Skip to content

2023 Sundance Film Festival: Local Lens Announced

2023 Sundance Film Festival: Local Lens Announced

The nonprofit Sundance Institute announced today the 2023 Sundance Film Festival: Local Lens program, a free summer screening series, with tickets available now. Taking place July 26-29, the program will provide Utahns with free indoor and outdoor screenings of some of the 2023 Sundance Film Festival’s most talked about movies, many of them not yet released, over an exciting weekend filled with events curated for local storytellers, filmmakers and actors in attendance, film intros, and Q&As. Talent scheduled to attend to introduce their films and participate in Q&As following the screenings includes actor Anaita Wali Zada (Fremont), director Tracy Droz Tragos (PLAN C), and director Joe Brewster (Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project). Tickets can be reserved online at

“Celebrating Utah is always rewarding – in the spirit of continuing our ongoing connection with film lovers in our home state this summer, we’ll screen a fascinating variety of films across venues Utahns know and love,” said Joana Vicente, CEO, Sundance Institute. “Our roots here are strong and we’re so excited to share these diverse documentaries and fiction offerings with our beloved local audience.”

Please see below for more information and the schedule of upcoming events:

2023 Sundance Film Festival: Local Lens Schedule

Wednesday, July 26, 2023 at 9:00 PM: The Deepest Breath Screening
Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre – Outdoor Screening

2188 Red Butte Canyon Rd, Salt Lake City, UT 84108

The Deepest Breath / U.K., Ireland (Director and Screenwriter: Laura McGann, Producers: John Battsek, Sarah Thomson, Jamie D’Alton, Anne McLoughlin) — A champion freediver and expert safety diver seemed destined for one another despite the different paths they took to meet at the pinnacle of the freediving world. A look at the thrilling rewards — and inescapable risks — of chasing dreams through the depths of the ocean. Distributed by Netflix. Documentary.

Thursday, July 27, 2023 at 9:00 PM: The Pod Generation Screening

City Park – Outdoor Screening

1400 Sullivan Rd, Park City, UT 84060

The Pod Generation / Belgium, France, U.K. (Director and Screenwriter: Sophie Barthes, Producers: Geneviève Lemal, Yann Zenou, Nadia Kamlichi, Martin Metz) — In a not-so-distant future, amid a society madly in love with technology, tech giant Pegazus offers couples the opportunity to share their pregnancies via detachable artificial wombs or pods. And so begins Rachel and Alvy’s wild ride to parenthood in this brave new world. Distributed by Roadside Attractions/Vertical Entertainment. Cast: Emilia Clarke, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rosalie Craig, Vinette Robinson, Jean-Marc Barr. Fiction.

Friday, July 28, 2023 at 11:00 AM: Artists Event- Filmmaking Deep Dive: Pitching Your Project

*Location forthcoming

This event is geared to fiction or nonfiction directors, producers, editors, and other artists, but is also open to the general public upon RSVP

This event offers four emerging Utah filmmaking teams the opportunity to pitch their feature-length projects to a panel of industry experts and receive feedback on their film idea, plus on the process of pitching itself – valuable information for any filmmaker. Pitching teams will be nominated by local Utah arts organizations and selected by Sundance Institute staff. The panel will include producers Andrea Meditch, Anish Savjani, and Bob Moore, and Basil Tsiokos (Senior Programmer, Sundance Film Festival). The event will be moderated by Eugene Hernandez (Director of the Sundance Film Festival and head of public programming).

Friday, July 28, 2023 at 7:00 PM: KOKOMO CITY Screening

Broadway Centre Cinemas – Indoor Screening

111 E. Broadway 300 S., Salt Lake City, UT 84111

KOKOMO CITY / U.S.A. (Director and Producer: D. Smith, Producers: Harris Doran, Bill Butler) — This unfiltered documentary passes the mic to four Black transgender sex workers in Atlanta and New York City – Daniella Carter, Koko Da Doll, Liyah Mitchell and Dominique Silver – as they hold nothing back while breaking down the walls of their profession. Distributed by Magnolia Pictures. Documentary.

