December 4, 2017
Sundance 2018

Sundance Announces New Indie Episodic Section for the 2018 Festival

The premiere independent film festival in North America will now champion the rapidly evolving world of independent episodic storytelling.

Today, the programmers of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival unveiled a new section of the annual event called Indie Episodic, showcasing independent storytellers creating new work in the episodic format. Sundance has shown episodic content in the past, but never created a distinct section for this format of storytelling. Over the past few years, episodic content has become more prevalent at many film festivals, spurred on explosion of web series and the current golden age of television.

The inaugural Indie Episodic section will include 17 shows, all but one hailing from the U.S. Upon making the announcement, Trevor Groth, Director of Programming for the Sundance Film Festival, said, "Episodic is one of the fastest-developing fields in on-screen storytelling today. By creating a dedicated space for independent episodic storytellers to shine, we're aiming to foster more creativity in the field." This new section is a natural outgrowth of the Sundance Institute's Episodic Story Lab, and like the films in competition at the festival, many of these episodic television series will be available for acquisition.

Here is the complete list of series that will be featured in the Indie Episodic section in Park City this January:

America To Me / U.S.A. (Director: Steve James, Segment Directors: Bing Liu, Rebecca Parrish, Kevin Shaw) — This limited series captures a year-long look at one of Chicago's most progressive and diverse public schools, located in suburban Oak Park. Unprecedented in scope, the series is both intimate and epic in its storytelling as it explores America's charged state of race, culture and education today. World Premiere

America to Me
'America to Me', directed by Steve JamesCredit: Courtesy of Sundance Institute

The Adulterers / U.S.A. (Creators and screenwriters: Tonya Glanz, Chris Roberti) — Two co-workers engaged in an extramarital affair discover an unexpected but limited intimacy which unlocks a secret world of creativity and freedom. Cast: Tonya Glanz, Chris Roberti. World Premiere

Cherries / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Diaz Jacobs) — After a long separation, two sisters are forced to come together. When the man that once got between them reappears, a triangle emerges and they find themselves in a similar place after many years: suffocating, infuriating and incredibly familiar. Home. Cast: Shannon Plumb, Melora Walters, Robert Maffia, Lora Witty. World Premiere

Franchesca / U.S.A. (Executive Producers: Topic Studios, Franchesca Ramsey, Kara Welker, Director: Kaitlin Fontana) — Comedian Franchesca Ramsey finds communion and culture in this digital series which explores beauty and fashion. The pilot episode finds Franchesca escaping ubiquitous internet trolls as she spends the day with friend Michelle Buteau getting an ornate Japanese gel manicure. Cast: Franchesca Ramsey. World Premiere

Halfway There / U.S.A. (Director: Rick Rosenthal, Screenwriter: Nick Morton) — When recovering addict Jimmy Bishop finds his sober living facility teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, he is forced to take in his wealthy alcoholic mother as a client. Her arrival solves his immediate financial crisis but also unleashes every other problem he has struggled his whole life to contain. Cast: Matthew Lillard, Blythe Danner, Esai Morales, Sarah Shahi, Nishi Munshi, Paige Hurd. World Premiere

Halfway There
Blythe Danner in 'Halfway There', written by Nick Morton, directed by Rick Rosenthal.Credit: Courtesy of Sundance Institute

High & Mighty / U.S.A. (Director: Carlos Lopez Estrada, Screenwriter: Cesar Mazariegos) — After getting shot multiple times by a mysterious flower delivery man and surviving without a scratch, Chelo discovers he has superhuman powers. But only when he's drunk or high. With the help of his homies, Chelo will decide whether to use his powers for good...or social media. Cast: Jorge Diaz, J.R. Villarreal, Adam Zastrow, James Eckhouse, Shakira Barrera, Chelsea Rendon.

I'm Poppy / U.S.A. (Director and writer: Titanic Sinclair) — Join Internet sensation Poppy as she enters the real world for the very first time and quickly realizes that fame and fortune comes at a price, with secret societies, dangerous fanatics and a very envious mannequin named Charlotte. Cast: Poppy Chan, Samm Levine, Dan Hildebrand, Brad Carter, Kofi Boakye, Madison Lawlor. World Premiere

Leimert Park / U.S.A. (Director: Mel Jones, Screenwriters: Davita Scarlett, Mel Jones, Kady Kamakate) — Things get complicated when three friends share a house in South LA's Leimert Park. Despite being married, beats-maker Mickey hasn't had an orgasm in three months, Bridget mistakes sex for love while assisting a visiting artist and Kendra shoots videos of her numerous sexual encounters, hoping for her own art show. Cast: Ashley Blaine Featherson, Ashlí Haynes, Asia'h Epperson, Wade Allain-Marcus, Franz Latten, Ikenna Okoye. World Premiere

