Sundance Film Festival 2016 gets underway today and it is set to be put some great independent films from all around the world in the spotlight over the next ten days.

Swiss Army Man

Swiss Army Man

There are also a whole host of British/Irish movies, directors, and actors who will have their work on show during the festival. We take a look at some of the British stars and projects that you need to watch out for.

- Asif Kapadia - Ali & Nino

Asif Kapadia has been enjoying huge success in the last couple of years with the release of documentaries Senna and Amy; the latter is in the Best Documentary Oscar mix and could well walk away with the major prize next month.

Director Kapadia is set to return to live action filmmaking with his latest movie Ali & Nino; his first live action movie since Far North back in 2007.

Ali & Nino is based on the book by Kurban Said and charts a love story of a Muslim Azerbaijani boy and Christian Georgian girl in Baku from 1918 to 1920. The book has been adapted for the big screen by Christopher Hampton.

Asif Kapadia is one of the most exciting British directors around and it is fantastic to see him move between the live action and documentary genre. The movie is set to receive its premiere at the festival and is a drama that I cannot wait to see.

Ali & Nino

- John Carney - Sing Street

Sing Street is one of the Irish movies that are set to shine at this year's Sundance Film Festival, as John Carney returns to the director's chair and writing duties. This is the first film for Carney since Begin Again but it was back in 2007 when he grabbed everyone's attention with Once.

Sing Street is another film that will receive its world premiere at the festival and it bring together a wonderfully talented cast as Jack Reynor, Aidan Gillen, and Maria Doyle Kennedy are all set to star.

Sing Street takes us back to 1980s Dublin where an economic recession forces Conor out of his comfortable private school and into survival mode at the inner-city public school where the kids are rough and the teachers are rougher. He finds a glimmer of hope in the mysterious and über-cool Raphina, and with the aim of winning her heart, he invites her to star in his band's music videos.

She agrees, and now Conor must deliver what he's promised - calling himself 'Cosmo' and immersing himself in the vibrant rock music trends of the '80s, he forms a band with a few lads, and the group pours their hearts into writing lyrics and shooting videos.

Carney has a knack of delivering heartwarming and very charming movies and I cannot wait to see what he delivers with Sing Street. The movie will be hitting the big screen in the UK on 22nd April.

Sing Street

- Kevin Macdonald - Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang

Kevin Macdonald is another filmmaker who has moved between documentary and live action projects during his career, bringing us movies such as The Last King of Scotland, State of Play, and Touching the Void. His latest project sees him return to the documentary genre.

Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang will play as part of the World Documentary part of the festival and this is the first film for Macdonald since Black Sea in 2014 - it is great to see him back.

Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang charts the rise of contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang from her childhood to the huge name that she now is within the art world.

I have been a huge fan of Macdonald for many years and he has produced some fascinating documentary movies during that time... Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang looks set to follow that trend and it is great to see him in the mix at Sundance.

Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang

- Rebecca Daly - Mammal

Rebecca Daly is one of the female directors and Irish filmmakers to watch out for at Sundance as she returns to the director's chair with her latest film Mammal; she has also penned the film's screenplay.

This is the second feature for Daly and comes four years after she made her debut and grabbed everyone's attention with The Other Side of Sleep.

Mammal will screen in the World Dramatic category and will see Rachel Griffiths take on the central role of Margaret. She is joined on the cast list by Michael McElhatton and Barry Keoghan.

Margaret, a divorced woman living alone in Dublin, learns that her teenage son has been found dead. Enduring her unsettling grief privately, she escapes daily to the local swimming pool. One day at the pool she runs into Joe, a homeless youth she found injured late one night in the deserted laneway behind her work.

Margaret offers Joe a room in her house and an unorthodox relationship starts to develop between them. Margaret's ex-husband Matt begins to turn up randomly in Margaret's life. As Margaret and Joe's mutual reliance grows their tentative trust is threatened by the escalation of Matt's grieving rage and Joe's involvement with a gang of violent youths.


- Rebecca Hall - Christine

Rebecca Hall is one of the best British actors around and she is back in the central role of Christine Chubbuck in new biopic/drama Christine, which sees her team up with filmmaker Antonio Campos for the first time.

The movie charts the career of 1970s television reporter Christine Chubbuck, who committed suicide during a live TV broadcast after a struggle with depression.

Christine is the first film for Hall since we saw her in the terrific The Gift last year and it is always exciting to see her in a new film project as she is just a terrific actress.

Hall will leads an all-star cast as Michael C. Hall, Maria Dizzia, Kim Shaw, and Tracy Letts are all also on board the movie, which will screen as part of the U.S. Dramatic section of the festival.

Christine will kick off a busy year for the actress and this is one of her film projects that I am looking forward to the most.


- James Purefoy - Equity

Another British actor that is going to feature in a film in the U.S. Dramatic part of the festival, is James Purefoy as he is set to star in Equity.

Purefoy is set to take on a supporting role as Equity is the first female driven Wall Street movie, directed by Meera Menon and written by Amy Fox. This is the second feature film for Menon and is set to kick up a storm at the festival.

Purefoy will take on the role of Michael Connor and will star alongside Anna Gunn, Sarah Megan Thomas, Alysia Reiner, and Craig Bierko.

Equity follows a female investment banker fighting to rise to the top of the corporate ladder at a competitive Wall Street firm, leads a controversial tech IPO in the post financial crises world where regulations are tight but pressure to bring in 'big money' remains high.

Equity is set to be a great thriller full of deception and politics and I can't wait to see Purefoy and this great cast in action. Equity is one of two movies that Purefoy is set to star in at the beginning of 2016, as we are also going to see him in High-Rise.


- Daniel Radcliffe - Swiss Army Man

Ever since leaving the Harry Potter franchise behind, Daniel Radcliffe has been mixing and matching his roles and film genres... he is set to return with a very different role in Swiss Army Man.

Swiss Army Man sees Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert team up as they both make their feature film directorial debut - the duo have also penned the film's screenplay.

Radcliffe stars alongside Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Paul Dano in a film that follows a hopeless man in the wilderness who befriends a dead body. At this point, nothing much more is known about the film's plot.

It looks set to be a movie and a role that Radcliffe has never tackled before and it could well be one of the gems of the Sundance Film Festival this year when it screen as part of the U.S. Dramatic section.

Swiss Army Man

The Sundance Film Festival runs 21st - 31st January.

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