Just this time yesterday, The Sundance Institute announced the list of films that will be in-competition at the 2011 film festival, and now, it’s the non-competition projects’ time to shine.
Featuring a relatively strong list of names, new narrative feature films from the likes of Miguel Arteta, Lee Tamahori, and yes, even Kevin Smith (whose film Red State will not only premiere at the festival, but will have its rights auctioned off after the film’s premiere), 2011 seems to be a really strong year.
Rounding out the list are films from Dito Montiel, Tom McCarthy, Kevin Macdonald, and the Thomas Jane starring, Mark Pellington-directed I Melt With You.
With both the In-Competition and Non-Competition lists now released, what films are you most looking forward to checking out? Personally, I can’t help but have a ton of interest in Eugene Jarecki’s film, Tom McCarthy’s latest, and of course, the Cop Out follow-up for Kevin Smith, Red State. What about you? What films are you looking forward to hopefully checking out when it leaves the film festival circuit?
Cedar Rapids/U.S.A. (Director: Miguel Arteta; Screenwriter: Phil Johnston) ‘” A wholesome and naive small-town Wisconsin man travels to big city Cedar Rapids, Iowa to represent his company at a regional insurance conference. Cast: Ed Helms, Sigourney Weaver, Alia Shawkat, John C. Reilly, Rob Corddry, Anne Heche.
The Convincer/U.S.A. (Director: Jill Sprecher; Screenwriters: Jill Sprecher & Karen Sprecher) ‘” An insurance salesman, caught in a caper involving a rare musical instrument, sets off a series of dramatic consequences. Cast: Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin, Billy Crudup, David Harbour.
The Details/U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Jacob Aaron Estes) ‘” When hungry raccoons discover worms living under the sod in a young couple’s backyard, the pest problem sets off a wild and absurd chain reaction of domestic tension, infidelity, organ donation and murder by way of bow and arrow. Cast: Elizabeth Banks, Laura Linney, Tobey Maguire.
The Devil’s Double/Belgium (Director: Lee Tamahori; Screenwriter: Michael Thomas) ‘” An extraordinary chapter in recent history providing a chilling vision of the House of Saddam comes to life through the eyes of the man who knew too much. Cast: Dominic Cooper, Ludivine Sagnier, Mimoun Oaissa, Raad Rawi, Philip Quast.
I Melt with You/Canada, U.S.A. (Director: Mark Pellington; Screenwriter: Glenn Porter, based on the story by Glenn Porter and Mark Pellington) ‘” Four friends gather every year to celebrate their friendship. This year they are unexpectedly forced to confront a forgotten promise they made 25 years earlier. As they examine choices they’ve made, they realize that what they said they would do with their lives and what they have done are entirely different. Cast: Thomas Jane, Jeremy Piven, Rob Lowe, Christian McKay, Carla Gugino.
Life in a Day/U.S.A. (Director: Kevin Macdonald) ‘” Life in a Day is a historic global experiment to create the world’s largest user-generated feature film. On July 24, 2010, professional and amateur filmmakers captured a glimpse of their lives on camera and uploaded the footage to YouTube, serving as a time capsule for future generations.
Margin Call/U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: JC Chandor) ‘” Over a 24-hour period during the early stages of the 2008 financial crisis, the key people at a investment bank struggle to decide how to handle an emergency business situation while examining the personal and moral implications of every action they take. Cast: Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Stanley Tucci.
The Music Never Stopped (Director: Jim Kohlberg; Screenwriters: Gwyn Lurie and Gary Marks, based on the story ‘The Last Hippie’ by Oliver Sacks) ‘” A father struggles to bond with his estranged son who suffers a brain tumor that prevents him from forming new memories. He learns to embrace his son’s choices and to try to connect with him through the power of music. Cast: J.K. Simmons, Julia Ormond, Cara Seymour, Lou Taylor Pucci, Mia Maestro. Salt Lake City Gala Film
My Idiot Brother/U.S.A. (Director: Jesse Peretz; Screenwriters: Evgenia Peretz and David Schisgall) ‘” After serving time for selling pot, Ned successively moves in with each of his three sisters as he tries to get back on his feet. His best intentions quickly bring the family to the cusp of chaos and ultimately the brink of clarity. Cast: Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer.
Perfect Sense/United Kingdom (Director: David Mackenzie; Screenwriter: Kim Fupz Aakeson) ‘” A poetic and magnetic love story about two people who start to fall in love just as the world begins to fall apart. Cast: Ewan McGregor, Eva Green, Ewen Bremner, Stephen Dillane, Connie Nielsen.
Red State/U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Kevin Smith) ‘” A group of misfits encounter extreme fundamentalism in Middle America. Cast: Michael Parks, Michael Angarano, Kyle Gallner, John Goodman, Melissa Leo.
