Fun Mom Dinner (Director: Althea Jones)
Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, who often has appeared as himself in movies (Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, Begin Again), stars as a bar owner who winds up with a pivotal role when four moms’ night out on the town takes a surprising turn. Molly Shannon, Bridget Everett, Toni Collette and Katie Aselton co-star.
Shots Fired (Directors: Gina Prince-Bythewood, Jonathan Demme)
An actor and Grammy-nominated R&B artist, Mack Wilds gets gritty as a corrupt policeman in a Southern town riled by racial tension after two shootings. The festival will screen two episodes from the upcoming 10-part Fox series.
MUSICIANS BUT THEY REALLY WANT TO PRODUCE (OR DIRECT)
Time: The Kalief Browder Story (Director: Jenner Furst)
Jay Z executive-produced this documentary, which takes on the tragic case of a 16-year-old jailed for three years starting in 2010 -- two in solitary confinement -- on New York’s Rikers Island without a conviction. His alleged crime? Stealing a backpack. Browder, whose story was reported in-depth by The New Yorker, later committed suicide. The project, backed by the Weinstein Company, airs in March as a six-part series on Spike TV. *Billboard Pick
Dolores (Director: Peter Bratt)
Cesar Chavez is celebrated as a legend in the American labor movement, but he didn’t do it alone. This documentary brings to light the efforts of Dolores Huerta, who co-founded the nation’s first farm workers union. Carlos Santana is an executive producer, joining his daughter, Angelica, an associate producer.
Kuso (Director: Steven Ellison)
Former film student Stephen Ellison, aka Flying Lotus, returns to his first love to direct his feature debut, which evolved from a 5-minute animation into a live-action project that sounds both fantastical and enigmatic. “It’s very experimental in one sense,” Ellison says. “My intention was to pursue all the things that make me afraid, and make me cringe, and make me go, ‘Oh, God!’” And I feel like I have a high threshhold.” The performer took some inspiration from filmmakers with whom he has worked as a composer, including Kahlil Joseph (“Until the Quiet Comes”) and Alma Har’el (“LoveTrue”). He could also channel his inner imp. “I wanted to work on something where I would have fun the whole time.”
Assisting in that coal is a cast that include professional comedians Hannibal Buress and Tim Heidecker. “Hannibal’s my man, so working with him is real natural,” Eliison says. “I was surprised he even did it because he’s a big star now. I wouldn’t want this movie to hurt his career.” Ellison also was surprised to swing Heidecker for a role added at the last-minute. “I needed this character, a kind of creepy, pervy guy, and I had a feeling Tim could channel it.”