Netflix has become the world’s biggest source of online streaming content in part on the strength of its growing list of original programming. Since breaking ground with acclaimed original series like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, the streaming giant has since added dozens of popular original shows like Stranger Things, Sense8, and Bloodline. They’ve even taken part in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with shows like Marvel’s Daredevil, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, in addition to the upcoming Iron Fist and The Defenders.
Most of Netflix’s original programming has been limited to TV shows, until recent years; the network has also begun expanding to original movies and documentaries. The network has already released dozens of documentaries like Making a Murderer and 13th, and has also dabbled in original movies like 2015’s Beasts of No Nation. A fresh batch of Netflix original movies and docs, however, is about to debut at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival.
Netflix unveiled its newest slate of upcoming original movies and documentaries on Monday, detailing a slew of “diverse” originals set to make their world premieres at Sundance, which begins on Jan. 19, 2017 in Park City, Utah. Chief among the releases is Burning Sands, which premieres on Netflix on March 10, 2017. The movie, directed by Gerard McMurray, tells the story of a fraternity pledge who is torn between honoring a code of silence and resisting the increasingly violent hazing practices during the frat’s “Hell Week.”
Also on the docket for Netflix original movies is Deidra & Laney Rob a Train, which follows two teens who start robbing trains to make ends meet after their mother ends up in jail. I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore tells the story of a woman (Melanie Lynskey) and her neighbor (Elijah Wood) who get in over their heads battling back against a pack of dangerous criminals. The Discovery, which stars Jason Segel, Rooney Mara, Robert Redford, and Jesse Plemons, is “a love story set in a world where the afterlife has been scientifically proven, and as a result millions of people start taking their own lives to ‘get there.’”
Leading the way for Netflix original documentaries hitting Sundance is the second installment of docu-series Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On, which continues to examine how the Internet and technology have disrupted and changed the way people live their sex lives and find relationships. The Mars Generation chronicles the history of Earth’s exploration of the red planet through the eyes of teens who wish to be the first to step foot on it, while Abstract: The Art of Design takes a closer look at some of the world’s most innovative designers in a variety of disciplines.
Netflix’s newest slate of original movies and documentaries is certainly an ambitious one, especially considering that they submitted them to a field of movies as competitive as those found at Sundance. The network is clearly betting big on its own original programming, which was already vast, with this new group of content. While most of Netflix’s original shows have been hugely successful to this point, their movies and docs have been more hit-and-miss: the network is hopeful that the upcoming slate to be featured at Sundance represents a leap forward.