Each year thousands come to the mountain town of Park City, Utah, for the Sundance Film Festival. Some are here to see films, some to get rejected from overcrowded parties, and others to score goody bags. Many come to divine the future of independent film from the parade of new talent and films. Perhaps more than other festivals, Sundance prides itself on fresh talent. Of the 121 feature-length films presented this year, 55 come from first-time film-makers.

So what is new this year' Director of programming John Cooper recognises a conspicuous lightness in tone and material. In a time when the war in Iraq, global warming and a softening dollar cloud the national sky, almost no narrative films take on weighty political issues directly. "Nobody is making dark movies for dark's sake," explains Cooper. "Film-makers realise there needs to be a twist to get people into the cinema." Indeed, several films this year have leveraged traditional entertainment elements to make their point - whether it is science fiction to deal with immigration in Sleep Dealer or fast-action adventure to dramatise the issue of gender and class in Frozen River.

Cassian Elwes of William Morris, who will once again be representing several new films this year, notices that while films have changed their tune, budgets remain the same. "What film-makers are understanding," explains Elwes, "is that they don't have to make depressing movies; they can make entertaining films on low budgets as well." Indeed, the whimsy and playfulness of independent films such as Adventures Of Power, The Wackness or The Last Word still register, despite their budget.

But it remains to be seen whether changing tone alone can save independent film. Fewer and fewer independent films are picked up at the festival, and those that have distribution face an overcrowded and often dismal marketplace. Films such as M have become exceptions that prove the rule, rather than the rule itself. Sunshine producer Peter Saraf, who returns this year with another sunshine film, Sunshine Cleaning, acknowledges he is unlikely to repeat his earlier experience. "I've taken a lot of movies to the festival," explains Saraf, "but I've never been in an experience like that, being in the middle of a bidding war. It was like something out of a Peter Biskind book."

Yet for all the predictions and dire warnings, Sundance remains first and foremost a celebration of the film-maker. As such, Screen has profiled 12 of them, each new and talented in his or her way. For one brief moment, each has a chance to embody the future of US cinema. The recognition of the artist is one of things that screenwriter Howard A Rodman, who is at the festival with two projects, August and Savage Grace, loves so much. "The only films that have my name on them," recounts Rodman, "are the ones that came to Sundance. The others, I either wish I'd never made, contributed to anonymously, or never saw."



The Wackness

Dramatic Competition

In Jonathan Levine's whimsical yarn of lost souls, The Wackness (playing in Dramatic Competition), Josh Peck stars as the troubled teen who trades pot for therapy with his equally troubled shrink (Ben Kingsley). This tale of growing pains also marks the lead actor's coming of age, from child actor to adult.

Starting out as a stand-up comic, aged eight, Peck knew from early on that his life was in entertainment. "I just got off on audience reaction," Peck remembers. "It takes you over when everyone laughs at your jokes."

He moved from stage to screen in the 2000 family film, Snow Day. That same year, he was chosen to join Nickelodeon's skit comedy series The Amanda Show, a gig that led to the broadcaster's hit series Drake And Josh in 2004. Peck moved from goofball to serious actor that same year, playing the overweight bully in independent film Mean Creek.

Levine was sold on Peck after his role in Mean Creek: "The thing that impressed me most about his performance was its fearlessness," remembers Levine. "He wasn't afraid to do mean things or to look silly."

In the next few years, Peck transformed himself again, losing weight and becoming a teenage heart-throb. The Wackness sees him emerge as a far different performer from the buffoon stand-up comic or indie bully. He is a young adult, still very funny but deeply human.

For Levine, "Josh is the lead, along with all the responsibility that entails. We, as an audience, have to relate to him in a different way. This, in turn, allows Josh to show many more colours. I think that's what people will be surprised about - his range and his chops."

In The Wackness, Peck is a new and very different actor. "I like it when people leave the theatre happy, joyous and free," he explains. "But I also want to make movies that make people ... learn about new things. I want to make films that make things change." Peck has just wrapped another independent film, Jonathan Glatzer's Safety Glass.

