What We're Up To at Sundance

20 Jan 2017 - By TW Staff

The Sundance Film Festival, Mecca for independent film and cutting edge media, kicked off yesterday.  Here’s a sampling of what groups from across Time Warner have cooking at the festival, now in its thirty-ninth year.


Cries from Syria, recently acquired by HBO, premieres at the festival Sunday. This harrowing account of the Syrian civil war from the inside out is filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky’s follow-up to the Emmy- and Oscar-nominated Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom.  It screens Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at The Marc in Park City, or on HBO March 13 at 10 p.m. ET.

As always, HBO hosts a big bash for independent filmmakers.


Legion of Brothers, a co-production of CNN Films and Passion Pictures, will have its world premiere Saturday, January 21 at 2:30 p.m. MT at the MARC in Park City. The documentary, directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker Greg Barker, explores the secret war in Afghanistan initiated by the US government after the September 11 attacks. A coalition of rebels from the Northern Alliance and fewer than one hundred Special Forces soldiers were able to drive the Taliban from power by the end of 2001. Despite this victory, the US and its allies became mired in a seemingly endless war. CNN contributor Peter Bergen is one of the producers of the film, which will air on CNN in the near future.

Also premiering is the CNN Original Series The History of Comedy, an eight-part documentary that uses archival footage punctuated by contemporary interviews with comedy legends, scholars and current stars to explore what makes people laugh and how comedy has affected the social and political landscape throughout history. The Festival debuts two episodes from the series at Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at the Egyptian Theatre in Park City. An extended discussion with series creators will follow the screening. The series launches on CNN February 9.

CNN Films has opened a pop-up meeting space on Main Street for CNN and Turner guests, the CNN Films Lounge. Great Big Story will partner with Refinery29 for a party on Sunday and CNN’s news coverage of the Sundance Film Festival throughout the weekend will also originate from the CNN Films Lounge.

Super Deluxe 

Super Deluxe— Turner's emerging entertainment studio —will premiere three projects at Sundance.

The gay civil rights leader Bayard Rustin, who adopted his partner for legal rights, is the subject of the short doc Bayard & Me, debuting Friday. Award-winning filmmaker Matt Wolf shares why he made Bayard & Me in this video for the It Gets Better Project, an organization whose mission is to communicate to LGBTQ youth around the world that it gets better, and to create and inspire the changes needed to make it better for them. Bayard & Me screens at Redstone Cinema One in Park City Friday at 6:30 p.m.

Deer Squad is a short documentary that follows the overnight Internet fame of Kelvin Peña, a charismatic teenager from rural Pennsylvania, who went viral in 2016 after befriending a group of wild deer. Watch a clip here and if you’re at the festival, check out its world premiere Monday at 5:30 p.m. at the Egyptian Theatre in Park City. You may never look at powdered donuts and Pringles the same way again.

The Chances is a dramedy series about two deaf best friends. As part of the premiere, creators Shoshannah Stern and Josh Feldman have collaborated with the It Gets Better Project, an organization whose mission is to communicate to LGBTQ youth around the world that it gets better, and to create and inspire the changes needed to make it better for them. Watch that video here, and then head over to the Egyptian Theatre Monday at 11 a.m. to see The Chances. Not at Sundance? Check out a clip here

Time Warner Foundation

The Time Warner Foundation—with its mission to seek innovative and powerful ways to discover, nurture and celebrate the next generation of storytellers—has long been a supporter of the Sundance Institute. This year the Foundation is hosting a number of events, including The Blackhouse Brunch: After The Dance. The event, co-hosted with HBO, OneFifty and the Blackhouse Foundation, features Sundance alum and OneFifty artist Terence Nance speaking about After the Dance, followed by a discussion with the creative team behind American Paradise.

In addition, the Foundation and the Sundance Institute’s Diversity Initiative are presenting a Meet the Artists Dinner: Where Art Meets Opportunity, an event celebrating the vibrant community of diverse creators and innovators at Sundance.

Time Warner Cultural Investments

Time Warner Cultural Investments is supporting the Latino Reel, a showcase event where Latino film is celebrated in a forum of networking and storytelling. The annual event features panel discussions on a variety of topics from industry leaders and trailblazers, who share their experiences, expertise and advice. The purpose of Latino Reel is to provide a forum in which both aspiring and established Latino artists can network and share their knowledge and experiences while working to hone their filmmaking skills.


Two films supported by OneFifty, Time Warner’s in-house content incubator, are going to Park City. American Paradise by OneFifty artists Joe Talbot and Jimmie Fails, tells the story of a desperate man in Trump’s America trying to shift his luck with the perfect crime in this story inspired by true events. It debuts Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at Redstone Cinema One in Park City.

Kaiju Bunraku by OneFifty artists Jillian Mayer and Lucas Leyva is a day in the life of a husband and wife living in a world of giant monsters. Watch it Friday at 3 p.m. at the Yarrow Hotel Theatre.

We will be keeping tabs on all the goings on at Sundance, so stay tuned for updates.