|We’re excited to share the films we’ll be representing at Sundance this year:
Clint Bentley’s naturalistic character study JOCKEY staring Clifton Collins in a breakout leading performance; Kentucker Audley and Albert Birney’s STRAWBERRY MANSION, the fantastically surreal follow-up to their 2017 collaboration SYLVIO; and Fran Kranz’s striking debut MASS, a tense chamber drama with powerful performances from Ann Dowd, Martha Plimpton, Reed Birney, and Jason Isaacs
U.S. Dramatic Competition
Directed by: Clint Bentley
Written by: Clint Bentley and Greg Kwedar
Starring: Clifton Collins Jr., Moises Arias, and Molly Parker
Synopsis: Seasoned horse jockey Jackson (Clifton Collins Jr.) has weathered decades of races on the riding circuit, but he now finds himself facing what could be his last season as his health deteriorates. With the help of Ruth (Molly Parker) and a promising new horse, Jackson starts to prepare for the upcoming championship. His plans take a left turn when a budding young jockey (Moisés Arias) shows up and claims to be his son. Caught between yearning for a connection and uncertainty about his own future, Jackson confronts difficult questions regarding his legacy. Shot at a live racetrack and with a keen eye for veracity, Jockey gives us an achingly personal window into a world we’ve never seen up close before, where fortunes are flipped upside down from one moment to the next and the freedom of riding comes at a grueling physical price. Collins delivers an intimately layered performance guided by director Clint Bentley, whose own experiences imbue authenticity and naturalism into this moving portrait of a sport unlike any other.
Premiere: Jan 31, 3:00PM | Second Screening: Feb 2, 7:00AM
Written & Directed by: Fran Kranz
Starring: Reed Birney, Ann Dowd, Jason Isaacs, and Martha Plimpton
Synopsis: Imagine the most dreaded, tense, and emotionally draining interaction you could find yourself in and multiply it by 10. That is exactly what two sets of parents—Richard (Reed Birney), Linda (Ann Dowd), Jay (Jason Isaacs), and Gail (Martha Plimpton)—are facing. Years after a tragedy caused by Richard and Linda’s son tore all their lives apart, Jay and Gail are finally ready to talk in an attempt to move forward. In his impressive screenwriting and directorial debut, acclaimed actor Fran Kranz ponders ways in which people process grief, look for answers, and find the strength to persevere. Kranz uses the formal confines of this chamber piece to his advantage, creating tension and ambience filled with awkwardness from the outset. Much of this film’s emotional impact lies in its rigor, impeccable direction, and stunning performances from all members of the cast. Mass is a thoughtful, beautifully executed ode to humanity—in all its flawed and messy glory.
Premiere: Jan 30, 12:00PM | Second Screening: Feb 1, 7:00AM
Written & Directed by: Kentucker Audley and Albert Birney
Starring: Kentucker Audley, Reed Birney, Penny Fuller,
Grace Glowicki, and Linas Phillips
Synopsis: In the not-too-distant future, an all-seeing surveillance state conducts “dream audits” to collect taxes on the unconscious lives of the populace. Mild-mannered government agent James Preble (Kentucker Audley) travels to a remote farmhouse to audit the dreams of Arabella “Bella” Isadora (Penny Fuller), an eccentric, aging artist. Entering Bella’s vast VHS archive, which contains a lifetime of dreams, Preble stumbles upon a secret that offers him a chance at love—and hope for escape. Kentucker Audley and Albert Birney’s playfully surreal romantic fantasy envisions a world not so different from our own: a glitchy digital dystopia where every human experience is monetized—where even our unconscious minds have been colonized by advertising. With its wildly expressive color schemes and inventive dreamscapes, Strawberry Mansion also conjures an optimistic future through a retreat to our analog past. Audley and Fuller are disarmingly funny as the intergenerational (and interdimensional) lovers, while Grace Glowicki is affecting as the young Bella of Preble’s dreams. Electronic musician Dan Deacon scores this strange vision with shimmering synths and hypnotic strings.
Premiere: Jan 29, 6:00PM | Second Screening: Jan 31, 7:00AM