Salvation Boulevard/U.S.A. (Director: George Ratliff; Screenwriters: Doug Max Stone and George Ratliff, based on the novel by Larry Beinhart) ‘” An evangelical preacher who has captivated a city with his charm frames an ex-hippie for a crime he did not commit. Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Greg Kinnear, Marisa Tomei.
The Son of No One/U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Dito Montiel) ‘” Two men in post-9/11 New York are forced to relive two murders they committed as young boys. Their lives start to unravel by the threat of the revelation of these shocking and personal secrets. Cast: Channing Tatum, Al Pacino, Juliette Binoche. CLOSING NIGHT FILM
Win Win/U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Tom McCarthy, based on the story by Tom McCarthy and Joe Tiboni) ‘” When a disheartened attorney moonlighting as a high school wrestling coach stumbles across a star athlete, things seem to be looking up. That is, until the boy’s mother shows up fresh from rehab and flat broke, threatening to derail everything. Cast: Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Bobby Cannavale, Jeffrey Tambor.
Park City At Midnight
The Catechism Cataclysm/U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Todd Rohal) ‘” After becoming disinterested with the church, a priest tracks down his old classmate, a former metalhead whom he idolized in high school. When the two embark on a canoeing trip together, all hell breaks loose. Cast: Steve Little, Robert Longstreet, Walter Dalton, Miki Ann Maddox, Koko Lanham. World Premiere
Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same/U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Madeleine Olnek) ‘” A shy greeting card store employee unknowingly falls for a lesbian space alien while two government agents closely track their romance. Cast: Lisa Haas, Susan Ziegler, Jackie Monahan, Cynthia Kaplan, Dennis Davis, Alex Karpovsky, Rae C Wright. World Premiere
Hobo with A Shotgun/Canada (Director: Jason Eisener; Screenwriter: Johnathan Davies) ‘” A hobo hops from a train with dreams of a fresh life in a new city, but instead finds himself trapped in an urban hell. When he witnesses a brutal robbery, he realizes the only way to deliver justice is with a shotgun in his hands and two shells in the chamber. Cast: Rutger Hauer, Molly Dunsworth, Gregory Smith, Brian Downey. World Premiere
The Oregonian/U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Calvin Lee Reeder) ‘” After surviving a brutal car accident, a simple farm woman limps down the road into the nightmarish unknown. Cast: Lindsay Pulsipher, Robert Longstreet, Matt Olsen, Lynne Compton, Barlow Jacobs, Chadwick Brown, Jed Maheu, Roger M. Mayer. World Premiere
Septien/U.S.A. (Director: Michael Tully) ‘” A reclusive sports hustler returns home to his family farm after years of absence to reunite with his two eccentric, unhinged and emotionally damaged brothers. Cast: Robert Longstreet, Onur Tukel, Michael Tully, Rachel Korine, Mark Robinson, John Maringouin. World Premiere
Troll Hunter (Trolljegeren)/Norway (Director: Andre Ovredal) ‘” A group of student filmmakers get more than they bargained for when tangling with a man tasked with protecting Norway from giant trolls. Cast: Otto Jespersen, Glenn Erland Tosterud, Hans Morten Hansen, Johanna MÃ¸rch, Tomas Alf Larsen. International Premiere
Untitled Roger Corman Documentary/U.S.A. (Director: Alex Stapleton) ‘” Tracks the triumphant rise of Hollywood’s most prolific writer-director-producer, the true godfather of independent filmmaking. World Premiere
The Woman/U.S.A. (Director: Lucky McKee; Screenwriters: Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee) ‘” When a successful country lawyer captures and attempts to ‘civilize’ the last remaining member of a violent clan that has roamed the Northeast coast for decades, he puts the lives of his family in jeopardy. Cast: Pollyanna McIntosh, Sean Bridgers, Angela Bettis, Lauren Ashley Carter, Zach Rand. World Premiere
U.S. Dramatic Competition
Another Earth (Director: Mike Cahill; Screenwriters: Mike Cahill and Brit Marling) ‘” On the eve of the discovery of a duplicate Earth, a horrible tragedy irrevocably alters the lives of two strangers, who begin an unlikely love affair. Cast: William Mapother, Brit Marling, Jordan Baker, Robin Lord Taylor, Flint Beverage.
Benavides Born (Director: Amy Wendel; Screenwriters: Daniel Meisel and Amy Wendel) ‘” A high school senior in a forgotten town has earned admission to the University of Texas at Austin but can’t afford to go. Her one shot is a scholarship for winning the State Powerlifting Championship. Cast: Corina Calderon, Jeremy Ray Valdez, Joseph Julian Soria, Julia Vera, Julio César Cedillo.
