Here are the 23 films announced today that represent the 2014 Sundance Film Festival's Spotlight, Park City at Midnight, Sundance Kids and New Frontier programs.
They are among 117 feature films selected for the festival, out of 4,057 feature-length films submitted.
"Blue Ruin" (Director/screenwriter: Jeremy Saulnier; U.S.) • A beach bum (Macon Blair) returns to his childhood home for an act of vengeance and ending up in a fight to protect his estranged family.
"The Double" (Director: Richard Ayoade; Screenwriter: Avi Korine; U.K.) • Simon (Jesse Eisenberg) is a timid man whose work life is upended by the arrival of a new coworker, James, who is Simon's physical double and psychological opposite. The cast includes Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn, Noah Taylor, Cathy Moriarty and James Fox. Ayoade, star of the British sitcom "The IT Crowd," previously directed "Submarine" (SFF '11).
"Ida" (Director: Pawel Pawlikowski; Screenwriters: Pawel Pawlikowski, Rebecca Lenkiewicz; Poland) • In 1960s Poland, young novitiate Anna is about to take her vows as a nun when she learns of a dark family secret dating back to the Nazi occupation.
"Locke" (Director/screenwriter: Steven Knight; U.K.) • Tom Hardy (Bane in "The Dark Knight Rises") stars in this minimalist thriller, as a man whose life is imploding with every phone call he makes while driving.
"The Lunchbox" (Director and screenwriter: Ritesh Batra; India/France/Germany) • A lonely wife (Nimrat Kaur) makes a lunch for her absent husband, but the lunchbox is mistakenly sent to another man, a grieving widower (Irrfan Khan). What follows is a romantic story that unfolds through notes delivered with the lunchbox.
"Only Lovers Left Alive" (Director/screenwriter: Jim Jarmusch; U.S.) • Legendary indie director Jim Jarmusch ("Night on Earth," SFF '92) returns with this vampire romance, set in Detroit and Tangier, and boasting a cast led by Tom Hiddleston ("The Avengers"), Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt, Anton Yelchin and Jeffrey Wright.
"R100" (Director and screenwriter: Hitoshi Matsumoto; Japan) • A family man (Nao Ohmori) joins an exclusive club in this bizarre S&M comedy.
"Stranger by the Lake" (Director/screenwriter: Alain Guiraudie; France) • In this erotic thriller, Frank (Pierre de Ladonchamps) begins a passionate affair with Michel (Christophe Paou), but not before seeing Michel dump his former boyfriend in fatal fashion.
Park City at Midnight
"The Babadook" (Director/screenwriter: Jennifer Kent; Australia) • After her husband's violent death, a single mother (Essie Davis) must deal with her out-of-control son's fear of a monster in the house a fear that may be justified.
"Cooties" (Directors: Jonathan Millott, Cary Murnion, Screenwriters: Leigh Whannell, Ian Brennan; U.S.) • A horror comedy in which elementary-school teachers must battle for their lives when a virus turns the students into savages. Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill, Leigh Whannell ("Insidious") and Nasim Pedrad ("Saturday Night Life") star.
"Dead Snow; Red vs. Dead" (Director: Tommy Wirkola; Screenwriters: Tommy Wirkola, Stig Frode Henriksen, Vegar Hoel; Norway) • A sequel to "Dead Snow" (SFF '09), with Nazi zombies back for more and a hero gathering an army to fight them again. America actor Martin Starr ("Knocked Up," "This Is the End") joins the Norwegian cast.
"The Guest" (Director: Adam Wingard; Screenwriter: Simon Barrett; U.S.) • The team behind "You're Next" created this horror thriller, about a family who welcomes the comrade of a dead soldier into their house but learns he's not who he says he is.
"Killers" (Directors: The Mo Brothers; Screenwriters: Timo Tjahjanto, Takuji Ushiyama; Japan/Indonesia) • Two serial killers, who battle for notoreity by posting their crimes online, ultimately face off.
"The Signal" (Director: William Eubank; Screenwriters: William Eubank, Carlyle Eubank, David Frigerio; U.S.) • Laurence Fishburne ("CSI") stars in this thriller, about three college students track a computer hacker to the Southwest and then disappear.
