The weekend of 25-27 April brings the return of Sundance London to the O2 Arena in Greenwich, featuring a host of free events and first-look screenings of 21 features and 18 short films by independent filmmakers. This year, there’s a focus on the links between the cinema and indie music, with Jarvis Cocker and Edwyn Collins on site to take part in panel discussions alongside a range of screenings of new fiction films and documentaries exploring the power of music on film.
The festival will see the UK premiere of Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank, backed by the BFI Film Fund and starring Michael Fassbender as the idiosyncratic punk frontman Frank Sidebottom. Following acclaim for his Irish dramas Garage (2007) and What Richard Did (2012), Abrahamson’s latest is adapted from a memoir by Jon Ronson and takes a fictionalised look at the papier-mâché head-wearing cult musician – a character created in the 1980s by comedian Chris Sievey. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Harry Potter star Domhnall Gleeson also star.
Abrahamson and Ronson will be speaking on the panel of the event Guts to Glory: How to Find Your Story? (26 April), alongside two other directors with films in this year’s festival, Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, 2013) and Marjane Satrapi (The Voices, 2014). The discussion, presented in association with , promises to “get down and dirty about the often bumpy ride that it takes to realise your dream of getting your film made.”
Now in its third year, Sundance London began as an effort to bring the spirit of Utah’s Sundance festival to the UK. Says Robert Redford, who founded the Sundance Institute: “That audiences in London have responded so positively to the films presented at the first two Sundance London festivals speaks to the power and universality of the stories told by our artists as well as the audience’s openness to exploring new ideas.”