2021 Sundance Docs in Focus: SEARCHERS

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Asterlight

Pacho Velez explores online dating apps and the need for human connection during a time of enforced isolation.

Festival Section:

Sundance Program Description:

Is there anything worse than dating in New York City? Yes. It’s called dating in New York City during a pandemic—but at least in this film, you only have to watch others do it. Among those searching for their dream partner is Pacho Velez, the director of this charming and insightful documentary.

“What are you looking for?” Velez asks his subjects, a group of New Yorkers of all ages, races, genders, and sexual preferences. Their approaches to dating vary as much as their needs and expectations do. They talk about their experiences and fears, and we get to witness their swiping process in search of The One—or just The One For Now. Hope and excitement mix with the disillusion caused by living in this exhausting city that never sleeps (partially because everyone is busy ghosting one another).

Searchers is neither a thesis on online dating nor a grand statement on love and digital desire. Instead, Velez offers a bittersweet, utterly engaging take on the search for a human connection, which now feels more important than ever.

Some Background:

Pacho Velez
Past Sundance docs:

Velez is an acclaimed filmmaker best known for MANAKAMANA (winner, Locarno), THE REAGAN SHOW (Tribeca), and THE AMERICAN SECTOR (Berlin). He previously also shot Sundance alumni short SKINNINGROVE.

Joe Poletto
First Sundance credit. Founder, Asterlight. Poletto is a media and tech executive with a background that includes positions at Microsoft, WebTV, HBO, and Comedy Central. He previously executive produced THE AMERICAN SECTOR.

Cathy Tankosic
First Sundance credit. Tankosic has a background in brand strategy, media, and marketing, and previously was EVP, marketing for Al Jazeera America, with prior roles at Comedy Central, MTV Networks, and USA Network.

Sam Roseme
First Sundance credit. Roseme is an entertainment attorney. He previously executive produced THE AMERICAN SECTOR.

Milo Borsuk
First Sundance credit. Borsuk is a recent graduate of The New School’s Screen Studies department, where Pacho Velez is an assistant professor.

Associate Producers:
Erin May
First Sundance credit. May is a filmmaker and editor, and also studied at The New School.

Paige Simunovich
First Sundance credit. Simunovich also studied at The New School and has worked on projects by Jigsaw Productions and Imagine Documentaries.

More Info:


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

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