2017 Sundance Docs in Focus: GIVE ME FUTURE

give me futureGIVE ME FUTURE
Austin Peters chronicles EDM band Major Lazer’s massive free concert in Havana.

Festival Section:
Documentary Premieres

Sundance Program Description:

2015 was a landmark year for electronic dancehall superband Major Lazer. After topping the EDM charts with their international hit single “Lean On,” the band continued its world tour, mounting elaborate shows not only in traditional destinations, but also in more challenging locations around the globe. Fueled by a dream of “making the world smaller by making the party bigger,” the group furthered their mission of peace through music with a free concert in the unlikeliest of venues – downtown Havana, Cuba, where no American band at the height of their fame had previously been allowed to perform. Without knowing whether anyone in the country even knew who they were, they hoped to reach a potential crowd of 50,000. After half a million exuberant fans showed up, music history was made on a massive scale.

In what began as a concert film intended to document this groundbreaking event, director Austin Peters turns the camera on a burgeoning youth movement, fusing exhilarating performance footage with authentic stories of cultural and political shifts in a country on the precipice of change.

Some Background:

  • Austin Peters
    This is the Peters’ first documentary feature and his debut at Sundance.


  • Jack Turner
    Past Sundance docs:

    ME @THE ZOO_

    Turner is a veteran development and production exec and currently head of scripted and digital content at Matador. He also produced or executive produced Sundance narrative alums WE ARE WHAT WE ARE (2013) and COLD IN JULY (2014).

  • Jay Peterson
    Past Sundance docs:

    UNTUCKED (short) (2014, executive producer)

    Peterson is a founder and CEO of Matador with an extensive background in television.

Supervising Producers:

  • Leah Culton Gonzalez and Eve Frederick
    This marks the first Sundance credit for Matador’s EVP and executive in charge of production, respectively.

Story Producer:

  • Jauretsi Saizarbitoria
    This is Saizarbitoria first Sundance film. Her previous films have also dealt with Cuba and music.

Executive Producers:

  • Andrew Mcinnes and Kevin Kusatsu
    Mcinnes and Kusatsu are the founders of TMWRK Management, which manages Major Lazer. Kusatsu previously music supervised Sundance narrative DANDELION (2004).

  • Noah Rothman
    This is the first Sundance project for the Underground manager.

  • Wesley Pentz AKA Diplo
    This is the first Sundance credit for the Major Lazer co-creator and frontman.

  • Todd Lubin
    Lubin is a co-founder of Matador. He previously produced Sundance narrative alum BROTHER TIED (1998).


  • Sheila Shirazi
    Shirazi was an additional editor for Sundance narrative alum WINTER’S BONE (2010).

  • Zac Stuart-Pontier
    Past Sundance docs:

    THE JINX: THE LIFE AND DEATHS OF ROBERT DURST (2015, co-producer/editor)
    CATFISH (2010, co-producer, editor)
    EVERYTHING’S COOL (2007, assistant editor)

  • Ezra Paek
    This is Paek’s first Sundance credit.

  • Eugene Yi
    Yi was an assistant editor for Sundance narrative alum MARGIN CALL (2010).

  • Nathan Carpenter
    This is Carpenter’s first Sundance project.

Assistant Editors:

  • Pete Hedberg
    This is the first Sundance credit for Hedberg.

  • Andres Arias
    Past Sundance docs:

    CARTEL LAND (2015, assistant editor)

Why You Should Watch:
Even for viewers who may not be familiar with Major Lazer, Peters’ film captures a true spectacle in the reception of their Havana performance, while weaving in intriguing profiles about life in Cuba, especially in following how Cubans become aware of and disseminate global pop culture.

More Info:
For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

To experience the festival through the eyes of this year’s filmmakers, follow my Sundance 2017 Twitter list.


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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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