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Sundance Announces “Beyond Film” Conversation Lineup for the 2023 Festival

The speakers of the 2023 Sundance Film Festival "Beyond Film" conversations.Top L–R: Dakota Johnson, Jonathan Majors, Randall Park, Marlee Matlin. Bottom L–R: Zackary Drucker, Sophie Barthes, Priya Kansara, Kimberlé Crenshaw.

The Sundance Institute announces today the lineup for the Beyond Film conversations at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, which will all be open to the public. The slate is comprised of three separate series—Power of Story, Cinema Café and The Big Conversation—and will feature filmmaker panels, audience discourses and broader artistic conversations. Beyond Film will be hosted in-person at the festival from January 19-23, with several conversations accessible virtually for nationwide audiences through the Festival’s online platform beginning on January 24. Also announced today are conversations hosted by Sundance Collab and several of the Festival’s partners, which are similarly available in-person and virtually.

Highlights among Beyond Film speakers include talent attached to Festival films, such as Barry Jenkins (producer, All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt), Dakota Johnson, Jonathan Majors (Magazine Dreams, recently-appointed Gotham Film & Media Institute board member), Randall Park (Shortcomings), Ruth Reichl (Food and Country), and Adrian Tomine (Shortcomings). Other notable speakers are Dr. Orna Guralnik (clinical psychologist, psychoanalyst, Couples Therapy), Marlee Matlin (actor, CODA), Lisa Taddeo (author, Ghost Lover) and scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw.

“We gather in Utah and online during the Festival to watch stories unfold. From feature films to shorts to Indie Episodic projects, Sundance is known for what audiences can see, but just as crucial to the experience is what we all talk about,” said Ania Trzebiatowska, Beyond Film program curator, in a press release. “The Beyond Film offerings encourage community. These talks allow Festivalgoers the opportunity to engage in a deeper way with the cultural ideas that they’ve seen on screen with artists, activists, and thinkers that are also exploring them.”

In order to attend Cinema Café and The Big Conversation events, attendees will need to present their Festival badge or Festival ID (via digital QR code) upon admission. Meanwhile, Power of Story conversations will require a digital ticket for entry. All Beyond Film events will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information about QR codes and digital tickets, go here. To learn more about online access to Beyond Film offerings after January 4, visit the Festival’s website.

Find the full Beyond Film lineup below:

Power of Story

The Sundance Film Festival’s Power of Story looks to deepen public engagement with the art of storytelling, delve into cinema culture, and celebrate artists whose work propels and reinvents the form as we know it. By contemplating the future of storytelling, we explore how revolutionary narrative experiences will reshape culture through artistic discovery, emerging media, and the reassertion of independence.

Power of Story: On Intimacy

Sunday, January 22, 3:15–4:45 p.m.

Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St.

A frank conversation about the meaning of intimacy and the ways in which we negotiate and guard our space, our need for closeness, and our independence. What does intimacy look like in an artistic collaboration, and how do we develop the tools to communicate and navigate a space of great closeness in a complex professional setting where intimacy is being created for an audience? A group of artists reflect on their approach to the empowering nature of intimacy in their storytelling and the importance of allowing themselves to be vulnerable.

Featuring: Ita O’Brien (intimacy coordinator, I May Destroy You), Lisa Taddeo (author, Ghost Lover), Dakota Johnson (Actress, Producer), Barry Jenkins (Producer, All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt)

Moderated byDr. Orna Guralnik (clinical psychologist, psychoanalyst, Couples Therapy)

Cinema Café

Saturday January 20–Monday, January 23, 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Filmmaker Lodge, 550 Main St.

The doors are open again at Cinema Café, where the culture of conversation is reinvigorated. Our series of informal chats brings together special guests for thought–provoking encounters and fascinating dialogue. Previous Cinema Café guests have included Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Tessa Thompson, Jane Campion, Dave Grohl, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lena Dunham, Norman Lear, Kumail Nanjiani, Zazie Beetz, Saoirse Ronan, Spike Lee, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Radha Blank, Ira Glass, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bassem Youssef, Charlie Kaufman, Ice-T, Nick Hornby, Winston Duke, Samantha Power, Steve Coogan, Roger Corman, and many others.

