Joining Stephen Frears and Leslye Headland are narrative entries 2 Days In New York from Julie Delpy, Nicholas Jarecki’s financial thriller Arbitrage and Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer. Documentary Premieres includes fresh work from Joe Berlinger, Stacy Peralta and Ice-T.
Closing the festival is The Words starring Bradley Cooper, the feature directorial debut of Tron: Legacy writers Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal. Robot And Frank starring Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, James Marsden and Liv Tyler is the Salt Lake City Gala Film.
At time of writing none of the films in Premieres has US disitribution, although CAA is understood to have fielded several offers for the Kirsten Dunst comedy Bachelorette and buyers will doubtless be scrutinising the high-profile section.
“The fact that most of the Premieres have been produced completely independently further underscores the resourcefulness and tenacity of filmmakers in this climate,” festival director John Cooper said. “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.”
Director of programming Trevor Groth added: “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 categorisation. 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.”
All films listed below are world premieres unless stated otherwise. The festival provided all synopses.
A showcase of some of the most highly anticipated dramatic films of the coming year from new and established directors. Presented by Entertainment Weekly.
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.
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, Laetitia Casta.
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 (US)
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 (US)
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… (US)
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.
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 (US)
Director: Stephen Frears. Screenwriter: DV DeVincentis
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 (US)
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 (US)
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 (US)
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: Clarke Peters, Jules Brown, Toni Lysaith, James Ransone, Thomas Jefferson Byrd.
Red Lights (US-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 (US)
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 Bradby
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, Aidan Gillen, Domhnall Gleeson, with Gillian Anderson and Clive Owen.
The Words (US)
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 Jan 26 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.
Untitled Paul Simon Project (US)
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.
About Face (US)
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 weighin on the fashion industry and how they reassess and redefine their own sense of beauty as their careers progress.
A Fierce Green Fire (US)
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.
Bones Brigade: An Autobiography (US)
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 (US)
Director: James Redford
From Robert Redford’s son comes this story about 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.
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.
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.
West Of Memphis (US)
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.
Sundance takes place from Jan 19-29 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. The complete list of films is available at the official website.