Sundance Film festival director Geoff Gilmore and director of programming John Cooper unveiled the 2008 competition line-up today [Nov 28], hailing an eclectic roster of 'passionate and personal' storytelling culled from a record number of submissions.

Including the Premieres, Spectrum, New Frontiers and Park City At Midnight selections - all of which will be announced tomorrow - Gilmore and his team have chosen 121 features and 87 world premieres from 3,624 submissions comprising 2,021 US and 1,603 international films. By comparison last year drew 1,852 US and 1,435 overseas submissions.

'It's hard to talk about the unified voice of 121 films,' Gilmore said, and his oft-repeated assertion of this latest selection's unpredictable nature points to a marked shift in tone: whereas last year's roster was informed by an overbearingly gloomy response to post-9/11 anxiety, the class of 2008 seems more idiosyncratic and comedic in tone even though darkness lurks in the fringes.

'This year seems unique,' Gilmore said. 'Last year I felt there were a lot of different kinds of political and moral stories being told. This year you get the sense that the work is more personal. I've seen it on the international side as well: it's as if people are exhausted in some way with the turmoil and troublesome times we live in, and yet there is an awareness there - people aren't putting their heads in the sand. The comic and irreverent tone is set by the opening night film In Bruges.

'The selection this year has been particularly intense because there are so many films coming out and coming to us at a later stage and there is so much work being done at the last minute on some of the entries,' he said. The intensity Gilmore referred to has been reflected in a grueling travel schedule. 'I haven't stopped. From August to October I've been to Asia twice, Europe four times, and back and forth to Toronto. And I've been on three festival juries, which I really do to check out what's going on.'

Dramatic Competition entries from the US include the comedy Sunshine Cleaning from Little Miss Sunshine producers Peter Saraf and Marc Turtletaub that stars Amy Adams, Emily Brunt and Alan Arkin, as well as Rawson Marshall Thurber's adaptation of Michael Chabon's adventure The Mysteries Of Pittsburgh with Sienna Miller and Jon Foster, Gregg Clark's Chuck Palahniuk adaptation Choke with Sam Rockwell and Anjelica Huston and the sports drama Sugar from Half Nelson director Ryan Fleck and writer Anna Boden.

Among the Documentary Competition roster are Alex Gibney's Gonzo: The Life And Work Of Dr Hunter S Thompson, Marina Zenovich's Roman Polanski: Wanted And Desired, Josh Tickell's paean to alternative energy in Fields Of Fuel and Lisa F Jackson's The Greatest Silence: Rape In The Congo.

The World Cinema Dramatic Competition line-up features Carlos Moreno's Colombian gangster tale Perro Come Perro (Dog Eat Dog), Dennis Gansel's German high school drama The Wave (Die Welle) and the Spain-Peru drama Mancora from La Mujer De Mi Hermano director Ricardo de Montreuil, a late replacement for Jose Padilha's Brazilian crime drama Elite Squad (Tropa De Elite) that is believed to have been pulled at the last minute by The Weinstein Company.

World Cinema Documentary Competition are distinguished by a large UK contingent that includes Isaac Julien's Derek, a meditation on the work of the late artist Derek Jarman, as well as Marc Evans' investigation into the American criminal justice system In Prison My Whole Life and Tanaz Eshaghian's account of sex change operations in Iran Be Like Others. The section includes Al Massad's Jordanian essay Recycle about life in the hometown of the late terrorist Al-Zarqawi and Li Ying's tale of a mysterious shrine Yasukuni.

Aside from the 87 world premieres the complete line-up features 14 North American premieres and 12 US premieres and represents 25 countries. There are films from 55 first-time film-makers, including 32 in competition.

This year's 16 films were selected from a record 953 submissions. Each film is a world premiere.

An American Soldier
Dir: Edet Belzberg
Explores Army recruitment in the US told through the story of Louisiana Sergeant Clay Usie, one of the most successful recruiters in the history of the US Army.
World Premiere

American Teen
Dir: Nanette Burstein
Irreverent cinema verite chronicle of four senior students at an Indiana high school.
World Premiere

Bigger, Stronger, Faster*
Dir: Christopher Bell
A film-maker explores America's win-at-all-cost culture by examining his and his brothers' steroid use.
World Premiere

Fields Of Fuel
Dir: Josh Tickell
America is addicted to oil and it's time for an intervention. Enter Josh Tickell, a man with a plan and a Veggie Van, who is taking on Big Oil, Big Government and Big Soy to find solutions in places few people have looked.
World Premiere

Flow: For Love Of Water
Dir: Irena Salina
Water is the very essence of life, sustaining every being on the planet. Flow confronts the disturbing reality that our crucial resource is dwindling and greed may just be the cause.
World Premiere