Friday, July 28, 2023 at 9:00 PM: Polite Society Screening

City Park – Outdoor Screening

1400 Sullivan Rd, Park City, UT 84060

Polite Society / U.K. (Director and Screenwriter: Nida Manzoor, Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Olivier Kaempfer, John Pocock) —  A merry mash up of sisterly affection, parental disappointment, and bold action, Polite Society follows martial artist-in-training Ria Khan, who believes she must save her older sister Lena from her impending marriage. After enlisting the help of her friends, Ria attempts to pull off the most ambitious of all wedding heists in the name of independence and sisterhood. Distributed by Focus Features. Cast: Priya Kansara, Ritu Arya, Nimra Bucha, Akshay Khanna, Seraphina Beh, Ella Bruccoleri. Fiction.

Friday, July 28, 2023 at 11:30 PM: birth/rebirth Screening

Broadway Centre Cinemas – Indoor Screening

111 E. Broadway 300 S., Salt Lake City, UT 84111

birth/rebirth / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Laura Moss, Screenwriter: Brendan J. O’Brien, Producers: Mali Elfman, David Grove Churchill Viste) — A single mother and a childless morgue technician are bound together by their relationship to a little girl they have reanimated from the dead. Distributed by Shudder. Cast: Marin Ireland, Judy Reyes, A.J. Lister, Breeda Wool. Fiction.

Saturday, July 29, 2023 at 2:00 PM: PLAN C Screening

Megaplex Theatres at The Gateway – Indoor Screening

400 West 200 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84101

*Director Tracy Droz Tragos to introduce the film and participate in a post-screening discussion following the screening

PLAN C / U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Tracy Droz Tragos) — With a controversial visionary at the helm, a grassroots network fights to expand access to abortion pills across the United States keeping hope alive during a global pandemic and the fall of Roe v. Wade. Documentary.

Saturday, July 29, 2023 at 5:00 PM: Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project Screening

Megaplex Theatres at Valley Fair Mall – Indoor Screening

3620 S 2400 W, West Valley City, UT 84119

*Director Joe Brewster to introduce the film and participate in a Q&A following the screening. Prior to the screening, Michaëlle Martial from Poetry on Main will read poetry from Nikki Giovanni and Michaëlle’s recent collection.

Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project / U.S.A. (Directors and Producers: Joe Brewster, Michèle Stephenson, Producer: Tommy Oliver) — Through intimate vérité, archival footage, and visually innovative treatments of her poetry, Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project pushes the boundaries of biographical documentary film by traveling through time and space to reveal the enduring influence of one of America’s greatest living artists and social commentator. Documentary.

Saturday, July 29, 2023 at 8:00 PM: Fremont Screening

Megaplex Theatres at Valley Fair Mall – Indoor Screening

3620 S 2400 W, West Valley City, UT 84119

*Actor Anaita Wali Zada to introduce the film and participate in a Q&A following the screening

Fremont / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Babak Jalali, Screenwriter: Carolina Cavalli, Producers: Marjaneh Moghimi, Sudnya Shroff, Rachael Fung, George Rush, Chris Martin, Laura Wagner) — Donya works for a Chinese fortune cookie factory in San Francisco. Formerly a translator for the U.S. military in Afghanistan, she struggles to put her life back in order. In a moment of sudden revelation, she decides to send out a special message in a cookie. Distributed by Music Box Films. Cast: Anaita Wali Zada, Jeremy Allen White, Gregg Turkington. Fiction.

Saturday, July 29, 2023 at 9:00 PM: Food and Country Screening

3 Springs Land & Livestock – Outdoor Screening

580 W Weber Canyon Road, Oakley, UT 84055

The screening is presented by Slow Food Utah and Sundance Institute

Food and Country / U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Laura Gabbert, Producers: Ruth Reichl, Paula P. Manzanedo, Caroline Libresco) — Worried about the survival of small farmers, ranchers, and chefs hobbled by America’s policy of producing cheap food, trailblazing food writer Ruth Reichl reaches across political and social divides to report on the country’s broken food system and the innovators risking everything to transform it. Documentary.

In addition to the Local Lens programming, the Institute also partnered with the Salt Lake City Arts Council for two screenings of Festival short films at the Living Traditions Festival (May 19-21) and with the Park City Summit County Arts Council for a screening of Going Varsity in Mariachi at the Latino Arts Festival (June 13-18).

To register for screenings and events, please visit:

Sundance Institute’s Utah Community Program is supported by Host State State of Utah; Principal Sponsor Zions Bank; Major Sponsors Acura; Adobe; and University of Utah Health; and Community Supporters Salt Lake County; Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts & Parks (ZAP); Utah Department of Cultural & Community Engagement; Peggy Bergmann; Summit County Recreation, Arts, and Parks (RAP) Tax; George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation; and Salt Lake City Arts Council.