Sundance ’21: “In The Same Breath”, “Summer of Soul” among doc selection

Nanfu Wang’s In the Same Breath and Ahmir “Queslove” Thompson’s Summer of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) are among the films selected for the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. The ...
December 15, 2020

Nanfu Wang’s In the Same Breath and Ahmir “Queslove” Thompson’s Summer of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) are among the films selected for the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.

The Sundance Institute announced the showcase of independent work selected across multiple categories for its flagship festival today (Dec. 15).

As previously announced, the 2021 festival will take place digitally via the institute’s online platform and in person on Satellite Screens across the U.S. (public health permitting) from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3.

Wang’s In The Same Breath (pictured; produced by Wang, Jialing Zhang, Julie GoldmanChristopher Clements and Carolyn Hepburn) presents a firsthand account of the coronavirus and how propaganda and patriotism shaped the outbreak’s course in China and the U.S.; while Thompson’s Summer Of Soul (produced by David Dinerstein, Robert Fyvolent and Joseph Patel) tells the story of the Harlem Cultural Festival, held during the same summer as Woodstock.

Summer of Soul is joined by eight other titles selected for the festival’s U.S. Documentary Competition. All films in the section are world premieres, with 64% of the 11 directors identifying as women; 73% as Black, Indigenous or as a person of color; and 9% as LGBTQ+.

In The Same Breath is one of 14 films selected for the festival’s Premieres section, a showcase of world premieres of highly anticipated fiction and non-fiction films.

Summer of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) and In The Same Breath are among the films debuting on the online platform on day one to open the festival, including Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s Flee (selected for the World Cinema Documentary Competition).

Overall, the 2021 slate includes 140 films and projects, with 50% directed by one or more women; 4% directed by one or more nonbinary individuals; 51% directed by one or more artists of color; and 15% by one or more people who identify as LGBTQ+.

In the World Documentary Competition, 50% of the 12 directors identify as women.

Of the 72 feature films selected for this year’s event, 47% were directed by one or more women; 3% were directed by one or more nonbinary individuals; 43% were directed by one or more filmmakers who identify as Black, Indigenous or as a person of color; and 8% by one or more filmmakers who identify as LGBTQ+.

“This Festival is a singular response to a singular year – both in design and curation — and we are excited about the new dimensions of possibility it will reveal. But at its core is something that speaks to our most enduring values,” said Tabitha Jackson, director of the Sundance Film Festival. “In this pandemic year, we gather to celebrate a constellation of artists with unique perspectives that express this current moment and who together are saying, ‘We exist. This is who we are. And this is what we see.’”

Below is a list of films in the 2021 Sundance Film Festival documentary slate. To see a full list of films, visit the Sundance Institute website.


Ailey (U.S.)
Director: Jamila Wignot
Producer: Lauren DeFilippo
World Premiere

All Light, Everywhere (U.S.)
Director: Theo Anthony
Producers: Riel Roch-Decter, Sebastian Pardo, Jonna McKone
World Premiere

At the Ready (U.S.)
Director: Maisie Crow
Producers: Hillary Pierce, Maisie Crow, Abbie Perrault
World Premiere

Cusp (U.S.)
Directors: Parker Hill, Isabel Bethencourt
Producers: Zachary Luke Kislevitz, Parker Hill, Isabel Bethencourt
World Premiere

Homeroom (U.S.)
Director: Peter Nicks
Producers: Peter Nicks, Sean Havey
World Premiere

Rebel Hearts (U.S.)
Director: Pedro Kos
Producers: Kira Carstensen, Shawnee Isaac-Smith, Judy Korin
World Premiere

Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It (U.S.)
Director: Mariem Pérez Riera
Producers: Brent Miller, Mariem Pérez Riera, Ilia J. Vélez-Dávila
World Premiere

Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (U.S.)
Director: Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
Producers: David Dinerstein, Robert Fyvolent, Joseph Patel
World Premiere.

Try Harder!
Director: Debbie Lum
Producers: Debbie Lum, Lou Nakasako, Nico Opper
World Premiere

Users (U.S., Mexico)
Director: Natalia Almada
Producers: Elizabeth Lodge Stepp, Josh Penn
World Premiere


Faya Dayi (Ethiopia, U.S.)
Director, Screenwriter and Producer: Jessica
World Premiere

Flee (Denmark, France, Sweden, Norway)
Director: Jonas Poher Rasmussen
Producers: Monica Hellström, Signe Byrge Sørensen
World Premiere.

Inconvenient Indian (Canada)
Director and Screenwriter: Michelle Latimer
Producers: Stuart Henderson, Justine Pimlott, Jesse Wente
International Premiere

Misha and the Wolves (UK, Belgium)
Director and Screenwriter: Sam Hobkinson
Producers: Poppy Dixon, Al Morrow, Matthew Wells, Gregory Zalcman, Jürgen Buedts
World Premiere

The Most Beautiful Boy in the World (Sweden)
Directors: Kristina Lindström, Kristian Petri
Producer: Stina Gardell
World Premiere

Playing With Sharks (Australia)
Director and Screenwriter: Sally Aitken
Producer: Bettina Dalton
World Premiere

President (Denmark, U.S., Norway)
Director: Camilla Nielsson
Producers: Signe Byrge Sørensen, Joslyn Barnes
World Premiere

Sabaya (Sweden)
Director and Screenwriter: Hogir Hirori
Producers: Antonio Russo Merenda, Hogir Hirori
World Premiere

Taming the Garden (Switzerland, Germany, Georgia)
Director Salomé Jashi
Producers: Vadim Jendreyko, Erik Winker, Martin Roelly, Salomé Jashi
World Premiere

Writing With Fire (India)
Directors and Producers: Rintu Thomas, Sushmit
World Premiere


Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir (U.S.)
Director: James Redford
Producers: Karen Pritzker, Cassandra Jabola
World Premiere

Bring Your Own Brigade (U.S.)
Director and Screenwriter: Lucy Walker
Producers: Lucy Walker, Julian Cautherley, Holly Becker, Lyn Lear
World Premiere

In The Same Breath (U.S.)
Director: Nanfu Wang
Producers: Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang, Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, Carolyn Hepburn
World Premiere

My Name is Pauli Murray (U.S.)
Directors: Betsy West, Julie Cohen
Producer: Talleah Bridges McMahon
World Premiere

Philly D.A. (U.S.)
Created By: Ted Passon, Yoni Brook, Nicole Salazar
Producers: Ted Passon, Yoni Brook, Nicole Salazar, Josh Penn, Michael Gottwald
World Premiere, Episodic Documentary

The Sparks Brothers (UK)
Director: Edgar Wright
Producers: Nira Park, Edgar Wright, George Hencken, Laura Richardson
World Premiere

Street Gang: How We Got To Sesame Street (U.S.)
Director: Marilyn Agrelo
Producers: Trevor Crafts, Ellen Scherer Crafts, Lisa Diamond
World Premiere

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.