2020 Sundance Docs in Focus: SOME KIND OF HEAVEN

SOME KIND OF HEAVEN | Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by David Bolen

Lance Oppenheim profiles residents of America’s largest retirement community.

Festival Section:

Sundance Program Description:

Inside the palm-tree-lined streets of The Villages, America’s largest and most utopian retirement community in central Florida, we meet four residents living on the margins, struggling to find happiness. Referred to as the “Disneyland for Retirees,” this preplanned community offers perfectly manicured lawns, singles mixers, bocce ball, and countless activities to re-energize the golden years of life.

While most of “the Villagers” have bought into the packaged positivity, Barbara, Dennis, and couple Anne and Reggie each struggle to find their footing in this fantasy land as they seek new purpose, look for second love, and navigate the extremes of mental deterioration.

In his feature debut, filmmaker Lance Oppenheim, 2019 Sundance Ignite fellow, delicately balances the humor and absurdity of an outlandish setting with the deeply human experiences of those living within it. Lance’s strength as a filmmaker is epitomized through the subtle nuances of melancholy that lie within the fabric of this film. With strikingly composed cinematography, SOME KIND OF HEAVEN challenges our stereotypes around aging, emboldening its characters to live as vibrantly as possible in the time they have left.

Some Background:


  • Lance Oppenheim

    Oppenheimer, a recent Harvard University graduate, makes his feature debut following several shorts, including three Op-Docs for The New York Times.


  • Darren Aronofsky

    In addition to debuting his feature debut, PI, at Sundance, winning the Directing Award, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Aronofsky previously executive produced alumni fiction feature ZIPPER and VR experience SPHERES: SONGS OF SPACETIME.

  • Kathleen Lingo
    Past Sundance docs:

    DULCE (2019, short)
    ALONE (2017, short)
    NOTES ON BLINDNESS (2014, short)

    Lingo is editorial director for film and TV for The New York Times, and previously headed up the Op-Docs series. She also produced fellow 2020 Sundance doc feature TIME, in the US Documentary Competition.

  • Melissa Oppenheim Lano

    Lano is head of content development, global business marketing for Facebook. She has produced three of her brother Lance’s short docs.

  • Pacho Velez

    Velez is an acclaimed filmmaker best known for MANAKAMANA and THE REAGAN SHOW. He previously was the cinematographer for Sundance alumni short SKINNINGROVE.

  • Jeffrey Soros
    Past Sundance docs:

    A SMALL ACT (2010)

    Soros is co-CEO of production and finance company Los Angeles Media Fund, president of the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, president emeritus of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and a trustee of Creative Capital. He is also the producer of fellow 2020 Sundance NEXT title SUMMERTIME, US Dramatic Competition title SHIRLEY, and produced Sundance alumni fiction feature JULIET, NAKED.

  • Simon Horsman
    Past Sundance docs:

    Horsman is co-founder/co-CEO of Los Angeles Media Fund and a principal for Horsman Law Firm, which specializes in film and technology. He also produced SUMMERTIME and SHIRLEY, and executive produced JULIET, NAKED.


  • Christian Vazquez

    Vasquez is a fellow graduate of Oppenheim’s Visual and Environmental Studies department at Harvard. This is his first Sundance credit.

Executive Producers:

  • Ari Handel

    Neuroscientist-turned-film producer Handel previously executive produced alumni fiction feature ZIPPER and VR experience SPHERES: SONGS OF SPACETIME with Aronofsky through Protozoa Pictures.

  • Brendan Naylor
    Past Sundance docs:

    Naylor is a creative executive at Protozoa Pictures.

  • Morgan Earnest

    Earnest is SVP, corporate development and strategy at Los Angeles Media Fund. He is an associate producer on SHIRLEY.

  • Andrew Blau

    Blau is SVP, production at Los Angeles Media Fund. He is an executive producer on SUMMERTIME.

  • Jeff Orlowski
    Past Sundance docs:

    CHASING CORAL (2017)
    CHASING ICE(2012)

    The Emmy-winning Orlowski is the founder and director of Exposure Labs, which focuses on socially relevant projects. He is the director of fellow 2020 Sundance doc THE SOCIAL DILEMMA, in Documentary Premieres.

  • Trevor Groth

    Groth is with film financing company 30WEST and also executive produced fellow 2020 Sundance title NINE DAYS in the US Dramatic Competition. He was previously the director of programming for Sundance.

  • Jake Carter

    Carter is director of production for 30WEST.

  • Tristen Tuckfield

    Tuckfield is EVP of 30WEST.

  • Lindsay Crouse
    Past Sundance docs:


    Crouse is coordinating producer for Op-Docs at The New York Times.


  • Daniel Garber

    This is Garber’s first Sundance editing credit.

Assistant Editors:

  • David Shayne

    This is also Shayne’s first Sundance project.

  • Loulwa Khoury
    Past Sundance docs:

    CITY OF GHOSTS (2017)

Why You Should Watch:
Oppenheim has excelled in finding one-of-a-kind subjects who will leave an indelible mark on the minds of viewers. They embody a film – and a setting – that conveys a bittersweet feeling, but offset with moments of humor and whimsy that make the audience want to spend as much time as possible within.

More Info:
Sundance’s Meet the Artist Profile

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

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

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