(Ewan McGregor (left) and Ewan Bremner star in "Perfect Sense," about a love affair that begins just as the world is falling apart. It's in the Premieres section of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy photo)
Premieres and more non-competitive titles
Published on Dec 2, 2010 01:20PM
Here they are, folks: The 57 titles in the non-competition programs at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival:
- "Cedar Rapids" • A naive Wisconsin man ("The Office’s" Ed Helms) travels to the big city — Cedar Rapids, Iowa — for a regional insurance conference. Directed by Miguel Arteta ("The Good Girl"), written by Phil Johnston. The cast includes John C Reilly, Anne Heche, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Alia Shawkat and Sigourney Weaver.
- "The Convincer" • An insurance salesman who gets involved in a caper involving a rare musical instrument. Director Jill Sprecher ("The Clockwatchers," Sundance 1997) co-wrote with her sister Karen. The cast includes Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin, Billy Crudup, Lea Thompson and David Harbour.
- "The Details" • The festival’s description cannot be topped: "When hungry raccoons discover worms living under the sod in a young couple’s backyard, the pest problem sets off a wild and absurd chain reaction of domestic tension, infidelity, organ donation and murder by way of bow and arrow." Jacob Aaron Estes ("Mean Creek") wrote and directed this comedy, which stars Tobey Maguire, Elizabeth Banks, Laura Linney, Ray Liotta and Dennis Haysbert.
- "The Devil’s Double" • (Belgium) Dominic Cooper ("Mamma Mia!," "Tamara Drewe") plays an Iraqi who had a job he couldn’t turn down: Body double to one of Saddam Hussein’s sons. Directed by Lee Tamahori ("Die Another Day"), written by Michael Thomas.
- "I Melt With You" • (Canada/U.S.A.) Four friends who reunite every year recall a forgotten promise they made 25 years earlier, as they realize that their lives haven’t turned out as they once planned. Director Mark Pellington ("Henry Poole Is Here") and writer Glenn Porter came up with the story. The cast includes Thomas Jane, Jeremy Piven, Rob Lowe, Christian McKay and Carla Gugino.
- "Life in a Day" • (United Kingdom) Director Kevin Macdonald ("The Last King of Scotland") oversees a global experiment to create the world’s largest user-generated movie, taken from footage sent in via YouTube of what people were doing on July 24, 2010. (Twenty people whose footage was used will attend at the premiere.)
- "Margin Call" • An emergency at an investment bank, during the early stages of the 2008 financial crisis, plays out over 24 hours — as the key people examine the personal and moral implications of each move they make. First-time writer-director J.C. Chandor’s cast includes Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto and Stanley Tucci.
- "The Music Never Stopped" • A prodigal son (Lou Taylor Pucci) suffers a brain tumor that prevents him from forming new memories, leading his father (J.K. Simmons) to try to connect with him through music. (The title is taken from a Grateful Dead song.) Jim Kohlberg directs this drama, written by Gwyn Lurie and Gary Marks, adapting Oliver Sacks’ story "The Last Hippie." Julia Ormond, Cara Seymour and Mia Maestro also star. (This is the Salt Lake City Gala film.)
- "My Idiot Brother" • Paul Rudd plays the title role, a paroled pot dealer who infringes on the lives of his three sisters (Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer). Directed by Jesse Peretz ("The Ex"), written by Evgenia Peretz and David Schisgall.
- "Perfect Sense" • (United Kingdom) David Mackenzie ("Young Adam," "Spread") directs this love story about people falling in love just as everyone in the world is losing their sensory abilities. Written by Kim Fupz Aakeson. The cast includes Ewan McGregor, Eva Green, Ewen Bremner, Stephen Dillane, Denis Lawson and Connie Nielsen.
- "Red State" • Writer-director Kevin Smith returns to the place that put his New Jersey sensibilities on the map ("Clerks," Sundance 1995), in a horror tale of misfits who encounter an extreme fundamentalist (Michael Parks). The cast includes Michael Angarano, Kyle Gallner, John Goodman and Melissa Leo.
- "Salvation Boulevard" • Director George Ratliff ("Joshua," Sundance 2007) and co-writer Doug Max Stone adapt Larry Beinhart’s novel, about a mega-church preacher (Pierce Brosnan) who frames a born-again former Deadhead with a crime. The cast includes Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Greg Kinnear and Marisa Tomei.
- "The Son of No One" • Writer-director Dito Montiel ("A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints," Sundance 2006) returns with this drama about two men forced to relive murders they committed as young boys. The cast includes Channing Tatum, Al Pacino, Katie Holmes, Tracy Morgan, Ray Liotta and Juliette Binoche. (This is the festival’s closing-night film.)
- "Win Win" • Paul Giamatti plays a lawyer moonlighting as a high-school wrestling coach who stumbles across a star athlete — and then encounters his mother (Amy Ryan), fresh from rehab and threatening to derail the kid’s progress. Writer-director Tom McCarthy ("The Station Agent," "The Visitor") collaborated on the story with Joe Tiboni. Bobby Cannavale and Jeffrey Tambor also star.