Contact: Cary De Graff, tel (1) 310 288 8181



Pretty Bird

Dramatic Competition

While Pretty Bird was inspired by the true story of two men whose attempt to invent a rocket belt blew up in their faces, first-time director Paul Schneider sees it as a more universally scary tale. "I'm interested," he says, "in guys who are scared to death they will die and their life won't have amounted to anything" - an interesting fear for someone fresh into Sundance.

Raised in Asheville, North Carolina, Schneider fell in love with film when he watched Jane Campion's The Piano at 17. Enrolling at North Carolina School of the Arts, his "Led Zeppelin childhood" meshed with the art-school vibe and he found a group of like-minded film-makers, including David Gordon Green. Schneider went on to appear in two of Green's projects: George Washington and, as co-writer and star, All The Real Girls.

While Schneider was developing a solid acting career, appearing in The Family Stone and Elizabethtown, he was asked by producers on the set of Live Free Or Die what future projects he had in mind. "I had one idea," Schneider recalls. "It was a story Zene Baker, the editor from George Washington, told me about these guys in Texas who tried to make a rocket belt." That idea became Pretty Bird.

The casting came about as organically as the writing. Paul Giamatti signed up as an actor, and both he and his wife Liz signed on to produce.

After casting Billy Crudup for the other lead, Schneider shot the film in 25 days last year, an experience he likens to "running out of a burning house and trying to figure out which family mementos to save".

But even in the panic, he kept his vision. Producer John Limotte believes "Schneider has an incredible ability to take something that at first seems small, or mundane, a moment of no real consequence, and make it thought-provoking, poignant, and/or funny in a very dry way."

For his next project, Schneider will return to his first love: The Piano director Campion has cast him in Bright Star. Graham Taylor of Endeavor is repping Pretty Bird at Sundance.

Contact: Stephanie Ritz at Endeavor, tel (1) 310 248 3044



Phoebe In Wonderland

Dramatic Competition

It is no surprise that Daniel Barnz's debut drama Phoebe In Wonderland is about a rebellious little girl (Elle Fanning) who connects with her drama teacher (Patricia Clarkson) through acting in a school play of Alice In Wonderland. Having been a high-school drama geek who apprenticed at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and studied Renaissance theatre at Yale, the stage is in Barnz's blood.

Despite attending USC film school, theatre was never far away. His short thesis film, Gasp (1996) dealt with issues of sexual identity, but he wanted his first feature to be "a tribute to the magic of theatre". After several years of crafting the story, Barnz was ready to make Phoebe In Wonderland.

But rather than a production deal, Barnz's script secured him writing jobs. And no wonder. For Phoebe's producer, Lynette Howell, Barnz's talent starts here: "He brings an honesty to his scripts that most writers find challenging. His characters are flawed, but not overly so in that heavy drama kind of a way."

Working solo, then partnering with Vanity Fair writer Ned Zeman, Barnz worked steadily for the next decade on a number of high-profile screenplays. For Jodie Foster, they penned Sugarland; for Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way, the biopic The Man Who Loved Grizzlies; for Richard Gere, a portrait of a nature photographer, Emperor Zehnder; and for Mel Gibson, a biker expose drama Under And Alone.

But Phoebe continued to sit in his bottom drawer, until his partner took the script to their neighbour, Felicity Huffman. Her interest led to other stars, such as Patricia Clarkson and Campbell Scott, joining the first-time director. Their last hurdle saw the casting of nine-year-old Fanning as Phoebe.

Barnz jokes he had "read every book out there about making your first film and by the time production started I was ready for war. But the most difficult part was just the anxiety, waiting for everything to fall into place." Rich Klubeck and Graham Taylor are repping the film at Sundance.

Contact: Adriana Albergetti at Endeavor, tel (1) 310 248 2000



Adventures Of Power

Park City at Midnight

After coming to Sundance in 1999 and 2001 with short films, Ari Gold took seven years to return to the festival with his first feature, Adventures Of Power, a madcap escapade about a small-town boy attempting to become the air drumming champion of the world.

Gold's own adventures in film-making have been no less spectacular - he had already created two short films (Culture and Helicopter) while at NYU film school that went to Sundance. But the two-and-a-half years it took to finish Helicopter put him so out of schedule at NYU he had to drop out. Moving to Serbia at the end of the Milosevic regime, Gold tried to put together a feature about a comic-book writer in Belgrade during the US bombings, but was thwarted when his Serbian collaborators deserted him.

