Every January, film lovers await the annual Sundance Film Festival, Robert Redford’s long-running celebration of independent films.
In 2021, the festival is being held virtually, between January 28 and February 3.
In the spirit of the festival, SundanceTV, which is available in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) on beIN Channel 75, has cherry-picked some of the best independent films.
Viewers can tune in for festival gems as well as winners of the SundanceTV Shorts competition, held in the Middle East and North Africa for the first time in late-2020.
The “thought-provoking competition entries gave the opportunity for fresh voices and perspectives to be heard, while taking viewers on a journey through time and space”, according to a press statement.
On January 18, viewers can follow the titular Dayveon as he spends the sweltering summer days roaming his rural Arkansas town in the wake of his older brother’s death.
Dayveon (2017) airs at 9pm Makkah time (same time in Doha).
On January 25, Terri (2011) invites viewers into the world of a misfit teen, airing at 9pm Makkah time.
Winners of the SundanceTV Shorts competition will be aired on January 30 as well.
Viewers are invited to tune in between 8pm and 9pm Makkah time for the debuts of groundbreaking talent from across the Middle East.
Films include As You Can See by director Ghada Fikri (Egypt), which won the first place, The Red Mountain by Kamel Harb (second place, Lebanon), Huit Ans – 8 Years by Ziad Mazraany (third place, Lebanon), and How My Grandmother Became a Chair by Nicolas Fattouh (fourth place, Lebanon).
Beit Byoot by Palestinian filmmaker Mayar Hamdan received an honourable mention by the judges, and will also be shown during this segment.
In 2020, Mena hosted the first ever SundanceTV Shorts competition, attracting 371 submissions from the region.
The jury included Golden Globe winner, Academy Award and Primetime Emmy Award nominee Uma Thurman, Palestinian filmmaker and poet Annemarie Jacir, Qatari-American writer and artist Sophia al-Maria, and television industry veteran Harold Gronenthal, the executive vice-president (Programming and Marketing) for AMC Networks International, broadcaster of SundanceTV outside of North America.
In addition to these independent favourites and outstanding short films, viewers can enjoy the 2006 film Walker Payne.
The film will air on January 22 at 9pm Makkah time.
I’m Still Here (2010) will show on January 30, and follows Joaquin Phoenix in the fall of 2008 as he announces his retirement from a successful film career and sets off to reinvent himself as a hip hop musician.
The film will air at 9pm Makkah time.
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