Sundance 2022 is virtual again. Here are six Texas-related movies to watch.

Even casual moviegoers will recognize at least one name in the Texas-related lineup at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. But the independence-focused festival is also about highlighting the undiscovered.

The pandemic canceled in-person activities in Utah in 2021. Festival organizers had hoped to hold a hybrid event this year, but recently reverted to an all-virtual event. Single tickets and festival passes are still available. The film festival runs from January 20 to 30.

Courtesy of Sundance Institute

1. La Guerra Civil (Documentary, Premiere)

Eva Longoria Bastón comes from Corpus Christi. Audiences know her, of course, primarily as an actress, but she has really expanded her influence in the film industry. She has directed many TV shows and has already directed another documentary.

“La Guerra Civil” takes us back to the 1990s boxing rivalry between Oscar De La Hoya and Julio César Chávez and how it pitted Mexican-Americans against Mexican nationals.

a close up of a black man looking away

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo taken by the participant

2. Descendant (US Documentary Competition)

Director Margaret Brown lives in Austin. She was involved in a few documentaries, including the film about Townes Van Zandt – “Be Here To Love Me”.

“Descendant” is not based in Texas. It’s a really deep story about a community dealing with how it defines its identity and what its history means. The community has long known that their ancestors were brought to the United States on an illegal slave ship. But “Descendant” focuses on if and how things change when the remains of this ship are discovered.

a blue light shines on a smiling Doris Muñoz in the film

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo of Isabelle Castro

3. Mija (Documentary)

Unlike the other films on this list, the director behind this film is not a Texan but this feature film briefly crosses Texas.

“Mija” is about Doris Muñoz who has made great strides in creating greater representation of Latinx artists in the music industry. One of his interests is a young singer from Dallas, another daughter of immigrants, Jacks Haupt.

Cooper Raiff and Dakota Johnson talk outside a door

Courtesy of Sundance Institute

4. Cha Cha Real Smooth (American Drama Competition)

“Cha Cha Real Smooth” is a narrative feature film about an unlikely relationship between people who support each other at different stages of life. It is written, directed and co-stars Cooper Raiff, who is from Dallas. It also stars Dakota Johnson and Leslie Mann. Although relatively new to the film industry, Raiff might be a name we’re starting to hear more often.

brown, white and red paint on what appears to be cardboard

Courtesy of Sundance Institute

5. Soft Animals (short)

Director Renee Zhan is originally from Houston. “Soft Animals” is unlike anything else. The visuals include painting, sketching, and different types of animations all rolled into one.

It’s easy to fall down a rabbit hole with Zahn’s work as his website features some of his past shorts. Although they are all very different, they include many adult themes presented in a very beautiful and artistic way – although often also quite dark.

a young latina works at a desk

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo of Melinda James

6. Labor (short)

Director April Maxey is originally from San Antonio. She has worked a lot in short films before and has taken on many different roles in the film industry. She’s another one to watch and she’s been chosen to be part of a few high-profile achievement labs.

Maxey is particularly interested in focusing on underrepresented perspectives and bringing more attention to them. “Work” centers on a young Latina trying to get her way after a tough breakup.