Sundance Unveils Short Films Lineup, Plus Special Screenings Including ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ and ‘The Babadook’

The Sundance Institute unveiled the lineup of 53 short films for the 2024 Sundance Film Festival, taking place Jan. 18-28 in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah. The film fest will happen in person, with a selection of titles available online from Jan. 25-28. Sundance was forced to re-format its 2021 and 2022 editions as virtual events because of the pandemic, but it returned in physical form in 2023.

Celebrating its 40th edition, Sundance will also feature a slate of special screenings including a restored version of “Napoleon Dynamite,” which first premiered at the festival in 2004, as well as 2014’s “The Babadook” and 1984’s “The Times of Harvey Milk.” Festival programming also includes events with Richard Linklater, Miguel Arteta, Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass, Carlos López Estrada, Sterlin Harjo, Steve James, Dawn Porter, Nzingha Stewart and Christine Vachon.

“Selecting the shorts for the Festival Program every year is an exercise in taking the pulse of film culture, and the outlook is always bright,” said Mike Plante, senior programmer of short film at Sundance. “In our 40th year, the world of short films is more vibrant than ever. With so many ways to see and experience shorts now — at festivals and online through varied platforms — so many artists are coming to the art form and creating shorts that excite us, and short film fans, in new ways.”

Sundance whittled down 12,098 short film submissions, the highest number in the festival’s history. Twenty-two countries are represented in this year’s lineup of 53 shorts.

On Dec. 6, the festival announced its feature film lineup, which includes entries starring Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg, Aubrey Plaza, Steven Yeun, Riley Keough and a diverse array of newcomers. Veteran Sundance alumni will show up in droves, too. Linklater will bring his 2023 festival offering “Hit Man,” the Zellner Brothers will debut their starry “Sasquatch Sunset” and Steven Soderbergh will premiere his new thriller, “Presence.”

Grace / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Natalie Jasmine Harris, Producers: Samiyah Wardlaw, Julia Kennelly, Latavia Young, Morgan B. Powell) — Sixteen-year-old Grace prepares for her baptism in the rural 1950s South. When she learns she must repent before the ritual, she begins to question the budding romantic feelings she has toward her best friend, Louise. Cast: Jordan Rayanna Wells, Alexis Cofield, Mikayla LaShae Bartholomew, C L Simpson, JeVon Blackwell. World Premiere. Available online for Public.