- "Becoming Chaz" • Directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato ("Party Monster," "The Eyes of Tammy Faye") follows Chastity Bono — the daughter of Sonny and Cher — on her transition from female to male.
- "Bobby Fischer Against the World" • Festival veteran Liz Garbus ("The Execution of Wanda Jean," "Shouting Fire: Stories From the Edge of Free Speech") traces the career of the controversial chess champion — from troubled childhood to Cold War symbol to fugitive.
- "Granito" • Director Pamela Yates ("The Reckoning," Sundance 2009) returns to Guatemala, where her 1983 film "When the Mountains Tremble" is being used as forensic evidence to prove that a military dictator committed genocide.
- "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" • Director Morgan Spurlock ("Super Size Me," Sundance 2004) returns to tweak corporate commercialism with a doc about branding, advertising and product placement — by financing his movie through branding, advertising and product placement.
- "The Interrupters" • Director Steve James ("Hoop Dreams," Sundance 1994) is back with this tale of ex-gang members in Chicago who intervene in violent situations.
- "Reagan" • (U.S.A./United Kingdom) Director Eugene Jarecki ("Why We Fight," Sundance 2005 Grand Jury Prize winner) returns with an examination of the life and legend of Ronald Reagan.
- "Rebirth" • Director Jim Whitaker tells five stories of people whose lives were changed by the 9/11 attacks, intertwined with time-lapse footage of Ground Zero over nearly 10 years.
- "These Amazing Shadows" • Directors Paul Mariano and Kurt Norton examine the National Film Registry, and the many diverse movies that are on the list.
- "Bellflower" • Friends plan the next apocalypse in this mix of "violence, weapons, action and sex." The cast is led by Evan Glodell, the movie’s writer-director.
- "The Lie" • Actor Joshua Leonard ("The Blair Witch Project," "Humpday") directs and stars in this adaptation of a T. Coraghessan Boyle short story. He plays a married man who tells a lie to avoid going to work — and things spiral out of control. Leonard co-wrote the film with Jeff Feuerzeig and co-stars Mark Webber and Jess Weixler ("Teeth"); the cast also features Alia Shawkat, Jane Adams and Kelli Garner.
- "Lord Byron" • Middle-aged Byron (Paul Batiste) smokes pot, pursues women and loafs around — but he’s beginning to get restless. Zack Godshall directed, and co-wrote with Ross Brupbacher.
- "The Off Hours" • Writer-director Megan Griffiths tells the story of a truck-stop waitress (Amy Seimetz), whose life takes an optimistic turn thanks to a passing truck driver (Ross Partridge).
- "Prairie Love" • A vagrant (Jeremy Clark) finds a nearly frozen guy (Garth Blomberg), and discovers he has a pen-pal girlfriend (Holly Lynn Ellis). Written and directed by Dusty Bias.
- "Restless City" • An African immigrant (Tony Okungbowa, known as Ellen DeGeneres’ TV DJ) survives on New York City’s fringes, fueled by music and wary of romance. Directed by Andrew Dosunmu, written by Eugene M. Gussenhoven.
- "sound of my voice" • A couple infiltrates a cult that meets in a basement in California’s San Fernando Valley. Directed by Zal Batmanglij, who co-wrote with Brit Marling, one of the film’s co-stars (who also appears in the U.S. Dramatic competition film "Another Earth").
- "to.get.her" • Five girls gather on a fateful night, where secrets are revealed that jeopardize their friendship. Written and directed by Erica Dunton.
- "Grab" • Billy Luther directs and Parker Powey narrates this documentary, which follows three Laguna Pueblo families preparing for Grab Day, a community event in which people throw groceries from the rooftop.
- Indigenous shorts • A program of seven short films from Native American and indigenous filmmakers from around the world. (The lineup will be announced Monday, Dec. 6.)
- "Attenberg" • (Greece) Writer-director Athina Rachel Tsangari’s drama tells of Marina (Ariane Labed), a young woman living with her father in a dying seaside factory town, who meets a stranger that gives her a new perspective on human nature.
- "Elite Squad 2 (Tropa de Elite 2)" • (Brazil) Rio’s special operations police unit, led by Capt. Nascimento (Wagner Moura), battles widespread corruption in this action thriller. Directed by José Padilha, who co-wrote with Bráulio Mantovani and Rodrigo Pimentel.
- "I Saw the Devil (Akma-reul bo-attda)" • (South Korea) In Kim Jee-woon’s violent thriller, a secret agent ("The Good, the Bad and the Weird’s" Lee Byung-hyun) goes after the serial killer who murdered his fiance.
- "In a Better World (Hævnen)" • (Denmark) Susanne Bier ("Things We Lost in the Fire") directs and co-writes (with Anders Thomas Jensen) this tale of a separated wife and a widow who spark a relationship — just as their sons embark on a dangerous friendship.
- "Incendies" • (Canada/France) Twins Jeanne and Simon (Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin, Maxim Gaudette) obey the wishes of their dying mom (Lubna Azabal) to search for their roots in the Middle East. Director-writer Denis Villeneuve, collaborating with writer Valérie Beaugrand-Champagne, adapted Wajdi Mouawad’s play.
