World premiere for Natalie Erika James’ ‘Relic’ at Sundance

‘Relic’. (Photo: Ben King)

Natalie Erika James’ debut feature, psychological horror movie Relic will have its world premiere in the Midnight section of the Sundance Film Festival.

Co-written by James and Christian White, the film stars Emily Mortimer, Robyn Nevin and Bella Heathcote in the tale of three generations of women – daughter, mother and grandmother – who are haunted by a manifestation of aged dementia that takes over their family home.

Carver Films’ Anna McLeish and Sarah Shaw produced with Nine Stories’ Jake Gyllenhaal and Riva Marker. Anthony and Joe Russo (directors of Marvel’s Captain America and Avengers franchise), Todd Makurath and Mike Larocca executive produced and co-financed via their upstart studio AGBO, which handles international sales.

It was the second film developed through Screen Australia’s Gender Matters program to go into production, following Ride Like a Girl.

Umbrella will distribute the film funded by Screen Australia and Film Victoria. The festival runs from January 23–February 2.

Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook is among the films that premiered in the Midnight section in recent years, along with Greener Grass, Hereditary, Assassination Nation and The Little Hours.

The Sundance Festival announced 118 features representing 27 countries and 44 first-time feature filmmakers will screen the the event.

Of the 65 directors in all four competition categories, comprising 56 films, 46 per cent are women, 38 per cent are people of colour, and 12 per cent are LGBTQ+.

These films were selected from a record high of 15,100 submissions including 3,853 features. Of the feature film submissions, 1,698 were from the US and 2,155 were international.