Dispirited, Gold returned to New York and joined a band, The Honey Brothers. "The lag time between inspiration and production was so long," says Gold, "that music was instantly creative and had an immediate result." A few years later, when Gold competed in the Air Guitar Championships playing air drums, the character he created led him back to film-making with a series of web videos about the air drummer, named Power. Gold says: "A 90-minute arc started appearing in my head, a ridiculous story that involved Power living with his aunt next to the copper mines in Silver City, New Mexico."

Gold wrote the script through 2005, set up a financing company, Grack, to sell $25,000 units of the film. Producer Gill Holland helped him find suitable donors and after "way too many steak dinners", Gold had enough to start - but not finish - production. He teamed up with producer Andrea Sperling and contacted his former band member - and actor in HBO's Entourage - Adrian Grenier to star.

Without final funds, the film-makers had a start-and-stop production over the next year, setting up five different shoots in five different states. But in the end Gold incorporated everything in his vision - air drums, copper mines, labour politics and the American Southwest. The film is represented at Sundance by Cassian Elwes.

Contact: ari@arigoldfilms.com



The Guitar


While Amos Poe wrote the screenplay to Amy Redford's debut feature, The Guitar - about a woman who channels her final days into playing the guitar - the film's spirited sentiments of following your dreams applies equally to Redford for setting out as a director.

As the daughter of Robert Redford, it was always going to be difficult to strike out independently, either in front of or behind the camera. At the University of Colorado, she took religious studies and photography, hoping, she jokes, "I would not be compelled towards entertainment." When she transferred to San Francisco State, Redford graduated in theatre studies, followed by a stint at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Rada) in London, before moving back to the US.

Eventually, she became an actor working both in television, theatre and film, with a preference for "experimental stuff". While growing up, Redford's desire to direct was clear to everyone around, even though she initially pushed it away. "My boyfriend would tell me how impassioned I'd get, and he told me you owe it to yourself to try," explains Redford. Soon after, Poe sent her his script for The Guitar - to act in, not to direct.

This provided the ideal opportunity for Redford to cut her teeth as a director, and she optioned the script for herself and took on Poe as producer. It took her a year to raise funds for the film, and Saffron Burrows approached her to play the lead. Executive producer Michael Roban says of her choice of lead: "Burrows' performance was so good, every movement, every gesture had authenticity. That came from Amy's unique ability to understand how people feel." John Sloss and Sarah Lash of Cinetic Media are repping the film at Sundance.

Contact: Renee Tab of ICM, tel (1) 310 550 4420



The Visitor


In The Visitor, Thomas McCarthy's bittersweet drama about home and homeland security, first-time film actor Danai Gurira plays a Senegalese woman seeking help when her husband is taken by immigration.

For Gurira, who is based between the US and Zimbabwe, similar questions, fears and hopes about home and identity have always shaped her. Born in Grinnell, Iowa, she moved back to Zimbabwe, aged five, and soon began acting. "My siblings said that I was either going to be an actress or be crazy," she says. Still, when Gurira, went to study in the US, she chose social psychology, but kept her dramatic passions simmering.

The big change came in 1997, when instead of enrolling for a PHD in sociology, Gurira, took up a place on the MFA drama programme at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Studying the works of African playwrights, Gurira mixed her own dramatic work with theirs to voice the plight of women in her homeland. In her final year, Gurira collaborated with fellow student Nikkole Salter to create a two-person show about African American women with HIV.

Their final project, In The Continuum, caused a stir and moving from student theatres to drama conferences, went on worldwide tour and won a 2006 Obie award, a 2006 Outer Critics Circle John Gassner award and Drama League outstanding performance 2005, among others.

Keen to expand her range, Gurira auditioned for the role of Zainab in McCarthy's The Visitor. "I share some of who she is, but I also know here. There are similarities in the story that mean I relate to her as an African girl."

Director McCarthy agrees: "This character has to constantly check her emotions to survive and Danai brought an inner strength and dignity to the role," explains the director.

While Gurira wants more film work, she remains committed to creating politically engaging drama. A reading of her latest work, Eclipsed, about two Liberian women during the country's civil war, will be staged in March, at Princeton's McCarter Theatre. The Visitor, will be released domestically by Overture Films this April.

