The Sundance Film Festival kicked off in Park City, Utah on Thursday, promising dozens of independent films for its 50,000-plus attendees to check out.

Sundance 2016

This year, the Sundance Film Festival, founded by Robert Redford, will host 120 films from 37 countries. While last year yielded critically acclaimed films like Dope, The Wolfpack, Going Clear and Tangerine it remains to be seen which films will be the breakouts from Sundance 2016.

Here are 9 films on critics’ must-see lists:

The Birth of a Nation: Set in the antebellum South, The Birth of a Nation tells the true-life story of literate slave Nat Turner. After enduring and witnessing the ongoing horrors of slavery, he inspires a rebellion. As could be expected, his rebellion draws the ire of white slave holders. It was written and directed by Nate Parker.


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Other People: Saturday Night Live‘s Chris Kelly wrote and directed this comedy-drama about a struggling New York comic who happens to be gay. His plans on making it in entertainment get curtailed, however, when he is forced to return home to care for his dying mother.

Tallulah: Already acquired by Netflix, Tallulah, tells the story of a young woman who decides she has to save a toddler from her irresponsible mother. Despite the seemingly heavy subject matter, Tallulah, is a comedic drama that explores life’s crazier aspects. The film re-teams Ellen Page with her Juno costar Allison Janney.

The Lovers and the Despot: Ross Adam and Robert Cannan directed documentary film The Lovers and the Despot, which uses archival footage to go inside a shocking story involving late North Korea dictator Kim Jong-il. After South Korean director Shin Sang K and his leading lady Choi Eun-hee split, Kim John-il had them kidnapped and forced them to make him movies during their captivity.

Southside With You: Barack and Michelle Obama‘s first date gets the big screen treatment in Richard Tanne‘s directorial debut. The feature film, which stars Parker Sawyers and Tika Sumpter as the young lawyers, shows the future First Couple on their first sojourn through Chicago as a couple.

Certain Women: Kelly Reichardt brings together Michelle Williams, Laura Dern and Kristen Stewart for Certain Women, a relationship drama set in Montana. The latest from Reichardt is based on Maile Meloy‘s short story collection Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It and Half in Love.

Gleason: Gleason is a documentary about Steve Gleason, the former NFL star who suffers from A.L.S. His battle is carefully documented, showing his gradual paralysis that leaves him unable to move anything but his eyes, and his wife’s determined care for him. Clay Tweel directed the film.

Yoga Hosers: Kevin Smith directed Yoga Hosers, starring Lily-Rose Depp and Smith’s daughter Harley Quinn Smith as two teen yoga enthusiasts who refuse to let their party plans get derailed. Enlisting a man-hunter, the two take on “an ancient evil presence.” Johnny Depp joins his daughter in the film, as does Haley Joel Osment, Adam Brody, Justin Long and Natasha Lyonne among others.

Equity: Breaking Bad star Anna Gunn anchors Equity, a film about women in the cutthroat world of Wall Street trying to take companies public. Directed by Meera Menon, Equity also stars Orange is the New Black’s Alysia Reiner and Carrie Preston.

Sundance runs Jan. 21-31.

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