To the Endgoes behind the scenes of a social and political movement where young people reject the cynicism and complacency of a power structure that has failed to meaningfully address the existential threat we face. Director Rachel Lears (Knock Down the House) crafts an urgent coming-of-age story of a movement, told through the narratives of four instrumental young leaders and women of color ”Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Varshini Prakash, Alexandra Rojas, and Rhiana Gunn-Wright. As the future they will live in fast approaches, the last generation with a chance to end climate change is using their power and demanding a say in what that future will be.”

U.S Feature Documentary

Free Chol Soo Lee
Executive Producer – NYWIFT Member Lois Vossen
“On June 3, 1973, a man was murdered in a busy intersection of San Francisco’s Chinatown as part of an ongoing gang war. Chol Soo Lee, a 20-year-old Korean immigrant who had previous run-ins with the law, was arrested and convicted based on flimsy evidence and the eyewitness accounts of white tourists who couldn’t distinguish between Asian features. Sentenced to life in prison, Chol Soo Lee would spend years fighting to survive behind bars before journalist K.W. Lee took an interest in his case. The intrepid reporter’s investigation would galvanize a first-of-its-kind pan-Asian American grassroots movement to fight for Chol Soo Lee’s freedom, ultimately inspiring a new generation of social justice activists.

Revisiting this pivotal yet largely forgotten story, filmmakers Eugene Yi and Julie Ha draw from a rich archive as well as firsthand accounts of those inspired to come to Lee’s defense. But even as Free Chol Soo Lee explores this miscarriage of justice, the film also reveals the man behind the cause, and the complex legacy — and human cost — of becoming the symbol of a movement.”

Jihad Rehab
Executive Producer – NYWIFT Member Gini Reticker
“A group of men trained by Al-Qaeda are transferred from Guantanamo to a rehabilitation center for extremists.”

The Janes
Executive Producer – NYWIFT Member Susan Lacy
“In the spring of 1972, police raided an apartment on the South Side of Chicago. Seven women were arrested and charged. The accused were part of a clandestine network. Using code names, blindfolds, and safe houses to protect their identities and their work, they built an underground service for women seeking safe, affordable, illegal abortions. They called themselves Jane. Facing off against the mafia, the church, and the state, the Janes exhibited unparalleled bravery and compassion for those most in need.

Co-directors and Sundance Film Festival alumni Tia Lessin and Emma Pildes unearth this incredibly timely story to demonstrate how the fight for safe and legal abortions was and continues to be, an uncertain and perilous undertaking. Electrifying archival footage of Chicago in the late ’60s and early ’70s, coupled with affectingly honest interviews with the Janes themselves, brings to life the city and its spirit of revolution in that historic moment.”

Short Film Program

Chilly and Milly
Producer – NYWIFT Member Elaine Del Valle
“Exploring the director’s father’s chronic health problems, as a diabetic with kidney failure, and his mother’s role as his eternal caretaker, Chilly and Milly is a combination of 3D-modeled/composited characters, with cinéma vérité scenes from an autobiographical documentary shot over 13 years ago.”

Hold – Up
Director – NYWIFT Member Madeleine Olnek
Writer – NYWIFT Member Jen Heck
Writer/Actor – NYWIFT Member Nancy Giles
“A robber is after more than money at a convenience store holdup.”

The Martha Mitchell Effect
ProducerNYWIFT Member Beth Levison
“She was once as famous as Jackie O — and then she tried to take down a President. Martha Mitchell was the unlikeliest of whistleblowers: a Republican wife who was discredited by Nixon to keep her quiet. Until now.”

Again, a special congratulations to all the members involved in this year’s Sundance Film Festival! 

Sundance Film Festival 2022 will take place from January 20 – 30, 2022. Buy your tickets now!

See the full list of films.