2022 Sundance Film Festival: ‘Cha Cha Real Smooth’ Horror Film ‘Nanny’ Wins Big, Entertainment News

“Nanny,” a supernatural thriller about an undocumented immigrant working for a wealthy New York family, won the top prize at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday.

Starring Anna Diop and Michelle Monaghan, Nikyatu Jusu’s feature debut depicts the sacrifices Senegalese nanny Aisha makes to leave her home country and her young son to build a new life for herself.

“In America in particular, we haven’t seen enough films that truly reflect the disproportionate level of black and brown women… the servants who keep this country afloat,” Jusu said during a virtual panel at the festival.

“I wanted to center women who are usually on the periphery of other women’s stories,” said Jusu, a first-generation American whose family is from Sierra Leone.

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Diop, the film star who is also known for the TV series “Titans”, was born in Senegal and moved to the United States as a child.

The film, which draws on the horror genre and African folklore as well as issues of race and motherhood, does not yet have a release date. Sundance, which celebrates independent cinema, was forced to go virtual for a second consecutive year by the surge in Covid-19 cases across the United States driven by the Omicron variant.

The festival founded by Robert Redford usually takes place in the mountains of the US state of Utah.

The festival’s documentary prize went to “The Exiles,” in which filmmaker Christine Choy tracks down three dissidents exiled from China’s Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989.

The separate Audience Award for Best Drama went to “Cha Cha Real Smooth,” starring Dakota Johnson as an older, committed woman who begins a flirtatious relationship with a directionless recent college grad – played by the writer-director Cooper Raiff.

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The film was picked up by Apple TV+ during the festival for $15 million, the biggest deal to date at this year’s event.

And ‘Navalny’, a secret new Wall-to-Wall documentary from critic Alexei Navalny, which was added to the festival lineup at the last minute, won the People’s Documentary Award.

Director Daniel Roher said he wanted the film to spark “global outrage and outcry” over Navalny’s imprisonment.

The film, which will air on CNN and HBO Max later this year, follows Russia’s opposition leader – along with his family and aides – during the five months he spent in Germany recovering from a poisoning in late 2020 and early 2021.

“I want every human being on planet Earth to know the name Alexei Navalny,” Roher said.

“I want this name to be associated with a grotesque injustice perpetrated by the Russian state against a man who survived an attempted murder and then was arrested for simply surviving.”

Sundance lasts until Sunday.

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