Institute History

  • 2005 Sundance Film Festival


Snowland is a haunting film of desolate snowscapes and Bergmanesque artistry. It begins with a writer, Elisabeth, who loses her husband in a car accident. Challenged by the responsibility of raising three children on her own, she succumbs to despair and flees to the snowy wilderness of Lapland to meet her end. Trudging off the highway, she comes across a secluded farm and the dead body of a woman. Searching further, she begins to discover the woman's story and the outlines of an extraordinary life: a love between the woman, Ina, and a seemingly simple herdsman, and a family caught in the throes of the terror wrought by a twisted, dominating father.

Snowland is a modern Gothic tale of lives that inhabit the darkest realms of humanity, yet struggle to find meaning and achieve a deep, transforming love. Hans W. Geissendoerfer has directed this sometimes severe chronicle with an exquisite touch, eliciting remarkable performances from an incredibly gifted ensemble of actors and burning into our memory images of both the interior and exterior of lives that simply cannot be forgotten. This is a deeply inspirational film, full of sadness but also of love. Geissendoerfer demonstrates a mastery of all the cinematic crafts as he traverses and explores a realm which is at once spiritual and demonic but remains quintessentially human.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]