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‘Exhibiting Forgiveness’ Electrifies Sundance With Packed & Powerful Premiere

Titus Kaphar’s Exhibiting Forgiveness premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday.

“Some things can’t be worked out on canvas,” Andra Day says to André Holland in the drama, but some things can come alive on-screen and off-screen.

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That certainly proved true now at the Sundance Film Festival, where Kaphar and Exhibiting Forgiveness just had a true moment. A packed Eccles Theater gave this afternoon’s premiere of the acclaimed painter’s feature directorial debut a resoundingly enthusiastic reaction.

A round of applause and cheers during the closing credits clearly caught the attention of suddenly busy buyers in the audience. As Kaphur and cast members Holland, Day, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, and John Earl Jelks took the post-screening stage to a standing ovation, you could see a number of those buyers out in the lobby ASAP and on their phones. Sundance being Sundance, more than a few of them were clearly frustrated by the traditionally bad reception at the remote Park City venue.

Almost nothing is a sure thing in today’s marketplace, but if the crowd’s thunderous applause is any indication, the multi-generational drama from the UTA-repped artist could see some serious bids in the next 24 hours. UTA is running sales on the film.

Visually stunning, as one would expect from Kaphar (and a bow to cinematographer Lachlan Milne too), US Dramatic Competition contender Exhibiting Forgiveness leaps off the screen with its portrait of trauma, loss, creation, and the battlegrounds between fathers and sons.

“I looked upon it as a cathartic, a therapeutic experience,” Day told the Eccles, offering praise for Kaphur’s work and the crafting of the film. Grammy, Emmy winner and Oscar nominee Day also wrote the credits song for Exhibiting Forgiveness. Playing the Holland portrayed lead’s mother in the film, Oscar nominee Ellis-Taylor gave credit to Kaphar’s own mother, who was in the audience at the Eccles Theater.

Deadline has a review coming from Valerie Complex, so I will save any more of my take on the film. But, if you are at Sundance 2024, you might want to get yourself a ticket to another screening of Exhibiting Forgiveness while you can.

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