Gonzo: The Life And Work Of Dr Hunter S Thompson
Dir: Alex Gibney
Fuelled by a raging libido, Wild Turkey and superhuman doses of drugs, Thompson was a n unique journalist. The film includes clips of never-before-seen home movies, tapes and passages from unpublished manuscripts.
World Premiere

The Greatest Silence: Rape In The Congo
Dir: Lisa F Jackson
Jackson travels to remote villages in the war zones of the Congo to meet rape survivors, providing a piercing, intimate look into the struggle of their lives.
World Premiere

Dir: Patrick Creadon
I.O.U.S.A. explores America's shocking current fiscal condition and explores ways to avoid a national economic disaster.
World Premiere

Nerakoon (The Betrayal)
Dir: Ellen Kuras
Co-dir: Thavisouk Phrasavath
The epic story of a family forced to emigrate from Laos after the secret air war waged by the US during the Vietnam War. Kuras has spent the last 23 years chronicling the family's extraordinary journey in this deeply personal film.
World Premiere

The Order Of Myths
Dir: Margaret Brown
Mardi Gras is still celebrated in Mobile, Alabama. The town is also still segregated. The film follows a cast of characters, parades and parties across an enduring colour-line.
World Premiere

Patti Smith: Dream Of Life
Dir-wrtr: Steven Sebring
An intimate portrait of music icon Patti Smith that mirrors the essence of the artist herself.
World Premiere

Roman Polanski: Wanted And Desired
Dir-wrtr: Marina Zenovich
Marina Zenovich's new documentary examines the public scandal and private tragedy, which led to legendary director Roman Polanski's sudden flight from the US.
World Premiere

Dirs: Peter Galison, Robb Moss
Amid the American hunger for instantaneous news and up-to-date 'facts,' this unflinching film uncovers the vast, invisible world of government secrecy.
World Premiere

Slingshot Hip Hop
Dir: Jackie Reem Salloum
The voice of a new generation rocks and rhymes as Palestinian rappers form alternative voices of resistance within the Israeli-Palestinian struggle.
World Premiere

Traces Of The Trade: A Story Form The Deep North
Dir: Katrina Browne
Co-dir: Alla Kovgan
Co-dir: Jude Ray
History finally gets rewritten as descendants of the largest slave-trading family in early America face their past, and present, as they explore their violent heritage across oceans and continents.
World Premiere

Trouble The Water
Dirs: Tia Lessin, Carl Deal
An aspiring rap artist and her streetwise husband, armed with a video camera, show what survival is all about when they are trapped in New Orleans by deadly floodwaters, and then seize a chance for a new beginning.
World Premiere

This year's 16 films were selected from 1,068 submissions. Each film is a world premiere.

American Son
Dir: Neil Abramson
Before being deployed for active duty, a young Marine takes a four-day Thanksgiving leave to return home to Bakersfield, California. There he meets a young woman, tries to connect with old friends and confronts his volatile home life.
Cast: Nick Cannon, Melonie Diaz, Matt O'Leary, Jay Hernandez, Tom Sizemore, Chi McBride.
World Premiere

Anywhere, U.S.A.
Dir: Anthony (Chusy) Haney-Jardine
Told in three segments ranging from satirical to tragic, Anywhere, U.S.A. is a wildly original look at American manners, prejudices, and family dynamics.
Cast: Perla Haney-Jardine.
World Premiere

Dir: Lance Hammer
A riveting, lyrical portrait of an emotionally frayed family whose lives are torn asunder by a tragic act in a small Mississippi Delta town.
Cast: Michael J Smith Sr, Jim Myron Ross, Tarra Riggs, Johnny McPhail.
World Premiere

Dir: Clark Gregg
An adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's novel, Choke is the sardonic story about mother and son relationship, fear of aging, sexual addiction, and the dark side of historical theme parks.
Cast: Sam Rockwell, Anjelica Huston, Kelly MacDonald, Brad Henke.
World Premiere

Downloading Nancy
Dir: Johan Renck
The tale of an unhappy wife whose online search for someone to put her out of her misery results in a torturous love affair.
Cast: Maria Bello, Jason Patric, Rufus Sewell, Amy Brenneman.
World Premiere

Frozen River
Dir: Courtney Hunt
Set in rural upstate New York on a Mohawk reservation that borders Canada, a mother left to take care of her teenage son finds herself lured into the world of illegal immigrant smuggling.
Cast: Melissa Leo, Misty Upham, Charlie McDermott, Michael O'Keefe, Mark Boone Jr.
World Premiere

