World premieres of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Jack Goes Boating, Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini’s The Extra Man, Joel Schumacher’s closing night film Twelve, the Untitled Duplass Brothers Project, Michael Winterbottom’s The Killer Inside Me and The Runaways starring Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett populate Sundance 2010’s Premieres section.
Announcing five non-competition strands today [December 3], festival director John Cooper and programming director Trevor Groth also unveiled Diego Luna’s Abel, Nicole Holofcener’s Please Give, and a Midnight strand that includes Buried with Ryan Reynolds and Frozen (pictured), which has been described as Open Water on a ski lift.
The new Next strand profiles eight films all made for under $500,000 and seems particularly timely in the wake of Oren Peli’s breakout smashParanormal Activity, which was shot for $11,000 and has grossed more than $106m in North America. Cooper pointed out the section reaffirmed Sundance’s adherence to a culture of low budget discovery that has cast the global spotlight in the past on titles like Dan Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez’ The Blair Witch Project and Robert Rodriguez’ El Mariachi.
Spotlight, the section formerly known as Spectrum, encompasses favourites from the festival circuit and titles that do not fit the mould of comeptition films for various reasons. It is, in the words of Groth: “Films we love that have played other festivals and either have US distribution, in which case we can provide a launching pad for them in the market, or do not have distribution, which means we want to get them seen by American audiences and hopefully get them some attention.” Titles include Jacques Audiard’s Cannes grand prize jury winner A Prophet, Gaspar Noe’s Enter The Void, Jessica Hausner’s Lourdes, and Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love.
Abel (Mexico) Dir: Diego Luna
A peculiar young boy, blurring reality and fantasy, assumes the responsibilities of a family man in his father’s absence. Cast: José Maria Yazpik, Karina Gidi, Carlos Aragon, Christopher Ruiz-Esparza, Gerardo Ruiz-Esparza,
Cane Toads: The Conquest (US) Dir: Mark Lewis
In 3-D, Lewis explores one of Australia’s greatest environmental catastrophes as he follows the unstoppable march of the cane toad across the Australian continent.
The Company Men (US) Dir: John Wells
Three company men attempt to survive a round of corporate downsizing while trying to fend off its affects on their families and their identities.
Cast: Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper, Rosemarie DeWitt.
The Extra Man (US) Dirs: Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini
A down-and-out playwright who escorts wealthy widows in Manhattan’s Upper East Side takes a young aspiring writer under his wing.
Cast: Katie Holmes, John C. Reilly, Paul Dano, Kevin Kline, Alicia Goranson.
Get Low (US) Dir: Aaron Schneider
A mysterious 1930s Tennessee hermit plans his own funeral party.
Cast: Robert Duvall, Bill Murray.
Jack Goes Boating (US) Dir: Philip Seymour Hoffman
A limo driver’s blind date sparks a tale of love, betrayal, friendship, and the prevailing grace of the human spirit centered on two working-class New York City couples. Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Ryan, John Ortiz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Tom McCarthy.
The Killer Inside Me (US) Dir: Michael Winterbottom
Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford is a pillar of the community in his small Texan town until he starts killing people.
Cast: Casey Affleck, Kate Hudson, Jessica Alba, Simon Baker, Elias Koteas.
Nowhere Boy (UK) Dir: Sam Taylor Wood
A teenage John Lennon confronts wrenching family secrets and finds his musical voice in late 1950s Liverpool.
Cast: Aaron Johnson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Thomas Sangster, Anne-Marie Duff, David Morrissey.
Please Give (US) Dir: Nicole Holofcener
In New York City, a husband and wife butt heads with the granddaughters of the elderly woman who lives next door. Cast: Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Rebecca Hall, Catherine Keener, Sarah Steele.
The Runaways (US) Dir: Floria Sigismondi
The story of legendary female rock and roller Joan Jett and her all-girl band.
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Scout Taylor-Compton, Michael Shannon, Alia Shawkat, Tatum O’Neal. World Premiere
Shock Doctrine (US) Dirs: Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross
Based on the book by award-winning journalist Naomi Klein, Shock Doctrine exposes the rise of disaster capitalism around the world.
North American Premiere
Twelve (US) Dir: Joel Schumacher
A chronicle of the highs and lows of privileged children on Manhattan’s Upper East Side involving sex, drugs and murder.
Cast: Chace Crawford, Emma Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland, 50 Cent, Zoe Kravitz.
World Premiere and closing night film
Cyrus (US) Dirs: Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass
A recently divorced man meets a new lady whose son does not want to share his mother with another man.
Cast: Marisa Tomei, John C Reilly, Jonah Hill, Catherine Keener.
Armless Dir: Habib Azar
In this off-kilter comedy, a woman comes to terms with her husband’s strange secret.
Cast: Daniel London, Janel Moloney, Keith Powell, Laurie Kennedy, Matt Walton.
