Sundance announces its 2012 competition slate
Jacqueline Siegel, matriarch of a rich family whose timeshare empire falters in the global economic crisis, is shown in a scene from Lauren Greenfield's "The Queen of Versailles," one of the U.S. Documentary competition entries in the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Siegel's husband, David, and his company are suing the Sundance Institute, Greenfield and her husband, executive producer Frank Evers.
Courtesy Lauren Greenfield | Sundance Institute
OK, folks, here they are: The 58 titles in the competition categories of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival:
- Beasts of the Southern Wild • When her father falls ill, a six-year-old Bayou girl goes on a quixotic quest to find her long-lost mother. Directed by Benh Zeitlin, written by Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar.
- The Comedy • An aging hipster seeks his purpose in a world that values status, popularity and good looks over art and substance. Starring Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim (“Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job”). Directed by Rick Alverson, written by Alverson, Robert Donne and Colm O’Leary.
- The End of Love • Actor Mark Webber (“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”) wrote and directs this drama of a young father dealing with the death of his child’s mother. Also starring Shannyn Sossamon, Michael Cera, Jason Ritter and Amanda Seyfreid.
- Filly Brown • A Mexican girl (Gina Rodriguez) rises to fame in hip-hop, using music to cope with her mother’s incarceration. Also starring Lou Diamond Phillips and Edward James Olmos. Directed by Youssef Delara (who wrote) and Michael D. Olmos.
- The First Time • Writer-director Jonathan Kasdan (“In the Land of Women”) tells of two high-schoolers (Brittany Robertson, Dylan O’Brien) who meet at a party and may be destined for romance — if the guy gets over the most beautiful girl in school (Victoria Justice).
- For Ellen • Paul Dano (“Little Miss Sunshine”) plays a struggling musician who takes an overnight road trip to fight his estranged wife for custody of their daughter. Also stars Jon Heder (“Napoleon Dynamite”) and Jena Malone. Written and directed by So Yong Kim (“In Between Days”).
- Hello I Must Be Going • Amy Minsky (Melanie Lynskey) is divorced, childless, demoralized and moving back in with her parents at 35 — when she meets a teen-age boy who changes everything. Co-starring Blythe Danner. Directed by Todd Louiso (“Love Liza”), written by Sarah Koskoff.
- Keep the Lights On • Director Ira Sachs (“40 Shades of Blue,” Sundance 2005 Grand Jury Prize winner) returns with this semi-autobiographical story of a passionate long-term relationship between two men (Thure Lindhardt, Zachary Booth), encompassing addiction and secrets, but also love and hope. Sachs wrote with Mauricio Zacharias.
- L.U.V. • An orphaned 11-year-old boy (Michael Rainey Jr.) learns the hard truth about his uncle (Common) during a dangerous day in Baltimore. Also starring Dennis Haysbert, Danny Glover and Charles S. Dutton. Directed by Sheldon Candis, who wrote with Justin Wilson.
- Middle of Nowhere • An African-American woman (Emayatzy Corinealdi) fights for her marriage and her identity when her husband is imprisoned. Written and directed by Ana DuVernay.
- Nobody Walks • A hip, liberal L.A. family invites a New York artist to live with them, and sexual and emotional troubles follow. Starring John Krasinsky (“The Office”), Olivia Thirlby (“Juno”) and Rosemarie DeWitt (“Rachel Getting Married”). Directed by Ry Russo-Young (“You Don’t Know Me”), who wrote with Lena Dunham (“Tiny Furniture”)
- Safety Not Guaranteed • A classified ad seeking companions for time travel draws the attention of some magazine employees. Stars Aubrey Plaza (“Parks and Recreation”) and Mark Duplass (“Humpday”). Directed by Colin Trevorrow, written by Derek Connolly.
- Save the Date • A woman (Lizzy Caplan) deals with a post-breakup rebound relationship, as her sister (Alison Brie, “Community”) is getting married. Directed by Michael Mohan (“One Too Many Mornings,” Sundance 2010), written by Jeffrey Brown, Egan Reich, and Mohan.
- Simon Killer • A college graduate (Brady Corbet) goes to Paris after a breakup and falls for a young prostitute (Mati Diop), with fateful consequences. Written and directed by Antonio Campos.
- Smashed • A couple’s marriage, built on music and laughs and alcohol, is altered when the woman (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) decides to get sober. Also starring Aaron Paul, Octavia Spencer (“The Help”), Nick Offerman and Megan Mullaly. Directed by James Ponsoldt (“Off the Black,” Sundance 2006), written by Susan Burke and Ponsoldt.