Good Dick
Dir: Marianna Palka
The tale of a lonely girl drawn from her isolated life and solitary apartment by a doting young video store clerk who strives to capture her affections.
Cast: Jason Ritter, Marianna Palka, Tom Arnold, Mark Webber, Martin Starr, Eric Edelstein.
World Premiere

The Last Word
Dir: Geoff Haley
An off-beat romantic comedy about a solitary writer who makes his living composing other people's suicide notes. After meeting the sister of a recently deceased client, he finds his reclusive life and secret career upended by an unusual romance.
Cast: Winona Ryder, Wes Bentley, Ray Romano.
World Premiere

The Mysteries Of Pittsburgh
Dir-wrtr: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Based on Michael Chabon's novel, the film chronicles the defining summer of a recent college graduate who crosses his gangster father and explores love, sexuality and the enigmas surrounding his life and his city.
Cast: Jon Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Sienna Miller, Mena Suvari, Nick Nolte.
World Premiere

North Starr
Dir: Matthew Stanton
After witnessing the brutal murder of his best friend, a young African-American man flees the badlands of Houston and finds himself in Trublin, a backward, racially intolerant town where he meets an unlikely kindred spirit who takes him under his wing.
Cast: Jerome Hawkins, Matthew Stanton, Chris Sullivan, Isaac Lamb, Zach Johnson, Wayne Campbell.
World Premiere

Phoebe In Wonderland
Dir: Daniel Barnz
Confounded by her clashes with the seemingly rule-obsessed world, a little girl takes her already dysfunctional family down the rabbit hole when she seeks enlightenment from her unconventional drama teacher.
Cast: Elle Fanning, Felicity Huffman, Patricia Clarkson, Bill Pullman, Campbell Scott, Peter Gerety.
World Premiere

Pretty Bird
Dir: Paul Schneider
A comic tale of three would-be entrepreneurs who set out to invent a rocket belt. The clash of their mismatched personalities soon dissolves the business into a morass of recriminations and retaliations, kidnapping and murder, in this parable of American dreams and delusions.
Cast: Billy Crudup, Paul Giamatti, Kristen Wiig, David Hornsby.
World Premiere

Sleep Dealer
Dir: Alex Rivera
Set in a near-future, militarised world marked by closed borders, virtual labor and a global digital network that joins minds and experiences, three strangers risk their lives to connect with each other and break the barriers of technology.
Cast: Luis Fernando Pena, Leonor Varela, Jacob Vargas.
World Premiere

Dirs: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who last teamed up for Half Nelson, chronicle the journey of Dominican baseball star Miguel 'Sugar' Santos recruited from his native country to play in the US minor leagues.
Cast: Algenis Perez Soto.
World Premiere

Sunshine Cleaning
Dir: Christine Jeffs
Struck by financial hardship, an ambitious mother and her unmotivated sister become entrepreneurs in the field of biohazard removal and crime scene clean-up.
Cast: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Steve Zahn, Alan Arkin.
World Premiere

The Wackness
Dir: Jonathan Levine
During a sweltering New York summer, a troubled teenage drug dealer trades pot for therapy sessions with a drug-addled psychiatrist, and in the process falls for the doctor's daughter. From Occupant Films and Levine's follow-up to the 2006 Toronto hit All The Boys Love Mandy Lane.
Cast: Josh Peck, Ben Kingsley, Famke Janssen, Olivia Thirlby, Mary Kate Olsen, Method Man.
World Premiere

The 16 films selected from 620 submissions.

Alone In Four Walls (Allein In Vier Wanden) Germany
Dir: Alexandra Westmeier
Adolescent boys struggle to grow up in a home for delinquents in rural Russia where life behind bars may be better than the release to freedom.
North American Premiere

The Art Star And The Sudanese Twins New Zealand
Dir: Pietra Brettkelly
Vanessa Beecroft is obsessively determined to adopt Sudanese twin orphans. Her consuming passion drives her marriage to a breaking point and fuels her controversial art, raising troubling questions about exploitation, culture clash and the imposition of the West on Africa.
World Premiere

Be Like Others UK
Dir: Tanaz Eshaghian
An intimate and unflinching look at life in Iran, seen through the lens of those living at its fringes, Be Like Others is a provocative look at a generation of young Iranian men choosing to under go sex change surgery.
World Premiere

A Complete History Of My Sexual Failures UK
Dir: Chris Waitt
Chris is a useless boyfriend. Determined to find out why, he consults ex-girlfriends, medical practitioners, his producers and his mother to find out how women really see him. Has this journey made him potential boyfriend material or is he staring a life of loneliness square in the face'
World Premiere