"Under the Electric Sky (EDC 2013)" (Directors: Dan Cutforth, Jane Lipsitz; U.S.) • The Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas, the biggest music festival in the United States with 345,000 attendees over three days, is captured in this 3-D documentary.
"What We Do in the Shadows" (Directors/screenwriters: Taika Waititi, Jemaine Clement) • A mock-documentary captures the culture of New Zealand's vampire community, struggling to adapt to a changing world. The filmmakers are Taika Waititi ("Eagle vs. Shark," SFF '07; "Boy," SFF '10) and Jemaine Clement (from "Flight of the Conchords").
"Ernest & Celestine" (Directors: Benjamin Renner, StÃ©phane Aubier, Vincent Patar, Screenwriter: Daniel Pennac; France/Belgium/Luxembourg) • A mouse and a bear who form an unlikely friendship in this animated tale. The English-language version with a voice cast that includes Forest Whitaker, Mackenzie Foy ("Breaking Dawn, Part 2"), Lauren Bacall, Paul Giamatti, William H. Macy and Megan Mullally will make its world premiere at Sundance.
"Zip & Zap and the Marble Gang" (Director: Oskar Santos, Screenwriters: Francisco Roncal, Jorge Lara, Oskar Santos; Spain) • Two kids are sent to a re-education center, where they discover a secret hidden deep within the school.
New Frontier Films
"The Better Angels" (Director/screenwriter: A.J. Edwards; U.S.) • A dramatization of Abraham Lincoln's formative years. Jason Clarke ("Zero Dark Thirty") and Brit Marling play his parents; Diane Kruger portrays his stepmother, and Wes Bentley also has a role.
"The Girl From Nagasaki" (Director: Michel Comte; Screenwriters: Anne-Marie Mackay, Ayako Yoshida, Michel Comte; Germany/U.S./Japan) • Photographer Michel Comte directs this 3-D telling of Puccini's "Madame Butterfly," set in modern times with the young madame emerging from the ashes of the atomic-bomb blast in Nagasaki. The cast includes Christopher Lee, Sasha Alexander, Michael Wincott, Michael Nyqvist, Robert Evans and Polina Semionova.
"Hitrecord on TV" (Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt; U.S.) • Sundance can't get enough of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's crowd-sourced entertainment. On his third visit, he's creating a variety show with a global online community of artists, who create short films, music, animation and more.
"Living Stars" (Directors: Mariano Cohn, GastÃ³n Duprat; Argentina) • The filmmakers capture Argentinians in their homes, performing dance numbers they usually only do in the mirror.
"Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People (Director: Thomas Allen Harris, Screenwriters: Thomas Allen Harris, Don Perry, Paul Carter Harrison; U.S.) • A historical epic documentary, looking at the role of photography in constructing political, esthetic and cultural interpretations of African-Americans.
New Frontier installations
"The Source (evolving)" (Artist: Doug Aitken) • A pavilion (to be built near Park City's Main Street) will house this work, a series of filmed conversations about creativity that ask "Where does the creative idea start?" and "What is the journey to the finished creation?"
Klip Collective exterior projections • Klip Collective will use the facade of Park city's Egyptian Theatre to show 3-D-mapped projections of clips from films that have played at the Sundance Film Festival ranging from "Reservoir Dogs" to "Beasts of the Southern Wild."
Synopses for the following New Frontier installations are courtesy of the Sundance Institute:
"Clouds" (Artists: James George, Jonathan Minard) • Assembled from code and stunning 3-D-scanned conversations, Clouds is a cutting-edge interactive documentary that features the emerging generation of artists and hackers who are creating tools for poetic and socially engaged experiments in technology.
"Digital Diaspora Family Reunion" (Artist: Thomas Allen Harris) • The transmedia companion to the feature documentary, "Through A Lens Darkly,"Â "Digital Diaspora Family Reunion (DDFR)" re-imagines the social network the building of One World-One Family Album, a database of family photographs.Â Audiences are invited to upload images to Instagram at #DDFRtv, or bring them to New Frontier to participate in a special live event.