Contact: James Suskin, Suskin Management, tel (1) 212 242 2030



Sleep Dealer

Dramatic Competition

Alex Rivera's Sleep Dealer, a bilingual sci-fi exploration of labour and immigration politics in the near future, is a mesmerising collision of culture and cinema that seems perfectly natural for the writer-director.

Born to a Peruvian father in New Jersey, Rivera early on displayed both a keen appreciation of multi-cultural issues and a fanboy's love of sci-fi. "My mom read me The Martian Chronicles as a kid, and as a teen I'd read Philip K Dick, Joe Haldeman, and William Gibson. They had characters that were true outsiders," he says.

Rivera, who was studying political science and culture at Hampshire College, Massachusetts, turned to film as a tool to shape the way we think about the world. His first film, experimental documentary Papapapa, explains Rivera, "looked at my dad's life and the history of the potato - two emigrants, one human and one vegetable. From that moment on, I have been thinking about new ways to visualise politics and immigration." His next short film, Why Cybraceros' (1997) set the imaginative groundwork for Sleep Dealer.

Rivera brought his project to the 2000 Sundance Writers Lab and the 2001 Filmmakers Lab, where he met his soon-to-be producer Anthony Bregman. "Rivera is a first-time director, but he's not a first time storyteller," Bregman remembers thinking about the film-maker. "He whipped out his computer, and narrated the story to me accompanied by a chorus of sketches, location photos, art references, music clips and visual effects that he tweaked right there."

While the two, as Rivera recalls, thought they would get the film done in a year, it would, in fact, be four years of development and searches for financing.

By 2005, they had a finished bilingual script and financing through Starlight Film Finance of London. With a pan-American cast, Rivera shot seven-and-a-half weeks in Mexico, before post-production at the Skywalker Ranch, California. Rivera notes that "of the 1,300 shots in the film, 400 are special effects". But he believes in the end this is a "small character-driven film at its heart". Andrew Hurwitz at Schreck Rose Dapello Adams & Hurwitz and Rich Klubeck at UTA will represent it at the festival.

Contact: Tory Metzger, CAA, tel (1) 424 288 2000



The Last Word

Dramatic Competition

In Geoff Haley's debut feature The Last Word, a Los Angeles writer (Wes Bentley), who specialises in customised suicide notes, falls in love with the sister (Winona Ryder) of a client.

Raised in Germany, then Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Haley took up film-making at junior high school where he used an 8mm camera to film his book reports, and at high school he produced TV commercials.

To learn how to make films, while at college at Stanford, he planned to spend his summer holiday as a production assistant in Los Angeles. Instead, he ended up as a union boom operator on National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1, a gig that led to more production jobs each summer.

After college he moved from boom to editing, and to camera operator, working with Robert Altman, Steven Soderbergh, and Sam Mendes along the way.

His creative energies were stirred when he was asked to shoot a plastic bag tossed by the wind in American Beauty. The furore that film created pushed him back into film-making. His subsequent short, The Parlor, was programmed at festivals around the world.

In his free time, Haley wrote The Last Word, trying to incorporate his years of experience on and off the set.

"I learned an important lesson from the first script I'd made," recalls Haley. "I needed the story to be flexible, to do it for $15m or $50,000."

Ending up with a budget closer to $500,000, the film is being handled by William Morris' Cassian Elwes.

Contact: David Kopple, The Gersh Agency, tel (1) 310 274 6611



Frozen River

Dramatic Competition

Courtney Hunt's debut feature, Frozen River, explores the tenuous bond between two women - a poor white woman (Melissa Leo) and a native Mohawk (Misty Upham) - who deal with poverty by smuggling illegal immigrants across the frozen St Lawrence river. It is a remarkable, rarely seen world, and one that melds Hunt's passions for justice and film.

Although she went to law school between college and the graduate film programme at Columbia, Hunt says she always knew she wanted to make films. "I just thought it was presumptuous to go straight to film school before I saw more of the world," she explains. Working with her husband, Donald Harwood, a criminal defence attorney, while in school, Hunt learned much about the real world, as well as about the tough choices people make.

She brought this insight to Columbia when making her thesis short film, Althea Faught, a 20-minute short about a woman trapped with a dying husband during the Civil War. After a healthy festival life, the film was picked up by PBS's American Playhouse.

