Yesterday, the Sundance Film Festival announced the last batch of premieres for next year’s festival, running from January 19 through 29, and while there are a bunch of movies that may have been expected to premiere at Sundance, there are a lot more surprises, including a couple of filmmakers who haven’t been to the Utah-based festival in quite some time, if ever. Here are some of the highlights that jumped out at us…
It’s hard to believe but after nearly thirty years of making movies, Spike Lee is bringing only his second movie to the Sundance Film Festival (after Passing Strange a few years back) with Red Hook Summer about a young Atlanta boy who spends a summer in Brooklyn with his grandfather. Starring mostly unknowns, it’s Spike’s most indie film in quite a number of years and it’s exciting to see him back, especially since word is out that he’ll be replaying his character Mookie from Do the Right Thing in it.
Julie Delpy brings 2 Days in New York, her follow-up to 2 Days in Paris, as she returns as Marion, having broken up with Adam Goldberg’s Jack and now living in New York with a new guy, played by Chris Rock.
One of Britain’s most respected filmmakers, Stephen Frears, will bring Lay the Favorite to the festival with Rebecca Hall playing a woman who gets involved with a group of guys who have found a way to work the Las Vegas sportsbook system. It also stars Bruce Willis and Catherine Zeta-Jones. This could very well be Frears’ first time at Sundance with one of his movies as well.
Director Lee Toland Krieger, who brought his previous film The Vicious Kind to Sundance, is back with Celeste and Jesse Forever, a collaboration with actress Rashida Jones (“Parks and Recreation”) who wrote and stars with Andy Samberg in the movie about a couple who marry young and are divorced by the time they hit 30.
Liberal Arts, Josh Radnor’s follow-up to HappyThankYouMorePlease, co-starring last Sundance Film Festival’s breakout star Elizabeth Olsen, has Radnor playing a guy who returns to his alma mater and falls for a 19-year-old coed.
James Marsh’s Oscar-winning doc Man on Wire and his previous doc Project Nim played at Sundance, and this year, he’s bringing his thriller Shadow Dancer, starring Clive Owen and Andrea Riseborough. It’s about a woman arrested after an aborted bomb plot.
Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, Lizzy Caplan, James Marsden and Adam Scott star in Leslye Headland’s Bachelorette, a movie with a premise that sounds an awful lot like Kristen Wiig’s Bridesmaids as it involves four friends being bridesmaids at a friend’s wedding after she gets engaged to New York’s most eligible bachelor.
Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal’s thriller The Words, starring Bradley Cooper, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde and Zoe Saldana has been announced as the festival’s Closing Night Film.
You can read the full list in the press release below:
Sundance Institute announced today the films selected to screen in the out-of-competition Premieres and Documentary Premieres sections of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The Festival will be held January 19 through 29 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. The complete list of films is available at Sundance.org.
John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival, said, ?The fact that most of the Premieres have been produced completely independently further underscores the resourcefulness and tenacity of filmmakers in this climate. That drive and entrepreneurial spirit has pushed narrative and documentary filmmakers alike to create rich stories which will entertain and inspire audiences at the festival and in the year to come.?
Trevor Groth, Director of Programming for the Sundance Film Festival, said, ?Featuring one of the most influential directors of all time returning to his Brooklyn roots as well as emerging filmmakers tackling big issues with sophistication beyond their experience, our Premieres section has much to offer ? including a live performance/exhibition by Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s open collaborative production company hitRECord that defies categorization. Our Documentary Premieres section features equally impressive filmmakers at the top of their game who have crafted impactful films that will both dazzle and enlighten.?
2 Days in New York / France (Director: Julie Delpy, Screenwriters: Julie Delpy, Alexia Landeau) ? Marion has broken up with Jack and now lives in New York with their child. A visit from her family, the different cultural background of her new boyfriend, her sister’s ex-boyfriend, and her upcoming photo exhibition make for an explosive mix. Cast: Julie Delpy, Chris Rock, Albert Delpy, Alexia Landeau, Alex Nahon.