Presented by Audible

Cinema Café: Alison O’Daniel (The Tuba Thieves), D Smith (Kokomo City), and Walé Oyéjidé (Bravo, Burkina!)

Moderated by Rishi Rajani (A Thousand and One)

Friday, January 20, 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Cinema Café: Tia Lessin (The Janes), Emma Pildes (The Janes), Paula Eiselt (Under G-d), Tracy Droz Tragos (Plan C)

Sunday, January 22, 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Cinema Café: Fresh Faces

Priya Kansara (Polite Society), Lio Mehiel (Mutt) and Rich Brian (Jamojaya)

Monday, January 23, 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

The Big Conversation

The Big Conversation tackles science, art, culture, and the movements that are fueling the imaginations of today’s independent artists. A compelling selection of speakers discuss topics centered on the themes of this year’s program and explore broader trends in art and culture around the world. In considering how artists — through their practice and their work — make meaning of the world, we’re reminded that it’s the big conversation that connects us to the big ideas.

All Big Conversations will take place at the Filmmaker Lodge, 550 Main St., Park City, Utah

Complicating Representation

Friday, January 20, 2–3:30 p.m.

Increased visibility for historically underrepresented people is empowering but also can bring new, complex questions and challenges. This panel will provide a chance for successful creators impacted by current (and sometimes false or performative) interest in diversity in Hollywood to discuss the struggles, boons, doubts, and responsibilities of balancing more grassroots, edgy artistic spaces.

Featuring:Zackary Drucker (The Stroll), Randall Park (Shortcomings), Alethea Arnaquq-Bari (Twice Colonized), Marlee Matlin (CODA)

Moderated by Bird Runningwater (Executive Producer, CloudWoman Media)

Going Nowhere? On Burnout & Attention Crisis 

Saturday, January 21, 2–3:30 p.m.

Among many issues that the global pandemic exposed and challenged was our ability to stay focused and inspired. Initially, it felt like the best time to pause, take care of ourselves, and reevaluate our priorities. Very quickly though, it became clear that the constantly growing expectations of creators in a hyper-productive and connected culture meant pausing wasn’t an option. Enter burnout. What have we learned about ourselves, and how do we resist the often suffocating pressures of always striving for productivity and success?

Featuring: Jonathan Majors (Magazine Dreams), Ruth Reichl (Food and Country),  Adrian Tomine (Shortcomings)

Moderated by Tricia Hersey (The Nap Ministry)

The Story of Us

Sunday, January 22, 2–3:30 p.m.

Democracy is at risk around the world. So what happens now? This year, as we think about the future of democracy, this Big Conversation builds on the previous two iterations of Kimberlé W. Crenshaw’s The Story of Us to explore how storytelling has long been and continues to be a critical enterprise in grounding the shape and contours of democratic inclusion. Leading thinkers in the arts, history, and social justice will challenge us to consider how narrative plenitude is not simply an expression of inclusion but is essential to strengthening democratic ideals.

Featuring: W. Kamau Bell (We Need to Talk About Cosby)

Moderated by Kimberlé W. Crenshaw (executive director, African American Policy Forum)

Appetite for Construction 

Monday, January 23, 2–3:30 p.m.

Supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

There’s no shortage of dystopian futures and calamity science in popular media. What happened to better living through science and technology? Where’s our science optimism? What if near-future fiction gave us inspiration instead of nightmares, and solutions to daunting problems? What if bioengineering produced bacteria that eat plastic instead of people? From AI to genetics, we explore the bright side of science and the ethical framework scientists and storytellers bring to the idea of progress.