Derek UK
Dir: Isaac Julien
A film involving two courageous and innovative artists: one the subject and one the filmmaker provide a cinematic journey that illuminates the work and enduring importance of the late Derek Jarman.
World Premiere

Dinner With The President Pakistan
Dirs: Sabiha Sumar and Sachithanandam Sathananthan
From on-the-street interviews to audiences with religious leaders to dinner with the President of Pakistan, the film takes the temperature of a culture on issues from politics to women's rights.
US Premiere

Durakovo: The Village Of Fools (Durakovo: Le Village Des Fous) France
Dir: Nino Kirtadze
Russian nationalism percolates in a castle outside Moscow, where Mikhail Morozov rules autonomously over young initiates, laying the groundwork for a rapidly growing right-wing movement.
North American Premiere

In Prison My Whole Life UK
Dir: Marc Evans
A curious young film-maker attempts to understand the true story behind award-winning journalist Mumia Abu Jamal's death row sentence, and comes to startling realisations about American history and its justice system.
With William Francome, Noam Chomsky, Alice Walker, Mos Def, Smoof, Snoop Dogg and Angela Davis.
North American Premiere

Man On Wire UK
Dir: James Marsh
In 1974, Phillipe Petit, a young Frenchman, dances on a wire suspended between New York's Twin Towers, is arrested and thrown into jail for what would become known as 'the artistic crime of the century.'
World Premiere

puujee Japan
Dir: Kazuya Yamada
Against the backdrop of a magnificent but harsh natural landscape, a Japanese photojournalist encounters puujee, a young girl who tames wild horses on the Mongolian plains.
North American Premiere

Recycle Jordan
Dir: Al Massad
A Jordanian family man living in the hometown of Muslim leader Al-Zarqawi, struggles to support his family and define his identity in a tense political climate.
World Premiere

Stranded: I've Come From A Plane That Crashed On The Mountains France
Dir: Gonzalo Arijon
For the first time ever, survivors of the famous 1974 Andes plane crash tell in their own words their harrowing story of survival.
North American Premiere

Triage: Dr. James Orbinski's Humanitarian Dilemma Canada
Dir: Patrick Reed
Acclaimed doctor James Orbinski, former head of Doctors Without Borders, returns to Africa to confront the harsh reality of conditions there and to explore what it means to be a humanitarian.
North American Premiere

Up The Yangtze Canada
Dir: Yung Chang
At the edge of the Yangtze River, not far from the Three Gorges Dam, young men and women take up employment on a cruise ship, where they confront rising waters and a radically changing China.
US Premiere

The Women Of Brukman (Les Femmes De La Brukman) Canada
Dir: Isaac Isitan
Amidst Argentina's financial collapse, workers take over a Buenos Aires men's clothing factory and continue producing clothing on a self-management model. As the formerly poor become business managers, their lives will never be the same.
US Premiere

Yasukuni Japan
Dir: Li Ying
Controversy abounds as Japanese officials honour the deceased at the legendary Yasukuni shrine, where swords used to kills Chinese soldiers were famously forged. Few know about the shrine's eerie past and the mysterious sword inside.
Cast: Kariya Naoji, Sugawara Ryuken, Gaojin Sumei.
North American Premiere

This year's 16 selections were culled from 983 submissions.

Absurdistan Germany
Dir: Veit Helmer
This inventive and allegorical comedy centers on two childhood sweethearts who seem destined for one another until the women of their isolated village, angered by male indifference toward the water shortage, go on a sex strike that threatens the young couple's first night of love.
Cast: Maximilian Mauff, Kristyna Mlerova.
World Premiere

Blue Eyelids (Parpados Azules) Mexico
Dir: Ernesto Contreras
When Marina wins a beach getaway trip for two, her desperate search for someone to take with her leads to a complicated relationship and the revelation that she might be better off on her own.
Cast: Cecilia Suarez, Enrique Arreola, Ana Ofelia Murguia, Tiare Scanda, Luisa Huertas.
US Premiere

Captain Abu Raed Jordan
Dir-wrtr: Amin Matalqa
An aging airport janitor who is mistaken for an airline pilot by a group of poor neighbourhood children weaves fantastical stories to offer hope for a sad, and sometimes unchangeable, reality.
Cast: Nadim Sawalha, Hussein Al-Sous, Rana Sultan, Uday Al-Qiddissi, Ghandi Saber.
North American Premiere

The Drummer (Jin. Gwu) Hong Kong
Dir: Kenneth Bi
A young man transforms from a reckless youth and gangster into a mature adult through the inspiration of Zen drumming.
Cast: Jaycee Chan, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Josie Ho, Roy Cheung, Lee Sinje, Kenneth Tsang.
Utah premiere