Bass Ackwards Dir: Linas Phillips
After ending a disastrous affair with a married woman, a man embarks on a lyrical, strange and comedic cross-country journey in a modified VW bus
Cast: Linas Philips, Davie-Blue, Jim Fletcher, Paul Lazar.
Bilal’s Stand Dir: Sultan Sharrief
Bilal, a Muslim high school senior in Detroit, juggles his dysfunctional family, their taxi-stand, and an ice carving contest in his secret attempt to land a college scholarship.
Cast: Julian Gant.
The Freebie Dir: Katie Aselton
A young married couple decides to give each other one night with someone else
Cast: Dax Shepard, Katie Aselton.
Homewrecker Dir: Todd Barnes
The last romantic in New York City is an ex-con locksmith on work release.
Cast: Ana Reeder, Anslem Richardson, Stephen Rannazzisi.
New Low Dir: Adam Bowers
A neurotic twentysomething struggles to figure out which girl he really belongs with: the best one he’s ever known, or the worst.
Cast: Adam Bowers, Jayme Ratzer, Toby Turner, Valerie Jones.
One Too Many Mornings Dir: Michael Mohan
Two damaged young men recover their high school friendship by awkwardly revealing to each other just how messed up they’ve become.
Cast: Anthony Deptula, Stephen Hale, Tina Kapousis.
The Taqwacores Dir: Eyad Zahra
When a Pakistani-Muslim engineering student moves into a house with punk Muslims of all stripes in Buffalo, New York, his ideologies are challenged to the core.
Cast: Noureen DeWulf, Dominic Rains, Rasika Mathur, Tony Yalda, Anne Marie Leighton.
Narrative films screening in the Festival’s Spotlight are:
Bran Nue Dae (Australia) Dir: Rachel Perkins
In the summer of 1965 a young man is filled with the life of the idyllic old pearling port Broome – fishing, hanging out with his mates and his girl.
Cast: Rocky McKenzie, Jessica Mauboy, Geoffrey Rush, Ernie Dingo.
Daddy Longlegs (US) Dirs: Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie
A swansong to excuses and responsibilities, to fatherhood and self-created experiences, and to what it’s like to be truly torn between being a child and being an adult.
Cast: Ronald Bronstein, Sage Ranaldo, Frey Ranaldo.
North American Premiere
Enter The Void (France) Dir: Gaspar Noe
A drug-dealing teenager is killed in Japan and reappears as a ghost to watch over his sister.
Cast: Nathaniel Brown, Paz de la Huerta, Cyril Roy, Emily Alyn Lind, Jesse Kuhn.
I Am Love (Io Sono L’Amore)(Italy) Dir: Luca Guadagnino
A tragic love story set at the turn of the millennium in Milan. Cast: Tilda Swinton, Edoardo Gabbriellini, Pippo Delbono, Alba Rohrwacher, Marisa Berenson.
Louis C.K.: Hilarious (US) Dir: Louis C.K.
Sharp-tongued comedian Louis CK pulls no punches in this visceral concert experience.
Lourdes (Austria/France/Germany) Dir: Jessica Hausner
A woman in a wheelchair travels to Lourdes in an attempt to escape her isolation.
Cast: Sylvie Testud, Léa Seydoux, Bruno Todeschini, Gilette Barbier, Gerhard Liebmann, Irma Wagner.
Mother & Child (US) Dir: Rodrigo Garcia
The lives of three women – a physical therapist, the daughter she gave up at birth three decades ago, and an African American woman seeking to adopt a child of her own – intersect in surprising ways.
Cast: Naomi Watts, Annette Bening, Kerry Washington, Jimmy Smits, Samuel L Jackson
New African Cinema- A collection of short films: Pumzi (South Africa) directed by Wanuri Kahiu; Saint Louis Blues (Un Transport En Commun) (France/Senegal)directed by Dyana Gaye; and The Tunnel (South Africa) directed by Jenna Bass.
A Prophet (Un Prophete) (France) Dir: Jacques Audiard
A young Arab man is sent to a French prison where he rises to become a mafia kingpin.
Cast: Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup, Adel Bencherif, Hichem Yacoubi, Reda Kateb.
Women Without Men (Zanan-E Bedun-E Mardan) (Germany/Austria/France) Dir: Shirin Neshat, Shoja Azari
A dissection of Iranian society at the time of the 1953 CIA-backed coup that overturned the nationalist government of Mohammed Mossadegh and installed the shah in power.
Cast: Pegah Ferydoni, Arita Shahrzad, Shabnam Tolouei, Orsi Toth
Documentary films screening in the Festival’s Spotlight are:
8: The Mormon Proposition (US) Dir: Reed Cowan
An examination of the relationship between the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints in the promotion and passage of California’s Proposition 8 denying marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.
Catfish (US) Dirs: Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman
When a young New York City photographer is contacted on Facebook by an eight-year-old painting prodigy from rural Michigan, he becomes deeply enmeshed in her life, even falling in love with her older sister – that is, until a crack appears in her story.