- "Kaboom" • Writer-director Gregg Araki ("The Doom Generation," "Smiley Face") goes sci-fi with a tale of college students experiencing a sexual awakening. Thomas Dekker ("A Nightmare on Elm Street") and Juno Temple ("Greenberg") are in the cast.
- "Letters From the Big Man" • Writer-director Christopher Munch ("The Sleepy Time Gal," Sundance 2001) returns with this story of an artist and hydrologist (Lily Rabe) who must protect a Sasquatch man (Isaac C. Singleton Jr .) she meets in Southern Oregon.
- "Meek’s Cutoff" • Kelly Reichardt ("Wendy and Lucy") directs this frontier drama, set in 1845. Centering on three families who have hired a mountaineer (Bruce Greenwood) to get them across the Cascades. The cast includes Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan and Shirley Henderson. Screenplay by Jon Raymond.
- "Old Cats (Gatos Viejos)" • (Chile) An old woman realizes her mind is going, but tries to hide that fact from her daughter — who’s eager to take over Mom’s apartment. Written and directed by Pedro Peirano and Sebastián Silva, who collaborated on "The Maid."
- "Submarine" • (United Kingdom/U.S.A.) Writer-director Richard Ayoade (a star of the British sitcom "The IT Crowd") adapts Joe Dunthrone’s novel, a 15-year-old (Craig Roberts) aims to save his parents’ marriage and lose his virginity before turning 16. Paddy Considine ("In America") and Sally Hawkins ("Happy-Go-Lucky") co-star.
- "Uncle Kent" • Director Joe Swanberg, the godfather of "mumblecore" ("Hannah Takes the Stairs," "Nights and Weekends"), finally comes to Sundance with this comedy, about a pothead cartoonist (Kent Osborne, who wrote this with Swanberg) who aims to sleep with his visiting house guest, a woman he met on Chatroulette.
Park City at Midnight
- "The Catechism Cataclysm" • Two old classmates, a disillusioned priest (Steve Little) and a former metalhead (Robert Longstreet), go on a canoeing trip where all hell breaks loose. Written and directed by Todd Rohal.
- "Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same" • One of two Sundance 2011 movies vying for coolest title, writer-director Madeleine Olnek’s sci-fi tale centers on a shy greeting-card store worker (Lisa Haas) who unknowningly falls in love with a lesbian space alien (Susan Ziegler) — as two government agents track their romance.
- "Corman’s World: Exploits Of A Hollywood Rebel" • Director Alex Stapleton profiles Roger Corman, the king of indies and B-movies. This documentary includes interviews with dozens of actors and directors — including Jack Nicholson, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro and James Cameron.
- "Hobo With a Shotgun" • (Canada) The other candidate for coolest title, and also the most self-explanatory: A hobo (Rutger Hauer) arrives in an urban hell, and starts doling out justice with both barrels. Directed by Jason Eisener, written by Johnathan Davies.
- "The Oregonian" • A woman (Lindsay Pulsipher) leaves the farm, gets in a brutal car accident — and then things really get messy in this horror film written and directed by Calvin Lee Reeder.
- "Septien" • A sports hustler returns home to the family farm, where his unhinged brothers live. Michael Tully directs, co-stars, and developed the story with David Gordon Green (director of "Pineapple Express") and castmates Robert Longstreet and Onur Tukel.
- "Troll Hunter (Trolljegeren)" • (Norway) Student filmmakers tangle with a man who has the job of protecting Norway from giant trolls. Directed by Andre Ovredal.
- "The Woman" • A country lawyer puts his family in peril when he captures and tries to "civilize" the last member of a violent clan that has roamed the Northeast coast for decades. Directed by Lucky McKee ("May"), who co-wrote with Jack Ketchum.
- "Jess + Moss" • Two second cousins (Sarah Hagan, Austin Vickers) are alone against the world, in a series of vignettes of friendship and sexual awakening over one summer on a Kentucky farm. Directed by Clay Jeter, who co-wrote with Debra Jeter.
- "The Mill & The Cross" • (Poland/Sweden) Digital effects bring Peter Bruegel’s 1564 painting "The Way to Calvary" to life, in this work by director Lech Majewski, who co-wrote with Michael Francis Gibson. Rutger Hauer plays Bruegel; the cast includes Charlotte Rampling and Michael York.
- "The Nine Muses" • (U.S.A./United Kingdom) Writer-director John Akomfrah mixes documentary, personal essay, footage of Alaska and Homer’s The Odyssey to trace the history of mass migration to post-war Britain.
- "!Women Art Revolution" • Filmmaker Lynn Hershman Leeson ("Strange Culture," "Teknolust") examines the history of activist female artists in the 20th century. The film is part of a transmedia project along with the interactive video installation "RAW WAR" at the New Frontier exhibit space at the Miner’s Hospital.
- "The Woods" • Eight young Americans move into the woods to start their own utopia, in a satirical critique of our dependence on media technology. Written and directed by Matthew Lessner.
From the Collection
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- "Slacker" • Richard Linklater’s 1991 indie classic, following a series of interesting characters in Austin, returns to Sundance for its 20th anniversary.
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