"EVE: Valkyrie" (Artists: CCP Games) • In one of the most anticipated video-game releases of 2014, award-winning Icelandic independent-game developer CCP Games presents EVE: Valkyrie a virtual-reality experience like no other. In this special preview, audiences can put on an Oculus Rift headset, take a seat inside the cockpit of a spaceship, and enter a 360-degree-surround dogfight against enemy invaders.
"I Love Your Work" (Artist: Jonathan Harris) • "I Love Your Work" is a beautifully designed interactive documentary by Jonathan Harris about the private lives of nine women who make lesbian porn. It consists of more than two thousand 10-second video clips, taken at five-minute intervals over 10 consecutive daysaround six hours of footage. Cast: Dylan Ryan, Jincey Lumpkin, Ela Darling, Ryan Keely.
"I Want You To Want Me" (Artists: Jonathan Harris, Sep Kamvar) • An alluring work of data visualization, this interactive installation explores the world of online dating. A giant touch screen displays a sky filled with balloons containing silhouettes, each one representing a real person's dating profile. Viewers can touch the balloons to learn personal information about the person inside and rearrange them to view things like top turn-ons, most popular first dates, and people's biggest desires.
"The Measure of All Things" (Artists: Sam Green, yMusic) • "The Measure of All Things" is a live documentary featuring a series of portraits of record-holding people, places, and things. Inspired loosely by the Guinness Book of Records, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Sam Green and yMusic create a poem about fate, time, and the contours of the human experience.
"Mesocosm" (Artist: Marina Zurkow) • Mesocosm (Wink, Texas) and Mesocosm (Northumberland, UK) are two parts of a series of animated landscapes that change over time in response to software-driven data inputs. Individual hand-drawn animated elements are dynamically choreographed according to algorithms that dictate constraints in real time: one day takes 24 minutes to elapse; a year takes 144 hours.
"My 52 Tuesdays" (Artists: Sophie Hyde, Sam Haren, Dan Koerner) • Picture an interactive photo booth where you get more than just your printed picture. It's a year-long, participatory project accessed via smartphones with a series of questions designed to ''tune in" to your life. Like its companion film, "52 Tuesdays" (in the World Cinema Dramatic competition), this work explores themes of desire, responsibility, and transformation. How much are you willing to share? Cast: Tilda Cobham-Hervey.
"Not Eye" (Artist: Lauren Moffatt) • "Not Eye" is an immersive, 3-D stereoscopic experience that invites you to meet a woman who can no longer take the constant violation of being looked at and spied on every day of her life by the devices that populate the modern landscape. She is so tormented that she decides to take action, creating a helmet designed not only to defend herself but also to strike back. Cast: DaniÃ¨le Hennebelle, Julien Bucci.
"Reifying Desire Anthology" (Artist: Jacolby Satterwhite) • Comprised of live performance, custom-made wallpaper, and six CGI-animated and rotoscoped videos, Reifying Desire Anthology is a fantasy hyperlink that transcends brick and mortar, as well as electronic and biological realms, to source a universe where sexuality runs hungry and wild through the psycho-bioelectric matrix seeking transformation and liberation. Cast: Jacolby Satterwhite, Antonio Biaggi.
"Sound + Vision" (Artists: Chris Milk, Beck) • When Beck reimagined David Bowie's 1977 single "Sound and Vision," Chris Milk set out to re-create its experience literally its sound and vision for both the live concert and its recording. He captured the performance using newly patented technologies like full spherical video and 360-degree binaural audio. This is the first live-action VR film designed for the Oculus Rift. Cast: Beck.
"Street" (Artist: James Nares) • Street employs a high-speed Phantom Flex HD camera to slow down the densely busy streets of New York City and create this mesmerizing video installation. Hot dog vendors, children on scooters, lovers, fighters, pigeons, bike riders, traffic cops, even a flicked cigarette butt sailing onto the curb all acquire an ethereal dimension enhanced by cofounder of Sonic Youth Thurston Moore's evocative, acoustic 12-string guitar soundtrack.
"This World Made Itself; Myth and Infrastructure; Dreams of Lucid Living" (Artist: Miwa Matreyek) • In a body of work that spans six years, Miwa Matreyek will present three of her multimedia solo live performance pieces featuring projected animation and her body, traversing ocean scapes, cityscapes, and dreamscapes. Cast: Miwa Matreyek.