Arbitrage / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Nicholas Jarecki) ? A hedge-fund magnate is in over his head, desperately trying to complete the sale of his trading empire before the depths of his fraud are revealed. An unexpected, bloody error forces him to turn to the most unlikely corner for help. Cast: Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth, Brit Marling, Nate Parker.
Bachelorette / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Leslye Headland) ? Unresolved issues between four high school friends come roaring back to life when the least popular of them gets engaged to one of the most eligible bachelors in New York City and asks the others to be bridesmaids in her wedding. Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, Lizzy Caplan, James Marsden, Adam Scott, Kyle Bornheimer.
California Solo / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Marshall Lewy) ? A former Britpop rocker has long settled for an unfettered life working on a farm outside of L.A. When he’s caught driving drunk and faces deportation, he must confront past and current demons in his life to stay in the country. Cast: Robert Carlyle, Alexia Rasmussen, Kathleen Wilhoite, A Martinez, Danny Masterson.
Celeste and Jesse Forever / U.S.A. (Director: Lee Toland Krieger, Screenwriters: Rashida Jones, Will McCormack) ? Celeste and Jesse met in high school, married young, and at 30, decide to get divorced but remain best friends while pursuing other relationships. Cast: Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Ari Graynor, Chris Messina, Elijah Wood, Emma Roberts.
For A Good Time, Call… / U.S.A. (Director: Jamie Travis, Screenwriters: Katie Anne Naylon & Lauren Anne Miller) ? Lauren and Katie move in together after a loss of a relationship and a loss of a rent controlled home, respectively. When Lauren learns what Katie does for a living the two enter into a wildly unconventional business venture. Cast: Ari Graynor, Lauren Anne Miller, Justin Long, Mark Webber, James Wolk.
GOATS / U.S.A. (Director: Christopher Neil, Screenwriter: Mark Jude Poirier) ? Ellis leaves his unconventional desert home to attend the disciplined and structured Gates Academy. There, he re-connects with his estranged father and for the first time questions the family dynamics. Cast: David Duchovny, Vera Farmiga, Graham Phillips, Justin Kirk, Ty Burrell.
LAY THE FAVORITE / U.S.A. (Director: Stephen Frears, Screenwriter: D.V. Devincintis) ? An adventurous young woman gets involved with a group of geeky older men who have found a way to work the sportsbook system in Las Vegas to their advantage. Cast: Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rebecca Hall.
Liberal Arts / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Josh Radnor) ? When 30-something Jesse is invited back to his alma mater, he falls for a 19-year-old college student and is faced with the powerful attraction that springs up between them. Cast: Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney, John Magaro, Elizabeth Reaser.
Price Check / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Michael Walker) ? Pete is having trouble resolving a happy marriage and family life with rising debt and a job he hates. When his new boss pulls him into the maelstrom that is her life, money and opportunities come his way, but at what price? Cast: Parker Posey, Eric Mabius, Annie Parisse, Josh Pais, Cheyenne Jackson.
Red Hook Summer / U.S.A. (Director: Spike Lee, Screenwriters: James McBride, Spike Lee) ? A young Atlanta boy spends his summer in Brooklyn with his grandfather, who he’s never seen before. Cast: Clark Peters, Jules Brown, Toni Lysaith, James Ransone, Thomas Jefferson Byrd.
Red Lights / U.S.A., Spain (Director and screenwriter: Rodrigo Cortés) ? Psychologist Margaret Matheson and her assistant study paranormal activity, which leads them to investigate a world-renowned psychic. Cast: Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver, Robert De Niro, Elizabeth Olsen, Toby Jones.
