TFCA Members Praise Sundance’s Opening Night Films

January 29, 2021

A still from Coda by Siân Heder, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

The second wave of virtual film festivals got underway with last night’s premiere of Sundance 2021. Several TFCA members are in Park City virtually this year thanks to the forced closures of COVID-19. However, this means more accessibility and homegrown comforts as members toasted opening night from their living rooms. Day 1 of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival featured a handful of films that drew strong reactions. Opening night films included Siân Heder’s Coda, a crowd-pleasing coming-of-age film about a young girl growing up with deaf parents. Also netting strong notices were the docs–always a standout at Sundance–including Nanfu Wang’s interrogation of the Chinese government’s mishandling of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, In the Same Breath, and Questlove’s rock doc Summer of Soul (…Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised).


Here’s a rundown of Day 1 Sundance reactions from TFCA members.


CODA (U.S. Dramatic Competition)

-Our members didn’t seem quite as ecstatic as other Twitterers did, but still found this indie ditty a charmer.


In the Same Breath (Premieres)

-Some minor disagreements from the POV team, but Nanfu Wang might be happy to know that Pat is the one writing the review.

Summer of Soul (U.S. Documentary Competition)

-The breakout opening night director is…Questlove? Every good festival has at least one music doc and this one turned Sundance up to 11.

Flee (World Cinema Documentary Competition)

-Originally selected for Cannes, Flee is a harrowing account of a young gay man’s escape from Afghanistan, told with unique animation to capture his search for asylum and acceptance.

Censor (Midnight)

-The Midnight Madness crowd might not be crying “long live the new flesh!” over this ooey-gooey B-movie. But opening night always needs at least one film that polarizes the crowd.

Stay tuned to the TFCA on Twitter for more reactions from Sundance!