Provided by Sundance Institute

This year, Sundance Film Festival viewers will be able to see the passion and dedication of a handful of aspiring football players, experience a fight for survival on a remote Arctic island, and witness the immense political and social change in the United States during the 1960s.

These stories and more are portrayed in the 13 films that make up the festival's Sundance Kids and Utah Student Screening Series. They may also be the best options for audiences that are “concerned about content,” according to the organization’s website.

The festival runs from Jan. 22 through Feb. 1. Visit sundance.org for a schedule of times and locations where the films will be screened.

"Shaun the Sheep"
Provided by Sundance Institute

Sundance Kids

Shaun the Sheep first gained his fame in the stop-motion animation Wallace & Gromit short film “A Close Shave.” This time around, the mischievous sheep leads his flock on an adventure to the big city to rescue their farmer when he’s taken from the farm.

Patrick Hubley, artistic director for the Utah Film Center, which partnered with Sundance to recommend films for children, said “Shaun the Sheep” has been highly anticipated as it is a work by Aardman Animations, which is also known for creating “Chicken Run” and “Flushed Away.”

“Their stop-motion animation has historically been some of the best animation out there, in my opinion,” he said.

The first Sundance Kids screening will be the world-premiere screening of the film, showing just one day before its UK premiere, a distinction that Trevor Groth, director of programming for the Sundance Film Festival, says the organization is “humbled” and “honored” to hold.

"Operation Arctic"
Provided by Sundance Institute

Sundance Kids

A 13-year-old girl and her younger twin sisters move to a new city with their mother but decide to stow away on a helicopter to visit their father after they face trouble at their new school. Things don’t go as planned, however, and the girls end up stranded on an Arctic island without food, shelter or a way to call home.

“It’s about finding inner strength but also understanding that actions have repercussions on others as well,” Hubley said.

He also said “Operation Arctic” is “a bit of an edge-of-your-seat” film and warns that there are a few moments that may be a bit scary but aren’t “overly terrifying."

The film will be shown in Norwegian with English subtitles. Audience members will also have the option of wearing headsets to hear a subtitle reader.

"The Games Maker"
Provided by Sundance Institute

Sundance Kids

A boy receives a comic book on his 10th birthday that contains an advertisement seeking submissions for a game-making competition sponsored by a shady organization. He enters the competition despite his father’s protests and wins. But when his parents turn up missing in what appears to be a ballooning accident, the young boy goes on a journey to discover what really happened to them and to meet the head of the company who selected his game as the winner.

While the film contains aspects of adventure, Hubley said it is also a “coming of age” story of sorts as the boy discovers more about himself and his family while pursuing his dreams.

“The Games Maker” is included in the Sundance Film Festival schedule as part of Sundance Kids and the Utah Student Screening Series.

"Most Likely to Succeed"
Provided by Sundance Institute

Utah Student Screening Series

This documentary seeks to show that the U.S. educational system is the reason why a college degree no longer guarantees employment. Director and producer Greg Whiteley, who attended Brigham Young University for his undergraduate degree and is known for directing the documentary “Mitt,” follows students, teachers and parents who are exposed to project-based learning to explore if this education model better prepares students for a job market deeply rooted in technology and collaboration.

"Racing Extinction"
Provided by Sundance Institute

Utah Student Screening Series

The Sundance Film Festival website calls “Racing Extinction” an “urgent, affirming call to action” in the form of a documentary. The film explores the consequences and dangers associated with many of the world’s animal species facing extinction by using images to illustrate man’s involvement in the process.

"Umrika"
Provided by Sundance Institute

Utah Student Screening Series

Ramakant grows up anxiously awaiting letters from his older brother, who left their small Indian village to live in America. The letters inspire the family left behind in India until tragedy and secrets emerge and Ramakant sets out on a journey of his own to find his brother, creating “a touching portrait of one young man's march toward his own destiny,” according to sundance.org. The film is in Hindi with English subtitles.

"Dark Horse"
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Utah Student Screening Series

A barmaid in a small Welsh village convinces a group of locals to join her in trying their hand at horseracing. Together they provide the funds to raise a racehorse named Dream Alliance. Through triumphs and injuries, Dream Alliance becomes an unlikely success story in what sundance.org refers to as a “life-affirming underdog story.”

"How to Dance in Ohio"
Provided by Sundance Institute

Utah Student Screening Series

Director Alexandra Shiva takes viewers on a journey of “humor and heartbreak” by following a group of autistic youths in Ohio, according to sundance.org. The documentary features the youths as they role-play, practice and prepare for their spring formal and the social interactions that accompany the tradition.

"Advantageous"
Provided by Sundance Institute

Utah Student Screening Series

This film is set in the future and tells the story of Gwen Koh, a mother and the spokeswoman for a company that focuses on using its groundbreaking technology to help people overcome weaknesses. Koh’s priorities are tested, however, when the company drastically changes its strategy. Director Jannifer Phang suggests in an online introduction video that the film explores what it means to be a mother, what it means to be selfless and whether true selflessness exits.

"In Football We Trust"
Provided by Sundance Institute

Utah Student Screening Series

This film explores the growing trend and success of Samoans and Tongans playing football professionally.

Filmmakers follow four Polynesian high school football players over the course of four years as they balance their love of the sport with societal and cultural pressures.

“Charismatic, passionate and determined, the players' love of family is matched only by their love of this most American sport that seems to flow through their veins,” a summary on the Sundance Film Festival website states.

This film will be of particular interest to football fans in the state of Utah. Tony Vainuku and Erika Conhn, both of Salt Lake City, direct the film, which features several prominent names such as current BYU linebacker Harvey Langi, Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Haloti Ngata, Carolina Panthers defensive lineman and former Ute Star Lotulelei, and former BYU and NFL standout Vai Sikahema.

"Me and Earl and the Dying Girl"
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Utah Student Screening Series

Greg, an awkward high school student, is content having only one friend, Earl, and spending his time making homemade movies. His mother has different ideas and convinces Greg to befriend Rachel, a girl who has been diagnosed with leukemia. To everyone’s surprise, the two quickly become friends. Things grow increasingly complicated, however, as Rachel’s illness takes greater effect each day. It’s billed as a film that will simultaneously “tickle your funny bone and tug at your heart,” according to sundance.org.

"The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution"
Provided by Sundance Institute

Utah Student Screening Series

The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense is well-known for being at the center of change during the 1960s. “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” combines archival footage and interviews from people who had a front row seat to the party’s activity, including journalists, police, loyal party members and those who left the activist group. The festival’s website calls it “a vibrant, human, living and breathing chronicle.”

"Sembene!"
Provided by Sundance Institute

A combination of interviews and archival footage are presented in “Sembene!” to paint a picture of Ousmane Sembene’s work and life as “the father of African film” who traveled across the world producing and sharing films about his people in Senegal. The result, according to sundance.org, is a documentary “highlighting how (a story) can plant a seed of thought that crosses generations.”