For movie lovers, the middle of January is springtime. The Sundance Film Festival kicks off today, bringing with it an annual rebirth in the form of new cinematic discoveries and potential classics that will premiere in Utah before arriving in New York theaters and on various digital platforms over the course of the year.
Naturally, NYC is well- represented among the 121 feature-length films set to unveil at Sundance, both in terms of talent from the five boroughs and in movies shot on city streets. Production is soaring locally, according to the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting.
If you're sick of the Oscar race and tired of the same old big studio fare; if the thought of yet another superhero sequel or Adam Sandler comedy fills you with unease, take notice. Few have seen any of these movies, but they are some of the city-centric Sundance offerings we predict will have a shot at being among the next big things in the world of independent cinema:
'They Came Together'
Amy Poehler. Paul Rudd. David Wain ("Wet Hot American Summer"). There's no doubt you'll be hearing a lot more about this NYC-set romantic comedy parody in months to come.
'The Skeleton Twins'
"Saturday Night Live" alumni Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig star in this Brooklyn-shot drama (!) about siblings working to repair their difficult relationship.
'Love Is Strange'
Any movie starring Alfred Molina and John Lithgow automatically has our interest, especially when they're playing a married couple and the director is New Yorker Ira Sachs ("Keep the Lights On").
'Listen Up Phillip'
Jason Schwartzman, Krysten Ritter and Elizabeth Moss star in this NYC comedy centered on a novelist. It's directed by New Yorker Alex Ross Perry and narrated by theater staple Eric Bogosian.
The hilarious, underrated Jenny Slate finally gets the starring role she deserves as a Brooklyn comedian whose life spirals out of control after a breakup.
Miles Teller stars as a drummer at a prestigious Manhattan music school in a movie that's been described as "Full Metal Jacket at Juilliard." What?!