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Sundance London's slate stresses music, comedy and docs

Published March 11, 2013 2:45 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

London in April will look a bit like January in Park City - with rain instead of snow - with the lineup of the second Sundance London Film and Music Festival.

Many of the notable titles that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival will get their UK or European premieres at the event, set for April 25-28 at the O2 Arena in London.

Among the artists who are expected to attend Sundance London: actor/director Lake Bell, comedian Mike Birbiglia, comic Jimmy Carr, members of The Eagles, filmmaker Barbara Kopple, musician Peaches, and the man himself, Robert Redford.

Here's the lineup:

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Feature Films:

• "Blackfish," Gabriela Cowperthwaite's documentary about a killer whale responsible for the deaths of three people — including a top trainer at SeaWorld.

• "Blood Brother," Steve Hoover's documentary (which won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at Sundance) about his friend Rocky Braat, an American wanderer who found purpose as a volunteer in an Indian orphanage for HIV-positive children.

• "Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes," Francesca Gregorini's drama about a teen (Kaya Scodelario) who becomes fascinated with her new neighbor (Jessica Biel) and her newborn baby.

• "God Loves Uganda," Roger Ross Williams' documentary about the chilling influence of American evangelical activists on the African nation of Uganda.

• "In a World...", Lake Bell's writing and directing debut (and winner of this year's Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award), in which Bell plays a would-be voice-over actor trying to break into the business' men's club — a group that includes her father (Fred Melamed).

• "The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete," director George Tillman Jr.'s drama about two boys in the Brooklyn projects, hiding from police and foraging for food.

• "The Kings of Summer" a comedy (titled "Toy's House" at Sundance) directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts and written by Michael Starrbury, about three Ohio teens who build their own house — and their own rules — in the woods. • "Muscle Shoals," Greg "Freddy" Camalier's documentary about Alabama's FAME Studios, birthplace of the Muscle Shoals sound, and the studio musicians that everybody from the Rolling Stones to Paul Simon wanted to record with.

• "Running from Crazy," Barbara Kopple's documentary that profiles actor/model Mariel Hemingway as she searches to understand her family's history of mental illness and suicide.

• "Touchy Feely," writer-director Lynn Shelton's latest character-driven comedy, about a massage therapist (Rosemarie DeWitt) who suddenly develops an aversion to bodily contact — just as her dentist brother (Josh Pais) is inundated with patients seeking his "healing touch."

• "Upstream Color," writer-director Shane Carruth's surreal drama about a couple (played by Carruth and Amy Seimetz) who find themselves inexplicably linked to the life cycle of an ageless organism.

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Special Events:

• "History of the Eagles, Part One," director Alison Ellwood's profile of the American supergroup. A Q-and-A with members of The Eagles will follow the screening.

• "Peaches Does Herself," in which the sexually unapologetic musician directs, writes and stars in her own electro-rock opera about her rise to stardom, her love affair with "a beautiful she-male," and her journey toward self-discovery. Sundance London will also host a performance by Peaches.

• "Sleepwalk With Me," comic Mike Birbiglia's 2012 directing debut — in which he plays a fictionalized version of himself, beginning his stand-up career and dealing with a relationship and a debilitating sleep disorder — receives its European premiere. Comedian Jimmy Carr will moderate a Q-and-A with Birbiglia.

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UK Spotlight:

• "In Fear," director Jeremy Lovering's thriller about a couple (Alice Englert, Iain De Caestecker) terrorized while driving on a country road.

• "The Look of Love," director Michael Winterbottom's biopic of British porn magnate Paul Raymond (Steve Coogan), who gained riches but lost those closest to him.

• "The Moo Man," directed by Andy Heathcote and Heike Bachelier, which follows a year in the life of farmer Steve and his herd of cows — and what happens with the queen of the herd, Ida, falls ill.

• "The Summit," Nick Ryan's documentary about mountain climber Ger McDonnell, one of 11 people to die in one tragic trip on K2.

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Short Films:

• "The Apocalypse" by Andrew Zuchero.

• "Black Metal" by Kat Candler.

• "The Date" by Jenni Toivoniemi. (Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction at Sundance.)

• "Irish Folk Furniture" by Tony Donoghue. (Short Film Jury Award: Animation.)

• "Jonah," directed by Kibwe Tavares ("Fishing Without Nets," 2012 Sundance Short Film Grand Jury Prize winner), written by Jack Thorne.

• "Reindeer" by Eva Weber. (Short Film Special Jury Award.)

• "Until the Quiet Comes" by Kahlil Joseph. (Short Film Special Jury Award.)

• "Whiplash" by Damien Chazelle. (Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction.)

• "The Whistle" by Grzegorz Zariczny. (Short Film Grand Jury Prize.)

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Panels:

• "The Art of the Score: An Afternoon With David Arnold," a conversation with the composer behind "Casino Royale," "Tomorrow Never Dies," "Independence Day," "Stargate" and other films — and the musical director for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games in London.

• "Screenwriting Flash Lab," a discussion of success and failure (mostly failure) by major U.K. and U.S. screenwriters. The panel includes writers Tony Grisoni ("Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"), Peter Straughan ("Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"), Lynn Shelton ("Your Sister's Sister"), as well as Sundance's Michelle Satter and Paul Federbush. Producer Mia Bays will moderate.

• "Senses of Humor and Humour: U.S.-U.K. Comedy," a comparison of comedic styles from both sides of the pond. Among the panelists: Comic Mike Birbiglia, actor/filmmaker Lake Bell, and others to be announced.