I Always Wanted To Be A Gangster (J'Ai Toujours Reve D'Etre Un Gangster) France
Dir: Samuel Benchetrit
Told in four vignettes, this existential comedy relates the exploits of four aspiring criminals who hope to improve their lot, but find that they might not have what it takes for a life of crime.
Cast: Sergi Lopez, Jean Rochefort, Alain Bashung, Anna Mouglalis.
North American Premiere

Just Another Love Story (Kaerlighed Pa Film) Denmark
Dir: Ole Borendal
Jonas's quiet life as a suburban family man takes an unexpected twist when he causes a car crash that leaves a young woman with amnesia. When he is mistaken for her boyfriend, Jonas's decision to play the role gradually unravels his life.
Cast: Anders W Berthelsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Charlotte Fich, Dejan Cukic, Ewa Froling.
International Premiere

King Of Ping Pong (Ping Pongkingen) Sweden
Dir: Jens Jonsson
An ostracised and bullied teenage boy who excels only in ping pong, descends into an acrimonious struggle with his younger, more popular brother when the truth about their family history and their father surfaces over the course of their spring break.
Cast: Georgi Staykov, Ann-Sofie Normi, Frederik Nilsson, Jerry Johansson.
International Premiere

Mancora Spain/Peru
Dir: Ricardo de Montreuil
A young man mourning the death of his father, his estranged stepsister and her arrogant husband all set out for adventures in the lush, picturesque beach town of Mancora, Peru.
World Premiere

Megane (Glasses) Japan
Dir: Naoko Ogigami
Taeko's southern vacation becomes a life-changing experience when she discovers a unique beach community unified by surprising and perhaps odd traditions in this comedic film.
Cast: Satomi Kobayashi, Mikako Ichikawa, Ryo Kase, Ken Mitsuishi, Masako Motai.
North American Premiere

Mermaid (Rusalka) Russia
Dir: Anna Melikyan
The fanciful tale of an introverted little girl who grows up she has the power to make wishes come true. She must reconcile this belief with reality when, as a young woman, she journeys to Moscow and grapples with love, modernity and materialism.
Cast: Masha Shalaeva, Evgeniy Ciganov, Maria Sokolova, Nastya Doncova.
International Premiere

Perro Come Perro (Dog Eat Dog) Columbia
Dir: Carlos Moreno
In the crime world of Columbia, there is an unwritten code, and when Victor and Eusebio, two hoods who bungle a job, break that code, they unwittingly sign their own death sentence.
Cast: Marlon Moreno, Oscar Borda, Alvaro Rodriguez, Blas Jaramillo, Paulina Rivas.
World Premiere

Riprendimi (Good Morning Heartache) Italy
Dir: Anna Negri
A modern young couple with a new baby are forced to deal with the almost comedic pain of breaking up while being the subject of a documentary that quickly crosses professional lines into their private lives.
Cast: Alba Rohrwacher, Marco Foschi, Valentina Lodovini, Stefano Fresi, Alessandro Averone.
World Premiere

Strangers Israel
Dirs: Erez Tadmor and Guy Nattiv
An Israeli man and a Palestinian woman meet serendipitously during the carefree atmosphere of the World Cup finals in Germany, drawing them out of the stark reality of their lives and into a passionate affair.
Cast: Liron Levo, Lubna Azabal, Dominique Lollia, Patrick Albenque, Abdallah El Akal, Roger Dumas.
International Premiere

Under The Bombs (Sous Les Bombes) Lebanon
Dir: Philippe Aractingi
In the wake of Israel's 2006 bombardment of Lebanon, a determined woman finds her way into the country convincing a taxi cab driver to take a risky journey around the scarred region in search of her sister and her son.
Cast: Nada Abou Farhat, Georges Khabbaz, Bshara Atallah, and Rawia Elchab.
North American Premiere

The Wave (Die Welle) Germany
Dir: Dennis Gansel
A high school teacher's unusual experiment to demonstrate to his students what life is like under a dictatorship spins horribly out of control when he forms a social unit with a life of its own.
Cast: Juergen Vogel, Frederick Lau, Max Riemelt, Jennifer Ulrich, Christiane Paul.
World Premiere

The Wind And The Water (Burwa Dii Ebo) Panama
Dirs: A collective collaboration
A young indigenous teen seeking his fortune in Panama City struggles to acclimate to chaotic urban life, where he becomes enamored with a girl from a wealthy, assimilated family. Later, he encounters his crush once again - but this time the landscape and tradition define their interaction.
World Premiere

The 2008 Sundance Film Festival runs from January 17-27, 2008. For further details visit