Featuring: Sophie Barthes (The Pod Generation), Drew Endy (associate professor of bioengineering, Stanford University), Yewande Pearse (neuroscientist & science communicator, founder of Nyewro), Richie Mehta (PoachersExtrapolations)

Moderated byAhmed Best (Star Wars, co-founder of Afrorithm Futures Group)

Sundance Collab

Sundance Collab is a digital platform that supports and connects independent filmmakers at every stage of their creative journey. We provide resources to inspire and empower artists to bring untold stories to life. Reflecting the vision and values of the Sundance Institute, we cultivate a safe and nurturing space of inclusion and belonging for artists across the world.

Over 130,000 artists have joined Sundance Collab to access online events, courses, and resources; connect through conversation and networking; collaborate with others by sharing work and giving feedback; and garner advice from Sundance Institute advisors and industry experts. Join us to connect with artists, creators, and storytellers, hone your craft, and elevate independent voices. Sign up today at collab.sundance.org

Filmmaker Meetups and Panel: Making Your First Feature Film

Monday, January 23, 10–11 a.m.

Canon Creative Studio, 528 Main St.

Join Sundance Collab for a candid panel with Festival filmmakers Tracy Droz Tragos (Plan C), Laurel Parmet (The Starling Girl), and others about the process of making their first feature film. Following the discussion, we invite attendees to stay for coffee, snacks, and casual networking.

Featuring: Tracy Droz Tragos (Plan C), Laurel Parmet (The Starling Girl) and more

Moderated by Michelle Satter (Sundance Institute)

Spotlight Event: Susanna Fogel on Sustaining a Career

Thursday, January 26, 4-5:15 p.m. PT


Join Susanna Fogel (Cat Person) in conversation about her creative process from script to film and TV, and how to sustain a career.

Panelists: Susanna Fogel (Cat Person)

Moderator: Wendy Keeling

Partner Programming 

The Sundance Film Festival’s partner panels give audiences the opportunity to hear from Festival filmmakers and industry experts as they discuss key topics impacting filmmaking and storytelling. Panels are hosted and produced by members of our official partner community. Please check the Partner Events section of the Festival Program Guide for panel topics and times. All in-person panels will take place Friday, January 20 – Tuesday, January 24 at The Box at The Ray located at 1768 Park Ave., at Filmmaker Lodge located at 550 Main Street or at official Sundance Film Festival partner venues on Main Street, all in Park City. Partner organizations help make the Festival and our year-round artists programs possible.


Getting into Sundance – A Conversation with Kim Yutani

Monday, January 9,12–1 p.m.


Livestreamed interview between Kim Yutani, Sundance Film Festival Director of Programming, and Meagan Keane, Adobe Pro Video Director of Product Marketing, Kim and Meagan will discuss what goes into programming the Festival and a sneak peek into the films, filmmakers and events.  The talk will be livestreamed and will be posted for on demand viewing.

Color of Change

Hollywood, Racism and the New Age of Censorship

Friday, January 20, 11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.

The Box at The Ray, 1768 Park Ave.

In a dynamic conversational format, Color Of Change president Rashad Robinson and the African American Policy Forum founder Kimberlé Crenshaw will address how historical and contemporary efforts to write Black history out of the national memory are impacting Hollywood, why creatives cannot allow the chilling effect of this censorship to affect cinematic storytelling, and what Hollywood’s role should be in standing up to silence diverse storytellers from telling their truths.

Featuring: Rashad Robinson, president of Color Of Change, Kimberlé Crenshaw, founder of African American Policy Forum


Authentic Storytelling for Docs’ New Audience: Gen Z

Friday, January 20, 2:00–3:30 p.m.

The Box at The Ray, 1768 Park Ave.

Today, documentaries comprise nearly 25% of top streaming services’ original slates. As our thirst for real-life stories grows, the way we’re producing them is also changing. Join Shutterstock Studios in conversation with the filmmakers and stars of We Are King, The Money Shot, and The History of Boy Bands. How is the creative process changing? What technology is accelerating production? And how do you keep truth at the center of the story amid all the noise?

