The Sundance Film Festival and Wichita’s mama.film will bring world premieres of comedies, period pieces, dramas and documentaries to Liberty Hall next month as part of the Sundance Satellite Screen program.
Running Jan. 28-30, Lawrence is one of only seven locations nationwide selected as part of the program, which is a partnership intended to bring the Sundance experience to arthouses across the country. Now in its second year, the satellite program continues to support independent filmmakers while also highlighting local programming.
“We are so excited to bring the Sundance Film Festival experience to Kansas and to showcase the festival to audiences in Lawrence,” said mama.film founder Lela Meadow-Conner. “Along with our screenings, we are thrilled to partner with several film organizations, makers and universities to converge for a celebration of the amazing talent and creativity across our state.”
This year’s films are Alice; Emergency; Every Day in Kaimukī; Free Chol Soo Lee; Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul; La Guerra Civil; Marte Um (Mars One); and Sirens. Additional short film participation will be announced at a later time.
In addition to the films, there will be panels and educational experiences throughout the festival weekend, KS+ Film Convergence. There is no cost to attend those events, but an RSVP is required. Sunday, Jan. 30 will include a keynote address by Academy Award-winning screenwriter and University of Kansas Professor Kevin Willmott, open to all film and media students across the region. Find more information and fill out a form to RSVP by Jan. 7 at this link.
Safety protocols took events outdoors last year, enabling Wichita to screen the program’s films at a local drive-in. This year, however, Sundance returned to indoor screenings, which limited options in the Wichita market since there is currently not an arthouse theater adapted for digital cinema.
Meadow-Conner said Liberty Hall’s technical capabilities along with Lawrence’s established film fan base made the choice to come to Lawrence a simple one.
“Lawrence is an amazing town with a built-in film-loving community,” she said. “We pulled together a celebration that will bring together people from across the state and the region to coincide with the Sundance screening.”
Lawrence’s own Free State Festival is among the sponsors for the Sundance event, and it is offering memberships providing free and discounted tickets to events throughout the year, including next month’s Sundance screenings. Director Marlo Angell said events like the satellite program further establish Lawrence’s reputation as a film community.
“To have world premieres in our back yard cultivates a love of cinema and gets people together to watch films collectively as a group rather than at home alone or with just one or two people,” Angell said. “We all grew up going to the theater, but our kids stream Netflix at home. We want to continue the tradition of movie-going as an experience for the younger generation.”
Tickets for the festival will be available online Jan. 6. For more information and descriptions of all films in the lineup, visit mama.film/exhibit/sundance.