The Mortified Guide / U.S.A. (Director: Michael Mayer, Executive Producers: David Nadelberg, Neil Katcher) — A comedic look at the biggest issues of adolescence – from first loves to fitting in – as adults share their childhood writings and art in front of total strangers. Based on the Mortified stage shows, books, podcast and film, this docuseries celebrates the awkward insecurities that shaped us all. Cast: Robert Woo, Katie Westerfield, Adam Ruben. World Premiere

The Mortified Guide
'The Mortified Guide', directed by Michael Mayer.Credit: Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Mr. Inbetween / Australia (Director: Nash Edgerton, Screenwriter: Scott Ryan) — Father, ex-husband, boyfriend: tough roles to juggle in the modern age. Even harder when you're a hitman. Cast: Scott Ryan, Justin Rosniak, Brooke Satchwell, Damon Herriman, Jackson Tozer, Chika Yasumura. World Premiere

Paint / U.S.A. (Creator and director: Michael Walker) — A 30 minute comedy/drama about three young artists, living in Brooklyn, and their adventures trying to make it in the art world and in life. Cast: Joshua Caras, Olivia Luccardi, Paul Cooper, Amy Hargreaves, David Patrick Kelley. World Premiere

The Passage / U.S.A. (Director: Kitao Sakurai, Writers: Phillip Burgers, Kitao Sakurai) — Phil, wide-eyed and mute, is on the run from a pagan cult. Phil's scatterbrained ineptitude keeps getting him into trouble, however, and agents who've been hired to recapture him are always one step behind. The result is a series of misadventures that take the trio around the globe. Cast: Philip Burgers, Chad Damiani, Krystel Roche, Juzo Yoshida. World Premiere

The Show About The Show (Season 2) / U.S.A. (Director: Caveh Zahedi, Producer: Aziz Isham) — In Season 2, Caveh and Mandy break up over the Show. Caveh gets involved with a fan but the pressure of having every aspect of their relationship made public begins to erode that relationship as well. The Show becomes a runaway train that Caveh struggles to keep from being derailed. Cast: Amanda Field, Ashley Foy, Emmy Harrington, Peter Rinaldi, Karley Sciortino, Caveh Zahedi. World Premiere

The Show About The Show
Caveh Zahedi in 'The Show About The Show', directed by ZahediCredit: Courtesy of Sundance Institute

susaneLand / U.S.A. (Creators: Susane Lee and Andrew Olsen, Director: Andrew Olsen) — Dark, comedic vignettes from one young woman's life. Cast: Susane Lee, Robert David Hall, Ken Takemoto, Mimi Cozzens, Travis Coles, Caitlin Kim. World Premiere

Tammy's Tiny Tea Time / U.S.A. (Creator: Peter Gulsvig, Screenwriters: Daniel Shepard, Diana McCorry) — An animated comedy about a maladjusted 42-year-old woman with the emotional capacity of a child who shrinks to the size of her toys and forces them to entertain her before introducing several unrelated animated shorts. Cast: Rachel Butera, Nate Corddry, Peter Gulsvig, Jeremy Bent, Diana McCorry. World Premiere

This Close / U.S.A. (Director: Andrew Ahn, Creators: Josh Feldman, Shoshannah Stern) — Best friends Kate and Michael, who are deaf, try to balance their personal and professional lives. She's newly engaged and struggles to grow at work, while he battles self-destructive writer's block after having his heart broken. As they tackle their own issues, their friendship is put to the test. Cast: Shoshannah Stern, Josh Feldman, Zach Gilford, Colt Prattes, Marlee Matlin, Cheryl Hines. World Premiere

Tropical Cop Tales / U.S.A (Director: Jim Hosking, Writers: Jim Hosking, Toby Harvard) — Two burned-out city cops -- Keymarion "Primetime" Weeyums and Demetrius "Meechie" Franks -- relocate to a tropical paradise for a relaxing twilight to their careers. It ends up being the most vicious, menacing place on earth, not even slightly relaxing. Cast: Wayne DeHart, Charles Noland, Carl Solomon, Nicole Crump, Brian Russell. World Premiere      

Featured image: Ashli Haynes in 'Leimart Park', written by Davita Scarlett, Mel Jones, Kady Kamakate, directed by Mel Jones.

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