With 110 independent movies from 29 countries, the 2018 Sundance Film Festival will have a little bit of everything for film fanatics, especially music lovers. Among the notable slate of music-focused indies announced on Wednesday (Nov. 29) for next year’s event are intimate portraits of legendary rocker Joan Jett, as well as a doc on the famed New York nightlife mecca Studio 54 and a behind-the-scenes look at the life and times of singer/activist M.I.A.
Among the most anticipated is famed video director Kevin Kerslake’s Bad Reputation, a look at the life of Jett, “from her early years as the founder of The Runaways and first meeting collaborator Kenny Laguna in 1980 to her enduring presence in pop culture as a rock ‘n’ roll pioneer.”
The Park City, Utah, event (Jan. 18-28), will host the Stephen Loveridge-directed doc Matangi/Maya/M.I.A., the world premiere look at the controversial rapper drawn from a never-before-seen cache of personal footage spanning decades that is an “intimate portrait of the Sri Lankan artist and musician who continues to shatter conventions.”
Just days before his band awaits word on whether they can turn their two Grammy nominations into gold at the Jan. 28 2018 Grammy Awards, Sundance will premiere a Don Argott-directed documentary focusing on Mormon-raised Imagine Dragons singer Dan Reynolds in Believer, as he takes on a “new mission to explore how the church treats its LGBTQ members. With the rising suicide rate amongst teens in the state of Utah, his concern with the church’s policies sends him on an unexpected path for acceptance and change.”
Other films premiering, along with their description from the Sundance website:
Westwood: “Dame Vivienne Westwood: punk, icon, provocateur and one of the most influential originators in recent history. This is the first film to encompass the remarkable story of one of the true icons of our time, as she fights to maintain her brand’s integrity, her principles – and her legacy.”
Hearts Beat Loud: ” In Red Hook, Brooklyn, a father and daughter become an unlikely songwriting duo in the last summer before she leaves for college,” starring Nick Offerman, Kiersey Clemons, Ted Danson, Sasha Lane and Toni Collette.
Juliet, Naked: “Annie is the long-suffering girlfriend of Duncan, an obsessive fan of obscure rocker Tucker Crowe. When the acoustic demo of Tucker’s celebrated record from 25 years ago surfaces, its release leads to an encounter with the elusive rocker himself.” Based on the novel by Nick Hornby and starring Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke, Chris O’Dowd; direcdted by Jesse Peretz and co-written by Tamara Jenkins.
Studio 54: “Studio 54 was the pulsating epicenter of 1970s hedonism: a disco hothouse of beautiful people, drugs, and sex. The journeys of Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell — two best friends from Brooklyn who conquered New York City — frame this history of the ‘greatest club of all time.'”
Among the films in the dramatic competition are Blaze, directed and co-written by actor Ethan Hawke, described as a “reimagining of the life and times of Blaze Foley, the unsung songwriting legend of the Texas Outlaw Music movement; he gave up paradise for the sake of a song,” as well as Blindspotting, a buddy comedy co-starring rapper/Hamilton star Daveed Diggs and the murder drama Monster, co-starring Jennifer Hudson.