Circumstance/U.S.A., Iran (Director and screenwriter: Maryam Keshavarz) ‘” A wealthy Iranian family struggles to contain a teenager’s growing sexual rebellion and her brother’s dangerous obsession. Cast: Nikohl Boosheri, Sarah Kazemy, Reza Sixo Safai, Soheil Parsa, Nasrin Pakkho.
Gun Hill Road (Director and screenwriter: Rashaad Ernesto Green) ‘” After three years in prison, Enrique is back in his beloved Bronx, back in the arms of an estranged wife and back in the life of his teenage son, who is stumbling towards a transformation that will put the bonds of their embattled family to the test. Cast: Esai Morales, Judy Reyes, Harmony Santana, Vanessa Aspillaga.
HERE (Director: Braden King; Written By: Braden King and Dani Valent) ‘” On assignment to create a new, more accurate satellite survey of Armenia, an American cartographer forms a powerful bond with an Armenian expatriate and art photographer. Cast: Ben Foster and Lubna Azabal with Narek Nersisyan, Yuri Kostanyan and Sofik Sarkisyan.
Higher Ground (Director: Vera Farmiga; Screenwriters: Carolyn S. Briggs and Tim Metcalfe) ‘” A frustrated young mother turns to a fundamentalist community for answers, but after years of dogma and loss, she must find the courage to ask the questions that will help her reclaim her life. Cast: Vera Farmiga, Joshua Leonard, John Hawkes, Dagmara Dominczyk, Norbert Leo Butz.
Homework (Director and screenwriter: Gavin Wiesen) ‘” Quirky, rebellious George has no ambitions other than to cut his next class. But one day, one girl gives him the perfect reason to figure out who he really is. Cast: Freddie Highmore, Emma Roberts, Michael Angarano, Elizabeth Reaser with Rita Wilson and Blair Underwood.
The Ledge (Director and screenwriter: Matthew Chapman) ‘” Perched on a ledge, a man says he must jump by noon, while a cop races against time to get to the bottom of it. Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Liv Tyler, Patrick Wilson and Terrence Howard with Christopher Gorham.
Like Crazy (Director: Drake Doremus; Screenwriters: Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones) ‘” A young American guy and a young British girl meet in college and fall in love. Their love is tested when she is required to leave the country and they must face the challenges of a long-distance relationship. Cast: Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Charlie Bewley, Alex Kingston.
Little Birds (Director and screenwriter: Elgin James) ‘” Amidst the stark landscape of the Salton Sea, two 15-year-old girls test the limits of their friendship when one follows the other to Los Angeles, only to discover that the boredom of home may be better than learning to survive in the big city. Cast: Juno Temple, Kay Panabaker, Leslie Mann, Kate Bosworth, Kyle Gallner.
The Loved Ones (Director and screenwriter: Sam Levinson) ‘” A pair of reckless siblings are dragged into a chaotic family wedding by their overwrought mother. Cast: Demi Moore, Kate Bosworth, Jeffrey DeMunn, Ellen Barkin, Ellen Burstyn, Thomas Haden Church.
Martha Marcy May Marlene (Director and screenwriter: Sean Durkin) ‘” Haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, a damaged woman struggles to re-assimilate with her family after fleeing an abusive cult. Cast: Elizabeth Olsen, Brady Corbet, Hugh Dancy, John Hawkes, Sarah Paulson.
On the Ice (Director and screenwriter: Andrew Okpeaha MacLean) ‘” On the snow-covered Arctic tundra, two teenagers try to get away with murder. Cast: Josiah Patkotak, Frank Qutuq Irelan, Teddy Kyle Smith, Adamina Kerr, Sierra Jade Sampson.
Pariah (Director and screenwriter: Dee Rees) ‘” When forced to choose between losing her best friend or destroying her family, a Bronx teenager juggles conflicting identities and endures heartbreak in a desperate search for sexual expression. Cast: Adepero Oduye, Pernell Walker, Kim Wayans, Charles Parnell, Aasha Davis.
Take Shelter (Director and screenwriter: Jeff Nichols) ‘” A working-class husband and father questions whether his terrifying dreams of an apocalyptic storm signal something real to come or the onset of an inherited mental illness he’s feared his whole life. Cast: Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Shea Whigham, Katy Mixon, Kathy Baker.
Terri (Director: Azazel Jacobs; Screenwriters: Patrick Dewitt and Azazel Jacobs) ‘” Orphaned to an uncle who is fading away, mercilessly teased by his peers and roundly ignored by his teachers, Terri is alienated and alone. When the dreaded vice-principal sees something of himself in Terri, they establish a friendship which opens Terri up to the possibility that life is not something to be endured, but something to be shared, and even enjoyed. Cast: Jacob Wysocki, John C. Reilly, Creed Bratton, Olivia Crocicchia, Bridger Zadina.