Robot and Frank / U.S.A. (Director: Jake Schreier, Screenwriter: Christopher Ford) ? A curmudgeonly older dad’s grown kids install a robot as his caretaker. Cast: Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, James Marsden, Liv Tyler. SALT LAKE CITY GALA FILM
Shadow Dancer / United Kingdom (Director: James Marsh, Screenwriter: Tom Brady) ? When a widowed mother is arrested in an aborted bomb plot she must make hard choices to protect her son in this heart-wrenching thriller. Cast: Andrea Riseborough, Aiden Gillen, Domhnall Gleeson, with Gillian Anderson and Clive Owen.
The Words / U.S.A. (Directors and screenwriters: Brian Klugman, Lee Sternthal) ? Aspiring writer Rory Jansen finds another man’s haunting memories in a collection of lost stories and claims them as his own, propelling him to literary stardom. Cast: Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde with Zoe Saldana. CLOSING NIGHT FILM
Special event: Hit RECord at the Movies with Joseph Gordon-Levitt ? Be a part of the process by joining Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the global hitRECord community for a special one-time-only interactive exploration of the power of making things together. Gordon-Levitt will showcase works that have been created from the collaborative hitRECord production company and invite the audience to engage, interact and contribute to the event using their digital devices. The event will be recorded, with footage posted on their website for all to enjoy and be inspired by. hitRECord, which launched with an installation in the New Frontier section of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, returns to the Festival to showcase the project’s evolution and potential for creative experimentation.
Created to highlight the growing impact and popularity of documentaries in our world today, Documentary Premieres presents eight moving new films about big subjects or by master filmmakers that showcase the power of the form. Each is a world premiere.
About Face / U.S.A. (Director: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders) ? An exploration of beauty and aging through the stories of the original supermodels. Participants including Isabella Rossellini, Christie Brinkley, Beverly Johnson, Carmen Dell’Orefice, Paulina Porizkova, Jerry Hall and Christy Turlington weigh in on the fashion industry and how they reassess and redefine their own sense of beauty as their careers progress.
BONES BRIGADE: An Autobiography / U.S.A. (Director: Stacy Peralta) ? When six teenage boys came together as a skateboarding team in the 1980s, they reinvented not only their chosen sport but themselves too ? as they evolved from insecure outsiders to the most influential athletes in the field.
The D Word: Understanding Dyslexia / U.S.A. (Director: James Redford) ? While following a Dyslexic high school senior struggling to achieve his dream of getting into a competitive college, The D Word exposes myths about Dyslexia and reveals cutting edge research to elucidate this widely misunderstood condition.
ETHEL / U.S.A. (Director: Rory Kennedy) ? This intimate, surprising portrait of Ethel Kennedy provides an insider’s view of a political dynasty, including Ethel’s life with Robert F. Kennedy and the years following his death when she raised their eleven children on her own.
A Fierce Green Fire / U.S.A. (Director: Mark Kitchell) ? A definitive history of one of the most important movements of the 20th century, A Fierce Green Fire chronicles the environmental movement’s fascinating evolution from the 1960s to the present.
SOMETHING FROM NOTHING: THE ART OF RAP / United Kingdom (Director: Ice-T, Co-Director: Andy Baybutt) ? Through conversations with Rap’s most influential artists ? among them Chuck D, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Eminem, MC Lyte, Mos Def, and Kanye West ? Ice-T explores the roots and history of Rap and reveals the creative process behind this now dominant art form.
Untitled Paul Simon Project / U.S.A. (Director: Joe Berlinger) ? Paul Simon returns to South Africa to explore the incredible journey of his historic Graceland album, including the political backlash he sparked for allegedly breaking the UN cultural boycott of South Africa, designed to end Apartheid.
West of Memphis / U.S.A. (Director: Amy Berg) ? Three teenage boys are incarcerated for the murders of three 8-year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. 19 years later, new evidence calls into question the convictions and raises issues of judicial, prosecutorial and jury misconduct ? showing that the first casualty of a corrupt justice system is the truth.
(Photo Credit: Ivan Nikolov/WENN.com)