Sundance 2022 is virtual again. Here are six Texas-related films to watch.

The virtual format allows folks anywhere to purchase single tickets to films or to buy passes that are good for many viewings.

By Laura RiceJanuary 17, 2022 2:35 pm, ,

Even casual film fans will recognize at least one name in the Texas-related lineup at the Sundance Film Festival this year. But the independent-focused fest is also all about highlighting what’s undiscovered.

The pandemic cancelled in-person activities in Utah in 2021. Festival planners had hoped to hold a hybrid event this year but recently pulled back to an all-virtual event. Single tickets and festival passes are still available. The film festival runs Jan. 20-30.

a still image from a boxing match from the 1990s between Oscar De La Hoya and Julio César Chávez

Courtesy of Sundance Institute

1. La Guerra Civil (Documentary, Premiere)

Eva Longoria Bastón is from Corpus Christi. Audiences know her, of course, primarily as an actress but she has really expanded her influence in the film industry. She has directed a lot of TV and previously directed another documentary.

La Guerra Civil” takes us back to the 1990s boxing rivalry of Oscar De La Hoya and Julio César Chávez and how it pitted Mexican-Americans against Mexican nationals.

a close-up of a Black man looking into the distance

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Participant

2. Descendant (U.S. Documentary Competition)

Director Margaret Brown lives in Austin. She’s been involved in a couple of documentaries including the film about Townes Van Zandt – “Be Here To Love Me.”

Descendant” is not based in Texas. It’s a really deep story about a community that is dealing with how it defines its identity and what its history means. The community has long known its ancestors were brought to the U.S. on an illegal slave ship. But “Descendant” focuses on if and how things change when the remains of that ship are discovered.

a blue light shines on a smiling Doris Muñoz in the film "Mija"

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Isabel Castro

3. Mija (Documentary)

Unlike the other films on this list, the director behind this film is not a Texan but this feature crosses briefly through Texas.

Mija” is about Doris Muñoz who has made big strides in creating more representation for Latinx artists in the music industry. One of the focuses of her attention is a young singer from Dallas, another daughter of immigrants, Jacks Haupt.

Cooper Raiff and Dakota Johnson speak outside of a doorway

Courtesy of Sundance Institute

4. Cha Cha Real Smooth (U.S. Dramatic Competition)

Cha Cha Real Smooth” is a narrative feature about an unlikely relationship among people supporting one another through different stages in life. It’s written, directed and costars Cooper Raiff, who is from Dallas. It also stars Dakota Johnson and Leslie Mann. Though he’s relatively new in the film industry, Raiff’s might be a name we start hearing more often.

brown, white and red paint on what appears to be cardboard

Courtesy of Sundance Institute

5. Soft Animals (Short)

Director Renee Zhan is from Houston. “Soft Animals” is unlike anything else. The visuals include paint, sketches and different kinds of animation, all rolled into one.

It’s easy to go down a rabbit hole with Zahn’s work because her website features some of her past shorts. While they’re all very different, they include a lot of adult themes presented in a way that’s very beautiful and artistic – though often also pretty dark.

a young Latina works at a desk

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Melinda James

6. Work (Short)

Director April Maxey is from San Antonio. She has worked a lot in shorts before and has taken on many different roles in the film industry. She is another one to keep an eye on, and she has been chosen to be part of a few prestigious directing labs.

Maxey is especially interested in focusing on underrepresented perspectives and bringing more attention to those. “Work” focuses on a young Latina who is trying to make her way forward after a tough breakup.

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