- The Surrogate • John Hawkes (“Winter’s Bone”) plays Mark O’Brien, a 36-year-old poet and journalist in an iron lung — who decides he wants to lose his virginity. Also starring Helen Hunt and William H. Macy. Directed and written by Ben Lewin.
- Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry • Director Alison Klayman profiles Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei, famous for his ambitious art and for his public disputes with the Chinese government.
- The Atomic States of America • The debate over nuclear power in the United States, where construction of the first new nuclear power plant in 32 years was announced in 2010 — a year before a massive earthquake struck the Fukushima plant in Japan. Directed by Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce.
- Chasing Ice • National Geographic photographer James Balog uses time-lapse photography to capture disappearing glaciers — and tangible visual evidence of global climate change. Directed by Jeff Orlowski.
- Detropia • Directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (“Jesus Camp,” “12th & Delaware”) capture stories of Detroit residents who stay loyal to an industrial city on the skids.
- Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare • Directors Matthew Heineman and Susan Froemke examine America’s broken health-care system, the corporations who profit from the status quo, and a movement to bring new methods of prevention and healing to bear.
- Finding North • A look at the growing hunger crisis in America, and a film that asks if policies from the 1970s could work again. Directed by Lori Silverbush and Kristi Jacobson.
- The House I Live In •Director Eugene Jarecki (“Why We Fight,” Sundance 2005 Grand Jury Prize winner) examines the War on Drugs, and why drugs are cheaper, purer and more available now than before the “war” started.
- How to Survive a Plague • A look at how young men and women, most of them HIV-positive, battled death and indifference to turn AIDS into a manageable condition. Directed by David France.
- The Invisible War • Director Kirby Dick (“This Film Is Not Yet Rated”) returns with an investigative look at the rape of soldiers within the U.S. military.
- Love Free or Die: How the Bishop of New Hampshire is Changing the World • A portrait of Gene Robinson, the first gay partnered bishop in the Episcopal Church, and his refusal to quit either the church or the man he loves. Directed by Macky Alston (“Family Name”).
- Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present • Director Matthew Akers profiles the artist as she prepares a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, and aims to dispel critics who ask after four decades “Why is this art?”
- Me at the Zoo • Directors Chris Moukarbel and Valerie Veatch profile YouTube star Chris Crocker, a Tennessee misfit who became a national punching bag after his infamous “Leave Britney alone” video.
- The Other Dream Team • A look at Lithuania’s 1992 Olympic team, representing a country freshly liberated from the Soviet Union and facing both their former oppressors and Michael Jordan (with help from The Grateful Dead). Directed by Marius Markevicius.
- The Queen of Versailles • Jackie and David’s timeshare empire affords them the chance to build one of America’s biggest houses — until the business falters. Directed by Lauren Greenfield (“Thin”).
- Slavery by Another Name • Sam Pollard directs this documentary, based on Wall Street Journal writer Douglas Blackmon’s book, about how the end of slavery after the Civil War brought a new form of involuntary servitude.
- We’re Not Broke • Directors Karin Hayes and Victoria Bruce examine a seeming contradiction that has sent Americans to protest in the streets: In a time when lawmakers slash budgets and lay off employees, huge corporations conceal profits overseas to avoid U.S. income taxes.
World Cinema Dramatic
- 4 Suns • (Czech Republic) A new husband and father tries to change his irresponsible ways, but ends up falling into old habits. Written and directed by Bohdan Sláma.
- About the Pink Sky • (Japan) A high-school girl finds a wallet full of money and returns it to its owner, which leads to unexpected consequences for the girl and her friends. Directed and written by Keiichi Kobayashi.
- Can • (Turkey) A young married couple’s happy life is threatened when they decide to illegally procure a child. Written and directed by Rasit Celikezer.
- Father’s Chair (A Cadieri do Pai) • (Brazil) Theo (Wagner Moura) searches for his runaway teen son, and confronts his own life as a son, father and man. Directed by Luciano Moura, who co-wrote with by Elena Soarez.
- L • (Greece) A man living in his car ends up embroiled in the undeclared war between car drivers and motorcycle riders. Directed by Babis Makridis, who co-wrote with Efthymis Filippou.
- The Last Elvis (El Ultimo Elvis) • (Argentina) An Elvis impersonator in Buenos Aires aims to live his musical dream, shaking free of reality. Directed by Armando Bo (who co-wrote “Biutiful”), written by Bo and Nicolás Giacobone.
