New Additions To The 2018 Sundance London Film Festival

Sundance Institute and Picturehouse announced today three additions to the 2018 Sundance Film Festival: London programme.

Alongside the twelve feature films, two short film strands and special events previously announcedthe festival will also feature a special presentation of Paul Schrader’s First Reformed; “Films that Made Me”, a selection of films that inspired the work of festival filmmakers Jennifer Fox, Debra Granik and Desiree Akhavan; and “Make ‘Em Laugh”, a comedy masterclass with comedian and filmmaker, Bo Burnham.

Sundance Film Festival: London takes place from 31 May – 3 June at Picturehouse Central. Priority booking for Sundance Festival Passholders and Picturehouse members is open now; general tickets go on sale Monday 30 April at

Continuing its tradition of championing brave, independent filmmaking, Sundance Film Festival: London is delighted to host the UK premiere of Paul Schrader’s First Reformed. Directed and written by legendary filmmaker, Paul Schrader(screenwriter Taxi Driver, Raging Bull; director Cat PeopleAmerican Gigolo), First Reformed stars Ethan Hawke as a Reform church pastor forced to confront his tormented past in this gripping thriller about a crisis of faith. While the film did not screen at Sundance Utah in January, this addition to this year’s festival showcases the work of Schrader and Hawke, and offers UK audiences an early chance to see the film with an extended introduction by Ethan Hawke.

In an exclusive strand “Films That Made Me”, three of the directors whose work is showcased in this year’s edition –Jennifer Fox (The Tale), Debra Granik (Leave No Trace) and Desiree Akhavan (The Miseducation of Cameron Post) – will each introduce a film that has personally inspired them, both as filmmakers and in their approach to their films screening in the festival. Jennifer Fox has selected Jonathan Caouette’s Tarnation (2003); Debra Granik has chosen Celine Sciamma’s Girlhood (2014); and Desiree Akhavan has picked Lynne Ramsay’s Morvern Callar (2002). Fox, Granik and Akhavan will give further insight into their influences and careers in this year’s In Conversation event, the previously announced “Triple Threat – Three major filmmakers in conversation”.

To accompany the international premiere of his filmmaking debut, Eighth Grade, comedian, actor and YouTube superstar Bo Burnham will share valuable insight into his process in “Make ‘Em Laugh: A Comedy Movie Masterclass”. After launching his comedy career on YouTube, Bo has starred in three successful live comedy specials and had a supporting role in 2017’s The Big Sick, which had its international premiere at last year’s Sundance Film Festival: London. This special event will see Bo discuss the power of comedy and the art of making a room laugh, with other guests and the host to be announced at a later date.

More information is available at Join the conversation on social media with #sundancelondon and #whatnext.

The 2018 Sundance Film Festival: London is supported by: Presenting Partner – Adobe; Lead Partner – SundanceTV Global; Media Partners – Time Out and Evening Standard; Event Partners – Mubi and the Utah Office of Tourism; Hotel Partner – The May Fair Hotel; Drinks Partner – Hop House Lager; and Official Provider – Picturehouse Central and Picturehouse West End.

SPECIAL PRESENTATION – The festival will host the UK premiere of Paul Schrader’s First Reformed with an extended introduction by star Ethan Hawke


First Reformed (Director/writer: Paul Schrader) – Reverend Ernst Toller (Ethan Hawke) is a solitary, middle-aged parish pastor at a small Dutch Reform church in upstate New York on the cusp of celebrating its 250th anniversary. Once a stop on the Underground Railroad, the church is now a tourist attraction catering to a dwindling congregation, eclipsed by its nearby parent church, Abundant Life, with its state-of-the-art facilities and 5,000-strong flock. When a pregnant parishioner (Amanda Seyfried) asks Reverend Toller to counsel her husband, a radical environmentalist, the clergyman finds himself plunged into his own tormented past, and equally despairing future.

UK premiere


‘FILMS THAT MADE ME’— A selection of three films that have influenced the work of three festival filmmakers, Jennifer Fox, Debra Granik and Desiree Akhavan


Tarnation (Director: Jonathan Caouette, 2003) – Selected and introduced by Jennifer Fox, director of opening night film The Tale


Tarnation is a sprawling, innovative documentary which utilises a massive collection of home movies, photographs, audio recordings and phone messages to explore the director’s troubled relationship with his mother. This intensely personal film premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival Utah from where it went on to Cannes and critical success around the globe.



Girlhood (Director: Celine Sciamma, 2014) – Selected and introduced by Debra Granik, director of closing night film, Leave No Trace

Sciamma’s third feature film exploded into the public consciousness at the 2014 Cannes film festival where it garnered rave reviews and international distribution for its warm, vérité approach to the story of a group of young women living in a French suburb. Full of striking imagery and moments of real lyricism, this is social realist cinema at its most stylish and refined.


Morvern Callar (Director: Lynne Ramsay, 2002 ) – Selected and introduced by Desiree Akhavan, director of The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Back in the public consciousness with her terrific hitman thriller, You Were Never Really Here, Ramsay’s second feature as a director is a visually striking and immersive character study of a young woman suddenly confronted with the death of her boyfriend and the chance to entirely change her life over the course of a booze and drug-filled holiday in Spain. An unforgettable film. 

SPECIAL EVENT– Discussions with renowned guest speakers providing incredible insights into the filmmaking process

Make ‘Em Laugh: A Comedy Movie Masterclass

Coinciding with the international premiere of his directorial debut Eighth Grade, a painfully funny portrait of teen life in the modern world, comedian and YouTube star Bo Burnham shares his advice on creating fresh and unique comedy for film. Alongside his widely popular live comedy specials – Words, Words, Wordswhat.; and Make Happy – Bo has also directed specials for Jerrod Carmichael and Chris Rock, and his acting credits include The Big SickRough Night and Funny People. 

Plus special guests and host TBC

News Editor

Author: News Editor

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