At grad school, Hunt remembers: "Women's films were often criticised for being talky, and not active enough." So when she heard a story about Mohawk Indian women driving over the frozen St Lawrence river to smuggle cigarettes, she felt this was an opportunity to change that perception of women in film.

She visited the local tribes, interviewed women and wrote the script for Frozen River, but in the late 1990s, explains Hunt, "no-one was that interested in women on the Canadian border".

After 9/11, however, when issues of border security came to the fore, Hunt returned to her script, and changed the smuggling of cigarettes to illegal immigrants from China and Pakistan. In 2003, she met Melissa Leo at a special screening of 21 Grams for New York's FilmColumbia festival, and convinced her to appear in a short version of her script. The 15-minute film was invited to the 2004 New York Film Festival, and used by Hunt and Harwood to solicit financing for the feature.

After nearly two years of tapping private equity sources, Hunt finally shot for 24 days in February 2007 in sub-zero weather near the Canadian border. For authenticity, they worked with the local Mohawk tribe, casting 13 non-actor Mohawks for speaking parts.

Leo says working with Hunt was an exceptional experience: "She's an incredibly unique voice. She doesn't sit around quoting films, but when she did, it was amazing. She insisted I watch John Wayne (in John Ford's Rio Grande). It was unexpected and absolutely right." Cassian Elwes of William Morris is repping the film at Sundance.

Contact: Donald Harwood, daharwood1@aol.com



Momma's Man


Writer-director Azazel Jacobs Momma's Man is a quiet, precise drama about a middle-aged man who is unable to leave after visiting his parents in New York. While the parents and the cluttered Manhattan loft are Azazel's real family and home, the film-making is all his own. Azazel's father Ken Jacobs, a seminal figure of US experimental film, did much to make his son sensitive to the cultural power of images but taught him little about narrative film. Indeed, Jacobs half jokes: "I think my dad was completely confused by what we were doing on set."

Azazel, influenced by artists such as Will Eisner, had wanted to work in cartoons. But during a stint as a projectionist at the local arthouse cinema in Purchase, New York, where he went to college, Azazel discovered the power of narrative film. "Cassavetes and Jarmusch pushed me in a new direction," he remembers. "They made movies that were as sincere and honest as the movies made by my parents and their peers. I wanted to see if I could combine those two worlds."

After college, Azazel attended the American Film Institute, Los Angeles, where he made a short films and a feature both in and outside of school. For Azazel, it was a period of stylistic exploration.

His no-budget feature The GoodTimesKid (to be released domestically by Benton Films this June) emerged from his time in southern California and appreciation of Aki Kaurismaki.

In early 2005, Jacobs came upon the idea for Momma's Man. Originally a joke about a man who arrives home and will not leave, the story developed into a more serious drama about a man trying to find his place in the world. With the script finished, Jacobs decided to insert his own home and family into the story.

Producer Alex Orlovksy (Half Nelson) found in Azazel a "unique voice that had a way of creating something out of nothing". To finance the film, he turned to the Artists Public Domain, a supporting organisation of the Independent Feature Project, which put in all the money.

Jacobs shot for three weeks in his parents' New York loft and a week in Los Angeles. Sarah Lash and Dana O'Keefe of Cinetic Media are repping the film at Sundance.

Contact: azazel@mommasman.com



Good Dick

Dramatic Competition

Marianna Palka's debut feature Good Dick - about a woman who rents erotic videos being pursued by a video clerk - sprang from a simple motive. She needed a script with a character she wanted to play.

Growing up in the Polish community in Glasgow, Scotland, Palka had artistic inspiration from watching arthouse classics on her VCR and meeting Polish actors who visited her parents. Actor-director Peter Mullen inspired her at the age of 16 to pursue acting, and the next year she moved to New York. "I wanted to be a starving actress by the age of 17," she laughs. Getting no recognition from the Actors Studio, she found a home with New York's Atlantic Theatre group for the next three years.

In 2003, Palka moved to Los Angeles, but found good parts few and far between. So she wrote Good Dick to create the role she wanted. "I was really fascinated by the dudes at the local video store who'd stand around eating Chinese food. What would it mean if a woman started renting erotica from them'"

After writing 50 pages, she pulled together people for a reading and it was clear she had a feature film on her hands.