Presented by Shutterstock

Featuring: Aiden Darné, Global Head, Shutterstock Studio; Miles “Diggzy” Diggs, Entertainment Photographer; Keenan MacWilliam, Director, Creative Director and Multidisciplinary Artist; Jon Weidman, Filmmaker(We Are King); Dan Bradley, Filmmaker (We Are King)

Moderated by Jamie Elden, Chief Revenue Officer, Shutterstock

ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers)

Sundance ASCAP Music Café

Friday, January 20, 2:00 pm–5:00 pm

The Park, 950 Iron Horse Drive

For 25 years now, the Sundance ASCAP Music Café has celebrated the natural bond between music and the movies. Join us for an afternoon of exclusive acoustic sets from some of today’s most exciting songwriters, plus an insightful conversation between the composer and filmmaker of one of Sundance’s most anticipated films. It’s all courtesy of ASCAP, home to more than 900,000 of the greatest music creators in the world.

Presented by ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers)

The Blackhouse Foundation

The Blackhouse Filmmaker Lodge: Black Storytellers to Know

Friday, January 20, 4:30–6:00 p.m

Filmmaker Lodge, 550 Main St.

Join Blackhouse in a deep-dive conversation with the filmmakers behind a selection of the Festival’s hottest films. We will reflect on the stories behind the buzzed-about films and their paths to the Sundance Film Festival. In keeping with the goal of elevating emerging artists and independent voices, we will discuss where their careers are headed and how they are using dynamic and innovative platforms to advance their creativity and art.

Presented by The Blackhouse Foundation

Disney’s Onyx Collective

Onyx Collective’s Storytellers Showcase

Saturday, January 21, 2:00–3:30 p.m.

The Box at The Ray, 1768 Park Ave.

Join prolific creatives Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and Academy Award–winning director Roger Ross Williams for a sneak peek and conversation on their upcoming Hulu Original docuseries, The 1619 Project. Additionally, Academy Award–nominated filmmaker Ryan Coogler (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) and Academy Award–winning director Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson (Summer of Soul) will take the stage for intimate Q&As discussing the art of storytelling with a lens on cultural authenticity.

Presented by Disney’s Onyx Collective

Asia Society Northern California

Sundance Film Festival with Asia Society Northern California

Sunday, January 22, 11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.

The Box at The Ray, 1768 Park Ave.

For the fifth consecutive year, Asia Society Northern California will spotlight Asian and Asian American filmmakers and talent at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival on Sunday, January 22, 2023, at 11:30 a.m. MT at the Box Theater in Park City, Utah. This Lunar New Year we will welcome the Year of the Rabbit with Representative Karen Kwan of Utah’s 34th district.

Featuring: Anaita Wali Zada from Fremont, Chiaki Yanagimoto from AUM: The Cult at the End of the World, Kayla Abuda Galang from When You Left Me On That Boulevard, Shalini Adnani from White Ant, Liz Sargent from Take Me Home and more!

Presented by Asia Society Northern California

Jew in the City

#MeJew: Antisemitism, Authentic Representation and Jewish Identity in Hollywood

Sunday, January 22, 2:00–3:30 p.m.

The Box at The Ray, 1768 Park Ave.

Why have Jews been left out of DEI conversations? Everyone believes Jews are vastly overrepresented in Hollywood — is that true? Why is their representation so often inauthentic, relying on caricatures at best and evil depictions at worst? How did Hollywood’s founders, escaping antisemitism, bake their complicated feelings of Judaism into so many storylines? How can we finally change the narrative so that rising Jew-hatred will be replaced with an explosion of Jewish pride?

Featuring: Allison Josephs (founder of Jew in the City Hollywood Bureau) and Malina Saval (features editor at Variety)

Presented by Jew in the City

Dolby Laboratories, Inc.

The Sound and Music of The Pod Generation: A conversation with writer and director Sophie Barthes

Sunday, January 22, 4:30–6:00 p.m.

The Box at The Ray, 1768 Park Ave.

Join the Dolby Institute’s Glenn Kiser in conversation with Sophie Barthes, writer and director of The Pod Generation, a sci-fi romantic comedy about a young couple (Emilia Clarke and Chiwetel Ejiofor) who enter parenthood with a little help from a tech giant. The film won the 2023 Dolby Institute Fellowship award. Tune in to this in-depth discussion around the vital role sound design and score play in storytelling.

