Amazon’s record-breaking acquisition Late Night is coming to Sundance London this summer, as the festival returns to bring the highlights of the Utah festival to UK audiences.
The film, which is directed by Nisha Ganatra and written by Mindy Kaling, was a huge hit at Sundance in January, with four bidders competing for the rights immediately after its debut. Amazon ultimately picked it up for $13 million, the highest amount ever paid for US cinema rights.
The movie is inspired by Kaling’s experiences as the only female writer of colour on the US remake of The Office. It follows Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson), a legendary host of a late night talk show, who, after being accused of being a woman who hates other women, shakes things up by hiring Molly (Kaling), the one woman in her all-male writing room. Tackling culture, privilege and the modern workplace, the female-led film marks Ganatra’s feature directorial debut, after helming episodes of The Mindy Project, as well as Amazon’s Transparent and Mr. Robot.
With national treasure Thompson attached, you can expect the movie to be one of the flagship Sundance London titles this year, leading a dozen features to the UK capital’s Picturehouse Central cinema. The film’s European Premiere opens the event, with Penny Lane’s Hail Satan? closing events four days later.
Alongside the opening and closing night films, the festival’s line-up includes: The Nightingale, a striking revenge drama starring Aisling Franciosi and Sam Claflin that marks Jennifer Kent’s anticipated follow-up to The Babadook; Time Out gala film, Animals (dir. Sophie Hyde), an unpredictable tale of female friendship starring Holliday Grainger and Alia Shawkat; Bart Freundlich’s After the Wedding, a female-driven reimagining of Susanne Bier’s Academy Award®-nominated Danish film, which features Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams; American star Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians; Ocean’s 8) in Lulu Wang’s The Farewell; The Death of Dick Long, the latest film from Daniel Scheinert, co-winner of the U.S. Dramatic Directing Award at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival for Swiss Army Man; plus local filmmaker Shola Amoo (A Moving Image), whose short film Dear Mr. Shakespeare played at the 2017 festival. Amoo’s latest feature, The Last Tree, an unconventional coming-of-age story of a British-Nigerian youth, will receive its European premiere over the festival weekend. British writer Sam Bain (Peep Show, Four Lions) also writes Corporate Animals, directed by Patrick Brice (Creep) and starring Demi Moore and Ed Helms.
Documentaries include: The Brink, directed by Alison Klayman (Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry), which follows former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon as he expands his far-right campaigning; Ask Dr. Ruth, directed by Ryan White (The Case Against 8), a portrait of one of America’s most famous sex therapists; plus Apollo 11, directed by Todd Douglas Miller and winner of the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing, a never-seen-before immersive portrayal of the 1969 moon landings.
Robert Redford, President and Founder of Sundance Institute, says: “Society relies on storytellers. The choices they make, and the risks they take, define our collective experience. The slate at this year’s Sundance Film Festival: London is full of storytellers who offer challenges, questions and entertainment. In telling their stories, they make difficult decisions in the pursuit of truth and art; culture reaps the reward.”
John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival, adds: “These films and artists tell the truth: whether documentaries that illuminate hidden histories or fiction features that spotlight diverse, human experiences. We’re thrilled to bring these layered, intense and authentic stories to the Sundance Film Festival: London.”
Sundance London runs from 30th May to 2nd June at Picturehouse Central, with priority booking for Picturehouse Members open at 12.00pm on Friday 19th April and general ticket sales open at 12.00pm on Tuesday 23rd April.
Late Night will be released in UK cinemas on 7th June by eOne.
Photo: Courtesy of Sundance Institute