In 2006, after she completed the script, she ran into Present Pictures' Cora Olsen and Jen Dubin, who were about to go into production on The Babysitters, and she offered to swap scripts. But rather than coming back with notes, Dubin made an offer to produce her movie.

Dubin says: "The script was unique, abstract and something we knew would be driven by performance." And when Jason Ritter came on board, Dubin saw that "(Palka) and Jason would have fantastic chemistry together on screen".

Palka jumped right in, not only writing and directing, but also starring in the film. "I thought it would be a battlefield," she recalls, "and that I would lose a third of the film, but we got everything." Palka shot for 17 days in October and November 2006. William Morris' Cassian Elwes is representing Good Dick.

Contact: Carolyn Govers, Artist Management, carolyn@cgartist management.com, tel (1) 310 656 9603



Sunshine Cleaning

Dramatic Competition

Megan Holley's script for Christine Jeffs' Sunshine Cleaning follows the adventures of two sisters who earn a living by cleaning up crime scenes. It is an odd job, but perhaps no odder than Holley's route to becoming a film-maker: she worked for the Virginia Department of Economic Development editing industrial films on subjects ranging from employee orientation to windscreen-wiper manufacturing.

By 1998, Holley struck out to pursue more personal film-making by joining a local Flickr group showing Super-8 films. Next she wrote and directed a micro-budget thriller about DNA testing and cloning, The Snowflake Crusade.

In 2001, the inspiration for Sunshine Cleaning came to her through the radio. "I heard a story on NPR on crime-scene cleaning, and wanting to react against the CSI craze of the time, I started writing a story that got to the tragedy of the job."

Holley entered Sunshine Cleaning in the Virginia Film Office's Governor's Screenwriting Competition in 2003 and won.

On the jury was Glenn Williamson, former president of Focus Features. For Williamson, Holley's work "took you to a place you've never been before. The script needed more than just to win; it needed to be made."

After Williamson signed on to produce the film, things started to change for Holley: she took on an agent, won an invitation to the Nantucket Screenwriters Colony, and received an offer to adapt Maureen Johnson's The Key To The Golden Firebird for Fox 2000.

"It was a weird time," recalls Holley. "I was walking to work because I couldn't scrounge the parking money, my phone was cut off, but I had Hollywood agents calling me at the lab where I was a rat tech." She has finally quit her day job, and has recently adapted AN Wilson's supernatural novel A Jealous Ghost for Paramount Vantage. Sunshine Cleaning is being repped by John Sloss of Cinetic Media.

Contact: Harley Copen and Jenny Fritz, ICM, tel (1) 310 550 4000


This comprehensive chart, which lists the films that had their world premieres at Sundance and were then acquired for US distribution during or after the festival, is a stark reminder of how a Park City spending spree can be a dangerous game.

Most successful of all was Fox Searchlight, which hit lucky with its pick-ups Waitress ($5m for worldwide rights) and Once ($1m for domestic rights) but flopped with its $4m acquisition Joshua. Other distributors stumbled - Warner Independent paid $4m for North America, UK and Germany on Clubland, renamed it Introducing The Dwights and grossed just $379,000 in domestic; ThinkFilm paid more than $2m for documentary In The Shadow Of The Moon which has taken $1.1m; First Look paid $3m for King Of California which has taken just $270,000; The Weinstein Company teamed with First Look to pay $3.5m for Dedication which took just $92,000 in its August US run; and Sony Classics paid $1m for My Kid Could Paint That which has taken less than $200,000.

Meanwhile some of the biggest acquisitions have yet to be released. Paramount Vantage took Son Of Rambow off the table for $7.5m and have set a May 2 release date in 2008; How She Move, for which Vantage paid more than $3m, is set for January 25. At time of going to press, The Weinstein Company's $4m acquisition Grace Is Gone had only just opened, while the $5m Searchlight/TWC joint acquisition La Misma Luna is set for a domestic opening on March 21.