- Madrid, 1987 • (Spain) An aging journalist and a young student meet, with the balance of power and desire constantly shifting. Written and directed by David Trueba.
- My Brother the Devil • (United Kingdom) Sally El Hosaini wrote and directs this tale of two British Arab brothers facing life in gangland London.
- Teddy Bear • (Denmark) A painfully shy bodybuilder leaves his mom’s house for Thailand in search of love. Directed by Mads Matthiesen, who co-wrote with Martin Pieter Zandvliet.
- Valley of Saints • (India) A boatman on a dying lake in Kashmir plots with a friend to escape — untl he meets a beautiful young woman researching the lake. Directed and written by Musa Syeed.
- Violeta Went to Heaven (Violeta se Fue a Los Cielos) • (Chile/Argentina/Brazil/Spain) A portrait of Chilean singer and folklorist Violeta Parra. Directed by Andrés Wood, written by Eliseo Altunaga, Rodriguo Bazaes, Guillermo Calderón and Wood.
- Wish You Were Here • (Australia) Four friends leave for a holiday, but only three come home. Joel Edgerton (“The Thing,” “Warrior”) and Teresa Palmer (“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”) star. Directed by Kieran Darcy-Smith, who co-wrote with Felicity Price (who’s also in the cast).
- Wrong • (France) Writer-director Quentin Dupieux (who made the bizarre tire-based horror film “Rubber”) tells the story of Dolph (Jack Plotnick), whose search for a lost dog leads to a nympho pizza-delivery girl, a jogging neighbor and a mysterious righter of wrongs.
- Young & Wild • (Chile) Daniela, 17, seeks her own path to spiritual harmony after her strict Evangelical parents unmask her as a fornicator. Directed by Marialy Rivas, who co-wrote with Camila Gutiérrez and Pedro Peirano.
World Cinema Documentary
- 1/2 Revolution • (Denmark/Egypt) Two filmmakers in an apartment near the site of Egypt’s revolution capture the scenes the media didn’t see — and are arrested by the secret police. Direted by Omar Shargawi and Karim El Hakim.
- 5 Broken Cameras • (Palestine/Israel/France) A Palestinian journalist chronicles his village’s resistance to The Fence, the separation barrier being erected on his land, and sees his son’s view of the world. Written and directed by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi.
- The Ambassador • (Denmark) Danish TV host Mads Brügger, who snuck into North Korea with a fake comedy troupe for “The Red Chapel” (Sundance 2010), does one better: He buys himself a diplomatic title and starts doing business in the Central African Republic.
- Big Boys Gone Bananas!* • (Sweden) Director Fredrik Gertten chronicles what happened when his 2009 documentary, “Bananas!*,” was effectively silenced by a campaign of legal action, intimidation and media spin by the Dole Food Company. (Let’s see if it happens again.)
- China Heavyweight • (Canada/China) Rural Chinese students are recruited to become Western-style boxers, and must decide whether to fight for themselves or the collective good. Directed by Yung Chang.
- Gypsy Davy • (Israel/United States/Spain) Filmmaker Rachel Leah Jones profiles her own father, David Jones a k a David Serva, an Alabama boy turned Flamenco superstar.
- The Imposter • (United Kingdom) Director Bart Layton tells the story of a 13-year-old boy who disappears in 1994 from his San Antonio, Texas, home, and resurfaces three years later in Spain — with a story that may be too impossible to be true.
- Indie Game: The Movie • (Canada) Directors Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky dive into the world of independent video-game designers.
- The Law in These Parts • (Israel) With interviews and historical footage, director Ra’anan Alexandrowicz examines Israel’s 43-year-old military legal system in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and its effect on the Palestinians living under it.
- Payback •(Canada) Director Jennifer Baichwal (“Manufactured Landscapes”) adapts Margaret Atwood’s best-seller about debt as a central organizing principle in our lives.
- Putin’s Kiss • (Denmark) A profile of Masha, a 19-year-old spokeswoman for a nationalistic youth movement aligned with Russian premier Vladimir Putin, and what happens when she starts seeing flaws in the organization. directed by Lise Berk Pedersen.
- Searching for Sugar Man • (Denmark/United Kingdom) A portrait of the ‘70s rock star Rodriguez, “the Latin Bob Dylan,” who went from fame to obscurity — only to rise again in a different context many miles away. Directed by Malik Bendjelloul.
The non-competition, non-premiere categories -- that's Spotlight, Next, Park City at Midnight and New Frontier -- will be announced Thursday, and the Premieres and Documentary Premieres will be unveiled on Monday.
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