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Sundance Adds Docs About Evan Rachel Wood and Wealth Inequality to Virtual Lineup

New films from Abigail E. Disney and Amy Berg will premiere as Special Screenings

Sundance has added two documentaries to its special screenings lineup ahead of the virtual festival kicking off next week, including a film about actress Evan Rachel Wood and another about America’s wealth inequality.

Amy Berg directs “Phoenix Rising,” which documents Wood’s activist work as a survivor of domestic violence and how she has sought to pursue justice, including with her Phoenix Act from 2019. And Abigail E. Disney and Kathleen Hughes direct “The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales,” which looks at the wealth gap between America’s richest and poorest through the lens of the Disney family experience specifically.

In the case of “Phoenix Rising,” the plot synopsis for the film says that Wood takes the step to name her infamous abuser for the first time. And while it doesn’t describe the individual by name, Wood early last year accused her ex-fiance, musician Marilyn Manson, of grooming and abusing her for years, accusations he has denied but that led to the singer being dropped from his labels and more.

“Phoenix Rising” is also a two-part documentary that will air on HBO in the coming months, and only the first part will be premiering at the festival. “The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales” is a world premiere.

Both films will be part of the Special Screenings section and will stream as part of the virtual festival through its viewing platform The Spaceship. The festival runs from Jan. 20-30, and single-ticket sales begin Thursday.

The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales Abigail E. Disney
“The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales”/Courtesy of Sundance Institute

“We’re so pleased to welcome these two dynamic films into our program,” Kim Yutani, the Festival’s director of programming, said in a statement. “These bold, compelling, provocative documentaries tell indelible stories each from a searing first person perspective that we know will spark critical dialogue.”

View the full synopsis descriptions for each film below:

The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales / U.S.A. (Directors: Abigail E. Disney, Kathleen Hughes, Producers: Abigail E. Disney, Kathleen Hughes, Aideen Kane) — Abigail Disney looks at America’s dysfunctional and unequal economy and asks why the American Dream has worked for the wealthy, yet is a nightmare for people born with less. As a way to imagine a more equitable future, Disney uses her family’s story to explore how this systemic injustice took hold. World Premiere.

Phoenix Rising / U.S.A. (Director: Amy Berg, Producers: Kirsten Sheridan, Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller) — Actress and activist Evan Rachel Wood takes her experience as a survivor of domestic violence to pursue justice, heal generational trauma, and reclaim her story in a culture that instinctively blames women. The film intimately charts her journey as she moves toward naming her infamous abuser for the first time. World Premiere. Phoenix Rising is a two part documentary, part one will be premiering.