- Mike Goodridge

AmericanAmerican Gross
Film (Sundance section) distributorrelease dateto date
1 Waitress (Spectrum) Fox SearchlightMay 2$19.1m
2 Once (World Competition: Dramatic) Fox SearchlightMay 16$9.4m*
3 No End In Sight (Competition: Documentary) Magnolia PicturesJuly 27$1.4m
4 In The Shadow Of The Moon (Competition: Documentary) ThinkFilmSept 7$1.1m
5 Broken English (Competition: Dramatic) Magnolia PicturesJune 22$960,000
6 The Ten (Spectrum) ThinkFilmAug 3$769,000
7 Joshua (Competition: Dramatic) Fox SearchlightJuly 6$450,000
8 Interview (Spectrum) Sony ClassicsJuly 13$416,000
9 The Savages (Premieres) Fox SearchlightNov 28$383,000*
10 Clubland aka Introducing The Dwights (Premieres) Warner Independent PicsJuly 4$379,000
11 Crazy Love (Competition: Documentary) Magnolia PicturesJune 1$300,000
12 King Of California (Premieres) First Look PicturesSept 14$270,000
13 For The Bible Tells Me So (Competition: Documentary) So First Run FeaturesOct 5$255,800*
14 Starting Out In The Evening (Competition: Dramatic) Roadside AttractionsNov 23$246,000*
15 Eagle Vs Shark (World Competition: Dramatic) Miramax FilmsJune 15$221,000
16 Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten (World Competition: Documentary) IFCNov 2$204,000*
17 My Kid Could Paint That (Competition: Documentary) Sony ClassicsOct 5$198,000*
18 The Devil Came On Horseback (Spectrum) International Film CircuitJuly 25$132,000
19 Send A Bullet (Manda Bala) (Competition: Documentary) City LightAug 31$122,000
20 Dedication (Spectrum) The Weinstein CompanyAug 24$92,000
21 Zoo (Competition: Dramatic) ThinkFilmApril 25$69,000
22 The Nines (Premieres) NewmarketAug 31$63,000
23 Finishing The Game (Midnight) IFCOct 5$52,000
24 War/Dance (Competition: Documentary) ThinkFilmNov 9$49,000
25 The Good Night (Premieres) Yari Film GroupOct 5$22,400
26 The Great World Of Sound (Spectrum) Magnolia PicturesSept 14$20,000
27 Flying: Confessions Of A Free Woman (Special Screening) Artistic LicenseJuly 4$20,000
28 Grace Is Gone (Competition: Dramatic) The Weinstein CompanyDec 7$13,800*
29 Crossing The Line (World Competition: Documentary) KinoAug 10$9,250
30 Slipstream (New Frontier) Strand ReleasingOct 26$8,900
31 Protagonist (Competition: Documentary) IFCNov 30$8,200*
32 Everything's Cool (Competition: Documentary) City LightsNov 23$4,890*
33 Adrift In Manhattan (Competition: Dramatic) Screen MediaSept 21$2,000
* indicates the film is still on release in North America, grosses are at Dec 9, 2007
1 The Last Mimzy (Special Screening) New LineMarch 23$21.5m
2 Black Snake Moan (Premieres) Paramount VantageMarch 2$9.4m
3 Resurrecting The Champ (Premieres) Yari Film GroupAug 24$3.2m
4 Year Of The Dog (Premieres) Paramount VantageApril 13$1.5m
5 Rocket Science (Competition: Dramatic) PicturehouseAug 10$714,000
6 Trade (Premieres) Roadside AttractionsSept 28$214,000
7 Smiley Face (Midnight) First Look PicturesNov 16$6,000**
** still on release
Nanking (Competition: Documentary) ThinkFilmDec 12***
Teeth (Competition: Dramatic) Roadside AttractionsJan 18
How She Move (World Competition: Dramatic) Paramount VantageJan 25
The Signal (Midnight) Magnolia Pictures MidnightFeb 22
Chicago 10 (Premieres) Roadside AttractionsFeb 29
Snow Angels (Competition: Dramatic) Warner Independent PicturesMarch 7
Under The Same Moon (Spectrum) Fox SearchlightMarch 21
Son Of Rambow (Premieres) Paramount VantageMay 2
Padre Nuestro (Competition: Dramatic) IFCMay 14
Never Forever (Competition: Dramatic) Arts Alliance America/Prime Entertainment2008 tbc
Chapter 27 (Premieres) Peace Arch Entertainment2008 tbc
*** film had not opened at time of going to press