The film lineup for the 2020 Sundance Film Festival has broken several diversity records. There was a significant increase in the number of films about people of color and filmmakers of colors in the list of award nominees.
In the Dramatic Competition, the percentage of directors of color reached a record high of 56%. It was only 24% in the 2017 and 2018 festivals. Also, the number of films directed by people of color increased to 44% and the number of directors of color in all competition categories rose to 40%. In feature-length categories, 44 films were directed by at least one filmmaker of color. Seven of the 16 films in this category were about black characters. These include “Zola,” “Sylvie’s Love,” “Nine Days,” “Miss Juneteenth,” “Farewell Amor,” “Charm City Kings” and “The 40-Year-Old Version.”
In the Documentary Feature category, many of the films are about people of color. Some of the notables include “The Dissident,” directed by Bryan Fogel, “On the Record,” directed by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering and “The Fight,” directed by Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman and Eli B. Despres.
There was also an improvement in Latinx representation this year. Some of the notable films include “Four Good Days,” directed by Rodrigo Garcia, “Blast Beat,” directed by Esteban Arango, “Summertime,” directed by Carlos Lopez Estrada and “Charm City Kings,” directed by Angel Manuel Soto.
According to Sundance’s director of programming Kim Yutani, the diversity in this year’s lineup did not just happen. She said they continue to expand their partnerships and alliances and keep an open-ended goal for future programming initiatives. Yutani added that they do not work within quotas but within the broader context of representation.