The stars will be out in force at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
Festival organizers announced Monday the 24 titles that will debut in the Premieres and Documentary Premieres categories — which feature not only big names in front of the camera, but also familiar Sundance filmmakers behind the camera.
Directors such as John Michael McDonagh ("The Guard"), Mike Cahill ("Another Earth"), Ira Sachs ("Keep the Lights On"), Gregg Araki ("Mysterious Skin") and Michael Winterbottom ("The Road to Guantanamo") are back with new films. Actors David Cross ("Arrested Development") and William H. Macy ("Fargo") also will make their feature directing debuts.
Among the stars who will be seen: Elizabeth Banks, Willem Dafoe, Ted Danson, Michael Fassbender, Selena Gomez, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Anna Kendrick, Keira Knightley, John Lithgow, Brit Marling, Rachel McAdams, Alfred Molina, Elisabeth Moss, Nick Offerman, Amy Poehler, Ryan Reynolds, Paul Rudd, Shailene Woodley and Robin Wright.
The Documentary Premieres section features what could be one of the festival’s most controversial films: "Happy Valley," which digs into the case of Jerry Sandusky, the Penn State assistant football coach convicted in 2012 of multiple counts of child sexual abuse. The film’s director, Amir Bar-Lev, last came to Sundance in 2010 with "The Tillman Story," an exposé on the "friendly fire" death of football-star-turned-Army-Ranger Pat Tillman.
Other films in the Documentary Premieres section feature profiles of notable figures: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger, "Star Trek" star George Takei, Nigerian musician/activist Fela Kuti and film critic Roger Ebert.
The premiere of the Ebert movie, "Life Itself," coincides with a new Sundance Institute initiative to honor the late Chicago newspaperman, who was a regular in Park City since the festival’s beginning. The Roger Ebert Scholarship for Film Criticism will bring six young film writers to cover Sundance, and pair them with mentors during and after the festival.
Sundance organizers announced 67 titles in the competition slates and the Next program last Wednesday, and the 23 titles in the Spotlilght, Park City at Midnight, Sundance Kids and New Frontier programs last Thursday. The festival will announce its short-film slate Tuesday.
The 2014 Sundance Film Festival runs Jan. 16-26 in Park City, and at venues in Salt Lake City, Ogden and the Sundance resort in Provo Canyon.
Here are the Premieres and Documentary Premieres programs, announced Monday:
"Calvary" (Director/screenwriter: John Michael McDonagh; Ireland/U.K.) » Filmmaker John Michael McDonagh ("The Guard," SFF ‘11) returns with this darkly comic drama about a kindly priest (Brendan Gleeson) who finds dark forces closing in on him after his life is threatened during a confession. Also starring Chris O’Dowd ("Bridesmaids") and Kelly Reilly ("Flight").
"Frank"(Director: Lenny Abrahamson; Screenwriters: Jon Ronson, Peter Straughan; Ireland/U.K.) » A young musician ("About Time’s" Domhnall Gleeson) gets in over his head when he joins an avant-garde rock band whose leader (Michael Fassbender) hides himself inside a large fake head.
"Hits" (Director/screenwriter: David Cross; U.S.) » Actor-comedian David Cross ("Arrested Development") makes his directorial debut in this comedy set in a small upstate New York town whose residents have unrealistic expectations about fame in the age of YouTube.
"I Origins" (Director/screenwriter: Mike Cahill; U.S.) » A molecular biologist (Michael Pitt) and his lab partner (Brit Marling) make a discovery that could change society as we know it — and causes them to question their beliefs in science and spirituality. Directed by Mike Cahill ("Another Earth," SFF ‘12).
"Laggies" (Director: Lynn Shelton; Screenwriter: Andrea Seigel; U.S.) » Director Lynn Shelton ("Humpday," SFF ‘09; "Your Sister’s Sister," SFF ‘12; "Touchy Feely," SFF ‘13) returns with a story of a 28-year-old woman (Keira Knightley) in arrested adolescence, lying to her boyfriend (Mark Webber) that she’s going on a business retreat while she hangs out with a new 16-year-old friend (Chloë Grace Moretz).
"Little Accidents" (Director/screenwriter: Sara Colangelo; U.S.)» When a 14-year-old boy disappears in a small coal town, three people — a miner who survived a recent accident, the lonely wife of a mine executive, and a local boy — are drawn together in a web of secrets. The cast includes Elizabeth Banks, Boyd Holbrook, Chloë Sevigny, Jacob Lofland and Josh Lucas.
"Love is Strange" (Director: Ira Sachs; Screenwriters: Ira Sachs, Mauricio Zacharias; U.S.) » Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) get married after 39 years together — but then George loses his job teaching choir at a Catholic school, and the newly-married couple must leave their Chelsea apartment and live apart. Also starring Marisa Tomei, Darren Burrows, Charlie Tahan and Cheyenne Jackson. Sachs is a Sundance veteran ("The Delta," SFF ‘96; "Forty Shades of Blue," SFF ‘05; "Keep the Lights On," SFF ‘12).
"A Most Wanted Man" (Director: Anton Corbijn; Screenwriter: Andrew Bovell; Germany U.S.) » Director Anton Corbijn ("The American") adapts John le Carré’s novel, about a Chechen Muslim who illegally arrives in Hamburg, Germany, where he lays claim to a fortune in a private bank — attracting the notice of intelligence agents. The cast includes Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe and Robin Wright.
"Nick Offerman: American Ham" (Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts; Screenwriter: Nick Offerman; U.S.) » The comic actor and icon of manhood delivers his one-man show at New York’s Town Hall, in which he talks about woodworking, oral sex, and his tips for living a more prosperous life. Sundance reports the movie comes with a warning label: "Minor nudity and not suitable for vegetarians." The movie reunites Offerman with director Jordan Vogt-Roberts ("The Kings of Summer," SFF ‘13).Next Page >
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