Presented by Dolby Laboratories

Featuring: Sophie Barthes, writer and director, The Pod Generation

Moderated by Glenn Kiser, director of the Dolby Institute

AMC Network

A Conversation with the Stars of AMC/AMC+’s Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches

Sunday, January 22, 4:30–5:30 p.m.

Filmmaker Lodge, 550 Main St.

The stars of AMC/AMC+’s new series Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches — Alexandra Daddario and Harry Hamlin — discuss bringing Anne Rice’s iconic story and characters from book to screen, and their experience filming in New Orleans.

Based on Rice’s bestselling trilogy, Lives of the Mayfair Witches, the series is a contemporary gothic romance and mystery that focuses on an intuitive young neurosurgeon, Rowan Fielding (Daddario), who discovers she is the unlikely heir to a family of witches.

Presented by AMC Networks

Featuring: Alexandra Daddario and Harry Hamlin

MPAC® Hollywood Bureau

MPAC Hollywood Bureau’s Party at the Park

Sunday, January 22,  7:00–10:00 p.m.

The Park, 950 Iron Horse Drive

The Muslim House,  founded by the MPAC Hollywood Bureau, will bring together Muslim creatives who are working on moving the needle forward in cultural and narrative change in the entertainment industry.

Featuring: Director of the MPAC Hollywood Bureau, Sue Obeidi; Program Director of the Islamic Scholarship Fund, Director-Writer & Iman Zawahry; Professor & Author of Broken: The Failed Promise of Muslim Inclusion, Dr. Evelyn Alsultany; Documentary Filmmaker & Sundance Producing Film Fellow, Razi Jafri; Writer-Director, Imran J. Khan; Writer-Actor Aizzah Fatima, and more.

RSVP requested: mpacpartyatthepark.eventbrite.com.


New Short Cinema by WeShort

Monday, January 23, 4:30–6:00 p.m.

The Box at The Ray, 1768 Park Ave.

Why are short films so important today? Alex Loprieno, WeShort’s founder and CEO, will talk about his mission and vision together with WeShort’s notable advisors from the tech, finance, and film industries.

Presented by WeShort

Featuring: Sabino Sernia, Paolo Privitera, Mike Plante (Programmer, Sundance Film Festival)

Moderated by Alex Loprieno, Andrea Vailati

University of Utah Health

New Narratives in Health Access: The Language of Care

Monday, January 23, 4:30–6:00 p.m.

Filmmaker Lodge, 550 Main St.

How can film help us bridge the linguistic and cultural gaps needed to better care for patients? Navigating health care is hard enough when English is your first language — imagine the difficulty when American Sign is your first language. For the third year, University of Utah Health teams up with veteran Sundance Film Festival director Ross Kauffman (Trial by Fire, Tigerland, Born into Brothels) to tell an amazing story of how deaf patients are co-designing their own care with University of Utah Health researchers.

Featuring: Ross Kauffman, Director, Michelle Litchman, PhD, Murdock Henderson, PsyD, Tamiko Rafeek, Patient, CAB member

Presented by University of Utah Health

BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.)

BMI Presents “Music & Film: The Creative Process”

Tuesday, January 24,  11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.

The Box at The Ray, 1768 Park Ave.

BMI’s signature Composer Roundtable will explore the role of music in film. Essential in determining the arc of the story and sustaining the right emotive experience, film composers face complex creative responsibilities to convey aspects of the story beyond the reach of the camera. This panel will focus on key topics like the dynamic between directors and composers and the challenge to make the best musical choices to support the narratives and keep audiences on the edge of their seats.

Presented by BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.)

Featuring: Lauren Culjak (Judy Blume Forever), Jordan Dykstra (20 Days in Mariupol), Heather McIntosh (Cat Person), Lisbeth Scott (The Disappearance of Shere Hite), and others.

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