Climate Refugees (US) Dir: Michael Nash
An over-consuming, crowded world, with dwindling resources and a changing climate is giving birth to 25million climate refugees resulting in a mass global migration and border conflicts.
Countdown To Zero (US) Dir: Lucy Walker
Nuclear weaponry and global disarmament advocates under the spotlight.
Life 2.0 (US) Dir: Jason Spingarn-Koff
More than an examination of new technology, the film is foremost a character-based drama about people whose lives are dramatically transformed by the virtual world called Second Life.
Teenage Paparazzo (US) Dir: Adrian Grenier
A 13-year-old paparazzi boy snaps a photo of actor Adrian Grenier, leading Grenier to explore the effects of celebrity on culture.
To Catch A Dollar: Muhammad Yunus Banks On America (Bangladesh, USA) Dir: Gayle Ferraro
Tapping into the success of Muhammad Yunus after winning the Nobel Peace Prize (2006), Grameen America has opened in Queens, New York replicating the banking model programme Yunus first started in Bangladesh.
Winning Time: Reggie Miller Vs The NY Knicks (US) Dir: Dan Klores
Reggie Miller single handedly crushed the hearts of Knick fans multiple times. But it was the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals that solidified Miller as Public Enemy #1 in New York City.
PARK CITY AT MIDNIGHT
7 Days (Canada) Dir: Daniel Grou
A doctor seeks revenge by kidnapping, torturing and killing the man who murdered his young daughter.
Cast: Rémy Girard, Claude Legault, Fanny Mallette, Martin Dubreuil, Rose-Marie Coallier.
Buried (Spain) Dir: Rodrigo Cortes
A US contractor working in Iraq awakens to find he is buried alive inside a coffin. With only a lighter and a cell phone it’s a race against time to escape.
Cast: Ryan Reynolds.
Frozen (US) Dir: Adam Green
Three skiers are mistakenly stranded on a chairlift, forced to make life-or-death choices that prove more perilous than staying put and freezing to death.
Cast: Emma Bell, Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers.
HIGH school (US) Dir: John Stalberg, Jr
A random drug test coincides with a high school valedictorian’s first hit of pot.
Cast: Sean Marquette, Matt Bush, Adrien Brody, Michael Chiklis, Colin Hanks, Mykelti Wiliamson, Andrew Wilson, Yeardley Smith, Michael Vartan, Curtis Armstrong, Erica Phillips, Adhir Kaylan.
The Perfect Host (US) Dir: Nick Tomnay
A criminal on the run cons his way into the wrong dinner party where the host is anything but ordinary.
Cast: David Hyde Pierce, Clayne Crawford, Helen Reddy, Nathaniel Parker.
Splice (France/Canada) Dir: Vincenzo Natali
Clive and Elsa are young, brilliant, and ambitious. The new animal species they engineered has made them rebel superstars of the scientific world. In secret, they introduce human DNA into the experiment.
Cast: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chaneac, David Hewlett.
North American Premiere
Tucker & Dale Vs Evil (Canada) Dir: Eli Craig
Two West Virginian hillbillies go on vacation at their dilapidated mountain cabin, but their peaceful trip goes horribly awry.
Cast: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss.
The Violent Kind (US) Dirs: The Butcher Brothers aka Mitchell Altieri and Phil Flores
A group of rowdy young bikers party it up at a secluded farmhouse when, tormented by a mysterious force, things take a turn for the worst.
Cast: Taylor Cole, Christina Prousalis, Tiffany Shepis, David Fine, Joseph McKelheer.
All My Friends Are Funeral Singers (US) Dir: Tim Rutili
A fortune teller lives and works in an old house crowded with ghosts. When a mysterious lights appears in the woods, the ghosts realise they are trapped and begin to rebel.
Cast: Angela Bettis
Double Take (Germany, Netherlands) Dir: Johan Grimonprez
Grimonprez casts Alfred Hitchcock as a paranoid history professor, unwittingly caught up in a double take on the cold war period. The master says all the wrong things at all the wrong times while politicians on both sides desperately stammer to say the right things, live on TV.
Cast: Mark Perry, Ron Burrage.
North American Premiere
Memories Of Overdevelopment (US) Dir: Miguel Coyula
Live-action, animation and newsreel footage combine to recreate the way personal memory works for a misanthropic Cuban intellectual. Adapotation of a novel by Cuban author Edmundo Desnoes.
Cast: Ron Blair
ODDSAC (US) Dir: Danny Perez
Earthy, psychedelic experimental narrative infused with the band Animal Collective’s work.
Pepperminta (Austria, Switzerland) Dir: Pipilotti Rist
Colours are the young woman’s best friends and strawberries are her pets. Together with her friends she sets out to fight for a more humane world.
North American Premiere
Utopia In Four Movements (US) Dirs: Sam Green and Dave Cerf
A “live documentary”, this piece explores the battered state of the utopian impulse at the dawn of the 21st century through several seemingly unrelated vignettes, including a history of Esperanto, a portrait of an exiled American radical, and a meditation on the world’s largest shopping mall.